Bright Lights Bigger City: The Cupcake Investigation

gavel3-300x300Who I would I be if I didn’t write at least one blog post about cupcakes?  (Check out my last summer blog about Pinterest recipes, half of which are cupcake recipes). Ever since that fateful Sex and the City episode where Carrie and Miranda ate pink cupcakes outside the original Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street, cupcake bakeries have become all the rage in New York City.

Everyone has their own personal favorite place to buy the most fashionable of desserts.As for me, Sweet Cupcakes has my loyalty in Boston, but I’m up for grabs in New York, so I decided to do a little taste-testing to see which of the following big-name bakeries made the best cupcakes.

Nice faces girls

Nice faces girls

Stop number one was the Magnolia Bakery, and while it gets some credit for being original, the cupcakes are simply not as good as their competitors. The flavors are not creative enough, and the icing is almost too sugary, even for someone with a sweet tooth like me.Plus, every location is overrun with tourists and day-trippers looking to have their fabulous Sex and the City moment.

Next on the list was Baked by Melissa.These tiny cupcakes with their tiny stores have taken the city by storm (and made the most of limited real estate space).They’re perfect if you just want a bite of something sweet, and also perfect if you want to sample a bunch of different flavors, as my roommate and I did when we went. However, while these bite-sized sweets are a great innovation, a cupcake just isn’t a cupcake if you can eat in one bite. 

Tiny treats

Tiny treats

The third place I went to was Crumbs Bake Shop, recommended to me by my mother.The flavor selection was excellent—I got a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake with Reeses on top—and the cupcake itself was absolutely delicious. However, Crumbs cupcakes are almost too big. You either have to split them in half or except that you will have a stomach ache for a few hours after you eat them.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crumbs Cupcake

There is only one Georgetown Cupcake location in all of New York, but I conveniently stumbled upon it walking around Soho one weekend.Georgetown Cupcake is good, there’s no doubt about it, but it's not fantastic; I was not blown away by my strawberry cupcake. Plus, I can’t quite stomach the name—the best cupcake place in New York can’t be named after a store that originated in another city. New York is way better than that. 

It's all in the name

It's all in the name

I had never even heard of Sprinkles until my roommate pointed it out to me as we were walking dreamily around the Upper East Side, and I decided to stop in for a bite. The flavors all looked so good I had trouble picking one, and the red velvet cupcake I did choose was to die for. Perfectly made, with perfect icing, and the perfect size.As I come to the end of my incredibly scientific and perfectly controlled cupcake experiment, Sprinkles gets my vote.  If you’re ever in New York and searching for cupcakes, you know where to go.

The winner! So delicious

The winner! So delicious

What a beautiful sight

What a beautiful sight

Photos and Screenshots by Jillian Timko/Gavel Media

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