This week, I visited Baked By Melissa, a popular cupcake shop in New York City. The shop is known for its bite-size cupcakes and macarons. And when I say, “bite-size,” I mean it literally. Baked By Melissa’s website boasts that the cupcakes are only slightly bigger than a quarter.
Before visiting this bakery, I had heard many people raving about the cupcakes and decided to try them for myself. No one ever mentioned how small they were, so when I walked into their Fashion District location on 7th Avenue, I was shocked to see the glass case by the counter brimming with trays of doll-sized cupcakes and macarons. More curious than ever about the rave reviews, I purchased an assortment of 12 cupcakes to experience their signature flavors. By doing so, I was able to try 12 of their 13 flavors, 5 of which were limited to seasonal and monthly offerings.
The flavors in my assortment were as follows (from left to right in the photo):
-Halloween Tie-Dye (Halloween Collection)
-Pumpkin Spice (Halloween Collection)
-Cookies & Cream
-Chocolate Pretzel Crunch (Monthly flavor)
-Tie Dye Sugar Cookie (Halloween Collection)
-Chocolate Chip Pancake
-Peanut Butter & Jelly
-Cornbread Crumble (Halloween Collection)
-Triple Chocolate Fudge
The only flavor I didn’t get to try from their menu was “Mint Cookie” because I’m personally not a fan of mint chocolate.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by most of the cupcakes. At first glance, the tiny cupcakes seemed like a total rip-off and I was worried they would lack in taste. In general, the cupcakes were light and fluffy and had the perfect amount of frosting. I’m not typically a big cupcake fan because the amount of frosting is usually overwhelming and I end up eating a mouthful of frosting with a small amount of cupcake. However, maybe it was the size of these particular cupcakes, or maybe it was the craftsmanship, but I didn’t feel as if the frosting dominated the taste. Some cupcakes, like the Pumpkin Spice, did have a filling inside that was a bit overwhelming in combination with the frosting, since the cupcake was so small.
My favorite flavors out of the assortment were Chocolate Chip Pancake, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Tie Dye Sugar Cookie. The Chocolate Chip Pancake was the most interesting flavor by far. I assumed it was just going to be a vanilla cupcake with chocolate chips mixed in, but it actually took its name quite literally. As I bit into the cupcake, a subtle hint of maple syrup flavor was detected. That, combined with a less sweet, not-quite-vanilla cake flavor, made the cupcake truly taste like a traditional pancake. The Peanut Butter and Jelly was my next favorite, because it expertly combined salty and sweet, without having too much peanut butter or tasting too sugary. I think the fact that the cake was plain vanilla rather than peanut butter-flavored helped that aspect of the taste. The dollop of peanut butter and jelly on top of the cupcake really made it taste like a PBJ sandwich. The Tie Dye Sugar Cookie was a play on their original “Tie Dye” flavored cupcake. Essentially, the tie-dye flavor is a vanilla cupcake with food coloring in a tie-dye pattern. This is aesthetically pleasing and tasty on its own, but the “Tie Dye Sugar Cookie” had an added sweetness in the frosting that made it taste like a fresh baked sugar cookie. It almost tasted like the cupcake was topped with a ball of sugar cookie dough instead of frosting. What I really liked about these three cupcakes was how creative they were and outside the norm of ordinary cupcake flavors, like red velvet or chocolate. They had a surprising combination of ingredients that worked together to create a unique flavor, like the subtle maple mixed into the Chocolate Chip Pancake cupcake.
While I enjoyed a majority of the cupcakes, there were some I wouldn’t order again. The Cornbread Crumble was definitely my least favorite. It was dry and tasted like cornbread with vanilla frosting on top. Both of those strong flavors together was contradicting and made for an overwhelming taste, as I primarily noticed the sweetness of the frosting. My second least favorite was the Red Velvet. Red Velvet is usually my go-to flavor of cupcake so I was excited to try Baked By Melissa’s rendition, especially after tasting all of their other awesomely unique flavors. However, there was nothing especially noteworthy about it. The flavor of the cake was lacking, so the only thing that stood out to me was the strong sour and sweet taste of cream cheese frosting.
While Baked By Melissa’s cupcakes lacked in some of the more traditional cupcake flavors, it impressed with unique and creative concoctions that combined a variety of interesting flavors. While the bite-sized treats were cute and delicious, I don’t think I would personally choose to buy cupcakes there regularly as I would rather purchase something more substantial (each coin sized treat cost $1). However, the cupcakes are certainly fun on occasion and might make for a fun party treat, and their unique flavors are certainly worth a try.
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