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New York City: Babycakes

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A few months ago, I wrote about how my normally-absent sweet tooth sometimes likes to emerge and demand to be fed. Such an event occurred one summer’s day in New York City.

babycakes nyc

So, I did what any hungry girl would do: I attempted to satisfy my craving. In such a food-packed location, one need not look far to accomplish this task.

What did I find? I found Babycakes, a famed vegan cupcakery. Cupcakes, frosting shots, doughnuts… This looked quite promising.

Babycakes

Overwhelmed, I kept letting other customers go ahead of me. How to choose, how to choose… Finally, I decided on two items: a carrot cake cupcake and a maple glazed doughnut.

What, no chocolate?

Copy of znyc 015

The maple doughnut, above, was described as being “moist and sweet.”

Yes, it was moist. Yes, it was sweet.

Sadly, the doughnut was also something else: absurdly lemony! Maybe someone who likes lemon-flavored pastries would’ve enjoyed this, but when I buy an item called maple, I don’t expect the favor screaming out at me to be lemon. Adios lemon-maple doughnut.

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As you can see from the above photo, the carrot cake cupcake didn’t fare much better than the doughnut. I wanted to like this cupcake, I really did.

I’d heard such great things about Babycakes’ frosting. But… Holy Garam Masala! It was like biting my way through an Indian spice market. And unlike the maple doughnut, this Babycakes cupcake was desert-sand dry.

babycakes cupcake

I know that Babycakes has gotten many, many stellar reviews, so don’t let my post dissuade you from trying the place. Taste buds vary; unfortunately for me, this bakery just wasn’t my cup of (Indian-spiced!) tea.

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. sisrocks1996 says:

    Yes many times!

    I’ve heard good thing about Babycakes it’s won a lot of awards, but the cookbook didn’t get as good reviews as Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World so I assumed they didn’t taste as good. With that cookbook though I don’t have to go looking for a sweet treat I can just make my own!

  2. Catherine says:

    So sorry you had a bad experience. Last week we went to dinner with a bunch of people and they all raved about the food but I was meh. It was so disappointing because I wanted to be able to rave but all I could say was it was nice to get together with everyone.

    Thanks for the Fudge Baby recipe, they completely quiet my sweet tooth!

  3. Yes! I haven’t tried babycakes, but I was seriously underwhelmed by Crumbs, another bake shop here in NYC. Everyone says it’s sooooo amazing, but I honestly wasn’t impressed. I’m much happier with the creations I make myself and the wonderful recipes I find on great blogs like yours!

  4. Thanks for the review! I’ve always wanted to try babycakes!

    Now I know 😉

  5. Jessica says:

    I had a similar experience when I went to Babycakes last December! I bought a dozen cupcakes to take to a party – what a waste of money (and they aren’t cheap!!) The cake itself was just like you said, extremely dry. I didn’t think there was anything special about the icing either. It actually reminded me of toothpaste. I really wanted to like Babycakes, but I just didn’t. I thought maybe I went at a bad time, since it was right in-between X-Mas and New Years and they were probably really busy with special orders. Still, that’s no excuse for selling cupcakes that tasted stale and gross.

  6. How weird, was the cupcake an Indian spiced flavor? Hmmm savory but sweet. Not sure about how I’d like that?!?!?!

    I recycle old posts too or pull them out of the queue from ages ago. Need to do that more, actually. 🙂

  7. Claire says:

    I always feel bad when I hear great things about a place , then suggest it and the experience is bad.I feel awful about it:-( cc

  8. molly says:

    I’ve been dying to try Babycakes, but I’ve never been to New York!
    I’ve got a pretty strong sweet tooth so maybe I’ll fare better….I haven’t yet met a cupcake I didn’t like!
    (Except I don’t like chocolate cake either – straight up dark chocolate all the way!)

  9. Melinda says:

    Looks like they had a good variety though. Too bad it didn’t lve up to the hype. As for me I can’t recall at this time any specific instances, though I am sure one will come to me later!

  10. Babycakes looks so cool! I can and can’t believe their cupcakes weren’t the best. There is a bakery around here who is hailed for their wacko flavors of cupcakes, but they cake is so DRY. It’s disappointing.

  11. Jenny says:

    I went to Babycakes this summer, and I totally know what you’re saying. I always hate dissing on a place that I can walk into and order anything I want because that’s marvelous to do…I would go here again, just for the sake of allowing my kids to go into a place and order anything they want. I had the berry cream biscuit and chocolate brownie cupcake. I ate them, and I thought they were just fine – although dry and not really decadent. Like you said, I think I prefer the desserts I make (or ones at the nice restaurants like Candle Cafe). It was really pricey, too. I’ve felt this way many times at veg places, and I always hate to complain because I want them to survive. But I guess a little constructive criticism is good for them so maybe they can improve things a bit.

  12. elizabeth says:

    when i went to babycakes i too was very disappointed by their cupcakes. i through my mini one out. BUT i did treat myself to their cinnamon roll-and that was amazing!!!!!! they use spelt flour and agave in it as well, which i liked. but the taste was unbelievably good. if i ever go back, which i kind of doubt, i would get that again.
    moral of the story-babycakes is overrated. but its always good to try new places out!!!!

  13. What a bummer! I’ve only ever heard good things about Babycakes too, so I’m surprised to hear of those duds. I wonder if they were mislabeled…? Anyway, I’ve never been to the shop, but their cookies were served at a couple events I’ve been to, and I have to say the macaroons were a little too good, if anything. 🙂 I should probably stay away from their shop anyway–I have a feeling that I could get in to trouble with a frosting shot…

  14. Kate says:

    Aww, I’m sorry your experience wasn’t what you expected. I hate it when that happens. I haven’t been to Babycakes before, but I’ve heard of them. They always sounded like a pretty good bakery, but I suppose a lot of it is just hype from the vegan community.

    I wish I could send you some cupcakes from my bakery! Even my vegan versions are to die for!

    Of course, fudge babies make everything better though, and you don’t have to go out to get them at a bakery. 🙂

    Have a great day!
    ~ Kate (abakersblurbs.wordpress.com)

  15. maggie says:

    I woke up to a huge package of fudge coconut babies from my mom at my door step!! Made me think of how universal your blog has become 🙂

    Maggie

  16. Erica says:

    Sorry to hear you were dissapointed with Babycakes. I’ve been there once and I thought the cupcakes were just ok (kind of dry), but the brownies were amazing!

  17. Jo says:

    Its the worst thing to be disappointed – either with the cafe/restaurant in general or your particular choice. Going out is a treat for me and I go out to spend time with friends and have an enjoyable evening out. Also, when you are paying for it so you want to enjoy it!! That’s why I always find it soooo hard to decide what I want to eat when I go out – what happens if i don’t make the right choice?? Terrible dilemmas!!! I get chronic food envy – I like to try everyone else’s meals too (ha ha – not just to check that their’s isn’t nicer than mine!)

  18. I don’t know the taste, but the pictures look great! I like your blog Katie, drop by mine if you ever feel like it.

  19. eaternotarunner says:

    I had a similar experience at Magnolia bakery in New York! There was so much hype but honestly, I’ve made better cupcakes at home (and I’m no professional) 🙂

  20. Awww! I have heard such great things about Babycakes, Katie, you are breaking my heart! Well, the donut and the cupcake LOOK pretty.

    Actually, I am dissapointed at MOST restaurants, and that was even before I went vegan. I just REALLY like my own cooking, I guess! 😉

    Oooh but not Anand Bhavan. Did you catch my post about my most favorite restaurant of all? A tiny Indian all vegetarian hole in the wall in the Bahrain souk, and their food is seriously what heaven would taste like. I haven’t been there in months and that HAS to change asap because I’m starting to hallucinate their channa masala…

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