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Birthday cake on UWS?

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

      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

        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:

        1. re: Lacrosse_Gastronomic

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

    2. 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

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

        1. re: csdiego

          When we asked them, they did decorations.

        2. re: plf515

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

          1. re: LittleWave

            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

              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.

              1. re: csdiego

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

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: JungMann

                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.

                1. re: JungMann

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

                2. 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.

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

                    1. This may be further uptown than you're thinking, but this place opened up this summer:

                      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.

                      1. 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

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

                            1. re: upperwestchowmom

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

                            2. 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.


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

                                1. 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
                                  1. re: csdiego

                                    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

                                      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.