Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan Cupcakes

yum alert - mini cupcakes from Baked By Melissa in Soho


Restaurants & Bars 6

yum alert - mini cupcakes from Baked By Melissa in Soho

thegirlnextdoor | Mar 27, 2009 03:05 PM

I was minding my own business, shopping in Soho today, when I pass a line of more than dozen people all leading up to a little window in a wall. I get closer and realized this closet-sized establishment is called Baked by Melissa (on Spring Street between Mercer and Broadway), and their sole fare is miniature cupcakes.

So although I've already bought macarons from Ceci-Cela, I stand in line. The line doesn't move very quickly, as it turns out, because the girl who works the window has to climb up on a stepladder and retrieve each mini-cupcake from racks stacked to the ceiling behind her. What a work out.

The question those of us in line had was how small are these things and how many should I buy? The minimum purchase is 3 for $3. Then it's 6 for $5.25 and 12 for $10. I decided on the dozen, so I could try all the flavors I wanted to, and have leftovers for City Guy.

Of the seven flavors (S'mores, Peanut Butter Cup, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Red Velvet, Tye-Dye, and Cookie Dough) I tried five (skipped the Tie-dye and Peanut Butter & Jelly), and let me tell you, as I type, I am experiencing a truly great sugar high. I'd say four or five of these things make one regular size cupcake. As a snack for one person, the three is perfect. For two people, the six is good, but if you're hungry go for the 12.

The genius of the thing is the cake to frosting ratio, which is very high. All of the cupcakes except the Tye-dye and Red Velvet have injections of filling into the middle. The cake is very moist and blends well with the flavorful frosting, and someone has obviously put a lot of thought into how to evoke the quintessential flavors of each cupcake--the s'mores have the graham cracker bit stuck in the middle, the peanut butter cup has a strong peanut buttery frosting, sticky cookie dough is injected into the middle of and tops off the cookie dough cupcake, the red velvet has a white cream cheese frosting that evokes homemade, the cookies and cream has Oreo bits on the top and the white frosting tastes like Oreo filling.

My favorites were the S'mores (check out the graham cracker bit laced with marshmallows in the chocolate ganache frosting) and the Cookie Dough (the yellow cupcake to its right, both injected and topped with a dollop of cookie dough), but they were all really good.

Someone who works in the area says the window is only a few weeks old. Maybe one of you knows better. In case you're wondering where they fit the oven in the crawl space of a store, the girl at the window says the bakery is in a separate location downstairs. You can also order in bulk (100+), but you have to order in advance.

Cupcake and window photos are on my blog.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound