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Birthday cake on UWS?

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csdiego Jan 9, 2013 11:26 AM

Hello 'Hounds,

I will be spending my birthday in a couple of weeks with a friend who lives on the Upper West Side (Columbus, in the 70's), and I want to know where to go for a birthday cake. I looked on Yelp for bakery reviews but they cover mostly the dine-in experience and don't say much about cakes made to order. So I'm turning to you. I've always made my own birthday cakes in the past but this is a special birthday and I want someone else to make something nice for me.

I am flexible as to type of cake as long as it's good and reasonably sweet. I prefer fruit/nut/caramel flavors to chocolate. Something creative is great, or I'd be happy with the almond-flavored white cake with maraschino cherries my mom made for my sixth birthday, as long as it's well executed and ready on time. I don't need fawning service and I don't mind paying (although I'd like to keep it under three figures--I don't need anything huge).

Any recommendations? Thanks!

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    Lacrosse_Gastronomic RE: csdiego Jan 9, 2013 11:41 AM

    Try Momofuku Milk Bar at 561 Columbus Avenue for creative cakes.

    3 Replies
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      csdiego RE: Lacrosse_Gastronomic Jan 9, 2013 11:42 AM

      Milk Bar is on my list of places to try, but I didn't know they made cakes to order. Have you ordered from them?

      1. re: csdiego
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        Lacrosse_Gastronomic RE: csdiego Jan 9, 2013 11:49 AM

        Yes I tried their chocolate chip cake with chocolate crumbs, coffee buttercream and passionfruit curd. Delicious.

        Here's a related thread on Momofuku whole cakes:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/881019

        1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic
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          csdiego RE: Lacrosse_Gastronomic Jan 10, 2013 08:53 AM

          I checked their current menu and none of the options really appeals. This might not be a whole-cake place for me.

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      plf515 RE: csdiego Jan 9, 2013 02:21 PM

      Good Enough to Eat makes cakes to order, with notice.

      It's been a couple years since I had one of them, but I remember it as being quite good. The usual desserts there are good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: plf515
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        csdiego RE: plf515 Jan 10, 2013 08:58 AM

        I like the look of that place. I wonder if they could decorate a coconut or carrot cake--they both sound good.

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          plf515 RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 12:32 PM

          When we asked them, they did decorations.

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          marella RE: plf515 Jan 10, 2013 02:41 PM

          I was intending to recommend this place too - did a special cake for my birthday, banana chocolate chip with chocolate frosting. Outstanding.

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          LittleWave RE: csdiego Jan 9, 2013 05:37 PM

          What about Fairway?

          3 Replies
          1. re: LittleWave
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            csdiego RE: LittleWave Jan 10, 2013 08:54 AM

            I hadn't thought of that, but it could be a perfectly good option. Wonder how easy it would be to order remotely--their website isn't very informative. But I will try getting in touch with them.

            1. re: LittleWave
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              csdiego RE: LittleWave Jan 10, 2013 09:09 AM

              Hmm, found their catering menu. The only cake options are chocolate and vanilla, and I'm starting to think I have my heart set on a lemon cake. I will ask if they can do that, but I might have to look elsewhere. Thanks though.

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                kathryn RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 01:15 PM

                Sugar Sweet Sunshine makes a nice lemon cupcake. I'm guessing the full cake version might work. They deliver, too, for a fee.

            2. JungMann RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 07:03 AM

              If you like sweet frosting, you can always get a caramel or hummingbird cake from Magnolia Bakery.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JungMann
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                csdiego RE: JungMann Jan 10, 2013 08:57 AM

                Not sure I want it to be THAT sweet, although their caramel cake looks intriguing. Too bad they don't have the pickup section of their website ready. But I'll keep it in mind.

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                  marella RE: JungMann Jan 10, 2013 02:42 PM

                  I got a birthday cake once from Magnolia and it was drier than the sands of Persia... so I'd advise against it.

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                  mary30 RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 09:56 AM

                  I don't know if it's as good as it used to be but, I used to love the lemon coconut layer cake at Junior's Cheesecake. There is a Junior's in Grand Central and also one in Times Square. They have mail order as well and there's a lemon coconut cheesecake you can order online, not sure about the layer cake, though. You might have to buy that in person.

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                    nats79 RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 10:06 PM

                    If you're able to go to UES, they have great cakes at Maison Kayser.

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                      Skippy1414 RE: csdiego Jan 10, 2013 10:38 PM

                      This may be further uptown than you're thinking, but this place opened up this summer:
                      http://www.onecuptwocupcakes.com/

                      Their menu lists a pretty decent assortment of cakes. I haven't tried it, but they're supposed to be bakers from the recently closed Soutine, which had a good rep.

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                        upperwestchowmom RE: csdiego Jan 11, 2013 08:44 AM

                        Milkbar is disgusting...practically inedible. The best bakeries on the Upper West Side are Soutine on 70th street and Silver Moon Bakery on Broadway and 104. For birthday cakes, I also like Make My Cake on 116th street and there's a place on 72 street between broadway and columbus as well.

                        Magnolia is also gross.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: upperwestchowmom
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                          H Manning RE: upperwestchowmom Jan 11, 2013 08:48 AM

                          Soutine is closed.

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                            thegforceny RE: upperwestchowmom Jan 11, 2013 09:09 AM

                            The place "on 72 street between broadway and columbus" was Buttercup Bake Shop and it too is now CLOSED.

                            1. re: upperwestchowmom
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                              uwsgrazer RE: upperwestchowmom Jan 11, 2013 07:54 PM

                              +1 for Silver Moon Bakery. Never ordered a birthday cake but their other baked goods are excellent. Overall, top-notch stuff!

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                              uwsgrazer RE: csdiego Jan 11, 2013 07:52 PM

                              Balthazar makes an outstanding coconut cake. Their "special occasions" section also lists a "gateau au citron." Just reread your post, Balthazar is not UWS but it's reasonably accessible from the West Side. I agree with the recommendation for Good Enough to Eat, though it's also been a while since I ate their cake.

                              http://www.balthazarbakery.com/specia...

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                                arepo RE: csdiego Jan 13, 2013 05:46 AM

                                Have you tried Bouchon Bakery around 64th & Broadway or Grandaisy Bakery around 72nd and Amsterdam or Broadway?

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                                  csdiego RE: csdiego Jul 31, 2013 03:09 PM

                                  Followup: I went with Good Enough to Eat, sorry to say it was a disaster. I asked the baker if she could make a lemon cake and she said they had a lemon-poppyseed cake. I asked her to make that without the poppyseeds, so that I'd have a lemon cake with lemon icing.

                                  I picked up the cake on Saturday, the night before my birthday, and ate a slice on Sunday morning as a birthday breakfast--or tried to. The lemon icing was all right and they had put the words I wanted on top, not with any special style but that wasn't a big deal. The problem was that the cake was completely unflavored. It's not that they forgot the lemon zest or extract--it was flavored with NOTHING. If they had added poppyseeds it would be a nothing-poppyseed cake. Totally inedible.

                                  I took the entire cake to the restaurant that very morning to get a refund (did I mention that it was my birthday?), but the manager on duty was busy with brunch and managed to stall me with a request to talk to the bakery manager when she returned on Monday, even though I was leaving town early on Monday. I called the manager on Monday and played phone tag with her for a bit before giving up. Enjoy my $43, Good Enough to Eat. That's all you'll ever get from me.

                                  2 Replies
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                                    Skippy1414 RE: csdiego Jul 31, 2013 11:10 PM

                                    I always wondered what happened with this question. I'm sorry it didn't work out, but not surprised. That's why I always call them "Good Enough To Eat, That's All, Nothing More."

                                    1. re: csdiego
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                                      uwsgrazer RE: csdiego Aug 13, 2013 04:50 PM

                                      I'm sorry to hear about your poor experience, especially on your birthday. I can see why you would never want to return. In fact, your post makes me reluctant to ever dine there again, much less order an entire cake. If I were you, though, I would call the restaurant, explain what happened (phone tag, etc.) and ask for the $43 refund. I guess you imply in your message that you're just writing off the cost, but for 43 bucks and one phone call I think it's worth it.

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