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Jan 25, 2010 07:11 AM

Best Birthday Cake on the UES?

We always used to get my mom her birthday cake at Payard. Now that it's closed, what's the best place in the Upper East Side to get a delicious chocolate cake worthy of a very special (almost) 59-year-old?

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  1. Two Little Red Hens, on 2nd Ave. near 86th St.

    9 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel


      get the one that uses chocolate pudding instead of buttercream between the layers!

      1. re: gutsofsteel

        Their chocolate cake is truly to die for. Rich, moist, chocolate-y, sweet.

        The cake that thew speaks of is the Brooklyn Blackout cake (similar to the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake). Tiers of delightful chocolate cake with gooey chocolate pudding in between, finished off with a very rich chocolate frosting and a smattering of chocolate cake crumbs sprinkled on top.

        1. re: kathryn

          Another vote for Two Little Red Hens. Best birthday cakes in the City, let alone the UES. Especially for the aforementioned Brooklyn Blackout; it's as sinfully delicious as you can get.

          1. re: kathryn

            Little Red Hen decorates beautifully and I really love their pies/tarts... but, as a caveat to those who don't like coffee (I despise coffee 99% of the time), they flavor all their chocolate cakes with coffee. Just a word of warning.

            Of course, this is coming from someone with a strong feeling about the taste and smell of coffee. Otherwise I would enjoy their Brooklyn Blackout cake.

            I second (third? fourth?) the recommendation for Payard. They decorate beautifully as well and I feel the crumb especially is more refined than LRH. The crumb at LRH, has been at times too moist for me, almost "wet", like a commercial mix. Something, I dislike intensely and is exemplified by the cakes at Cake Man Raven. Open, wet crumb. I still shiver from eating the Red Velvet Cake at Cake Man Raven, I felt like I was eating super sweet Duncan Hines. Horrific.

            1. re: Pookipichu

              >Little Red Hen decorates beautifully and I really love their pies/tarts... but, as a caveat to those who don't like coffee (I despise coffee 99% of the time), they flavor all their chocolate cakes with coffee.

              Really? I have taste aversion to coffee as well & I've never really tasted coffee in their chocolate cakes. It's been a while since I had their chocolate cake though (usually stick to red velvet, best in the city.)

              1. re: uwsister

                Yes, I actually asked them flat out if they had put coffee in their chocolate cake, because I am neurotic when it comes to the taste of coffee and was peeved, and the salesgirl brought out the baker who answered affirmatively.

                It's not a strong coffee flavor, I was able to finish the cake (BBO) but I never did order any other chocolate cake from them again. I just don't like the taste, smell or even idea of coffee. Something about it is just like nails on chalkboard to my culinary senses. Oddly enough, I love tiramisu because my nana used to make it for me as a child and sentimentality trumps hatred of coffee.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  Gotcha, I'm that way too, can't smell or taste strong coffee without feeling nauseous. Tiramisu is always an exception, to my coffee AND alcohol taste aversion. Good to know about TLRH chocolate cakes.

                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      TLRH has the most delicious carrot cake.
                      Matter of fact EVERYTHING made there is delicious.
                      Great service.

        2. Payard has a new shop on Madison Avenue.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Toot

            I believe what they have is a small outpost inside the Mauboussin jewelry store and they're not selling their whole range of stuff. However....


          2. I'd also try Financier. Their pastries are excellent (payard level) and there are a few in Midtown (including Grand Central station) and a nice one with a restaurant in the back at 54th/1st. I think they'd definitely have a comparable cake.

            1. need a special birthday cake ( for mother in law's 102 - beat that!). Looks very important.
              Love the cakes at cupcake cafe but the cake itself is a little heavy, although perhaps that is necessary to support the buttercream. Any suggestions welcome

              5 Replies
              1. re: judithuk

                Have you already tried Payard, Two Little Red Hens, and Financier?

                1. re: kathryn

                  I need something perhaps less refined on the palate and more visual. Although I live near Red Hen I have never tried their cakes, maybe I should investigate. If it were for me it would be Payard or Lady M but it isn't.
                  can anyone compare red hen and cupcake cafe - I need over the top buttercream flowers! or something similar, nothing minimalist.

                  1. re: judithuk

                    I have bought many Two Little Red Hens cakes over the years and I am sad to report that a cake I got a couple of weeks ago was pretty bad. There was almost as much icing as there was cake, and the icing was cloyingly sweet - and about 2 inches thick. What a disappointment. It went largely uneaten except for the small children.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      and Two Lit Red Hens has NOTHING in common with Payard. The "new" Payard is mostly a choc shop but they do have pastry. call them. Or, Citarella can come up with a pastry-type-cake for you, or Eli's

                    2. re: judithuk

                      Go to TLRH and ask to see their portfolio. I think they do a pretty good job with their flowers. You could also phone and ask when Peter (manager -- unless it's changed in past few months?) will be in if you want to discuss at length with him. IMO TLRH cakes, while delicious, are not exactly refined so it will suit your needs well.

                2. Financier has some delicious cakes including the carrot cake, which is made with a delicious cream cheese frosting (I don't like carrot cake normally but I can't get enough of theirs.) Haven't been to Payard since they moved into the new space, but it's worth inquiring which of their cakes they still make.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: windycity

                    Has anyone tried the cakes from Glaser's Bakery on 1st and 87th? I haven't tried them before but I love their whoopie pies.

                    1. re: jackieparis

                      I love Glaser's, but I have never tried their cakes. No reason, just haven't. But I think it's a good idea and I will, next time I have the need, especially since the last cake I got from Two Little Red Hens was such a disappointment.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        belated update. I went for TLRH ( close to home). The cake was very pretty, but bland ( yellow cake, hazelnut/chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream). But they did talk me down to a smaller size and saved me $30 which was very honorable.
                        It isn't the cake I would have personally chosen but fit the bill admirably,. thanks for all the help