Monday, December 17, 2007

New York City Dessert Reviews; Part One!

Please head over to my new blog at, where you'll find this post & more!

New York City; the land of vegan desserts! I had my share of sweets (plus the share of a few others) & wanted to give you the inside scoop on the options out there. Initially, I set out to review cupcakes, but once I saw the other offerings, I decided to expand my horizons! In part one, you'll find mainly cupcakes, but coming up are items from Vegan Treats; cakes & donuts & cheesecakes, oh my!

Rather than write long paragraphs, I keep it short & simple with excerpts directly from my notes & a star rating between 1 and 5! Be sure to check out Anatomy of a Dessert Review, so you can understand my process & the meaning of the ratings you see here.

When asking folks about the cupcakes of NYC, S’nice came highly recommended. I decided to start with a meal at this cute little spot & finish up with 2 cupcakes, vanilla with chocolate frosting & chocolate with vanilla frosting, both delightfully topped with Halloween spider rings!

Vanilla cupcake with Chocolate frosting- The vanilla cupcake was dense & muffin-like, not a bad item, but it wasn't high in flavor. The frosting was cocoa based & tasty, almost like your favorite fudgy canned frosting, but with a different consistency. 3 stars

Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla frosting
- The 1st bite in to the cake seemed to have a nice chocolate flavor, but then it started to taste salty & it’s quite dense. Luckily, the frosting was thick & almost like Oreo cream filling, yum! 3 stars

S'nice: 45 8th Avenue between Jane and Horatio, NYC.

As you may recall, I took a trip to Babycakes a few months ago & was underwhelmed. I decided to give this cute little bakery another shot, as I can't imagine a place so adorable being anything less than tasty. I opted for Carrot, Lemon, & Chocolate cupcakes & a slice of gluten free Chocolate Crumb cake.

Carrot cupcake
- I found this to be a bit bland, under spiced, & muffiny, the frosting was nice, making an overall OK cupcake. 2 ¾ stars

Chocolate Spelt cupcake
- Nice depth & chocolate taste in the cake with a mild chocolate frosting, the best of the “babycakes” I’ve tasted. 3 stars

Lemon cupcake- The cake doesn’t taste of lemon & it’s a bit grainy. For some reason this cupcake seems to give me “cottonmouth”! I love lemon, so I expected more. 2 ½ stars

Chocolate Crumb Cake
- The chocolate cake was gritty, which could be due to the use of alternate flours making it gluten free, the crumb topping was OK, but I still couldn’t bother with more than a few bites. 2 stars

Babycakes: 248 Broome Street on the Lower East Side

If you know dessert in New York, you know Atlas Café; home of the display case of Vegan Treats. What you may not know is, they have vegan soft serve! On my first trip, I had plain vanilla due to being told this was their only flavor. Little did I know the list of items to accompany the soft serve are not toppings, but options to be mixed in!

Atlas Soft Serve- Creamy & rich, not “beany” like some soy creams out there. This was thicker than traditional frozen yogurt & great on it’s own, but even better with a peanut butter mix in! Thank goodness I don’t live in NYC, I could eat this often! 4 stars

Café: 73 2nd Av at E 4th St.

On Halloween, we walked down Bowery & made our way in to a place where I'd spied vegan cupcakes earlier in the week. Lucky's Café is located inside the Bowery Poetry Club & carries vegan baked goods made by a local woman with no business name. I opted for two items; a banana cupcake with vanilla frosting & a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting.

Banana cupcake with Vanilla frosting- The cake portion was dense & bland, I would consider it a fluffy muffin, thankfully the frosting was delicious, like something you’d find on carrot cake. 2 ½ stars

Chocolate cupcake with Peanut Butter frosting
- The cake was lacking flavor, although it had a nice texture & fluff to it. The frosting was fluffy, but lacking in peanut buttery flavor & I found it to be overly salty. 2 ½ stars

Café at Bowery Poetry Club: 308 Bowery

I hope you enjoyed round one; of course this is merely my opinion, so I encourage you to try these places on your own. It's important to support vegan businesses, but it's also important to produce a high quality product that can stand up to comparable items, vegan or not. Stay tuned for round two; Vegan Treats edition later this week!


the pleasantly plump vegan said...

awesome reviews!
that soft serve looks so freakin good. i wish we had vegan soft serve here in ATL.

maybepigscanfly said...

Oh man do I wish that my first trip to NY this past summer was with you and not with my carnivore family. I'd love to try that soft serve- especially with your review. I'm definitely going to have to try out all of those places once I go back.

BTW- did you know that Babycakes is coming to LA in spring '08. I wonder if it will be exactly the same?

the little one said...

I'm going to have to send your reviews to my friends who I make cupcakes for. That's the kind of feedback I want! Precise and thorough. Thanks for the reviews.

Anonymous said...

Oh that soft-serve looks divine! Too bad there's an ocean between me and tasting one of those...

Cakespy said...

Such hard work, tasting all these cupcakes. Anything for the sake of research! ;-) Looks like a really fun trip!

bazu said...

These reviews are awesome- I think your star system is really useful, and the photos are making me drool! We should do the same thing for L.A. vegan treats!

VeggieGirl said...

ahhh, Melisser, these reviews of yours are sugar-coma-inducing, haha. sorry to hear that Babycakes was still rather underwhelming - I've never been there, but maybe I'm not missing much? at least all the cupcakes LOOK spectacular :0)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful reviews! But holy crap, vegan soft serve, only an hour and half away from me?! I need to hop on the next train!

robotslingshot said...

Melisser, thanks again for giving some tips for things just under my nose! Next time you are in town, you should try Angelica Kitchen - they have yummy desserts. I feel like it is never on vegan visit lists for the city, but it's one of my favorite spots. I guess its the vegan restaurant for non-vegans, so it freaks vegans out or something. hope not! I think it is just welcoming for all types (organic and sustainability freaks like myself included). Love your rating system btw, I'm particularly happy about "1," it made me laugh.


Natalie said...

I cannot wait to take you on a vegan dessert tour of Chicago. We're fat here, we know what we're doing.
Meanwhile, outside my house right now I can clearly hear a chainsaw and someone screaming. And I'm not even going to get up to look because I don't care. Welcome to the jungle, baby.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Wow, you are one tough critic!! Just kidding :-) it's good to hear those kinds honest, clear reviews. I think I would almost settle for 1 star vegan cupcakes if they were sold here in Houston. Okay, that's not true, I need at least a 2 or 3 star (luckily I can make my own, probably a 3 I would hope). Too bad about Babycakes failing again, they are definitely cute cuppers. Waiting to here more reviews now!

Ashasarala said...

Wow, only one 4-star and nothing got a 5-star? That's sad. Everything looks so wonderful, though. I guess looks can be deceiving, eh?

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Atlas cakes are crack - I brought two slices back with me! It's by far not gourmet, but crackilicious.

Babycakes underwhelmed me too - though I did enjoy their frosting.

I can't believe you posted this the day I came back! punk! : )

Rage And Love said...

Baby Cakes!

I've been dye-ing to go there ever since i saw it on Martha Stewart! You're so lucky!!!

shaun.marie said...

mmm, dessert. you know, I really like the fact that you're a harsh critic - no five stars! sometimes it seems like vegans settle for less than awesome. there are some five star desserts out there, and the soft serve sounds great!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

ppvegan- Thanks! The soft serve was damn good, I wish we had some in SF!

Teresa- NYC is better with friends, hehe. I heard about Babycakes LA, I'm sure people will love it for the health angle.

the little one- I totally would love feedback like that on my goods as well. I'm always grilling my husband about ever detail, it makes him nuts! Maybe we need to do a baked goods swap, haha.

asteamingcuppairishbreakfast- I hope you get your soft serve someday!

cakespy- Such a tough job, right?! Someone has to do it!

bazu- Hooray for ratings systems! Let's make it universal & taste test the whole vegan world!

veggiegirl- I think Babycakes is worth a try, the chocolate spelt was pretty good, I can just think of better things to spend my appetite on!

Hannah- Don't hop on that train until next time I'm in town! xo.

Paula- Thank you for the suggestion, but I opt not to support Peter Berley.

Natalie- Bring it ON! I am so coming to Chicago sometime.

Ms. Noodle- I'm sure your cuppies are a 5!

Ashasarala- I seriously reserve the 5 for thing that knock me on my ass! That is RARE. Anything with 4 stars or more is seriously great!

jess- I suck at life! I know you had mass treats anyway!

Rage And Love- I can't say I'm a major Babycakes fan, it's great for people with allergies.

shaun.marie- YES! I will never rate something highly just because it's vegan. It needs to stand up to ANY baked good to be truly awesome & 5 star worthy!

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