Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quest for the Best: Sweet Revenge Review

Location: 62 Carmine Street, NY, NY

Website: Sweet Revenge

Price: Cupcakes are $3.50 each

Atmosphere: Sweet Revenge is set up like a tiny bistro/café. In addition to their cupcakes, they offer a small selection of sandwiches, salads, breakfast options, and other eats. They also have a selection of beer and wine available, and will help you pair your drink with a cupcake that compliments it. There are only a couple of tables and some bar seating, so if you want to enjoy a treat and a cocktail on site, get there early.

My Review: With a name as awesome as “Sweet Revenge,” I was expecting something more from the cupcakes they offer. They’re not bad, but they are a bit disappointing. When you get them to go, as I did, the staff pops each cake into an individual plastic cup with lid, which I thought was both a clever way to prevent smushing in a bakery box and a horrible waste of plastic. Their signature cupcake, conveniently called Sweet Revenge, is a peanut butter cake with a bit of chocolate ganache filling, topped with peanut buttercream frosting. I’ve had plenty of peanut butter-inspired cakes before, but never one where the cake itself was peanut butter, so kudos to whoever came up with that concept. If only it tasted as good as it sounds. The cake part was too dry, and there wasn’t enough ganache filling to compliment the peanut butter taste of both the cake and the frosting. The frosting—the best part of any cake, in my opinion—was tasty and not overwhelmingly peanut-y, but was a bit too sugary and runny, rather than thick and creamy.

Their version of red velvet cake, called Crimson & Cream, is a raspberry infused cake with a cream cheese frosting. I’m not a huge fan of adding fruits to cakes, but if you like raspberry, you’ll probably enjoy this one more than I did. Again, the cake part was too dry for my liking, and the frosting tasted like basic vanilla, lacking any of the snap that cream cheese frosting has. Also on their menu is a cupcake simply named Dirty, which is a chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting, but I opted for the Not So Dirty, which is the same cake but with a milk chocolate frosting. This was the best of the three flavors I sampled; the cake wasn’t as dry and the frosting had a very true chocolate flavor, but was still too runny for my liking.

When popping the first cupcake out of its individual cup I wondered how I was supposed to eat it, since it almost immediately began to crumble in my hand. But I pressed on, and in about two minutes found myself covered in crumbs with overly soft frosting covering my hand. The other two I attacked with a fork, which worked better, but the entire point of a cupcake is that it’s a treat you can easily hold and eat on the go. If I wanted to dirty up a plate and fork, I would just get a slice of a regular cake.

Bottom Line: I give Sweet Revenge credit for having a great name, clever cupcake flavors, and a unique gimmick in their offering of cake and booze pairings. But when it comes down to the cupcakes themselves, I prefer ones with moister cake and thicker frosting that won’t fall to pieces in my hand. And lord knows in this city, there is no lack of places to find cake like that.

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