Tag Archives: treats

Lulu Cake Boutique

You don’t have to be my friend to know how much I love bakeries. The world would be a better place with more bakeries. I was so thrilled to discover that a new cake shop called Lulu’s opened up just a block away from work, and a five minute walk from my apartment. From the website, Lulu’s came across as pretentious and expensive, similar to Eleni’s (looks over taste), but I made it a priority to stop by this week to make a fair assessment.

From the outside Lulu’s appears to be the Pinkberry of bakeries – with bright white walls, floors, and chairs, sales people in uniforms, and pristine display cases, this is one of the less “homey” bakeries I’ve visited, and more of what its name claims it to be: a cake boutique. Scanning the display case of neatly aligned treats, I had no sudden urge to buy a slice of cake as I normally do. The cakes are pre-sliced and far too fancy to entice me. The cookies and bars, however, appeared to be the best of the selection. I decided to stick to cookies for my first visit and purchased 4 to taste: an oatmeal raisin, a whole wheat walnut chocolate chip, a poppy seed thumb print, and a chocolate raspberry rugelach. They all appeared chewy and delicious, but when I got home to sample, I was disappointed. The whole wheat walnut chocolate chip, which appeared the roundest and chewiest of them all was actually crumbly and too tough to sink my teeth into. The oatmeal raisin was worst of all – with a texture as crisp as a matzoh cracker, it defied all rules of the American classic. The thumb print was pretty tasty, and fortunately, its butter content helped soften up the base, but there was nothing unique or stellar to make me say WOW when tasting it. My favorite of all was hands down the rugelach. Unlike the other cookies, the rugelach consisted of many layers with multiple flavors and textures, and I could actually bite down without crumbs exploding from my mouth.

Considering this place focuses on cakes, I can’t say that I’ve had sufficient experience to give it a fair review. However, I come away with the expectation that their products will never top what I can find just steps away at Amy’s bread, and my bakery of choice has no risk of shifting.

Grade: B-
Website: everythinglulu.com
Address: 112 8th Avenue btwn 15th and 16th streets

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Billy’s Bakery

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.

Grade: A

Website: http://www.billysbakerynyc.com
Address: 184 9th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Street

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