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» Pale Yellow

Cream together butter and sugar until pale yellow.

Epic Day of Sweets

Tracy Byrne

This day started with vision and a plan.  The day ended with sore feet, full bellies, sweaty skin, and a triumphant sense of accomplishment.  Ten hours, 8 dessert spots, 4 subway lines, 2 ferries, and miles of walking - completely do-able!  I've joked about doing a cupcake crawl for awhile now and my friend Lynn's visit over Labor Day weekend seemed like the perfect excuse.  The spots listed here are a bit biased based on my own past experiences and my desire to try out some new places.  The one thing I realized on this dessert crawl was how many places I missed!  Here is a recount of our journey:

1. Juniors -  386 Flatbush Ave Ext, Brooklyn, NY - Strawberry Cheesecake

We started here because I knew we could get a delicious breakfast that would keep us going the whole day.  Girls cannot survive on sweets alone!  Breakfast started with a basket of mini pastries that were sweet and just the right start.  There was a couple of cinnamon ones, cheese filled danishes, and nut filled danishes.  For dessert we split a slice of the strawberry cheesecake.  Juniors definitely houses my favorite cheesecake in NYC and this sample was no exception!  The cheesecake portion is rich and creamy, the strawberries fresh and sweet, and instead of a traditional graham crust, there is a flaky pastry crust.  If you want the best cheesecake in NYC go to Juniors!

2. Ample Hills Creamery - 623 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY - Salted Crack Caramel, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Sweet Cream & Cookie Ice Creams

You know when you hear something and then you hear about it 10 times in a week?  That was Ample Hills.  My roommate mentioned it, someone at my ice cream making class mentioned, it was everywhere!  I have to admit, although the flavors are very creative and interesting, I was a little disappointed.  I thought the ice creams were a little icy and could be creamier.  However, the flavors were really intense, almost too intense.  The salted crack caramel tasted as though the caramel was burnt and the Mexican hot chocolate was really spicy.  Although spicy, it was addicting and the flavor was well balanced.  Lynn ordered the sweet cream & cookie and thought there were perfect chunks of chocolate but also too watery.  If you're in Prospect Heights, I would recommend hitting up Ample Hills, it's good, but not great.

3. Butter Lane Cupcakes (Brooklyn location) - 240 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY - Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting, Vanilla Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

I have been to Butter Lane multiple times and have even taken their cupcake class.  The frosting at Butter Lane is one of the best American buttercreams I've ever eaten!  It is perfectly sweet and flavorful.  The cake is a little dense for my liking.  Bakery cupcakes are not my favorite, but Butter Lane is one of the best I've had.  The cakes were both moist and simple.  The salted caramel buttercream is sweet, but outstanding!  You can't beat salted caramel, it tastes good on everything!

4. Baked - 359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY - Pistachio Cupcake, Sweet & Salty Cupcake, Brownie

I'm not going to lie here, going into this epic day of eating, Baked was my favorite bakery.  Ending this epic day of eating, Baked is still my favorite bakery!  Lynn said the atmosphere was the best of the day!  I tried their brownie for the first time and it was amazing, or as I wrote on my note sheet - Amazeballs!  The brownie was fudgy, yet not dense.  The textures and flavors you expect from a brownie were all perfectly there.  The sweet and salty cupcake was fabulous - moist, chocolaty, and with delightful salt on top.  This my friends, is the best. cupcake. ever!  The pistachio cupcake was pretty fantastic too.  The cupcake is not overly sweet and the frosting is light and tastes just like roasted pistachios.  Baked is totally worth the trip out to Red Hook.  You can walk, go by car, or take the ferry, just do it, treat yourself!

5. Kumquat Cupcakery at Smorgasburg at the Brooklyn Flea (Sundays only) - Red Velvet Cupcake, Bacon Cupcake, Blueberry Cupcake

Kumquat Cupcakery is a place after my own heart!  They only sell at the Brooklyn Flea and through custom orders.  Places like Kumquat inspire me and show how it is possible to follow your dream without having an actual bakery.  Their cupcakes were awesome!  I, like most folks, love a miniature cupcake! Mini cupcakes are so much easier to eat and they come with so little guilt.  The cupcakes were excellent!  Despite having made bacon cupcakes several times myself, I have never tried someone else's bacon cupcakes before.  These bacon cupcakes had an intense flavor and the perfect balance of maple, crunch from the bacon, and depth of flavor.  The blueberry cupcake tasted a lot like breakfast and had exceptionally tasty cream cheese frosting.  I most definitely want to try more of these bacon cupcakes!  The red velvet cupcakes were too sweet and subpar.  When in Brooklyn on the weekends, you must hit up the Brooklyn Flea and get yourself some cupcakes!

Lunch - Lynn - Choncho's Tacos - Fish Tacos

After walking all over Brooklyn and using 2 different ferries, Lynn and I were feeling tired.  Luckily Smorgsburg had some great savory snacks as well as the sweet stuff.  Lynn chose Baja fish tacos and said they had a nice blend of flavors and the lime really brought out the fish.  Just look how good the taco looks!

Tracy - Landhaus - Grilled BLT

I did not go for the light and healthy option, I went for the BLT!  Baked may have had the best sweet of the day, but Landhaus had the best savory of the day.  This was the BLT to end all BLTs, the tomato was fresh and thickly cut, the bacon was more pork belly that was thick and meaty, the bread toasted and crispy, and there was the perfect amount of mayo to tie it all together.  I want another BLT now.

6. Levain Bakery - 167 W. 74th, New York, NY - Chocolate Chip Cookie with Walnuts

There is only one picture of this cookie - why? We each took a giant bite and then quickly put it on our plastic container to take home.  And yes, we traveled the day with our own plastic containers to take home leftovers!  Levain Bakery has hands down, the best cookie ever.  Somehow they are always warm and freshly baked.  The cookie is moist, crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside, gooey, and complex.    If you're ever on the UWS and are on your way to Central Park, please stop and get yourself a cookie!

7. Baked by Melissa (UWS location) - 2325 Broadway, New York, NY - Various Mini Cupcakes

I've had Baked by Melissa a couple of times and they are fun and cute.  Perfect for a little gift or for when you just don't know what to bring to a party.  Here is a quick list of all the cupcakes we tried, all 6 of the them!  Chocolate peanut butter - nice and peanut buttery.  Cinnamon - BAD!  Too sweet and way too much cinnamon.  Tye die - tasted like a box mix, too sweet.  Mint chocolate - the best cupcake there, moist chocolate cake, rich, minty, and delicious!  Cookie dough - very rich, toothsome.  Double cookie - has an angel food cake base, cookies and cream frosting, and a piece of cookie dough on top, good, but very sweet.

8. Il Laboratorio del Gelato - 188 Ludlow St, New York, NY - Lime, Rosemary, Banana Chocolate Chip, and Fresh Black Mission Fig Gelato

The instructor at my ice cream making class raved about this place so I wanted to include it in the epic day of eating.  The gelato here is no joke - it's fantastic!  Despite the poor atmosphere according to Lynn, it's the best gelato she has ever had!  After a day of eating sweets, it was great to have a rich, silky treat that was flavorful but not overly sweet.  The lime tasted like lime zest and the rosemary was surprisingly excellent.  Both had the flavor you would expect, but just more so.  The banana chocolate chip and the fresh mission fig were fresh and delightful.  I really enjoyed the taste and trying something different.  As an unknown bonus, Il Laboratorio del Gelato is right next to Katz's Deli, so you can totally have what she is having!

All opinions are my own and Lynn's.  If you have a differing opinion, please comment below and share your thoughts!  That's it, we're full!