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Huntington's Best Cupcake Makers

The popularity of cupcakes is enormous. Critical judging pits Cupcake Gourmet, Crumbs and Reinwald’s Bakery against one another. And the winner is ,,,

Cupcakes, hand-size bites of delight, are big business today,

Just look at Crumbs. The national chain, sells 1.5 million a month through 35 stores, including one in Huntington. And don’t forget the Food Channel’s “Cupcake Wars” show.

Some trace the popularity of cupcakes to the cup-cake indulging characters of the popular HBO series and film “Sex And The City.”  Others link it to the debut of New York’s Magnolia Bakery in 1996.

Huntington residents certainly appear to crave these diet busters.

We can shop for them at Crumb on Wall Street, at Cupcake Gourmet in an alley off Wall Street and at Reinwald’s Bakery on New York Avenue.

And today, it’s not just cupcakes flavored with chocolate, vanilla or strawberry.  Cupcake specialists offer dozens of flavors, many of them stuffed with fudge or other goodies. Reinwald’s variety is more abridged.

Fist-sized cupcakes sell for $3.75 at Crumbs, while more-traditionally sized ones at Crumbs and Reinwald's sell for $2.75 and $2.55 each, respectively.

Who makes the best? I set out recently to find out.

I purchased three cupcakes at each shop recently – a vanilla, a chocolate and a top seller. At the cupcake-only shops, which stock a multitude of flavors, red velvet cupcakes are bestsellers.  At Reinwald’s, I was told, the cookies and cream has the most appeal.

Helping me judge was a panel of sweets lovers (my adult kids, one an advanced amateur baker and cake decorator).  We judged appearance, shape, size, and crust, proportion of frosting to cake, color, texture, moisture, flavor and the consistency, flavor and taste of the icing. 

If you’re just casually scarfing down a cupcake, you probably won’t notice any differences. But judging them critically found both good points and flaws in our samples.

Many tasted dry.  We had no way of knowing how fresh these samples were. Tasters generally gave the highest overall marks to Reinwald’s, with two top finishers,  largely because of the decorating, creamy frostings and overall flavor and appearance. Crumbs, our No. 2, fared well with its chocolate and vanilla versions. Cupcake Gourmet came up short;  some tasters said the cakes reminded them of Play Dough or tasted like sugar cookies.

Here’s a rundown on the varieties:

Chocolate

Crumbs Bake Shop. Chocolate richness and fudge center wowed tasters. The icing reminded one taster of Entenmann’s frosting. 80/100.

Cupcake Gourmet. Mealy cake. Icing tasted like a stale Tootsie Roll. 40/100.

Reinwald’s Bakery. Pretty with overly soft, fluffy pink frosting. Classic chocolate cake taste. 63/100.

 

Vanilla

Crumbs Bake Shop. Simple white frosting piled high with sprinkles. Cake has lemony character. 72/100.

Cupcake Gourmet. Undercooked, dry, dense cake. Sweet vanilla icing.. 52/100.

Reinwald’s Bakery. Nicely decorated, but buttery icing was too soft. Cake was golden and moist. Could be sweeter..  82/100.

 

Red Velvet

Crumbs Bake Shop.  Thick sugary icing. Dry, crumbly cake. Unevenly baked,  52/100.

Cupcake Gourmet.  Resembles a sugar cookie. Flavorless pink cake.  41/100.

 

Cookies & Cream

Reinwald’s Bakery.  Oreo crumbs piled high atop fluffy icing. Nice cake flavor, though a tad dry. 72/100.

Susan Worledge July 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I bought the freshest, most delicious and beautiful cupcakes at Huntington Farmer's Market last Sunday! They were made by The Cupcake Corner of Garden City.
Marita Eybergen July 22, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Susan, where are they holding the farmers market?
Christina July 24, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I think cupcake gourmet is consistently awful. Play-doh like consistently is an accurate description and you wind up with a stomach ache. I think Crumbs is the best though they have a tendency to let stuff sit around too long.
Michael January 02, 2013 at 08:37 PM
How was there a cupcake contest held without tasting Kiss My Cake's?! Hands down best cupcake in NY!!

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