Finding the perfect cupcake

Cupcakes are serious business in NYC, and finding the perfect cupcake is a delicious mission. They are a Special Treat of choice, for any and all occasions, and it’s easy to see why. They’re sized perfectly for individuals – no worries about having to share, or not being able to finish, or not getting quite enough.

Well, unless you get cupcakes from Baked by Melissa, because as delicious as those cupcakes are, they are literally one bite each. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, one of those cupcakes might be enough to satisfy you, but if you’re me, it takes at least three.

And Georgetown Cupcakes, also delicious, are a little much for me. A little too rich, a little too much frosting, and honestly, a little too perfectly presented. Those TV show-honed whirls are very pretty to look at, but they’re a little over-the-top when I’m trying to take a bite of my red velvet confection.

I haven’t had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake (of Sex in the City fame) in years, and my memory is hazy, but I do know that both times I tried one of their cupcakes, I wasn’t a fan. I did like the snickerdoodles, though!

Despite their flaws, I do love getting bite-sized Melissa’s cupcakes and picture-perfect Georgetown’s cupcakes. But my heart belongs to Sugar Sweet Sunshine, a tiny bakery in the Lower East Side. My boss loves their cupcakes and has gotten many people at the office, including me, hooked.

The selling points? Big enough to be satisfying, but not so heavy you’d feel bad about having seconds. A swirl of frosting that is delicious but not fussy or overwhelming. And a reasonable price – it seems to have gone up to $2.25/cupcake when I last stopped in, but when you compare that to Georgetown’s $3, Magnolia’s $3.25 or $3.50, or Melissa’s $3 for three mini cupcakes, $2.25 is a steal. [Prices updated 5/8/2015 :)]

I’m sure there are many cupcake bakeries I’m forgetting about, including Billy’s and the Little Cupcake Bakeshop. I read a great memoir a while back called Paris, My Sweet, which follows a copywriter who moves to Paris to work in her ad company’s office there. The author, Amy Thomas, waxes poetic about sweets in both NYC and Paris, and I’ll add “check out more places she mentions” to my to-do list for this summer.

Any suggestions to add?


  1. If you like Sugar Sweet Sunshine, you should definitely try Butter Lane. They're our current office favorite (though we've been opting for Schmackery cookies lately!).

  2. Ooh, I'll have to check them out! And I've never heard of Schmackery…

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