Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Burgers & Cupcakes
458 9th Avenue
www.burgerscupcakesnyc.com

Burgers & Cupcakes - Marble Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter

This place is conveniently located to grab a bite before an event at Hammerstein Ballroom, as we were. It’s also not too far from Madison Square Garden.

I had a salad to justify getting dessert. The salad is barely worth mentioning, a standard Caeser. The cupcake, however, was excellent. (My husband said that the burger was pretty good. I noted that it was square. Hey, I’m not a burger blogger.)

The Marble Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter looked the most interesting, and I am not among those who can resist chocolate and peanut butter. 

“You think you love them for the frosting, but it’s the cake that makes them good!” they say. Sure, the cake was good, but the frostings—the ganache on top with peanut butter spread around—were the most memorable part.

Burgers & Cupcakes - Marble Cake

This casual spot from Mitchel London has been around almost a decade now. I’m surprised I hadn’t happened across it before, though I will say I’d expect more ambience. The name would have made me curious, but it might not have caught my attention in passing if it had not been a predetermined meeting spot.

The diner vibe not withstanding, Burgers & Cupcakes is a good choice to indulge your sweet tooth before events or during shopping in the area. They are open until 10pm.

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 Just Velvet Cupcakes

Brooklyn

Just Velvet
www.thejustvelvet.com

I encountered Just Velvet at the 41st Annual Atlantic Antic. The Antic is a street fair on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue every fall. I love it as it features mostly local vendors rather the random sock sellers and such that pop up at some NYC street fairs. It’s always good for tasty treats, crafts, music and local flavor (and if you’ve lived in Brooklyn for long, you’re sure to run into a friend or two)!

There were many tempting offerings, but I chose the Cruel Velvet Carrot Cupcake with some prompting from my husband. It was moist and carroty with plump raisins at the bottom, a delightful dessert.

Cruel Carrot Cupcake by Just VelvetJust Velvet is a home-based business owned by Shana Evans. The website is available for ordering 24/7, and orders may be picked up between 8am and 10pm.

Beside the Cruel Carrot Velvet, other “velvets” offered include an Island Velvet (coconut) and, of course, a Just Red Velvet. I also have my eye on her Hot Cappuccino Cake.

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Attending a 1st birthday party in NJ, I was of course delighted that cupcakes were on the menu.

Princeton

House of Cupcakes
32 Witherspoon Street
www.houseofcupcakes.com

House_of_Cupcakes_NJ

The cupcakes were the stars of the dessert table at the birthday venue, North End Bistro. I didn’t visit the bakery itself, which is owned by Cupcake Wars winner Ruthie and Ron Bzwedka and offers more than 30 varieties of cupcakes, even—so I hear—pupcakes for your pooch!

There was so much good food at the party, I had to take one to enjoy at home. I picked out a carrot cupcake for the road. My husband and I split it a day later, and it was still moist and flavorful.

CupcakeCrossSection

There was some evidence of carrots, but they weren’t immediately obvious. If I had not known its flavor, I may have at first mistaken it for a spice cake. The spicy flavor hit first, the carrots came through as an aftertaste. It was quite good, though, and the cream cheese frosting was perfect. My husband also notes that it pairs well with whiskey.

Carrot_Cake_NJ

I will certainly make it a point to stop by the bakery, if ever I am again in Princeton!

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In October, I got married. And there were cupcakes.

Wedding Cupcake

The wedding cake was, of course, one of the most important things to plan. To read about our tasting and planning with Kara of KaraBoo Bakery, see my post “Travel Treats: Miramar Beach, Florida.” We discussed the design and Kara sketched it out for me, but I didn’t see the result of our master plan until we entered our reception and finished our first dance.

Wedding Cupcakes
I was delighted with the final product. Thank you KaraBoo!

Ours was a beach wedding. It took place at Carillon Beach, which is a beachside community on the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City Beach, Florida. We used blues and greens and silver seashells in the wedding décor to reflect the beach theme and definitely wanted that carried over to our cake. We also wanted to use a version of the wave “logo” that showed up in various wedding materials and we thought could work on a cake, too.

A traditional tiered cake to cut was a must, but I had to have cupcakes, too. The bonus was that this meant we could have five different delicious cake/frosting combinations. The main cake was three layers of Peanut Butter Cup (black velvet cake with peanut butter cup filling and peanut buttercream), then we had four flavors of cupcakes, color coded.

Wedding Cupcakes Sign
Navy Cupcakes – Pumpkin Spice with Caramel
Green Cupcakes – Piña Colada with Spiced Rum
Periwinkle Cupcakes – Lemon with Raspberry
Light Blue Cupcakes – Vanilla with Salted Caramel

So tasty… I only got to take a few bites at the actual reception, but leftover cupcakes were breakfast for the next three days. Now that’s the way to start a marriage!

The Cake Pull

Wedding Cake Pull

To involve some important ladies in our wedding who weren’t in my bridal party, I co-opted the New Orleans cake pull. I’m a Louisiana girl and have participated in this fun tradition as a bridesmaid in my NOLA cousins’ weddings. The cake pull is traditionally for single girls, but I paid no mind to that. I didn’t include a wedding ring or an “old maid” (?!) charm, just fun charms predicting happy futures. (I also did this as an alternative to torturing single girls with a bouquet toss.)

Bicycle Charm

Sharing our First Slice

Cutting the cake was serious business, and my newly minted husband let me do the honors. I was really concentrating at this point. After all, 100 people (including my caterer mother-in-law) were watching.

Cutting the Cake

And, then, we ate!

Eating Cake

We had a fabulous party with family and friends, and the cake and cupcakes were a highlight of a celebration full of highlights.

Amelie and Jason
Me, my love, and a cupcake = Happily Ever After

Wedding Party Shout Out

Our wedding party

This crazy crew includes some of the family and friends who made our day possible. They spoke during our ceremony and guided our guests. They helped with planning, threw parties, calmed the couple, and toasted our happiness. They let us dress them up. LOVE to our wedding party!

Photos by Rae Leytham Photography

Click here for more wedding cupcake photos…

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A month before our recent wedding, my then-fiancé and I journeyed to Kansas so that he could meet my Maid of Honor (a.k.a. cousin Jenny), who lives in Lawrence. We had great meals at 715 and Free State, but I also had to insist that our group visit a bakery to try the local cupcakes.

Billy Vanilly
914 Massachusetts Avenue
www.billyvanillycupcakes.com

20130915-dsc_2085

We chose Billy Vanilly, a bright and colorful bakery with pretty, fun-named cupcakes. They have 25 cupcake flavors on their menu each week, so there should be something to satisfy all cupcake lovers!

Billy Vanilly Cupcakes

We bought the Mint Cookie Crunch, I Love Lemon, and 24 Carrot to sample.

Mint Cookie Crunch

The Mint Cookie Crunch made me think of ice cream. The mint icing was full of crushed Oreos, very tasty. The cake was also chock-full of crunchy cookie.

24 Carrot

I thought the 24 Carrot was not that carroty, but the carrot cake fan among us liked it. She thought some nuts would make it perfect. (I’m anti-nut as far as carrot cake goes, but I do admit it’s not my favorite type of cake. Shocked? I know, sorry. Don’t worry, I will continue to make carrot cupcakes, one of my most requested flavors.)

I love lemon

The I Love Lemon was my favorite. Lemony! It has lemon cake, lemon curd and lemon icing and packs a powerful punch.

Overall, these cupcakes were, to quote my Maid of Honor, “Jewels of Worthiness.”

Click here for more photos from our cupcake tasting!

Billy Vanilly also has a location in Topeka. It is their original bakery and was the first cupcake store in Kansas.

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