Mission: Buttercup Cupcake
Location: 2nd Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street
I have long been on the search for the best red velvet cupcake in the city. Once I see my favorite distinctly rouge dessert, all other options are eliminated. Due to their popularity, they can often be found most everywhere from the dessert menus of restaurants all the way to grocery store aisles. However, really good red velvet is hard to come by. Often, there is something off with the consistency of the cake or the taste of the frosting is just too heavy and overbearingly sweet.
Knowing my weakness for red velvet, my food agents tipped me off to Buttercup Bakeshop. Their conclusion: I absolutely had try it for myself. Of course, I had to sample their goods and conduct a thorough investigation. So we ventured to the Eastside location on 2nd Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street. It was one of the most pleasant culinary outings I’ve had in a while. As soon as I walked in, I was enveloped with the sweet smell of baked goods. The shop is just the right size. Half of its counter is filled with rows of display cases showcasing their array of sweet treats from cupcakes, cakes, tarts, Key Lime pies and other types of pies, mini-cheesecakes, and even homemade pudding. A few tables and chairs accommodate those who want to stay and savor their purchases at the shop. Even though everything looked absolutely delectable, I went straight for my weakness–the red velvet cupcake. Now was the moment of truth.
The cupcake was the ideal size—not too big, not too small. My first bite was like heaven. The cake itself was lovingly moist with a flavor that words cannot describe. The chocolate taste was just right and the cream cheese icing was perfectly sweetened. It seemed that with each bite it got better and better. An agent of mine, @MsBlack924, loves everything yellow. It was no surprised when her cupcake of choice was a lemon flavored one. The lemon frosting was perfectly tart and it balanced the sweetness of the cake perfectly. It is a refreshing burst of flavor and it is highly recommended especially for those who are not so keen on sweets. My other agent, @EvylePyxy, indulged in the “Devil Dog” cupcake (is it any wonder why she chose that?). It was decadently rich with chocolate, yet moist and soft. Perfect for any chocolate lover and tastes 10x better than the original devil dogs one used to purloin from the corner bodega.
Not only was their dessert amazing, but the service and staff were exceptional. The staff behind the counter was so accommodating. My agents and I had the pleasure of talking to Chico who manages the bakery. He was working behind the glass that separates the kitchen from the storefront. Having spoken to him at a prior visit, my agents encouraged me to question him about the sweet life. He was nice enough to oblige me with an interview. Chico spoke of Buttercup with so much love and pride. He describes it as a one of a kind experience,“ It begins from the moment you walk-in through the red curtain,” he explains. “It feels homey.” Indeed! As soon as you walk through the door and through the ringed curtain, you may feel as if you’ve been transported to a real life Candyland. The walls are painted a calming yet cheerful pastel yellow. Combine that with the enticing pieces of sugary goodness, and you’ve got a place that even your inner child would approve of.
Chico goes on to talk about the two main components of Buttercup that sets it apart from all the rest: the owner, Jennifer Appel’s family recipes mixed with the high quality ingredients. While the recession has forced other bakeries to lower the grade of their ingredients, Chico says that Buttercup still uses only premium ingredients. They continue to use the best butter and only Belgian chocolate. He was also kind enough to allow us to sample some of their chocolate. It was delicious. It was no wonder why the chocolate items have a truly distinguished taste. During our conversation we come to find out that he is married to Jennifer Appel. Jennifer Appel was one of the co-founders of Magnolia Bakery and opened Buttercup Bakeshop in 1999. She has also authored several books that divulge how you can create some of her famous desserts.
While Buttercup is quite popular and has been featured on TV shows and various magazines, it still looks and feels like a neighborhood bakery. You can tell dedication and love is put into every detail of the shop. Not only do they provide the best treats around, but they also cater to the needs of their customer. For example, if you like to bake and love their buttercream based frosting, you can buy a tub of it! You can place orders for cakes and cupcakes ahead of time to be picked up at the bakery. However, the most unique and edible confection has to be their customizable cupcake trees! Instead of getting a cake for your next party, you can have tiers of cupcakes tailored to your style and taste as the centerpiece. Ms. Black has already requested that we procure one for her birthday…in September. Another favorite detail of mine is the fact that you can purchase a cute box to store a cupcake ensuring that it does not get ruined whilst you travel. It also makes for a thoughtfully tasty and convenient gift!
I came to Buttercup Bakeshop to merely sample their red velvet cupcake (by far the best cupcake I’ve ever had pleasure of consuming) and ended up falling in love with everything! And it’s only $2.50 per cupcake! For a real bargain ask for the “cake on plate.” If you want to conduct your own investigation , aside from the 2nd Avenue location, they also have a shop on the Westside at 72nd street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. I’d love to hear about your experience!
I think my search for the perfect red velvet cupcake is over…Ending Transmission…
Signing off with a Bon Appetit,
La Famished Femme