Cupcakes for Everyone

June 18, 2009

Hi! I took a mini-break for Hershey Park but I’m back and it’s Austin’s 5th birthday so why not talk cupcakes?

By far, the best bang for your buck is a box ‘o Duncan Hines and some of their frosting. For two bucks (total!) plus some eggs and oil you have in the house anyway, you’ve got scrumptious “from scratch” cupcakes for the whole family. Toss in another buck and you can add sprinkles to your heart’s delight. I know people want to get all fancy, but this is old school and all good.

But with the cupcake craze that has swept the nation, we need to discuss the specialty shops that have cropped up all over. The first being Magnolia, made famous by Sex and the City. Before that show made it “Magnolia” it was just Magnolia, the bakery down the street where I used to buy sweet treats and my friend Lauren had a dangerous daily habit with the cupcakes. Then Sex featured it in an episode and suddenly there were lines around the block, and it was featured as a prominent stop on the Sex and the City tour. (The joke of this is that the real Sarah Jessica Parker, up until a week or so ago, lived very close to Magnolia and she is probably cursing the day her show featured the bakery.) Anyway, it is WAY overrated, and is in no way, shape or form worth the wait that you will inevitably have to endure. (The original Magnolia is in the West Village at 401 Bleecker, but since you’re not going to go there, it really doesn’t matter.)

Favor_box_with_cupcakeI’ll spare you the batter drama, but a disgruntled former Magnolia worker splintered off and started Billy’s Bakery, which I highly recommend. The crowds are much more manageable, the decorations are muted and sweet, the cupcakes are always fresh and the staff is friendly. (BTW, if you’re not in the mood for cupcakes, the peanut butter pie is awesome.) Billy’s is located at 184 9th Avenue, at 21st Street.

img12tSprinkles, a tasty bakeshop in Beverly Hills, sells mixes for their cupcakes through Williams-Sonoma. I tried the red velvet, and they were delicious and looked very pretty. My only complaint was that it stained my mixer red, but what can you do…They have assorted flavors and come with very simple decorations.($14 at a Williams-Sonoma store near you, or click here to order online.)

Finally, I discovered a new place I really liked today when I was at work in midtown and needed 4 delicious cupcakes to bring home for our family to celebrate Austin’s birthday. Crumbs has assorted locations throughout the city (as well as California, Connecticut and New Jersey, and, for those of you elsewhere, they ship everywhere! (Well, currently ro 48 states.) These are very generous cupcakes that come in all sorts of flavors, from oreo and red velvet to peanut butter and carrot. Sometimes cupcakes that look great taste terrible (or vice versa) or the icing is too sugary, but these are really great-tasting and looking. To find a location near you or to order, click here.

That should get you through a birthday or two!!

Current Events

I hate to give the Governor of Alaska more space, but she really needs to get a grip and stop trying to get publicity. David Letterman’s joke about her daughter was just that, a joke. Now she has her minions picketing his studio, and one had the nerve to say that if he joked about Sarah Palin, fine, but her daughter wasn’t a public figure so how dare he make a joke about her. Um, I’m sorry but a week or so ago they put her daughter on the cover of People freakin’ magazine, so I’d say Palin and co. are trying to make her a public figure as she goes on her “abstinence tour.” (Are they for real?) Plus, wasn’t that Sarah Palin who trotted the poor girl out with her baby daddy at the Republican Convention? I hate to be the one to break it to them, but you can’t have it both ways. Lighten up and move on.

And Iran, what can I say? It is fascinating to watch technology potentially take down a government, or at least alter their nation’s prception of it. Amazing what happens when you can’t control everything that your people watch, read and hear. Suddenly they find their voice. I always remember my trips to China back in the 90s (pre-internet) and their impressions of America were so frustratingly backward. Educated executives truly thought that everyone in the U.S. carried guns. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

And North Korea? Too scary.

Etc.

We had a great time at Hershey Park. The kids went on a bunch of rides (of course) and I somehow got talked into going down the Vortex water slide. Very fun with huge, dark plunges and then you’re thrown into a bowl where you spin around and get shot out into a pool. We always end with the tour at Chocolate World and a free sample, so we truly had a full, fun day.

Happy 5th birthday to Austin! Everyone says it, but it’s true, it really goes SO fast.

Here's the birthday boy!

Here's the birthday boy!

Hope you’re all well!!

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One Response to “Cupcakes for Everyone”

  1. Lanier Says:

    Billy’s Bakery is opening a second location this Saturday, June 20th at 75 Franklin Street between Church Street and Broadway in Tribeca! Come by and celebrate from 7am – 10pm with free coffee, taste tests, free giveaways and more!


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