Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quest for the Best: Crumbs Bake Shop Review

Location: Various locations in NY, NJ, CT, and CA

Website: Crumbs Bake Shop

Price: Cupcakes are $2.95-$3.75 each

Atmosphere: Each Crumbs location is a bit different, with some offering tables for immediate snacking, and some being strictly grab ‘n go. The feel is traditional bakery, with glass cases that display their parade of colorful and unique treats.

My Review: There isn’t much to say about Crumbs’ cupcakes since they fall firmly in the “not bad, but not remarkable” category. The major difference between them and other cupcakes on offer in the city are the fact that they’re at least double the size, making sharing them with someone else easy. And since you’re sharing, you can sample more flavors, and there is certainly no shortage of flavors to try.

Other than generous sizes, Crumbs offers over two dozen varieties of cupcakes, from traditional Chocolate and Vanilla, to the inventive Caramel Apple and Oreo, to the “does that even taste good?” Cotton Candy and Fluffernutter. There are even seasonal flavors, like the Key Lime and Chocolate Covered Strawberry currently available for the spring. With the myriad of unique flavors, you’ll want to buy a six-pack to divide up and create a cupcake sampling party. Then you’ll probably deem them “not bad” and continue getting cupcakes from your regular go-to place.

The major disappointment in Crumbs’ cupcakes is the frosting. Most of the frostings are advertised as flavored variations of their traditional cream cheese frosting, but they taste nothing like cream cheese. The Peanut Butter Cup is chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, which tastes more like vanilla frosting with just a hint of PB. The Vanilla/Chocolate is vanilla cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, that tastes just like the chocolate frosting you get from a jar, bringing back memories of elementary school birthday party cupcakes. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but why go to a bakery for something you can (and probably have) so easily make yourself at home? The biggest disappointment was their Red Velvet, which should be topped with a cream cheese frosting that has a bit of a bite to it. But like the others, it just tastes like basic vanilla and left me wanting to go to any of the other bakeries in the city for a “real” red velvet cupcake.

Bottom Line: If it’s variety, unique flavors, and generous portions you’re looking for, then Crumbs is a good place to check out. Then once you’ve done that, you’ll wonder what makes their cupcakes special, realize the answer is “nothing”, and continue to seek better cupcakes elsewhere.

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