You sweet thing you.

My sweet tooth is just not as assertive about her needs and wishes as she used to be. But when my mom’s outgoing and energetic sweet tooth comes to New York, the two of them get together and paint the town red velvet. Together, our sweet teeth have hit a lot of bakeries, and lately, my sweet tooth — hoping to have a good story for the next phone catch-up — has been checking out bakeries by herself. Here’s what we girls have to say. These might be in some kind of order… I would never admit to it, though.

Sweet Revenge’s Crimson & Cream cupcake, photo courtesy of the amazing tasters at

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street between Bedford and Downing, West Village, NYC

The sweet: We LOVE Sweet Revenge’s Crimson & Cream cupcake, a raspberry red velvet. Bits of berry make it through the blender, right to the batter. My mom also goes for the Sweet Revenge, peanut butter cake and buttercream frosting with a chocolate ganache center. I’ve tried four kinds, purchased at different times of day, and they’ve all been ridiculously moist. I even refrigerated one for two full days, and when I finally ate it, it hadn’t dried a drop. At some point, I need to go back and try a cupcake and beer/wine pairing. Nothing sinful about that.
The not-so-sweet: Quite literally, they’re not just sweet — every recipe seems to call for an almost naughty measuring of salt, and we think this is exactly what makes these our favorites. The cupcakes are generously sized, so you get your $3.50 worth. It took me a spell to figure out where in the shop I’m to place my order, but in fact, almost anywhere will do. We have nothing but love for this bad romance.

bakery,NYC,Sweet Revenge,cupcakes,West Village

184 9th Ave between 21st and 22nd Street, Chelsea, NYC

The sweet: When my mom asked me to bring cupcakes to a family event, I went straight to Billy’s, and all of the sweet teeth in my family have fallen hard for them. These are delightful cakes, with an authentic, homemade taste, sweet but not too much so, imperfectly iced with pastel frosting. And I know I should probably stop saying this, since I don’t know if there is anything to this, but the vanilla cake ever-so-slightly reminds me of sweet corn. I also love going in the Chelsea shop, with its whites and pastels and quick-to-giggle staff, and cake and cookie samples. This small-town girl forgets she’s in New York real fast.
The not-so-sweet: I can’t think of anything.

359 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn

The sweet: Only my sweet tooth got to sink into Baked’s aptly named Sweet & Salty cupcake — dark chocolate cake with chocolate caramel frosting, with a caramel center and fleur de sel sprinkled on top. Like I said, sweet/savory desserts are our favorites, and I’m not surprised to learn this is an award-winning recipe. I can’t wait to go back for other desserts too. Added perk? A scenic ride — on weekends you can take the Ikea water taxi for free to Red Hook from the Seaport.
The not-so-sweet: I just wish my mom was there to try this with me, and that the photo I took of the cupcake came out better. If you like Sweet Revenge, you’ll like this. Worth the trip!

bakery,cupcake,cupcakes,cakes,7th,street,Butter Lane,East Village,NYC
My Butter Lane cupcakes, with my used Taste of 7th Street voucher.

Butter Lane
123 East 7th Street, between 1st and A, East Village, NYC

The sweet: Again, my sweet tooth was flying solo at Butter Lane, but she’s confident my mom’s sweet tooth will agree: delicious cupcakes. As part of the Taste of 7th Street promotion in March, participants received two cupcakes from Butter Lane. I was shocked to see so many flavor combinations of cupcakes, and if the kind I wanted was not available, a staff person would personalize one for me on the spot. What refreshing customer service! And the best part? Great cupcakes. The kinds I wanted were ready to be boxed — I had the Elvis, banana cake with peanut butter frosting and mini marshmallows, and a basic chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.
The not-so-sweet: I want to go back when they’re not anticipating hundreds and hundreds of young people with free vouchers. The staff was amazing in spite of the crowds, but I didn’t dare waste their time with questions with so many people clamoring for cupcakes.

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker Street at West 11th, West Village, NYC
200 Columbus Ave at 69th Street, Upper West Side, NYC
1240 6th Ave at 49th Street, Midtown, NYC

The sweet: Famous! So famous. Sex & the City famous. I like their cupcakes, but I might like their cheesecakes even more.
The not-so-sweet: Sigh! Story time. A few months ago, I was asked to pick up a dozen cupcakes for co-workers, and three more for a VIP client, so I went to the original Bleecker location near my office. I’d only been to the full-service Rockefeller location, so I didn’t expect to find a self-serve situation. The cupcakes sat on large trays on a small ledge at mid-thigh height, protected by large clear plastic lids that needed to be lifted. So between holding the lid, holding the box, and picking out cupcakes, I opted to set the lid aside, precariously, and apply my two hands to the latter two activities. Then, I had to sort of crouch down to grab each cupcake by its base with bakery paper, without ruining the frosting. As a germophobe, I do not relish touching others’ food, and it kept happening. At least the staff agreed to box my VIP client’s red velvets for me. Oh sigh. Perhaps this is one of those New York things I will just never quite get right. There are a lot of New York things I will never quite get right.

Ruthy's,Chelsea Market,Chelsea,NYC,cupcakes,spaghetti,decorated,bakery
Spaghetti cupcake from Ruthy’s

75 9th Ave at 15th Street in Chelsea Market, Chelsea, NYC

The sweet: This spaghetti cupcake looked so nice we ate it twice. My mom bought one for my dad, whose sweet tooth loved it. A bit envious, I bought one for myself a week later, and my cake was dry. Let’s call it a bad day and, still, the best-looking cupcake I’ve ever had. Hint hint: those noodles are frosting, and that meatball involves raspberry glaze with a tasty mystery-center.
The not-so-sweet: Quite dry, my cupcake. But my dad’s was well received, and we can both agree that the frosting spaghetti tasted great. At $5, this cupcake might be more for show than taste, so I’d say our cupcakes satisfied our hopes for them.

Check out others’ cupcake tours and blogs:
Cupcake Rankings
Jess Loves Cupcakes
Cupcakes Take the Cake