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Best cupcakes in the city?

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I've heard it's actually not Magnolia, and I need some for my upcoming bday party... I've been trying to figure it out from web reviews. Billy's Bakery?

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  1. this is a much-debated topic. Personally, I'm fond of Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the Lower East Side, on Rivington St. light, icing not overly sweet. Billy's are fine. The ones I loathe are Cupcake Cafe. Horrible-tasting icing, despite being so gorgeous.

    2 Replies
    1. re: xavier

      Sugar Sweet Sunshine.......LOVE IT!!

      1. re: Micky Blue

        Pistachio and pumpkin are other worldly. (And I usually HATE pumpkin.)

    2. I'm a big fan of the Crumbs Bakery. The location on the UWS is the best in my opinion (also one on UES). Stick with the regular butter cream cupcakes. The "specialty" ones are a little too over the top in my opinion.

      1. Sugar Sweet Sunshine. FYI, they deliver for a fee.

        1. another vote for sugar sweet sunshine on rivington. stay clear of magnolia-pretty gross

          1. I'm partial to the cupcakes at the "Little Pie Co.". They have a nice selection too: all chocolate with vanilla creme filling, german chocolate with yummy coconut frosting, golden cake with your choice of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry icing, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I also like "Citarella's" cupcakes, they are made with buttercream icing so you need to take them out of the fridge for an hour before serving in order for the frosting to soften, don't try eating them cold, it's awful.

            1. well, the guys on snl definately lean toward magnolia -- see the hilarious video link below for more on that !

              if you like 'celebucakes' amy sedaris makes them for bonsignor sometimes and they are good. ditto at mary's off jane across the street.

              Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch.php?v=zL...

              1. j
                Josh Eisenman

                I just got some from KITCHENETTE (121st street and amsterdam, with another location on West Broadway somewhere) and they were awesome...they look like classic Hostess cupcakes, but are made with dark and light chocolate and real frosting. HIGHLY recommended.

                1. Sugar Sweet Sunshine, hands down.

                  1. Finally dropped by Sugar Sweet Sunshine on Tuesday and loved them! I trekked to Billy's last weekend expecting to find the holy grail but there's no comparison. Billy's were good, tasted fresh but lacked real depth of flavor.

                    SSS's frosting is sweet but that's fine by me. The cake was the most moist I've had in the city but I haven't tried Crumbs yet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: time2eat

                      I hate frosting and theirs is the only one I can stand. It's not cloyingly, tooth-achingly sweet. I still end up scraping half of it off, but this is from someone who will eat cake by cutting around the parts where frosting touches. I wish their presentation was a little nicer, but otherwise they're great. Good coffee, too.

                    2. This is so random, but I find the chocolate cupcake at Grey Dog Cafe on Cornelia to be outstanding.

                      If you hate that suggesstion, yes SSS is better than the owther two.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jorel

                        I second that: Grey Dog Coffee has a mean cupcake. I like both SSS and Grey Dog's but they are very different.

                        (And Grey Dog is on Carmine Street, by the way.)

                      2. billy's whole cakes are outstanding, but yeah - for cupcakes, it's sss all the way. especially the pistachio flavor... good lord.

                        1. A friend gave me ridiculously good cupcakes from Cakes n Shapes, which I've never actually visited:


                          They were better than most cupcakes I've had. We could've devoured the whole box:


                          ...but thank god we didn't.

                          I've tried 4 or 5 cupcakes from SSS. They were all pretty good, except for the red velvet, which I didn't like. :( (However, I heard a lot of other people love it.) I think the Cakes n Shapes one is the best I've had.

                          1. my all-time favorite is cake man raven's red velvet cupcakes. worth every bit of buzz they've gotten. in fort greene. if you're really feeling brave, go for a slice!

                            magnolia is pretty good but icing is sweet for some. sugar sweet sunshine has repeatedly disappointed - sometimes dry, just not yummy.

                            downtown atlantic - yes, also in brooklyn - makes some very delicious, fat cupcakes.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: raybird

                              The ones I tried at downtown atlantic were just too big - even split in half my friend and I couldn't finish one. And the cake was very dry. I appreciated the 'theme' thing they had (hostess, peanut butter, etc) but everything was just too much - too much frosting, too much stuff piled on top, too big. Still seeking the perfect Park Slope/Bk Heights cupcake....

                              1. re: erikka

                                If you're a chocolate lover, I highly recommend the chocolate cupcakes at The Chocolate Room on Fifth Avenue between St. Marks and Prospect Place in Park Slope. It's as delicious as their cakes, but with more frosting! Unfortunately, if you don't like chocolate or don't count these as true buttercream frosted cupcakes, then this won't work for you. But that's okay; more for me! (they often run out)

                                1. re: Gluttonous Prime

                                  I like chocolate and have been meaning to try the Chocolate Room for awhile--do they run out early in the day? Frosting, a dab or two is enough to tide me over--if I scrape it off there's always someone willing to eat it.

                                  1. re: erikka

                                    They typically run out on Sundays and don't get a new batch until Tuesday. I haven't quite nailed down when they do have them for sure. Whenever I've bought them, they've been right by the cash register, so it's pretty easy to tell if cupcakes are available.

                                2. re: erikka

                                  Ladybird Bakery in Park Slope (8 ave and 12th st) has wonderful cakes and cupcakes!!!

                              2. Crumbs cupcakes are amazing. any of the locations. DOn't bother with the mini ones, however. They are dry and nothing like the oversized frosted-happiness there.

                                1. Another vote for SSS, and another YUCK for Magnolia (the only secret about their recipe is how they get a cupcake to be tasteless). I got a Black and White..Just Right birthday cake from SSS--everyone LOVED it.

                                  1. Has the "help" at Sugar Sweet Sunshine gotten any better? I remember their was a lot of talk on the old board about how "flakey" the cashier people were.

                                    By the way, I too agree they have the best cupcakes (dare I say it...ok i'll say it!) in the city.

                                    1. buttercup bake shop!! they're franchising and branching out. check the site for locations

                                      1. Have you been to Buttercup recently? I was there the Friday after July 4th and walked away with four of the most horrible cupcakes EVER. I got a vanilla w/ choc buttercream, vanilla w/ vanilla butterbream, lemon and the devil dog. My discovery happened in a funny (or some might say disgusting) way. I was craving one after lunch and couldn't wait to get home so I opened the box and took a bite out of the lemon. DRY! I couldn't get a glass of water quick enough. Onto the next cupcake, again dry and hard frosting. So followed suit for all four cupcakes. I used to like them but hadn't been there in a year and a half (2nd Ave location) and was really disappointed.

                                        It wasn't dry as in overbaking. It was dry with hard frosting as in made too much product. If it's not fresh don't sell it.

                                        As for SSS, the service was fine. Not overly warm but definitely not rude. There was a long line aftr we got in and they moved it along efficiently and pleasantly. BTW the pistachio was AWESOME.

                                        1. I think it depends on what type of frosting you like. For the sugary frosting, I like Butercup Bakeshop out of all the other cupcake stores. (My pesronal favorite and) For the more creamy buttery frosting I LOVE Two Little Red Hens. TLRH also has the best cake out of all of them. Even if you're not a chocolate cupcake person, you must try theirs! It addicting!

                                          For any cupcake store, I always find that most times I get really fresh ones, but once in awhile, I'd get an old one that was stale.

                                          1. perhaps a bit redundant but i have to give a huge vote to SSS. buttercup is alright if you're in midtown. but the last time i went to billy's everything was dry and the frosting was flavorless. ick.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: EVchickadee

                                              While I think the SSS Pumpkin cupcake is good I don't see what the fuss is over the rest.

                                              Overall I've found them to be dry and not so fresh tasting. Especially the lemon. Huge disappointment there as I'm a big lemon fan.

                                              Someone recently posted about the Red Velvet being flavorless and I have to agree. I'd heard raves about the Pistachio and found it to be very artificial tasting. And what's with all the candy they dump on top?

                                              If I'm passing by I might stop in for the Pumpkin but the others are a huge pass.

                                            2. Two Little Red Hens is my absolute favorite bakery in the city, and their mini cupcakes would be perfect for a party. Red Velvet, Brooklyn Blackout, Carrot, anything seasonal, everything else...

                                              Two Little Red Hens
                                              1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sheio

                                                +1. esp the brooklyn blackout and the black and white swirls

                                              2. I have to vote for Out of the Kitchen in Soho on Hudson Street. WAY better than magnolia. They were always my favorite when working downtown. But those lemon cupcakes at SSS are out of this world. Crumbs tastes like grocery store cupcakes to me (sorry).

                                                Out of the Kitchen
                                                420 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                                                1. Billys Bakery in Tribeca is a great cupcake place. They have great selections of flavors, their icing is not overwhelming and the cupcakes are not giant. They are the perfect size, not over the top on decorating the cupcakes either.

                                                  1. My favorite cupcakes are from ChikaLicious (especially their red velvet and premium caramel).

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: ellenost

                                                      Sweet Revenge
                                                      Two Little Red Hens
                                                      Dessert Club Chikalicious

                                                      In that order, though all three are excellent. I love that 5 years ago (why was this thread resurrected?) people loved SSS. Obviously before "designer" cupcakes became the in thing.


                                                      Two Little Red Hens
                                                      1652 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                                      Sweet Revenge
                                                      62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

                                                      1. re: uhockey

                                                        Designer cupcakes has been an in thing in NYC for much longer than 5 years....more like 10.

                                                        1. re: kathryn

                                                          True - given Magnolia's fame, but not to the same extent as now, obviously.


                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                            it started at the cupcake cafe - closer to 20 years ago

                                                      2. When I went to a crumbs in the city recently, I was disappointed to see that I couldn't pick my own cupcakes--the selection was pretty small. I had to buy their premade batch of 12 (best seller collection-taste pack) in order to try the "wide variety" of cupcakes I had planned on. I was disappointed as this is not necessarily how it worked on the website. Maybe I had gone too late?

                                                        1. Baked - in Red Hook/Brooklyn on Van Brunt Street. Amazing - by far the best. Forget Crumbs and Magnolia.
                                                          Try their salted carmel or citrus passion-fruit. They also had a amazing apply carmel this fall...seasonal wonders. And try their amazing brownies - also salted carmel.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mirandabrooklyn

                                                            I tried the Baked salted caramel brownies and was very underwhelmed by them.

                                                            1. re: ellenost

                                                              Not the biggest fan of Baked brownies, but I think their cupcakes are definitely worth trying.

                                                          2. Robicelli is currenly my favorite cupcakes. I get them at Cake Shop in LES.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jester99

                                                              Robicelli's are the best...
                                                              we get in Brooklyn by our home...near work my husband get them at Lily O'Briens

                                                              Lily O'Brien's
                                                              36 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018