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New York City: Babycakes

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.


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.

Copy of znyc 014

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.

Published on November 18, 2009

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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. prettyladycmu says

    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. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!)

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) says

    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…

  10. 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 (

  11. 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!

  12. 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!)

  13. 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) 🙂

  14. The voracious Vegan says

    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…

  15. Lindsey (EatReadRun) says

    Hi Katie – I’m a new visitor and poster. I once went on a cupcake tour of Manhattan, trying various cupcakes from all over the place. I tried BabyCakes after hearing so many great reviews and felt like I was eating cardboard. I didn’t get it. My favorite cupcake was from: Sugar Sweet Sunshine! Not vegan, but definitely delish!

  16. erintakescontrol says

    I live in the middle of steak/corn country (yee haw!), so my pickin’s are slim all around. Restaurants around here consist of steak, steak, and more steak. It’s horrible! I don’t go out to eat very often, and when I do, I’m usually limited to a salad (Hold the cheese, hold the croutons, WHAT? You don’t have raspberry vinaigrette? Hold the dressing – I have some in my purse! Oh, so I’m just getting a bowl of iceberg with chicken and a few cherry tomatoes? FORGET IT!)…No wonder my mouth waters when I read everyone’s blogs!

  17. Danielle says

    There’s a restaurant near my house that opened a few years ago that serves all vegetarian/a lot of vegan food. Supposedly people rave about it and it’s won awards but when I went there with my family I wasn’t impressed. I kept thinking “I could make such better things at home”

  18. Teresa says

    Ah yes, it’s no fun to be disappointed by something that hold such high expectations. I’ve only been to BabyCakes once, and I was actually very very impressed. I luckily ordered correctly for my tastebuds. Who knows, maybe if you ordered a brownie or banana bread, you would have a different review. Or maybe BabayCakes just isn’t for you :(. But I would agree with you that others should try the Bakery for themselves- because every one’s tastebuds are different!

    As for now I’m lovin’ my fudgey babes!

  19. Chrysta says

    Ooohh Babycakes! Ive always wanted to try them out! Luckily I think there is one opening up near me…that could be dangerous! As for restaurants, well there is one place I can think of.. its a little mexican restaurant that everyone raves about. Now I LOVE mexican food so was super excited to go, but when I went there I thought it was ok…I mean it was good but nothing to write home about. But its the one place everyone raves about. I guess I just didnt see the big deal. Ah well!

  20. Madeline says

    Next time you go to NY, there’s an amazing bagel place called Essa Bagel. It’s uptown location is on the corner of, I think, Lexington and 53rd, or else it’s 3rd Ave and 53rd. These are the best bagels you will ever have. Also, they have like 6 kinds of Tofutti cream cheese. To. Die. For.

  21. The Foodie Diaries says

    I’ve never tried Babycakes–but I always pass it and want to. When my Senor Sweet Tooth comes out to play, perhaps I’ll give it a go and report back.

    In terms of food I don’t get all the fuss about–cashew butter! I just tried it this week–and maybe it was just the brand/the fact that it was unsalted–but it was no bueno.

  22. Jenny R. says

    aw Katie! I’m the same way with my sweet tooth…it doesn’t come out often but when it out. Umm random but I thought of you today – these girls in my class are super cute and sweet because I emailed them some class notes they missed when they were away from class one day and totally out of the blue they presented me with a cocoa camino dark chocolate bar today as a thank you! I wished I could have shared it with you (since I’m not such a fan). I shared it with some of my friends but also tried some and I gotta say…I’m starting to realize why you’re so obsessed 😉

  23. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    Aw, well that’s a darn shame. I’ve always dreamed of trying BabyCakes too! But I have a very un-discerning palette…so I probably wouldn’t care. As long as its food and doesn’t contain fennel, I’ll probably enjoy anything. I’m only disappointed at restaurants when they don’t have a vegan option at all…and I have to order a salad and fries.

  24. fartygirl says

    I don’t know who likes babycakes. They are in the news. But everyone I know who tries them doesn’t like them. You are not alone, girlie. 🙂

    I’m totally buying some endangered species chocolate next time I need a fix. Thanks for that hook-up. 🙂

  25. Jess says

    Huh! This is the first negative review of the place I’ve seen. I wish I lived closer to NYC for all the yummy vegan food – Philadelphia prides itself on being one of the nation’s FATTEST cities, so you can imagine the slim pickings. I would probably have liked the maple doughnut because I LOVE lemon, though I agree about not getting what you expect.

    Last night at dinner everyone raved about the mac-n-cheese (I ate it because it was that or starve and I get cranky when I starve . . . unfortunately I also apparently get cranky when I consume that much dairy now!) but they didn’t do a variety of cheeses, it tasted like I was just eatng the macaroni plain on most bites.

  26. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    So interesting that you were honest and less than thrilled about it and thank u for saying so!
    Girl, I am less than impressed by most any prepackaged food i buy and since they usually contain my allergens, i just make it myself and am happier that way anyway!

  27. Katie says

    How disappointing!! I’ve heard good things about Babycakes…but perhaps they weren’t all deserved?!

    Good thing you had your fudge babies to fall back on. They look way better than that cupcake anyway. 🙂

  28. Kristie Lynn says

    I’ll feel that way more with things I decide to make based on blog recipes that have been raved about, but then I try it and am like… eh, I like my own standbys much more. Such is life 🙂

  29. 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!!!!

  30. eaternotarunner says

    Hi Katie!

    I know you love endangered species chocolate as much as I do, so I wanted to let you know that their premium organic bars are on sale for $0.49 on their website! The cherry dark chocolate is out of this world 😀

  31. Dara @ MyVeryFirstKitchen says

    I have never been to Babycakes when visiting NYC, but I have a feeling I would be like you in terms of hte cupcakes! I make my own vegan cucpakes on the regular so I have verryyyy high expectation for my cupcakes!!

    ps: hot choc fudge babies look to die for… you should have a look at my blog right now…. Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes!! 🙂

    I have a feeling you would like them.

    oh, and, they are chocolate covered…. 😉

    <3, D

  32. Scott in Ohio says

    Hey Katie!

    As a blogger myself, I have the same question you do…how do they (HEAB, The Fitnessista, Eat Live Run) keep up?!?

    It seems I’m constantly behind!

    If you find out the secret, let me know! 😉

    Sorry about your cupcake and donut. I would’ve finished them for you. (~:

  33. shelby says

    I haven’t been to many restaurants so I really haven’t been disappointed yet. Although I did try the most popular flavor of cheesecake at Borrowed Earth Cafe and thought it was just mehhh.

    How do you ruin Carrot Cake?! My favorite!

  34. JCD says

    So sorry to hear about your bad experience at BabyCakes. I am glad you had some better treats in New York to compensate. Plus, it’s more fun to make your own sweets anyway, right?

    My nemesis is tempeh… I cannot stand tempeh. I have tried it five times, each a different brand. It tastes like meat sausage, which really grosses me out. I understand why other people like it – they like the meaty sausage taste and.or texture, great, but I don’t. Never have and can’t say I ever will.

  35. lola says

    sorry the food was bad. the only thing i’ve tried from babycakes was banana bread and i loved it! so maybe try that if you’re willing to go back.

  36. Janna says

    Oh no! That’s so disappointing! I’ve been wanting to try BabyCakes ever since I’ve moved to NYC!

    Hmmm… well, maybe you just didn’t try enough of the flavors!

    Katie, I will happily go and do some “research” for you on the other options at BabyCakes and get back to you with a full report 😉

  37. livingfreeforever says

    I’ve heard of Babycakes but have no idea where one is close to me. Guess I’m not missing much. I don’t like to get something and it taste totally different than I expected!

    Speaking of the unexpected, I went to take a drink of my daughter’s drink the other day thinking it was water–it was in a colored drink container so I couldn’t really tell what color it was. Well, it was Mt. Dew!! I thought I was going to DIE:)

    I have also given the Kombucha drink a try and HATED it!! ICK!!

  38. Christina says

    Awww I’ve heard so much about Babycakes! This post kinda makes me want to try it more though – so so I can make a final verdict.

    I kinda feel that way about larabars. I mean they’re good, but they’re not amazing or anything.

  39. Megan says

    That’s so disappointing to hear! I was going to make the Babycakes chocolate cupcake recipe that was included in a recent GOOP newsletter, but I found the ingredient list to be a bit daunting! I’ve done a lot of vegan baking in my time, and I’ve never made something quite so complicated. I guess I’m glad I didn’t waste my time now!

    Thanks for your honest review!

    In honor of blogger “vegan week” I’ve been posting a few of my favorite vegan recipes, and now I want to bake something tasty!! 🙂

  40. Heather says

    Sadly, you aren’t the first person (a vegan! I feel like it’d be different if a non-vegan person was disappointed by it because they could blame it on the cupcake not having dairy/eggs or something ridiculous) that I’ve known to be disappointed by Babycakes. In fact, I think the only rave reviews I’ve read have been celebrities. I assume they don’t bake. Hmm. I picked up the cookbook from the library but I don’t think I can afford to make the cupcakes. The recipes call for tons of specialty gluten-free flours (like a mix of 3 instead of just one), about 1cup of coconut oil and 1cup of maple syrup PER recipe. I think I’d rather make Fudge Babies instead 🙂

  41. Vegyogini says

    I excitedly went to BabyCakes last time I was in NYC, too, and was also sorely disappointed. The cupcakes’ texture and flavor just aren’t very good. I hate to give a less-than-stellar review to a vegan company, but sometimes, it just happens. Sigh.

  42. Tyler says

    i’ve actually heard other negative reviews of babycakes. sad b/c its such a good idea! i had a carmel apple cupcake once at a bakery in seattle that was amazing, but it was not vegan…

    remember when all bloggers seemed obsessed with vita-muffins? i tried the chocolate one and…. BLAH! flavorless and dry.

  43. Vanilla says

    Sorry for the pastries, I hate wasting food.

    I do love the name…babycakes! Would have been so much original than mine, babyvanilla.

    A product that disappointed me…I would say Larabars. I DO like (some of) them, but they are highly expensive and, after the billions of great reviews I heard…I was kind of dissapointed. Especcially on the Apple pie one.

    But I did like the Key lime pie…everything with coconut is yummy 🙂 ( still too expensive though)


  44. Naomi (onefitfoodie) says

    that place looks sooo great!!!!

    My BF loves hard, crispy cookies which I just don’t seem to be a fan of AT ALL I much prefer the doughy, raw kinds-I could eat a ton of those…but the crunchy kinds? bahh not for me!!

    I am having a giveaway over at my blog 🙂 check it out, girlie!

  45. Kathleen says

    That is very sad indeed. I have loved me some babycakes on multiple occasions and have been lucky apparently. The first time was on a monday, when its buy one get one free or something like that. So I was happy to be getting a deal to share with my friends. Another time, I got the cinnamon roll and I have to say it tasted very strongly of barley malt. That was fine with me, but for others who might not be as into alternative sweeteners, it could have been a surprising flavor.

  46. Patricia says

    I loved this post and adventure in eating! and yes, I have been disappointed in eating out. I do so much cooking at home with a garden, allergies to deal with and Celiac Disease and I want my family to enjoy- taste wise and visually what I prepare….so they will want to eat it.

    Right now I am pleasing myself while healing my body, so I take great care.

    It is nice to eat out and be waited upon and have something served and cooked for me….but the wait staff of so many places now seem to be bored or mad at me for coming in or asking a question or two…and I can wait and wait and wait for my food….and then sometimes it is visually disgusting and just plunked down in front of me – I don’t get to eat out very often…so I have been more disappointed recently and worried about spending the money than happy and satisfied – even after checking the reviews.

    Thanks for the good post…I wish I had a stock up of things to write about 🙂

  47. River - The Crafty Kook says

    Aww, BOO!!! Poor Mr. Sweet Tooth! He never asks for much and when he does he is disappointed! 🙁

    My disappointing experience? Unturkey. Yuck. It tasted horrible and the texture was disgusting. Maybe the one we bought was a bad batch or the grocery store didn’t refrigerate if properly, I don’t know what the deal was but it ruined our first vegan Thanksgiving six years ago!

  48. Katharina says

    Man I’m sorry about the letdown 🙁 They atleast SOUND good. How odd about the maple one though.. that’s really weird. Anyway, yeah I’ve had some experiences like that. Bleeeeh

  49. molly says

    this is so disappointing!! i have their cookbook and have allllllllways wanted to visit. vegan bakeries are the best thing to ever happen. but bummertime that you didn’t have a great experience. you should open your own bakery!

  50. broccolihut says

    Bummer about the baked goods! They LOOKED good, at least.
    I have never been impressed with kale-infused green smoothies that everyone seems to go nuts over in the blog world. I just can’t take the taste of raw kale in the morning.

  51. blissfulbellas says

    Hey Katie,

    We made your Chocolate Chip dough babies last nite and posted it on our blog to link back to you. We hope it’ll help you with your operation chocolate covered kindness!(which by the way is such a wonderful thing your doing) But most of all we just wanted to tell you how amazing they were! How did you come up with the recipe!?!?! i can honestly understand why you raved about them so much!! OMG i just want one for breakfast! 😀

  52. maren says

    omg Babycakes is so delicious! Must have been an off day or something? the cinnamon rolls/twists are great, or the chocolate crumb cake.. something to try next time?

  53. Quix says

    Yes! We have a place here in Austin called Kirby Lane which people rave and rave about and say it’s slow but it’s worth the wait because of their food is to die for. I’ve even had people try to tell me it’s HEALTHY because they serve sandwichy and salady type fare and lots of vegetarian food. It is all loaded with grease and butter and fat, takes forever, and it’s been in my experience adequate ONCE and AWFUL every other time.

    Oh well, if everyone liked the same things what fun would that be?

  54. italyology says

    your stories are always intriguing I must say! What bummer they weren’t any good! Why waist your taste buds on something just so so??? I took a bite of a brownie last night only to throw it away. Bland and dry. ick ick!

  55. Iris says

    My boyfriend got me a cupcake from Babycakes for my last birthday and I really liked it. But I also have to eat gluten-free, so it might be that I’m used to pastries tasting a little bit different. I had another gluten-free cupcake recently and thought it tasted like a normal cupcake, but my boyfriend said it didn’t. Maybe I’m just starting to forget what non-gluten free food tastes like. Huh…that makes me kind of sad.

  56. Jennifer says

    You know, now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve every really liked any non-homemade cupcakes. Cake, yes, but cupcakes need that special touch.

  57. Heather Eats Almond Butter says

    Is that a Mountain Mint bar wrapper I spy in the trash as well? Bet it was much better than your lemony doughnut and over-spiced cupcake.

    Everyone loves Amazing Grass. Me? Not so much. 🙂

  58. Gina says

    I’ve heard the same thing abotu Babycakes, which I think is why, whenever I go to the city with the intention of going there….I never quite make it. Maybe one of these days, we’ll see!

  59. Ricki says

    I’ve been dreaming of getting to NYC just so I can try BabyCakes–they are splashed ALL OVER the media here and they get rave reviews in every single magazine or paper. . . but it seems as if loads of your readers have had negative experiences with them! I must admit I’ve never read a stellar review from an actual person who ate some! 😉 I suspect I’d react as you did. . . too bad–now must look for a different bakery to haunt.

  60. Marianne says

    I often find some restaurants that everyone loves just aren’t that good. There were a couple in Victoria we went to because my friends loved them, but frankly, I didn’t think they were worth my money. And even some of the “blog favourite” foods, like green monsters, or almond butter, are just meh for me. Not good enough that I’d like to make them again anyways. It really is a case of different tastes, eh?

  61. Fuchia Sky says

    I got Babycakes cookbook out of the library and have made 2 recipes from it so far and have been really disappointed by both of them. The first one I made was the Red Velvet cupcakes and had the exact ingredients for the base only to realize I don’t like the taste of spelt. Then I made the vanilla icing and didn’t have soy milk powder so used skin milk and it wasn’t sweet enough for me. If I make these again I’ll sub the spelt flour and will make the icing sweeter and use soy milk powder.

    For the second recipe I made the Double Chocolate chip cookies. They don’t sell Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour in my area so I found a recipe online that used the ingredient’s in Bob’s mix. Maybe my mix was to blame but these were way to greasy and I’d definieley cut back on the coconut oil next time. I’m not really sure what to bake next but I haven’t been impressed so far.

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