Cupcakes have gotten very controversial in New York. On one side, you have the unicorn-loving, Hello Kitty pencil case toting types who obsess over every pastel-colored, sprinkle-covered cupcake. On the other side, you have the snarky New Yorkers who see the popularity of cupcakes as the coming of the apocalypse. Then you have the crazy ex-Disney stars doing god knows what in cupcake shop bathrooms. People need to chill and just eat ‘em when they feel like it. That’s what I do. When I get the urge, I go to Buttercup. Yes, there are fancier cupcakes shops out there, but when I eat a cupcake, I want a simple, sugary sweet reminiscent of my childhood. And yes, I also know that Magnolia and Buttercup use the same recipe (the owner of Buttercup was one of the founders of Magnolia), but I prefer Buttercup. To me, the frosting is fluffier and sweeter. If you disagree, I won’t argue. More for me. My top five Buttercup cupcakes after the jump.
5. Hummingbird ($2.50) – Although you technically could eat any of the Buttercup cupcakes for breakfast, the most “breakfasty” of the bunch is the Hummingbird, a banana and pineapple cupcake studded with pecans, small pineapple chunks, and topped with cream cheese frosting. Without the frosting, it’s almost like banana bread or an airier banana muffin with pineapples. With the frosting, it’s definitely dessert. Especially considering the fact that they are extremely generous with the frosting at Buttercup. Most of the time I’ll scrape off half the frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cream cheese frosting at Buttercup. Sugary and tangy, it’s my favorite cream cheese frosting in New York, but they just give you so much. To each his/her own, however. David always eats my excess frosting, either alone or as extra on top of his cupcake.
4. Chocolate or Vanilla Cupcake ($2.50) – The yellow cake (a.k.a. Buttercup Golden) and chocolate cake with either chocolate or vanilla icing is probably the most similar to the cupcakes of my youth. Just plain cake and sugary buttercream icing. The picture above is chocolate cake with chocolate icing, but I usually prefer yellow cake with chocolate icing just so there’s more of a balance. When I’m not in a chocolate mood, yellow cake with vanilla icing is the other go-to. Mix it up depending on your mood. Just get there early. For some reason, the yellow cake seems to have the shortest shelf life. In the mornings when the cupcakes are just made, the cake base is moist. Near closing, I’ve eaten many a dry cupcake. Freshness is the key with these babies.
3. Lemon Cupcake ($2.50) – Sometimes chocolate or vanilla won’t do. You want something lighter. Well, technically the lemon cupcake comprised of lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting probably isn’t lighter, but because of the bright lemon flavor, it tastes like it. The only caveat, the lemon also has a dry cake problem. Again, get there early.
2. “Devil Dog” ($2.50) – I was never a fan of Drake’s Devil Dogs as a child, but if they tasted like Buttercup’s “Devil Dog” cupcakes, I probably would have been. The Devil Dog is moist chocolate cake with sugar icing and a drizzle of chocolate syrup and some sprinkles for good measure. The best part is the sticky sugar icing which tastes like whipped marshmallows. It’s the only icing I don’t have a problem eating all of.
1. Red Velvet Cupcake ($2.50) – Number one has to go to the red velvet. Whenever I go to Buttercup, I always leave with at least one. Sometimes I get sick of red velvet, but even still, I’ll order one. It doesn’t make sense, but I know if I don’t, I’ll regret it later. The cake has a light cocoa flavor, and the cream cheese frosting is sweet with just the right amount of cream cheese sourness. As I mentioned previously in this post, it’s my favorite cream cheese frosting in the city, and the one I judge others against. As for the dry cake problem, the red velvet can sometimes have a problem but less likely than the yellow cake based cupcakes. Just do it, it’s a risk worth taking.
And in general, just eat the damn cupcakes. No need for all the fuss.