I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sprinkles Cupcakes: West Coast Cupcakes in NYC

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I am over Red Velvet anything; it’s a red Cocoa cake people!

Wow, so uhh sprinkles huh?

Recently Papaya Dog opened its first outpost all the way out in Los Angeles. Interesting enough, Sprinkles Cupcakes, a West coast establishment, opened their first New York outpost at the same time. Coincidence? Yes, but interesting. Sprinkles Cupcakes originate from San Francisco and have been slowly opening locations all over California, DC, Chicago, Dallas and has finally made its way here. To say that cupcakes are popular in New York is an understatement. I was in a bodega and they had cupcakes. I never had the combination of Modelo and cupcakes but I guess it could work. Besides a Crumbs bakery located every 5 blocks, there are numerous other cupcake shops all around the city. So for a newcomer to come in and start solely doing cupcakes, it is going to be a challenge.
Sprinkles is located in a somewhat odd location by the Bloomingdales on the Upper East Side. The food options in that area is bare and upon walking in, it seemed like their target clientele was those that shop at Bloomingdales. It was filled with adolescent teens with their parents credit cards dressed vicariously making me feel creepy, 30-something women that most likely had sugar daddies and weird trendy dressed people with thick black glasses. Sprinkle in (haha get it?) the cheery, colors and poppy music I felt very out of place.  
 The place is small and only seems bigger because it is high but cupcakes is pretty much a grab and go kind of deal so I guess it works out for them. I was suspicious of Sprinkles because the place looks too clean and sterile. Most of the cupcake places that I enjoy such as Sugar Sweet, Sweet Revenge, Babycakes there is a transparency in which there is evidence that baking does go on there. Not necessarily a pre-requisite for having good cupcakes, but I Sprinkles goes for the very sterile look here. It does not seem like a bakery, it feels more like I am at a Sharper Image or an Apple Store. The Cupcakes are lined up in neat uniform rows, each with its own little holder. Sprinkles has worked out an efficient system in which one of their overly happy counterperson take your order and your name and while they get it ready for you, announces your name and rings you up so by the time you are done paying, your cupcake order is good to go. Oh and just a for your information, nothing makes you look like a bigger tough guy than a person shouting, “Cupcakes for Joe!” 

They have seasonal cupcakes and rotate flavors throughout the week. I decided to go with four cupcakes; I went with the strawberry, the key lime, the black and white and just for giggles, red velvet. First thing I notice about the cupcakes in that they are insanely uniform and each have this weird, sugary, fondant token button on top. Here is a tip, do not eat it. It tastes like stale Grandma Candy left out to dry and taste like…well a button. The cupcakes look like play food, the plastic food that you give to ages 5 and up to play within their Playtime Kitchen. Cupcakes after the jump!

Black and White- thankfully no weird token on top
Aside appearance the cupcakes are good. The ratio of frosting to cake is perfect. The frosting is an American buttercream which is sweeter than and not as smooth as meringue or French buttercreams. Since the ratio between cake and frosting is perfect, the buttercream balanced and works well with the cake. The first one I tried was the black and white cupcake, which was thankfully lacking the colorful token looking thing. The cake was moist and springy and was the right amount of sweetness. The next ones were the fruity cupcakes, the key lime and the strawberry. Of the two, the key lime had a nice tartness to it and balanced the sweetness of the cupcake. 

Strawberry- sadly does not taste like Snozberry

Key Lime

The Strawberry was fine, but was heavy on that artificial strawberry flavor which is a bit of a turn off for me. Lastly, I had the red velvet cupcake, which I used as a guess a control, attempting to use it as an assessment and comparison to other cupcake shops. The cake was fine and they used a regular vanilla buttercream topping. Red velvet cake, at least I feel needs to come with a cream cheese frosting or it is just a stained Cocoa cake. Wait…that is what red velvet is actually. 

Red Velvet
Sprinkles sets itself apart in which that they are eerily consistent. The cakes are moist and the frosting is slathered on uniformly. The cupcakes in the shop are lined up and stacked neater than a Prussian Army. Regardless of the stamped out likeness of the cupcakes they are good cupcakes and worth stopping by and getting a cupcake that rivals other cupcake shops in New York…hell it is better than Crumbs. 

Sprinkles NYC
780 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065

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