Thursday, May 20, 2010

Crumbs - Upper West Side

Last night I intended to visit the Buttercup Bake Shop on the Upper West Side after a journey to discover whether the UWS could manage a decent bowl of pho. (The answer is: half-decent, at least.) Unfortunately, by the time I finished my meal and walked down to the Buttercup Bake Shop, it was a minute from closing. Not wanting to be that person, I decided to leave it for another day and make an official visit to Crumbs a few blocks away.

I have good memories of visiting the Crumbs location in the Village early in my days of living in New York. The UWS Crumbs has a cute, quirky appearance—though "quirky" also involves some chairs that feel a little less than stable. The girl at the counter was particularly pleasant and ready with warm smiles to answer any of my questions. Since I knew coming in that I wanted a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, I didn't have any. (I'm such an easy sell.) But onto the good part.

The Cake. Crumbs makes excellent cake. Both times I've had it, it's been moist and light with just a touch of sweetness. Frosting is always the focus of sweetness in a cupcake, so you have to be careful that the cake itself isn't too sweet, or your palate is just going to be overwhelmed with sugar. (And, despite reports to the contrary, even I have limits on sugar.) Crumbs cake is happily balanced: not too bland, not too sweet. A-

The Frosting. Crumbs uses cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream, and they tend to pile it fairly high. It's a very rich, dense frosting and has that particular hint of flavor common to cream cheese based desserts. I'll admit that it's not a hint I'm always fond of—I'm not a fan of cheesecake for that very reason. It's light enough that I still enjoyed it, with the hint staying in the background of the flavoring. The sweetness of the frosting is maybe just a touch overwhelming, but not enough that I was put off. I do think it's rich enough that they don't have to pile quite so much on top, though. B-

Final grade: B

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