HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


What am I not getting about Sugar Sweet Sunshine?

I've always thought I've tried cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine until I realized recently I got it mixed up with How Sweet It Is on Allen Street. I've thought How Sweet it is was all right, but not really my thing. So I recently got 6 cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine to see what the fuss was about. I believe I got 1 red velvet with chocolate frosting, 2 chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting, 1 pistachio, 1 yellow cake with chocolate frosting -- and, I just can't remember the last one.

I didn't get it at all. Cake was decently moist, but crumb wasn't super tender. All of the icing was way too sweet. The chocolate icing had a strange cherry-almond undertone which I didn't find pleasing at all. It tasted like cough syrup.

So was it an off day? Or do I just have different tastes from all of you who love this place. I do believe that homemade is best. But from a store, these are the cupcakes that I like:

Chikalicious Dessert Bar: most of the cupcakes, but not every one of them
Mitchel London: red velvet, yellow cake with chocolate ganache
Two Little Red Hens: blackout

The reason I like these places is they're not too sweet, relatively moist (especially Little Red Hens blackout) and crumb is tender.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am an avowed lover of SSS; my favorites there are the Strawberry (with pieces of strawberry in the cake), and the Pumpkin. The pistachio I am not fond of due to the whipped frosting, which I am not a fan of.

    Please do give it a second chance, it might have just been a bad night. That being said, I do tend to like my cupcakes on the sweeter side, so we might have different thoughts on what is the right level of sweet.

    For what it's worth, though, I made a specific trip up to 2LRH yesterday for the Brooklyn Blackout. It's freaking AMAZING there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: a213b

      Oh, that was my sixth cupcake -- the strawberry cream cheese! From all of the ones out there, I would say that was my favorite -- probably because the cream cheese blunted the sugar. Yeah, I'm just not a huge fan of super sweet desserts -- which is why I think most of the things I've had at Momofuku Milk Bar aren't my cup of tea while I know that you love the place. And I found the chocolate cherry-almond cough syrup frosting kind of gross.

      Sure, I'll give them a second shot, especially with all the praise on this board. But I probably won't be rushing to the place and I'll be avoiding any cupcakes with chocolate frosting. And, yeah, the blackout cupcake is super good. If you have room, you should try the cake one day as I think it's moister because it's larger and there's more pudding in it.

      1. I love most cupcakes I've encountered (except Magnolia-yuck!), and I love sweets and I love pistachio flavored anything-but I just didn't like the pistachio cupcake here. I think it had something to do with the fact that aside from pistachio, it had something like marzipan or some flavor I couldn't identify that I hate that just overtook it. I wonder if that's what the fuss is about? But I don't know what flavor exactly it was...I just know that pistachio was not what I tasted, sadly. It was a few months back, and I also tried one of the red velvets which I remember being pretty decent. Are there any places that sell pistachio cupcakes that DON'T taste like SSS's? (But still good?)

        1. Count me as another one who totally does NOT get why people love their cupcakes -- I've been there multiple times 'cause I kept thinking "Oh, it must be an off-day" or "Oh, I must've chosen the wrong cupcake." I've tried pretty much every flavor of cupcake there (vanilla, chocolate, lemon, pistachio, pumpkin, strawberry cheesecake, etc.) and the only one that I really liked was strawberry creamcheese. Everything else, the frosting was too sweet and the cake was not moist enough! And their red velvet is plain bad... IMO. But their cupcakes are also cheaper than most at $1.50, another reason I kept going back...

          I also love Blackout from Two Little Red Hens (and their red velvet too, my favorite cupcake place in town) and Chikalicious' cupcakes. Kyotofu too. I haven't had a chance to try Mitchell London's yet -- where is his place? The one on 23rd st. closed before I had a chance to stop by. I also like Butter Lane (only with French buttercream) and Big Booty Bakery (only their red velvet.) Hated Buttercup and Pinisi.

          1. SSS's founders are ex-Magnolia employees and make their cupcakes in that style, so it's possible it's simply a style and personal preference thing. If you like ones that aren't quite so sweet, try out Butter Lane (mentioned above).

            1. Is How Sweet It Is still open? Did they move? I used to like their espresso brownies and would love to get them again.

              1. Thanks for all of your responses. It does seem like SSS isn't just my thing. Didn't realize it was a Magnolia off-shoot. I don't like Magnolia and Magnolia style cupcakes. I've always thought that Buttercup was awful. And while Billy's was better than Buttercup or Magnolia, I didn't think too much of their stuff either. Their cupcakes are way too dense for my taste in addition to the sweetness. I will give it another go at SSS, however, if I'm in the area and stick to things like strawberry cream cheese, pumpkin and lemon. Yeah, they are definitely less expensive than other places, though making them at home myself seems to be the cheapest. Problem is too much temptation to eat all of them!

                I have tried Butter Lane twice and didn't find it to be my thing either. I also haven't been to How Sweet It Is in a while so I can't say whether they're still open. But if they are open, I'll be on the lookout for the espresso brownie. DH loves espresso brownies and I generally get them at Treats Truck for him. But I've been looking for a different version.

                And uwssister, Mitchel London is on 9th Ave around 36th Street.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Miss Needle

                  The retail location of How Sweet It Is is closed, it appears they are looking for a new location.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thanks, Kathryn. I hope it's in the neighborhood.

                    Baobao, do they make other good puddings? I don't eat anything with bananas in it in the U.S., other than plantains.

                2. I'm not a fan of their cupcakes either, but what SSS excels at are the puddings. Have you tried their banana pudding yet?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: baobao

                    Sooo, SSS suffers from the same syndrome as Magnolia then? Magnolia's banana pudding is lovely while their cupcakes are consistently dry and tasteless (to me). That does make sense if SSS is a Magnolia-off shoot.

                    1. re: chompchomp

                      That's a big negative. SSS's cupcakes are LIGHT YEARS better than Magnolia's (which I know is not saying much given how wretched Magnolia's are).

                      There are plenty of us who despise Magnolia but love SSS. The cupcakes may not be to your liking if you prefer a French Buttercream, for example, but if you like homestyle but wellmade American cupcakes, SSS is outstanding. I will staunchly defend it.

                      1. re: a213b

                        Sorry, I was replying to baobao's comment about the puddings being similar.

                        1. re: chompchomp

                          Gotcha. For the record, I think Magnolia's Banana Pudding is better than that of SSS, but SSS is good and I can get other good things there too, so Magnolia is never a consideration.

                    2. re: baobao

                      No, banana pudding is something I don't get very often out since I tried Paula Deen's version made with Pepperidge Farm's Chessman cookies. Love it a lot more than the Nilla wafer version.