Over the past decade, the popularity of cupcakes has waxed and waned, flaring up a bit when a new bakery opens and dipping when über trendy desserts like the Cronut hit the scene at NYC's donut shops or when macarons were deemed “the new cupcake.” But whether they’re on-trend or not, we’ll always crave the satisfaction supplied by a moist, single-serving cake topped with a flourish of decadent icing. When that craving hits, we head to one of these sweet spots for the best cupcakes in NYC.
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Try the best cupcakes in NYC
Chocoholics will agree that the cocoa-on-cocoa cupcake at this venerable Upper East Side bakery is the city’s best. Dense, fudgy cake gets a luxurious cap of smooth chocolate frosting—and a sprinkle of chocolate cake crumbs, just for good measure.
Coming in on the Blackout’s heels is this fluffy specimen from beloved Red Hook bakery Baked. Capitalizing on the sweet-and-salty combination, the cap of this chocolate cupcake boasts equally airy chocolate frosting that’s generously sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
This East Village bakeshop whips up divine cupcakes in fun flavors such as raspberry-topped vanilla, strawberry-topped chocolate and the Elvis, a peanut butter–frosted banana cupcake. That’s a tried-and-true combo, but we like the moist banana cupcake topped with sweet, smooth caramel frosting even more.
This cozy Washington, D.C. import brings tasty—and adorable—cupcakes to NYC’s Soho. Their signature red-velvet cupcake, crowned with a dome of not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, is the way to go here.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this three-location, two-decade-strong bakery; it’s not just the bread that’s good here. Exhibit A? Amy’s rich devil’s food cupcake, topped with a swirl of smooth, super-chocolatey frosting and Crayola-bright sprinkles—these mini cakes make us feel like a kid again.
This quaint Williamsburg shop charms sweet-tooths with a wall of bulk candies in old-fashioned glass jars and a tempting cupcake selection in cheery flavors such as cookie dough, mint-and-chocolate grasshopper, and the Everything, whose frosting cap is stuffed with candies and pretzels. Our favorite is the simple but moist and nutty pistachio-on-pistachio, in a cool shade of pastel green.
The cupcake scene has gotten a lot more crowded since Magnolia’s Sex and the City-spurred ascent to superstardom in the ’90s, but this Bleecker Street favorite still holds its own. Combining the shop’s two most popular—and decadent—desserts, the banana pudding cupcake can only be ordered ahead, but it's easily the bakery’s best. A light vanilla cake filled with banana curd and topped with banana cream and a crunchy vanilla wafer, it’s a slamdunk.
This hidden-away Ridgewood gem is one of the city’s best-kept cupcake secrets. Offering a mix of classic (red velvet, lemon curd) and trendy (salted caramel, cookies ‘n’ cream) flavors, its most enticing cupcake is the coconut cream, a moist vanilla cake piped with plenty of rich vanilla frosting and finished with a generous shower of sweet flaked coconut.
This Chi-town import is deservedly beloved for its signature filled cupcakes hiding soft centers of ganache, fruit curds and more. Its craveable crème brûlée cupcake is a soft vanilla cake filled with delicate burnt caramel custard, with an unusual frosting-free dome of crackly caramelized sugar and fresh berries.
Opened by one of Magnolia Bakery’s founding partners, this adorably old-fashioned bakery courses with cupcake knowledge. Its bright, festive cupcakes channel childhood nostalgia, in mostly-classic flavors like double vanilla, double chocolate and lemon. Our favorite is the slightly more of-the-times salted caramel, a dulce de leche cake swirled with caramel buttercream and crunchy flakes of sea salt.