Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quest for the Best: Batch Review

Location: 150B West 10th Street, NY, NY

Website: Batch

Price: Cupcakes are $2.95 each

Atmosphere: Tiny, hole-in-the-wall bakery. There really isn’t any seating to speak of, so it’s definitely grab ‘n go.

My Review: Ever since that infamous episode of Sex and the City when Carrie and Miranda sat their bony butts outside of Magnolia Bakery and pretended to eat cupcakes (you will never convince me that either of those women have ever actually had a cupcake), New Yorkers have been obsessed over these tiny treats. Magnolia is still probably the most popular cupcake spot, with customers lining up around the block during peak hours, but there’s something that most New Yorkers are reluctant to admit: Magnolia’s cupcakes are good, but not great. The candy-colored buttercream frosting is delicious, but the actual cake part is rather dry and crumbly, so I was pretty sure there had to be better options out there.

And – dare I say it? – Batch does bake a better cupcake. Not only does it offer a wider variety of flavors, but even the traditional vanilla and chocolate are superior to what Magnolia offers. The dragon devil’s food cupcake is basically what a chocolate-lover’s Heaven must be like. The cake is an incredibly moist dark chocolate with a gooey caramel center (each Batch cupcake has a flavored center of some kind). The chocolate frosting tastes just like a melted chocolate bar, and I mean a high-quality chocolate bar, none of that Hersheys crap is being used here. My friend had the vanilla bean option, which is a vanilla bean cake, with vanilla bean filling, topped with vanilla bean buttercream (picking up on the theme here?). She claimed it tasted just like dipping into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream. And she loves her some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

I also gave a couple of the less traditional flavors a try. The carrot salted caramel cupcake was very tasty and unique. The carrot cake was moist and delicious, and totally raisin-free (whoever decided to sully good carrot cake with the addition of gross raisin was clearly mentally handicapped). It’s topped with a creamy caramel frosting and a sprinkling of sea salt, which creates an odd, yet wonderful, blend of salty and sweet. I didn’t care too much for the filling, which is a lime and cream cheese blend. It was mild, so it wasn’t too offensive, but I think the cake would work better with the caramel filling used in the dragon devil’s food.

I also tried the velvet, which is Batch’s version of red velvet cake. Rather than using artificial coloring to make their cake red, they use actual strawberries, so it has a sweet berry taste to it. The filling on this one is chocolate fudge, which works wonderfully with the strawberry cake. It’s topped with a cream cheese frosting, which is just mildly tangy and not at all overwhelming like some cream cheese frostings can be.

Bottom Line: Batch makes one hell of a good cupcake and is totally worth the trip to the West Village. They also have an impressive display of cookies, brownies, puddings, and other tasty goodies if cupcakes aren’t your thing. And if cupcakes aren’t really your thing, you have bigger problems than where to find good desserts.

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