Cupcakes: we all love them, we’re all slightly sick of them, and we will never refuse them. Lots of cupcake chains have passed in and out of this city, some doing better than others as a result of catching the trend at the right time and also landing the right piece of real estate. Larchmont has two very different cupcake shops that are nearly on the same Eastside block South of Beverly: Crumbs and BabycakesNYC. Both are New York small cake makers on different scales and with different audiences. As we passed the two, we wondered where people typically flock to as both establishments appeared to attract the same amount of customers. Thus, a Cupcake Battle was born.
The two are very different cupcakeries: Crumbs is a boutique, Upper West Side born cupcake shop that specializes in gaudy cupcakes with a distinct “Crumbs” taste; Babycakes is a Lower East Side born wheat-, dairy-, gluten-, and more-free bakeshop that makes everything from cupcakes to donuts. Crumbs’ appeal lies more with the Cool Mom Post Country Club demographic while Babycakes aligns with Hipster With Money In Larchmont. They both are very successful and each have more than just these Los Angeles brand extensions. To attempt some sort of comparison (which is nearly impossible and, admittedly, a little forced), we went in and got one chocolate based cupcake and one vanilla based cupcake from each establishment. Let’s see how they faired…
Flavor: Brownie, “chocolate cake filled and frosted with chocolate fudge, drizzled with chocolate and topped with our walnut brownie bites.”
Look: The photo directly above doesn’t do a good job of illustrating this but the photo at top does: Crumbs cupcakes are HUGE. H U G E. Like, it was so big we could have feast on it for a week. The cupcake is very, very elaborate with chocolate frosting and chocolate drizzling AND brownie. The embellishments are seemingly unending. The cupcake also has a weird, slightly trapezoidal head.
Taste: Super fucking decadent. Like, chocolate ecstasy. It’s like the chocolate cake your mom would make for you when you went through that chocolate lovers phase of your childhood. Eating this I felt like Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda, when he has to eat the chocolate cake.
Other Notes: This was amazing.
Flavor: Chocolate, “with rich chocolate or creamy vanilla frosting (gluten-free or spelt).”
Look: Very discrete cupcake, unlike the over-designed Crumbs cake. It’s small and has a little topping of white (vanilla) frosting with four-ish chocolate chips sprinkled on it. It’s very demure and understated, which is quite emblematic of the brand.
Taste: There is a very strong brownie flavor to the cupcake, which is delightful. The frosting is nice, too, but was a bit runny. The thing about gluten free pastries is that they are somewhat grainy. This cake narrowly escaped that grainy finish but, sadly, it still had it. It’s still the best cupcake within this demographic that I’ve ever had!
Other Notes: I think I missed the chocolate chips, somehow.
Flavor: Cookie Dough, “vanilla cake with chocolate fudge filling covered in our signature vanilla cream cheese frosting mixed with soft chocolate chip cookie pieces and topped with a chocolate chip cookie.”
Look: Like the Brownie, this is a huge cupcake. The frosting is white with some specks and topped with a cookie. The fact that you could see the “Crumbs Bake Shop” logo on the cupcake paper was a nice touch.
Taste: Nothing like cookie dough, sadly. It did taste a lot like vanilla! It was disappointing that it didn’t live up to it’s name; however, it was good. This one tasted more distinctly “Crumbs” and was very sweet.
Other Notes: Was not true to flavor at all and I’m still bummed about it. It was good, though!
Flavor: Vanilla, “with zesty lemon or creamy vanilla frosting (gluten-free or spelt).”
Look: This cupcake was the smallest and was having the most trouble. It’s soft pink frosting was sweating, she kept leaving little sweat stains wherever you placed her, and her little white flower embellishment was doing her best to keep it together. Aside from this, it was pretty!
Taste: Lemony, surprisingly. When we ate them, we didn’t know it had the lemon frosting, which was quite surprising and masks all of the vanilla flavor. The frosting made for the cupcake to be very moist but, like the chocolate, it too fell into the grainy trap.
Other Notes: This was the little cupcake that could!
Crumbs: Both of these cupcakes were over-the-top in size and taste and were like a machine gun of soft, sweet bullets attacked your mouth for ten minutes and left you feeling guilty and covered in a dry stickiness.
BabycakesNYC: These had the almost opposite reaction since they were so raw and natural. They’re good but not necessarily our forte since they were a six out of ten on the indulgence scale. Also, they cost $9 for the two (which we get why they cost that much but, still, that’s a lot).
Winner?: Both!/Neither! They were both good in their own ways and bad in their own ways but neither really wowed or failed. They’re both great! Like their audiences, they are both totally distinct from each other and, in their own way, necessary. Personally, I lean toward Crumbs as they are the definition of unadulterated indulgence and I can only take gluten-free anything for so long. The takeaway? If you are having a party for a culinarily diverse crowd, hit both of these places to please your group: everyone will walk away with smiles!