The question of where to find the best cupcake in Manhattan would spark much debate among locals. Is it the famous Magnolia Bakery, with its colorful displays and delightfully sweet desserts? Or maybe you prefer Billy's in Chelsea for its satiny red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The Lower East Side's Sugar Sweet Sunshine lives up to its name with light, fluffy butter cream frosting, delicately spicy pumpkin cupcakes, and warm, friendly service. Even vegans and health-food enthusiasts aren't left out, as BabyCakes NYC uses organic ingredients and delicious alternatives to sugar and flour for all-natural tasty treats such as gluten-free vanilla cupcakes with lemon, and Macintosh apple crumb cakes. In Manhattan's chaotic world of deadlines and appointments, congested streets and tourist crowds, sometimes you just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the high of a good, old-fashioned sugar rush. Here are ten of the best places around.
With locations in Hell's Kitchen, The Village, and Chelsea Market, Amy's Bread, launched in 1992, offers much more than just cupcakes. With an extensive assortment of salads, sandwiches, tea, coffee, and of course, breads, the quaint atmosphere of Amy's will have you feeling right at home, and, just like any good, old-fashioned home, never leaving hungry. Be sure to sample the cherry cream scones and Amy's signature Semolina bread with golden raisins and fennel. Other standout specialty breads include Parmesan cheese twist and prosciutto and black pepper. And be sure to leave room for the cupcakes, particularly the moist and savory red velvet. Most of the breads are baked in the lively Chelsea Market location, but be sure to visit the Hell's Kitchen or Village location to satisfy your late night cravings, as they are both open until 11pm on select nights.
- Address: (Hell's Kitchen): 627 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY, (The Village): 250 Bleecker Street (at Leroy Street), New York, NY, (Chelsea): 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY
- Phone: (Hell's Kitchen): 212-977-2670, (The Village): 212-675-7802, (Chelsea): 212-462-4338
- Hours: (Hells Kitchen): Monday through Friday: 7:30am to 11pm, Saturday: 8am to 11pm, Sunday: 9am to 6pm, (The Village): Monday: 7:30am to 9pm, Tuesday through Friday: 7:30am to 11pm, Saturday: 8am to 11pm, Sunday: 8am to 9pm
- Subway Stop: (Hells Kitchen): A, C, E trains to Port Authority / 42nd Street, (The Village): A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains to the West 4th Station, 1 to Houston Street, (Chelsea): A, C, E, L trains to 14th Street / 8th Avenue
- Website: www.amysbread.com
Lower East Side's BabyCakes has all the standard cupcake flavors you will find at other shops around Manhattan - vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet - but with one difference: everything at BabyCakes is made without wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, and anything else unnatural and unhealthy so often found in after-dinner treats. BabyCakes' effort to cater to, as they put it on their website, 'those with persnickety diets,' has paid off: nowadays, even those us of with sugar-filled diets stop by for the occasional dairy-free chocolate cupcake. This lovely vegan bakery also offers a fantastic array of cookies, muffins, scones, and even cookie sandwiches. So whether you are vegan, lactose-intolerant, or just plain love good dessert, be sure to check out BabyCakes.
- Address: 248 Broome Street, New York, NY
- Phone: 212-677-5047
- Hours: Monday: 10am to 8pm, Tuesday through Thursday: 10am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday: 10am to 11pm, Sunday: 10am to 8pm
- Subway Stop: F, J, M, Z trains to the Essex Street / Delancy Station, B, D trains to the Grand Street Station
- Website: www.babycakesnyc.com
If you like your cupcakes moist, sugary, and served with a generous amount of gooey frosting, be sure to check out Tribeca Treats. Started by former investment banker Rachel Thebault, this colorful sweets shop showcases assorted gift cards, chocolates, cookies, and of course an assortment of standard and specialty cupcakes. Standout flavors include coconut, chocolate raspberry, and even a peanut butter and jelly cake with homemade raspberry jelly. The unique specialty cupcakes here are sure to satisfy your sweet cravings, and the colorful atmosphere will keep you coming back for more.
- Address: 94 Reade Street, New York, NY
- Phone: 212-571-0500
- Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10am to 7pm, Sunday: 12pm to 5pm
- Subway Stop: 1, 2, 3, A, C trains to Chambers Street
- Website: www.tribecatreats.com
Two Little Red Hens
Its Brooklyn Blackout and red velvet cupcakes are hands-down some of the best in the city - the former with its scrumptious dark chocolate frosting and rich, creamy chocolate filling, the second with its moist red cake and savory cream cheese topping. Located in Manhattan's Upper East Side, Manhattan's Two Little Red Hens offer cakes with a variety of creative fillings like raspberry, coconut, almond, and peach as well as the standard chocolate and vanilla. It also provides spectacular season pies, a scrumptious banana cupcake, and a warm staff eager to answer all your cupcake queries. While not as well-known as Magnolia or Sugar Sweet Sunshine, the friendly atmosphere and delicious desserts makes Two Little Red Hens one of Manhattan's top places to grab a tasty treat. And to keep coming back for more.
- Address: 1652 Second Avenue (86th St.), New York, NY
- Phone: 212-452-0476
- Hours: Monday through Friday: 7am to 8pm, Saturday: 8am to 8pm, Sunday: 8am to 6pm
- Subway Stop: 4, 5, 6 trains to the 86th Street Staion
- Website: www.twolittleredhens.com
The edible works of art at Cupcake Cafe are so delectable that it has two locations, its own cookbook, and even offers cake design classes. Its talented team of cake decorators are able to create any cake you desire, and past highlights include cakes designed as sneakers, typewriters, merry-go-rounds, and even hamburgers and hot dogs. Its melt-in-your-mouth butter cream frosting is served in such flavors as chocolate, lemon, orange, and maple walnut. Cupcake Cafe is also known for its exquisite flower artwork, and no two cakes are the same. Each regular-sized cupcake comes with one beautiful flower. You can also choose between two different cupcake sizes, and whether you want your cupcake refrigerated or served room temperature. The cafe's Flatiron neighborhood location is attached to a children's bookstore, creating a light, whimsical ambience, the ideal stage for some of the most beautiful floral cakes in the city.
- Address: (Flatiron): 18 West 18th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue, New York, NY, (Theater District): 545 9th Avenue, New York, NY
- Phone: (Flatiron ): 212-465-1530, (Theater District): 212-465-1530
- Hours: (Flatiron): Monday through Saturday: 9am to 8m, Sunday: 9am to 7pm, (Theater District): Monday through Friday: 7am to 7pm, Saturday: 8am to 7pm, Sunday: 9am to 7pm
- Subway Stop: (Flatiron): F, L, V trains to 14th Street / 6th Avenue, (Theater District): A, C, E trains to 42nd Street / Port Authority, 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, W, S, 7 trains to 42nd Street / Times Square
- Website: www.cupcakecafe-nyc.com
Crumbs Bake Shop
The Upper West Side's Crumbs Bake Shop treats the art of baking cupcakes precisely as what it is - art. Its 50+ varieties of cupcakes can be delivered right to your home and showcase some of the most elegant designs you will ever see in frosting. Crumbs is the place to go in Manhattan for creative, specialty cupcakes, with flavors ranging from smores and Reeses' peanut butter cup to raspberry swirl and caramel apple. Be prepared to dish out some dough here, as one cupcake goes for $3.75. However, they more than make up for this with their sheer size, one cupcake is enough to satisfy two hungry customers. Most of them also include a delightfully surprising creamy filling. If consuming an enormous mass of sugary sweetness seems a bit intimidating for your first order, Crumbs also offers a selection of 12 taste-size or six classic-size cupcakes (about the size of a normal supermarket cupcake) sure to satisfy the sweet tooth in all of us - that is, if you can bring yourself to destroy their beautiful exteriors.
- Address: 321 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY
- Phone: 212-712-9800
- Hours: Monday and Tuesday 7:30am to 9pm, Wednesday and Thursday: 7:30am to 10pm, Friday: 7:30am to 10:30pm, Saturday: 8:30am to 10:30pm, Sunday: 8:30am to 9pm
- Subway Stop: 1, 2, 3, B, C trains to 72nd Street
- Website: www.crumbs.com
Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
This retro bakeshop opened in 2003 and has since gained a reputation for what is called around Manhattan 'cupcake perfection.' Walking through its doors is like stepping into a 1960s hang out, complete with a fantastic array of tasty treats. Standouts include the light, fluffy pistachio cupcake, the 'ooey gooey' cupcake with chocolate almond butter cream, and the sunshine -- a yellow cake with vanilla butter cream frosting that is, surprisingly, not too sweet. At $1.50 each, these cupcakes are also some of the most affordable. With outside seating, a coffee menu, and a banana pudding to rival any in the city, Sugar Sweet Sunshine cordially invites you to stop by and taste what everyone is talking about.
- Address: 126 Rivington Street, New York, NY
- Phone: 212-995-1960
- Hours: Monday through Thursday: 8am to 10pm, Friday: 8am to 11pm, Saturday: 10am to 11pm, Sunday: 10am to 7pm. Sugar Sweet Sunshine reserves the right to close early, so if you are planning on visiting late, it's a good to call
- Subway Stop: F train to Delancey
- Website: www.sugarsweetsunshine.com
With locations in West Chelsea and Tribeca, Billy's Bakery goes out of its way to make guests feel at home as they watch its bakers create some of the tastiest desserts to ever tickle their taste buds. With its 1940s-style decor and use of only the freshest ingredients, Billy's transports guests back to a time when the kitchen was the center of the family, evoking feelings of warmth and security as scents of fresh cakes and homemade pies slowly invade their nostrils. Be sure to sample as many specialty cupcakes as you can, including the red velvet, banana, and coconut; and while you're here, why not take your pick of the many layer cakes, cookies, pies, and even breakfast items? And to wash it all down, Billy's also offers coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. So come in, sit down, and let the homemade treats and nostalgic atmosphere bring you back to a time of family dinners, genuine congeniality, and good, old-fashioned dessert.
- Address: (Chelsea): 184 9th Avenue, New York, NY, (Tribeca): 75 Franklin Street, New York, NY
- Phone: (Chelsea ): 212-647-9956, (Tribeca): 212-647-9958
- Hours: (Chelsea): Monday through Thursday: 8:30am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday: 8:30am to 12am, Sunday: 9am to 10pm, (Tribeca): Monday through Friday: 7am to 9pm, Saturday: 9am to 9pm, Sunday: 10am to 5pm
- Subway Stop: (Chelsea): C, E, 1 trains to 23rd Street, (Tribeca ): 6, N, Q, R, W, A, C, E, J, M, Z to Canal Street, 1 to Franklin Street
- Website: www.billysbakerynyc.com
Buttercup Bake Shop
With lavender, pale yellow, bright pink, and electric green frosting illuminating from the windows, the homey scent of cakes just out of the oven, and service as sweet as its desserts, the quaint atmosphere of Buttercup Bake Shop is enough to lure even the most hardened New Yorker. Started by long-time baker and original Magnolia co-owner Jennifer Appel in August 1999, this delightful bakery has won awards from New York Press, Time Out New York, and others, and has been featured in magazines such as "Entertainment Weekly", "Cosmopolitan", and the Wall Street Journal. The mouth-watering menu showcases signature cupcakes such as German chocolate, lemon, and red velvet, as well as a variety of layer cakes, cheesecakes, and seasonal pies. Don't leave without sampling the very popular banana pudding here, so you can decide for yourself whether Buttercup or Magnolia's is at the top of the list. With such tasty, colorful concoctions and a staff with a pure passion for baking, just try to leave Buttercup Bake Shop without a smile on your face.
- Address: (East Side): 973 2nd Avenue, New York, NY, (West Side): 141 West 72nd Street, New York, NY
- Phone: (East Side ): 212-350-4144, (West Side): 212-787-3800
- Hours: (East Side): Monday through Friday: 8am to 10pm, Saturday: 10am to 10pm, Sunday: 10am to 7:pm, (West Side): Monday through Wednesday: 8am to 8pm, Thursday and Friday: 8am to 10pm, Saturday: 9am to 10pm, Sunday: 11am to 8pm
- Subway Stop: (East Side): 6, E, V trains to Lexington-3rd Avenue / 51st Street, (West Side): 1, 2, 3 trains to 72nd Street, B, C trains to 72nd Street / Central Park South
- Website: www.buttercupbakeshop.com
With three locations throughout the city, Magnolia Bakery just may be the best-known place to get a cupcake in all of Manhattan. Featured on an episode of 'Sex and the City,' you'll know you're there when you see lines of eager sugar-seekers winding around the block, all pining away for Magnolia's scrumptious assortment of specialty cupcakes, brownies, and cheesecakes. Popular items include the yummy red velvet cupcake, the summery, sweet coconut layer cake, and a highly sought-after banana pudding, made with vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers, and fresh bananas. Entering Magnolia is like entering a room in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory - right-minded adults enter trance-like states as they jest and elbow their way to this shining Mecca of vanilla frosting, caramel cream cheese, and Dutch cocoa. With people waiting in line through scathing humidity, freezing rain, and biting wind, you know Magnolia is doing something right.
- Address: (Downtown): 401 Bleecker Street, New York, NY, (Rockefeller Center): 1240 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, (Uptown): 200 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY
- Phone: (Downtown): 212-462-2572, (Rockefeller Center): 212-767-1123, (Uptown): 212-724-8101
- Hours: (Downtown): Sunday through Thursday: 9am to 11:30pm, Friday and Saturday: 9am to 12:30am, (Rockefeller Center): Monday through Thursday: 7am to 10pm, Friday: 7am to 12am, Saturday: 8am to 12am, Sunday: 8am to 10pm, (Uptown): Sunday through Thursday
- Subway Stop: (Downtown): 1 train to Christopher Street, A, C, E, L trans to 14th Street /8th Ave, (Rockefeller Center): B, D, F, V trains to 47th-50th Streets / Rockefeller Center, N, R, W trains to 49th Street / 7th Ave., (Uptown): 1 train to 66th Street
- Website: www.magnoliabakery.com