Thanks to SusieCakes, I now have a place where I can find the perfect slice of cake – chocolate, red velvet, coconut, or carrot cake-mood alike. The thing that gets me about most cupcake shops is that 1) they limit themselves to cupcakes when they could easily make cakes and 2) the cupcakes are laden with excess, sugary frosting, and 3) they are just too fancy for my taste. SusieCakes stocks their display case with a variety of beautifully frosted treats that are straight forward, homey, and scrumptious. It’s my west coast Amy’s Bread. My favorite? The red velvet mini cupcake, but for any homestyle flavor you’re craving, you really can’t go wrong here. They even sell SF Giants cupcakes.
Definitely worth a special trip if you’re not in the neighborhood, or check out one of the 8 locations throughout California!
Location: 2109 Chestnut btwn Steiner and Pierce Streets
As I take a bite of my precious Billy’s chocolate cupcake, I can say without question that Billy’s Bakery is my favorite sweets bakery on the planet. I used to live life in ignorance, joining in others’ profession that Magnolia reigned supreme, and would settle for mile-long tourist lines to eat dry cupcakes covered with excruciatingly sweet frosting. Little did I know that a cupcake could truly reach perfection.
Then my friend Lauren’s birthday occurred, and we dove into her favorite – Billy’s banana cake with cream cheese frosting. It looked like a masterpiece, and changed my perspective on cake bakeries forever. Since that day, I frequently make the short trip to 9th avenue and 22nd to fulfill my cupcake cravings. The thing is, everything at Billy’s is delicious, from the cupcakes to the brownies to the giant slices of moist chocolate cake, so I could never get bored of options. Their cakes are dense and fluffy at the same time, and their frosting is perfectly sweet and smooth.
I get my sweet tooth from my mother, who just so happened to be in town this weekend. While she shopped in Soho, I decided to pick up her favorite – Red Velvet cake – and two cupcakes for my sister, aunt, and me to share. The chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is always my favorite, but this time the red velvet cake with a light fluffy buttercream really won me over. I generally prefer my red velvet with cream cheese frosting, but the subtly sweetness of their white frosting was a perfect complement to the rich cake.
Bottom line: Billy’s is amazing. Their cream cheese frosting is the best out there, and their cakes make me dream at night! You’re lucky to not find a crowd in this place, but I suggest going on weekdays after work hours – they’re open until 11pm.
Address: 184 9th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Street
I am obsessed with bakeries, especially ones that put a twist on classic treats while maintaining their typical flavor. Baked by Melissa is a relatively new company – about 2-3 years old, which was started by a girl named Melissa who wanted to make creatively-flavored quarter-size cupcakes to allow indecisive people like myself to try more than just one variation without feeling over-indulgent. It began as a tiny door-way stand on Spring street in Soho, which racked up huge lines and pedestrian traffic, but there is now a larger location in Union Square which I have yet to visit.
My favorite flavor is chocolate chip pancake (top center below), but there are many more delicious choices such as mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, tie-dye, peanut butter and jelly, and cookies and cream. Each cupcake tastes exactly like its name, and most have a little surprise inside – the peanut butter cup, for example, has a dollop of peanut butter in the center, and the pumpkin spice, which is this month’s special cupcake, has a filling of sweet pumpkin.
If you haven’t paid this place a visit, definitely make the trip. These treats are easy enough to pop in your mouth, or devour slowly to indulge your sweet tooth without feeling sick from excess. However, if you’re looking for a classic cupcake with simple flavors and a mainstream buttercream, I’d head around the corner to Dean and Deluca.
Grade: A (mainly for creativity, also for taste)
Location: 520 Broadway (Spring street btwn Broadway and Mercer)