by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
September 17, 2005
@ Books of Wonder
18 W 18th St
(5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY 10011
I’ve developed a horrible addiction, an addiction to the cupcakes at Cupcake Café. You can imagine that maple walnut is my favorite, but I tried a vanilla/chocolate the other day and almost died and went to heaven.
In the past couple of years, we’ve definitely seen a cupcake boom in NYC. I was just reading about the feuding and animosity between bakeries. While, the myriad of Magnolia-lineage bakeries (Buttercup Bake Shop, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Billy’s, Little Cupcake Bakeshop) produce fun and pretty cupcakes with pastel-colored frosting, they are usually too sweet, too hard and, well, a bit crusty. So I find it ironic that these other bakeries are fighting in court, when in reality none of their cupcakes taste as good as those from Cupcake Café.
The frosting at Cupcake Café is made with buttercream, so it’s smoother, richer and much more delicious than its competitors’ crusty confections. The original Cupcake Café is in Hell’s Kitchen, but since they opened a store on 18 th Street inside the new Books of Wonder space I’ve had neighborhood-easy access — and hence the addiction.
Known for their signature floral designs on cakes and cupcakes alike, these sweets are almost too pretty to eat, though for me it depends on the design — some of the flowers and colors look a bit too kitschy. So find a flavor and a design that you like, and indulge! At $3 per large cupcake and $2.30 per small cupcake, these are not cheap treats, but when I think of the artistry and labor going into the decorative flowers on top and the superior quality in taste of both cake and frosting, I gladly hand over the money to get my fix.