My good friend Marlie of Marliese's Sweet Treats organized a cupcake tasting in Central Park this past Saturday for some of our girlfriends. Everyone brought four-six cupcakes from a different bakery-- bringing 2-3 of two different flavors (chocolate & vanilla or that bakeries signature flavors).
We met in the Sheep's Meadow with cupcakes and wine in tow. Marlie brought judging sheets for everyone to take notes and rate each bakery's sweets.
First up was Tu-Lu's Bakery which specializes in gluten-free sweets. We tasted Chocolate with Peanut Butter and Vanilla with Chocolate.
I thought both cupcakes were good but I thought the vanilla was bland. I really liked the chocolate cake and thought the peanut butter frosting was delicious! My peanut butter frosting was a little crunchy and I'm not sure what from-- not a peanut crunch more of a sugar crunch. Good-- but not my favorite of the day.
Next we tried a second gluten-free bakery which was even featured on Cooking Channel's Unique Eats: Babycakes. We tasted vanilla with chocolate and chocolate with vanilla.
I liked the vanilla cake and nothing else. The frosting was too slippery (partially from the heat) but it wasn't a creamy fluffy frosting that I like. The chocolate cupcakes I was not a fan of at all. Others really liked the babycakes cupcakes-- so just my opinion that I was unimpressed.
Sweet Revenge bakery was next up. From here on out no more gluten-free bakeries were tasted. The Sweet Revenge cupcakes were massive and intimidating. I really liked the wrapping for the cupcake-- folded parchment instead of cupcake papers which make for easy un-doing for faster, cleaner cupcake enjoyment! We tasted Pure Vanilla and a double chocolate cupcake (a less chocolately version of another chocolate cupcake they make).
The Pure Vanilla was all right but a little too rich for my likes. The Chocolate was tasty but a little boring-- not quite chocolately enough! I guess I will have to try the more intense chocolate cupcake next time.
The next tasting was one of my most frequented mobile bakeries-- Cupcake Stop. Marlie brought these ones and actually got them from their shoppe in the Limelight Marketplace. They suggested she get their Funfetti and Triple Chocolate for a tasting.
I've tried a variety of Cupcake Stop flavors and these two represent what I have typically experienced with them-- a little too sugary and at times a little too dry. I preferred the triple chocolate and found the funfetti to be a little dry today.
The next and for me final tasting of the day was Alice's Tea Cup. We tasted a Chocolate with Chai frosting and a Banana with vanilla? frosting.
The Banana didn't really taste like anything to me-- just cake. But the chai frosting was my favorite thing I tasted alllll day! It was so spicy, balanced and well-mixed. Dangerous that one of these is located only 8 blocks from my apartment! I think this is the one I will definitely go to on my own next to try more and see what they have. Plus there were whisperings of Pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting that I would HAVE to try!
Now we had 3 bakeries left when I had to depart our tasting. We had cupcakes from Two Little Red Hens, Butter Lane (who has super cute cards with a picture of each cupcake flavor they have!), Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I have had and very much enjoy little Two Little Red Hens and the cupcakes from the two other bakeries LOOKED good. The overall winner was Two Little Red Hens "Brooklyn Blackout" which is chocolate cake with chocolate filling and chocolate frosting!
Now you may be saying-- "Culinary Librarian, why would you abandon all those cupcakes to be tried?" My answer:
I had to go to the Yankees v. Red Sox game, of course!!!
All in all it was a great Saturday. Have you ever done a tasting like this? Cupcakes? Different sweets? Wine or beer? I'd love to hear about them! Please comment and share if you have had your own tasting!