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Am I crazy for thinking that Magnolia cupcakes suck?

meldrom Jan 20, 2008 12:49 AM

I think they're gross. The frosting is horrible and they don't add any salt to their cake. Does anyone have any recommendations for a cupcake that actually is good. (I don't like Billy's either...they make them ahead and freeze them...yak!)

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  1. t
    tpigeon Jan 20, 2008 03:39 AM

    No, most on this board hate Magnolia. As for me, I love them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon
      LeahBaila Jan 28, 2008 04:49 AM

      Guess we're the only 2 crazies on this board! I love their cupcakes, as well.


      1. re: tpigeon
        clutterbuster Feb 21, 2009 05:34 PM

        their red velvet cupcakes are the best - -

        the brownies are great! and the banana pudding is total comfort food.

      2. scarlet starlet Jan 20, 2008 04:00 AM

        I think you'd be crazy if you thought otherwise!

        I have had cupcakes from almost all of the cupcake stores in NYC and I don't think that any of them are particularly good. I truly hate American buttercream (butter + confectioner's sugar + milk, which to me = sugary chalk but to others is sugary bliss), and that's the frosting that they all use.

        My "favorite" of the lot is Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the LES. Their cakes are moist, they always have good flavors (I like the pistachio and the pumpkin) and their frosting isn't as sickly sweet and chalky as many of the others are.

        Honestly, you'd be better off making your own. I feel like everyone is blinded by the craze of the cupcake and as a result, they don't really care about the quality, which is why all these places get away with making bad products. Which is why I make my own.

        4 Replies
        1. re: scarlet starlet
          roze Jan 20, 2008 05:25 AM

          Second Sugar Sweet Sunshine's pumpkin and also second the fact that homemade are better than any you'll find in nyc.

          1. re: scarlet starlet
            Lau Jan 20, 2008 07:45 AM

            agree on all counts:
            - don't like magnolia's cupcakes although i think they have great banana pudding
            - sugar sweet sunshine is way better; i prefer their "sexy red velvet"
            - you're better off making your own (by a long shot)

            1. re: Lau
              Dianora Jan 27, 2008 06:06 PM

              Yes I LOVE their banana pudding. That's pretty much why I go there -- unless there's a line of saps waiting for cupcakes.

            2. re: scarlet starlet
              CornflakeGirl Jan 20, 2008 03:50 PM

              The two times I tried SSS I found them to be dry and the flavor to be less than stellar.

            3. a
              addictedtolunch Jan 20, 2008 04:05 AM

              This board basically agrees that they're among the worst of the lot, better cupcakes can be had in orphanages and prisons than at Magnolia.

              1. c
                CornflakeGirl Jan 20, 2008 05:13 AM

                Try Amy's Bread.

                I also don't get the hype over the cupcakes at SSS. People rave about that awful, artificial tasting pistachio. We tried them twice and the only one I found even halfway decent was the pumpkin.

                1. d
                  digitalburro Jan 20, 2008 05:30 AM

                  When I first moved to NY I went on a cupcake binge. Magnolia was by far the biggest disappointment--the most hype for the most pedestrian cupcake. I don't think they "suck" per se, but I do think they are very run of the mill (I liken them to cupcakes bought from a grocery store bakery).

                  I've made the cupcake rounds (although I have not tried SSS) and so far my favorite cupcakes are from Two Little Red Hens. I tend to agree with scarlet starlet--I'm not the biggest fan of buttercream frosting--and 2LRH uses cream cheese frosting on most of their cupcakes, so thats a large reason why I enjoy them so much.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: digitalburro
                    Miss Needle Jan 20, 2008 04:00 PM

                    Yeah, Magnolia (and Buttercup) never did it for me. However, some people (including DH) loves it. I've gotten cupcakes from Magnolia and Buttercup with him and tried it together to make sure he didn't get an abnormally tasty one or that I got a regular dry tasteless one. I just don't get it -- I'm thinking it's more of the cache than the actual cupcake.

                    I also hate Cupcake Cafe. While pretty, they're terrible.

                    While the best is homemade, I can deal with Mitchel London's and Two Little Red Hens.

                    1. re: digitalburro
                      Pan Jan 20, 2008 11:29 PM

                      I've never had the cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens because I'm usually getting some of their wonderful squares. That's a really good bakery!

                      1. re: Pan
                        windycity Feb 18, 2008 07:14 PM

                        Two Little Red Hens has moist, rich chocolate cupcakes and tasty choc frosting. Mostly, I hate buttercream frosting on cupcakes, but Tonnie's near Washington Sq Park is pretty good - rich cupcake and not bad frosting.

                        120 W 3rd St
                        New York, NY 10012
                        Phone: (212) 473-2002

                        They're not as pretty as Cupcake Cafe, which I also like, except that CC has a better frosting and a slightly less moist cake.

                        Magnolia, Buttercup - they can go in the trash for all I care.

                      2. re: digitalburro
                        apple342 Jul 28, 2008 08:37 AM

                        Second Two Little Red Hens. All their baked goods are excellent (esp cheesecake!) -- but cupcakes are outstanding!!! Worth the trip if you dont live in the area.

                        The Cupcake Cafe is not good. Dont waste your time--in addition to cupcakes not being good, donuts and muffins are dried out. Just threw out yesterday after 1 bite!

                      3. jpmcd Jan 20, 2008 06:15 AM

                        Out of the Kitchen on Hudson Street - moist cake and creamy, rich frosting, but they only have vanilla/chocolate combos

                        I also do not like Magnolia, cake is dry with little flavor and frosting makes me feel like I am actually just eating hardened, sweetened butter

                        Cupcake Cafe's are also tasty, and very pretty

                        1. g
                          geekygirl Jan 20, 2008 07:34 AM

                          No, not crazy at all. I've always thought that Magnolia's cupcakes are awful. They're always too dry/stale and their frosting gives me a belly ache. I prefer to make my own cupcakes, but my favorite spot in the city for the little treats will always be Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the LES. Their cupcakes are always moist and come in a great variety of flavors. Try them, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

                          1. j
                            Jane A. Jan 20, 2008 07:49 AM

                            I'm with you. While you're at it, you can skip Buttercup Bakery too. Bears no resemblance to anything I've ever made myself or anything I remember from all those households which harbored the great bakers of my childhood. They all strike me as "better living through chemistry" -- to be avoided at all costs. I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if someone suggests a place that's less of a trek than the LES.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Jane A.
                              jakew8 Jan 20, 2008 09:58 AM

                              Add Crumbs to the list of places to skip. All of these places are just sugar, sugar, sugar! None of the flavors come through. And I swear that they use milk chocolate in everything--it's sickening. (But sweet enough for NYU sorority girls, apparently... yay!)

                              Amy's does make some good chocolate cupcakes. More rich flavor, less sugary frosting.

                              1. re: jakew8
                                CornflakeGirl Jan 20, 2008 03:51 PM

                                Crumb's remind me more of muffins than cupcakes.

                                1. re: CornflakeGirl
                                  nativeNYer Jan 20, 2008 08:30 PM

                                  i agree. they are too dense.

                                  1. re: CornflakeGirl
                                    neweats Jul 28, 2008 07:23 AM

                                    I've had crumbs twice, i only went because of the hype. I don't know if its just me but I tried 4 different cupcakes to give them a fair shot: an oreo, carmel, red velvet and some other chocolate one, but they all tasted the same. I wouldn't go back. The best by far was Two Little Red Hens, I liked it so much that I bought a 12 inch red velvet cake for my birthday, and it was a hit.

                              2. a
                                alc Jan 20, 2008 01:45 PM

                                I'm no cupcake expert, but I did enjoy those at My Most Favorite Desert Co., not mentioned in any of the previous posts.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alc
                                  nativeNYer Jan 20, 2008 02:42 PM

                                  i agree as i stated on a previous post. after trying a yellow cupcake and a red velvet yesterday for the first time yesterday, i nearly gagged on the frosting. yuk.
                                  i will have to try SSS and two red hens very soon. i completely agree with the last para of scarlet starlet's posting. she could not have said it better!!

                                2. m
                                  MizYellowRose Jan 20, 2008 04:07 PM

                                  I have never tried Magnolia. The long lines have always deterred me from trying them. No, you're not alone--many others agree with you. I did like Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Buttercup. Recently, I tried a cupcake from Eleni's in the Chelsea Market and liked it.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MizYellowRose
                                    Miss Needle Jan 20, 2008 04:17 PM

                                    If you like Buttercup, you'll probably like Magnolia. They taste very similar.

                                    1. re: MizYellowRose
                                      racer x Jul 23, 2008 06:59 PM

                                      There are several purveyors of cupcakes in Chelsea Market (although I have not tried any of them recently). Several of them have half-price sales after 6pm on weekdays.

                                    2. m
                                      meldrom Jan 20, 2008 04:26 PM

                                      Phew! I thought I was taking crazy pills. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks their popularity is worse than that of shoulder pads.
                                      I will definitely try 2LRH. So far the best cupcake I have had was a vegan cupcake at 'snice. Bizarre, I know. And even then the frosting was still like spackle.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: meldrom
                                        Will4Food Jan 20, 2008 04:37 PM

                                        Try the cupcakes at Amy's Bread. They are moist, flavorful and superior to those sold at "cupcake" shops.

                                      2. sing me a bar Jan 20, 2008 05:43 PM

                                        My description would be LOUD sugar taste. My teeth sang and I sensed my dentist making money as I chewed!

                                        1. s
                                          sugartoof Jan 20, 2008 07:42 PM

                                          Everytime I swear off Magnolia for life, someone brings me a few that are more then redeeming. I think it depends on who is doing the baking, maybe? I miss the days when they didn't cut their recipes for profit, and mass production.

                                          SSS have much improved since then opened, but they really, really, really taste like something you could bake at home. I can't see making a special trip for them.
                                          If going for Amy's Bread cupcakes, I'd personally avoid the Red Velvet due to the icing being wrong for that style cake.

                                          Thanks for the tip about Billy's freezing. Didn't know that.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                            meldrom Jan 20, 2008 07:54 PM

                                            It may not be something that happens all the time there...but I have had experiences where there cupcakes tasted like I was licking the inside of my freezer. I don't know if they make ahead and freeze so that they can keep up with production demands or what....it was REALLY disappointing, though.

                                          2. p
                                            Pan Jan 20, 2008 11:27 PM

                                            No, you're not crazy at all.

                                            1. m
                                              meldrom Jan 21, 2008 12:32 PM

                                              So...went to SSS today. I think I made the mistake of ordering the red velvet guy, which I may have been warned about in a previous post but thought it was related to a different establishment. WHAT HAPPENED? Whipped crisco on top of red velvet?!?!?! What a disturbing surprise. The gooey was decent, the pumpkin was good although kind of oily and the Bob that we had was AT LEAST day old. The frosting and the cupcake were crunchy. Once again, don't they realize that salt actually makes sweets taste better? No salt in any of the cakes. Bummer

                                              1. bigjeff Jan 21, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                magnolia and all its derivatives are terrible (buttercup, billy's, SSS, etc). crumbs is a totally different creature, and, way too sweet for me. good flavors though. I'd recommend cupcake cafe (18th st Books of wonder location, and west 38th st original) for all your cupcake needs though; they come in two sizes, delicious flavors and combinations, tastes fresh, beautiful, actually tastes cake-y.

                                                1. swf36d Jan 21, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                  I HATE American buttercream frosting! As a home baker, I only use old fashioned cooked frosting or french buttercream. Of the cakes in NYC, the best frosting I had was on a cake from Dean and delucca, but the cake was ridiculously expensive and the cake itself was on the dry side.

                                                  1. o
                                                    Olav23 Jan 21, 2008 06:31 PM

                                                    I love the ones at Cupcake Cafe, now Casa Cupcake on W 38th st. Get the chocolate cupcake with Mocha icing. 99% of the time they are great. 1% of the time, you will get a dry cupcake. I guess you could inquire when they are at their freshest, but I rarely am disappointed with them.

                                                    1. r
                                                      rifbat Jan 21, 2008 06:35 PM

                                                      Agree with the general consensus: Magnolia's cupcakes are vile. Make your own or try Mitchel London's yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: rifbat
                                                        Nina_P Jan 22, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                        Mitchell London's (aka "Burgers 'n' Cupcakes") yellow cupcake with dark chocolate frosting is the only cupcake I like. The frosting is so dark and chocolatey, and the yellow cake is a perfect foil.

                                                        Of course I've discovered something better than cupcakes altogether: Beard Papa cream puffs. My oh my. They'll put dark chocolate on 'em too and call it an eclair. Yowza.

                                                        1. re: Nina_P
                                                          meldrom Jan 22, 2008 09:40 AM

                                                          I work nearby Burgers n Cupcakes...it is now closed. It has a for rent sign in the window

                                                          1. re: meldrom
                                                            Miss Needle Jan 22, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                            There were two of them. I believe the other one is still open.

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle
                                                              Peter Cuce Jan 22, 2008 11:40 AM

                                                              The one on 9th Ave, which I thought was better anyway, is still open.

                                                      2. artfuldestruct Jan 22, 2008 11:53 AM

                                                        yeah way too much hype for a cupcake that has way too much frosting(in my opinion), but then again thats seems to be the draw(from what i've heard from many people). not worth the trip to the w. village to stand in line. although if you are in the neighborhood they're banana pudding is generally pretty good.

                                                        1. e
                                                          Elvis Goldberg Jan 22, 2008 03:42 PM

                                                          With 1 poster liking Magnolia as against a gazillion that don't like it, it's safe to say that you're not crazy.


                                                          1. b
                                                            Blackness Jan 23, 2008 04:52 AM

                                                            They're not cupcakes but for a sweet treat in NYC I always go down to Something Sweet (LES) it's at 1st and 11th (next to Venero's). I think I've seen cupcakes in there (I know she does wedding cakes) but I've never been able to make it past all the tarts and strawberry shortcakes. This place is fantastic and I've never been disappointed by her treats. And if you're really looking for something fun try one of her chocolate covered strawberries (cheapest I've ever found in NYC...they used to be 75 cents each). She ONLY makes them when she can find strawberries she thinks are good enough. But man when she does.....

                                                            1. g
                                                              gabandgobble Jan 25, 2008 05:26 PM

                                                              For anyone in the Upper East Side, there's this bakery called Yura that has really good cupcakes...try their carrot cake, it's definitely on par with SSS

                                                              1. n
                                                                nycg8tr Jan 26, 2008 04:37 AM

                                                                I was extremely disappointed at Magnolia too! Way too much hype

                                                                1. m
                                                                  Minerva0501 Jan 26, 2008 01:09 PM

                                                                  I've fallen in love with Make My Cake's cupcakes. They're quite large but I have no problem finishing one off by myself. Although they make different flavours/frostings, I've only had the chocolate cupcake with white frosting and the red velvet cupcake. Both are amazing, but it's the red velvet that shines. The cupcakes are moist, rich but not overly so, not too sweet, and has the perfect density IMO. I go to the one on 116th and St Nicholas Ave. The store is adorable and has a bunch of other goodies for you to try as well.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Minerva0501
                                                                    Pan Jan 26, 2008 08:56 PM

                                                                    I take it there are other branches? Where are they located?

                                                                    1. re: Pan
                                                                      nativeNYer Jan 26, 2008 09:25 PM

                                                                      there's one at 139th and 7th. never tried either location; instead, i just looked it up: http://menupages.com/restaurantdetail...

                                                                    2. re: Minerva0501
                                                                      abnyc Jan 30, 2008 01:52 PM

                                                                      I too love the cupcakes at Make My Cake. Especially the Red Velvet. Both locations are good in my opinion. The 116th location is better for sitting and enjoying your snack.

                                                                    3. m
                                                                      mahalan Jan 28, 2008 04:35 AM

                                                                      I agree. A mediocre cupcake with a ton of frosting piled on.

                                                                      1. j
                                                                        jimmy jazz Jan 30, 2008 07:18 AM

                                                                        I don't necessarily think they suck, but I do believe they are a bit overrated. I like the ones from crumbs alot better. The icing is just as good as the cake, which isn't the case at magnolia.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: jimmy jazz
                                                                          biondanonima Jan 30, 2008 07:44 AM

                                                                          They do suck. And this is from someone who LOVES american buttercream. Theirs is NASTY and the cupcakes themselves are dry little hockey pucks of death. Cupcake Cafe also gets a thumbs WAY down.

                                                                        2. h
                                                                          hugglyj Jan 30, 2008 10:13 AM

                                                                          No, you're not crazy one bit. I tried one and didn't even finish it. It's just too sweet, it makes the teeth hurt.

                                                                          So many people seem to love and hate Sugar Sweet Sunshine, I'm personally a fan but here's the thing. I love almond flavored foods, the fake almond flavor always gets me, it's a sentimental thing. So one of their specialties is their cupcakes with a chocolate almond frosting, and this is a flavor that can be very divisive among foodies. As for their other cupcakes, I think they're solid and enjoy them but that isn't why I make the trip.

                                                                          1. a
                                                                            andreacecile Jan 30, 2008 10:31 AM

                                                                            i totally agree about magnolia's cupcakes; i always laugh at the line outside the bleeker st. location and think: tourist suckers!

                                                                            and i second the two little red hens- if you live in the BK they are now called ladybird. the brooklyn blackout cupcake with chocolate pudding/frosting in the middle is the opposite of those dry, tasteless, overly sugary magnolia ones.

                                                                            i like billy's okay- more for the cakes than the cupcakes, and i LOVE SSS- but only for the so-addicting-its-basically-crack banana pudding.

                                                                            1. h
                                                                              HHH Feb 18, 2008 05:44 AM

                                                                              Have you tried Tribeca Treats cupcake? Maybe not the best in town, but definitely more flavorful than Magnolia. They have a variety of frostings...french buttercream, cream cheese etc. They also have these delicious crispy little mini-cookies with a layer of toffee filling.

                                                                              1. r
                                                                                racer x Mar 1, 2008 05:47 PM

                                                                                I have to agree with previous posters that Crumbs cupcakes are gawd-awful. I made the mistake of getting one at the cute little bakery/cafe Rive Gauche on 86th (1st/2nd aves). The cupcake looked so good there in the display case - I thought it was supposed to be white or yellow cake with a pistachio-flavored pastel green frosting rolled in crushed pistachios. It was huge and very HEAVY, brick-like. I became alarmed with the first bite - no identifiable flavors, just very dense cake and sweet frosting. Where was the pistachio flavor, or vanilla or something? I took a second bite to be sure, which I had to spit out, then I tossed the whole thing. I saw on the wrapper that it was a Crumbs cupcake. Blech!

                                                                                The moral of this story is to ask the folks behind the counter who makes their cupcakes.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: racer x
                                                                                  racer x Jan 10, 2011 02:16 PM

                                                                                  Just heard a news report on the radio that the Crumbs company is about to issue a public offering of stock in the company. Plus, I read that they are planning to open another 3 or 4 dozen stores nationwide in the next couple of years. What??
                                                                                  Who is eating these crappy cupcakes?
                                                                                  And why would a cupcake company be expanding during a recession (or at least during a period of high unemployment and stagnant economic growth)?

                                                                                  1. re: racer x
                                                                                    kathryn Jan 10, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                    Crumbs also do novelty cupcakes -- I'd imagine a significant portion of their business comes from people buying based upon appearance: tons of crazy candy on top, Oreo halves shaped like animal ears, GIANT cupcakes, etc..

                                                                                    1. re: racer x
                                                                                      sugartoof Jan 12, 2011 12:54 AM

                                                                                      Cupcakes are doing well in bulk sales for parties, and offices. I also think, like a few other trends like coffee, the price point is right for someone to go out and treat themselves to something for a few bucks.

                                                                                  2. r
                                                                                    racer x Mar 1, 2008 05:49 PM

                                                                                    So far, I haven't found any cupcakes in this city that surpass those of Sage, which I've only found in Manhattan at Dean & DeLuca. I think I've also gotten them for a lower price at the Sage shop in LIC, but they tend to run out. (There's a Sage outlet in midtown on the east side, but I haven't seen their cupcakes there.) The cake in their cupcakes is very moist, very light, very flavorful; and the frostings are not just an afterthought as with other cupcakes - they are also intensely flavorful as well as very creamy. My favorite is vanilla, but carrot cake is also very good.

                                                                                    1. Hanachan Apr 10, 2008 12:54 PM

                                                                                      I hated Magnolia's cupcakes. Too sweet. My favorites are Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Downtown Atlantic and Little Cupcake something in Bay Ridge (the latter two are in Brooklyn).

                                                                                      Will try Tribeca Sweets today.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Hanachan
                                                                                        lawyerlady Jul 22, 2008 08:05 PM

                                                                                        wow i'm excited i found this post because i have always disliked magnolia's cupcakes. i did, however, like buttercup's. but i always wondered why one living in ny would want a cupcake so badly when there are many wonderful dessert cafes to choose from? i always thought sex and the city made magnolia popular. someone mentioned the banana pudding, which i've tried, but the best banana pudding is at clara marie's in greensboro, nc, hands down.

                                                                                        1. re: lawyerlady
                                                                                          jvish Jul 23, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                                                          yeah...but they really aren't that awful. They aren't the greatest things in the world but The Magnolia bashing is a little bit over the top. If a no name no hype little bakery opened up in the bowels of Brooklyn somewhere that produced the same exact cupcake as Magnolia did half the posters here would sing their praises.

                                                                                          Also telling people to make their own cupcakes isn't really a helpful tip

                                                                                          1. re: jvish
                                                                                            Miss Needle Jul 23, 2008 08:05 AM

                                                                                            You are correct about people tending to bash things that have been hyped up. But I've got to say that when I first tried a Magnolia cupcake, I had NO idea about any of the hype (I didn't watch Sex and the City until much later). I just thought they were terrible, overly sweet and dry. Whether it was in the most expensive block in the West Village or whether it was in the bowels of Brooklyn, I still think it's gross.

                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                              racer x Jul 23, 2008 06:55 PM

                                                                                              I may have watched a total of 10 minutes of Sex and the City over the years. I had no idea Magnolia was mentioned on Sex and the City, and I was unaware of "the hype" when I first tried Magnolia's cupcakes. I have to agree with Miss Needle's opinion of them.

                                                                                        2. re: Hanachan
                                                                                          foodftw Jul 24, 2008 11:12 AM

                                                                                          Another vote for Sugar Sweet Sunshine - the pistachio cupcakes are sooo good!!

                                                                                        3. MsAlyp Jul 23, 2008 07:26 AM

                                                                                          Totally agree about Magnolia. I find them to be dry- the type of flour they use. Red Hen is great for Red Velvet!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: MsAlyp
                                                                                            Miss Needle Jul 23, 2008 08:03 AM

                                                                                            Their blackout cupcake is really wonderful as well.

                                                                                          2. p
                                                                                            peachtart Jul 23, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                                                            No your not crazy. I go out to Brooklyn for cupcakes when I get the urge at Baked in Red Hook.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: peachtart
                                                                                              CornflakeGirl Jul 23, 2008 10:58 AM

                                                                                              Baked is fantastic! I'd rather wait until I can make it over there as well.

                                                                                              And their whoopie pies are to die for!

                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                              melissabeth115 Jul 23, 2008 12:19 PM


                                                                                              1. n
                                                                                                nooyawka Jul 24, 2008 04:13 PM

                                                                                                NOPE. You're not crazy. I don't like them AT ALL. The frosting is too much. There is also a place on West 72nd between Broadway and Columbus, on the north side, don't remember the name, but my good friend loves that place for the cupcakes, and I didn't like it either. Maybe I'm just not a cupcake person...

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: nooyawka
                                                                                                  Miss Needle Jul 24, 2008 04:22 PM

                                                                                                  No, don't say you're not a cupcake person yet. I ate homemade cupcakes as a child. Then the first cupcakes I ate from a bakery were Buttercup and Magnolia. I disliked both of them. I thought the same as you. But I then had some beauties from Two Little Red Hens and Mitchel London (only the red velvet and chocolate ganache -- the other ones are way too sweet). I realized I just didn't have the right cupcakes.

                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                    weetara Jul 25, 2008 08:58 AM

                                                                                                    OK, admittedly I haven't tried a lot of the places mentioned here and I haven't been to Magnolia in years...but I think that the cupcakes at Eleni's in Chelsea Market (coconut) and Big Booty Bread Co. on 23rd street (red velvet and dulce de leche) are VERY good.

                                                                                                  2. re: nooyawka
                                                                                                    racer x Jul 25, 2008 11:05 AM

                                                                                                    That would be the UWS branch of Buttercup Bake Shop. Theirs are good. But not as good as Sage's. Homemade is best by a long shot (and least expensive) - but who wants to fire up the oven when it's 90ºF outside?

                                                                                                  3. p
                                                                                                    Peter Cherches Jul 26, 2008 07:40 AM

                                                                                                    For years you never heard about cupcakes, and I never missed them. Now they're a fad. This will pass, as will the dreaded frozen yogurt revival.


                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Peter Cherches
                                                                                                      melissabeth115 Jul 28, 2008 01:44 PM

                                                                                                      there is nothing dreadful about bloomingdale's frozen yogurt, its staying power is undeniable...have you had it yet?

                                                                                                      1. re: melissabeth115
                                                                                                        Miss Needle Jul 28, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                                                        If you like Bloomingdales, you'll like Berrywild in Murray Hill. Order the creamy (they also serve icy style) and you'll be hard pressed to taste the difference from 40 Carrots. The plain and coffee are delicious.

                                                                                                        And I also agree that I'm not a fan of most of the fro yo places but think Berrywild and Bloomingdales are pretty good. DH likes them a lot as well. There really is a difference between these and the likes of Pinkberry.

                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                      scanmike Jul 26, 2008 08:51 AM

                                                                                                      I had Magnolia's once and felt they were just super sweet with alot of icing to make up for the lack of flavor. I used to bake for a store in Park Slope called Our Daily Bread, so I am pretty familiar with baking. I agree with two other posts about Downtown Atlantic having good cupcakes, especially the one that looks like the old fashioned Hostess (with the squiggly white line down the middle). It's super moist, flavorfull dark chocolate with a vanilla mouse type frosting in the middle. Not overly sweet. Also, Baked in Red Hook has some good brownies, peanut butter rice crispy treats. That being said, I am sure their cupcakes are worth trying.

                                                                                                      1. waxyjax Jul 28, 2008 09:24 AM

                                                                                                        really happy you called BS on Magnolia. i already have an aversion to frosting and find their cloyingly sweet mounds of pastel way too migraine-inducing for my taste.

                                                                                                        i also tip my hat to all the posts about Baked--i LOVE that place. another great cupcake spot is Almondine in DUMBO. They do two kinds--chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse topping and vanilla cake with milk chocolate mousse topping. my disdain for frosting and love of chocolate mousse makes almondine my favorite cupcake place in the city.

                                                                                                        1. p
                                                                                                          pokechop Feb 18, 2009 05:37 AM

                                                                                                          c'mon, "good cupcake"? even at it's absolute best, is an oxymoron. the form is full of pre-adolescent anticipation; the bright colors, the festive atmosphere the ensuing chaos... the sugar buzz as an adult is never quite as satisfying as when you're four. if you must eat cupcakes my money is on Cupcake Cafe, the "bohemian" - walnut cake with maple buttercreme. Magnolia has plenty of great things - the cupcakes are the least interesting!

                                                                                                          note: i hope the thought police don't remove this criticism of this hallowed form, again.

                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                            jill1jill Oct 28, 2009 05:24 PM

                                                                                                            I actually like them alot. I've heard that their banana pudding is great--though I just don't like banana pudding no matter who is preparing it. I went to the cupcake cafe twice--and both times--their cupcakes were stale. People use to rave about that place. I think it was one of the first cupcake outposts, but I will never go back there.

                                                                                                            Cupcake Cafe
                                                                                                            18 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: jill1jill
                                                                                                              drosstogold Nov 3, 2009 06:14 PM

                                                                                                              Rice has a good very good chocolate cupcake, not too sweet or too heavy on the frosting and there is vanilla cream inside- a take on a Hostess Cupcake if you will. it's the only one they serve and they do it well.

                                                                                                            2. ellenost Nov 4, 2009 05:37 AM

                                                                                                              I've recently fallen in love with the cupcakes at Chikalicious Dessert Bar. My favorites are the premium caramel (with a caramel filling--yummy!) and the red velvet.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: ellenost
                                                                                                                uwsister Nov 4, 2009 09:02 AM

                                                                                                                I also like Chikalicious' cupcakes.

                                                                                                                It's all personal preference -- I hated Buttercup (downright terrible) Pinisi and Crumbs (both way too dense) and don't care for Sugar Sweet Sunshine any more than I care for Magnolia (fake almond-tasting frosting, yuck.) I love Two Little Red Hens, Big Booty (red velvet only) and Butter Lane (French buttercream only) and thought Amy's Bread and Toni's Minnie's were pretty good. I'll have to try Mitchell London's soon -- too bad the Chelsea location closed as I pass by it all the time.

                                                                                                              2. farfallini Nov 4, 2009 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                Yes, Magnolia sucks ass & it’s for tourists ~ Try ‘Sweet Revenge’ on Carmine St. That place does cupcake and wine pairings Yum!

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: farfallini
                                                                                                                  visciole Nov 4, 2009 07:09 AM

                                                                                                                  When Magnolia was new I walked by and looked in the window. I saw one of their employees rolling out pie dough, if you could call it that. She was whacking away at the pie dough like it was a water bug she was trying to flatten -- guess no one there ever heard that pie dough needs gentle handling. As a consequence, I never tried anything from there. But then again, I bake my own sweets.

                                                                                                                  1. re: visciole
                                                                                                                    smokeandapancake Nov 4, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                    cupcakes are crap...banana pudding ion the other hand, is phenominal.

                                                                                                                2. sadie Nov 4, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                  If in Brooklyn, try One Girl Cookies n Boerum Hill. I don't like the cookies themselves much - dry, tasteless, and all about the appearance - but the cupcake is delightful and pleasantly salty if, like me, you enjoy a salty baked good!

                                                                                                                  1. n
                                                                                                                    NYCeverything Apr 6, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                    not at all..wayyyy overpriced and too dry in my opinion

                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                      secondsplz Jan 10, 2011 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                      despise them! and i eat almost anything

                                                                                                                      1. l
                                                                                                                        lalanyc Jan 11, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                        No, they are completely over-rated. I make better cupcakes at home. Actually thinking on that a bit more I'd prefer Duncan Hines over Magnolia.

                                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                                          mimolette Jan 11, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                          Most people can't tell a scallop from a piece of tofu, hype is nearly everything. I am not particularly fond of most cakes to begin with, have even less patience for cupcakes. My rec is to skip cupcakes, get a piece of double chocolate souffle at Mitchel London or better yet get the intense chocolate cakes from La Maison du Chocolat, especially the chestnut one. Even Mr. London himself could not stop raving about them. I don't often indulge in high cal sweet desserts, because most of them just make me cringe. But everytime I had La Maison du chocolat's chocolate cake, I get mesmerized by it. It is very sweet but very intense and sublime, so I only take very small bites and don't let anything distract me while I submit myself to its magic. It has been a few years though, I hope they still carry it.

                                                                                                                          La Maison du Chocolat
                                                                                                                          30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: mimolette
                                                                                                                            mimolette Jan 23, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                            I got a piece of the chestnut chocolate cake last week. It is nothing like the way it used to be. I was very disappointed.

                                                                                                                          2. t
                                                                                                                            tito Jan 11, 2011 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                            I tried giving one to a homeless guy and as I walked away he spit it out and threw it at me!

                                                                                                                            1. j
                                                                                                                              jinthek Mar 6, 2011 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                              I just posted about lousy chocolate cakes in nyc too, if there aren't any good cakes then how can there possibly good cupcakes ?!! The past twenty years baked goods are being made to look good to sell, flavor is unimportant. IF IT SELLS.... And all this crap does sell to the masses. Isn't that what it's about. For we few true foodies, our quest is endless and fun. Happy baking and seeking. And sharing..

                                                                                                                              have you already checked out cupcake cafe 39th and 9 .(I Haven;t been there for a good five years)

                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: jinthek
                                                                                                                                Pan Mar 7, 2011 12:06 AM

                                                                                                                                If you think there aren't any good cupcakes in New York, try Spot and see if you still think so.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Pan
                                                                                                                                  jinthek Mar 7, 2011 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                  please,what and where is spot?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jinthek
                                                                                                                                    sugartoof Mar 7, 2011 02:06 PM


                                                                                                                                    In addition to the more complex desserts featured on the website, they have a counter for cupcakes, etc.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jinthek
                                                                                                                                      squid kun Mar 7, 2011 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                      Nice cozy place. Some other hound opinions ... http://www.chow.com/digest/70940/swee...

                                                                                                                                      Spot Dessert Bar
                                                                                                                                      13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                  2. re: jinthek
                                                                                                                                    Miss Needle Mar 7, 2011 06:24 AM

                                                                                                                                    I thought Cupcake Cafe was terrible. May look nice but super dry.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                                                                      sugartoof Mar 7, 2011 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                      They're barely cupcakes. The pretty buttercream flowers aren't fully formed into an icing, and the cake is closer to a pound cake, corn bread kind of thing.

                                                                                                                                      Not sure Spot will make anyone a believer either, but it's a really moist perfectly decent, well made cupcake. Now that places like Magnolia or Cupcake Cafe aren't the only game in town I think it's easier to nitpick.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                                                                                                                        Pan Mar 7, 2011 08:17 PM

                                                                                                                                        I think Spot's cupcakes are way, way better than decent.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pan
                                                                                                                                          sugartoof Mar 7, 2011 10:00 PM

                                                                                                                                          I think the lighter cake-y texture, and sweetness ratio might throw some people, if not the price.

                                                                                                                                          Spot hasn't inspired me to swear off cupcakes from the other cheaper, more traditional places like Cupcake Stop (r.i.p) or Sugar Sweet Sunshine. It depends what I'm in the mood for on any given day, and it's cool we have a variety of choices.

                                                                                                                                          Sugar Sweet Sunshine
                                                                                                                                          126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                                                                                                                            Pan Mar 8, 2011 12:53 AM

                                                                                                                                            Choices are always good. I can't see going out of my way to go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine, though. When I went once, my reaction was that I wasn't sure what was that special about their cupcakes.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pan
                                                                                                                                              sugartoof Mar 8, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                              I agree...but they're usually a non-offensive version of a generic cupcake, with a few mildly interesting flavors. Sometimes that's all people want.

                                                                                                                                  3. f
                                                                                                                                    foodwhisperer Mar 8, 2011 10:33 PM

                                                                                                                                    They suck very much

                                                                                                                                    1. swf36d Sep 28, 2011 02:32 PM

                                                                                                                                      who does the best cupcake with French or Italian Buttercream? Not a fan of American Buttercream at all - yuck!

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: swf36d
                                                                                                                                        kathryn Sep 28, 2011 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                                        Butter Lane has French buttercream.

                                                                                                                                        Butter Lane
                                                                                                                                        123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kathryn
                                                                                                                                          uwsister Sep 28, 2011 11:18 PM

                                                                                                                                          And it's delicious - they don't have it all the time though, unfortunately.

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