May 27, 2007
Cuisine: Desserts, Bakery

248 Broome St, New York 10002
Btwn Orchard & Ludlow St

Phone: 212-677-5047

Chocolate Spelt Cupcake with Rich Chocolate Frosting ($2.95)

Vanilla Spelt Cupcake with Zesty Lemon Frosting ($2.95)

The cupcake craze taking over New York City and Los Angeles has yet to hit Philadelphia so I included a handful of bakeries specializing in cupcakes on the food tour. BabyCakes was the first one we hit up since it was located near our shelter in the Lower East Side.

Babycakes differentiates itself from the sea of competitors by offering vegan cupcakes. Erin McKenna, BabyCakes’ founder, virtuously touts on the bakery’s website:

In a city dominated by cupcakes overflowing with sugar, flour and butter cream, it’s easy for those with delicate tummies to feel left out. BabyCakes offers all natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. Rest assured, all sweeteners have been chosen responsibly and used sparingly. White sugar will never be found in our bakery, nor will we ever use toxic chemical sweeteners. Instead, most products are sweetened with agave nectar—a natural syrup from a cactus which is low on the glycemic index and often a safe alternative to most non-insulin dependent diabetics. Occasionally, unprocessed and unrefined sugar is used in certain goods, although sparingly.

Curious to try sweets made without the usual suspects, The Astronomer and I picked up two cupcakes to-go. He chose lemon, while I went with chocolate. We dropped off the cupcakes in my brother’s apartment then headed off to dinner. Hours later when we returned to enjoy our treats, the frosting had unfortunately melted due to warm temperatures both inside the apartment and the cupcakes’ plastic container.

While I must admit that the frosting-less cupcakes looked a little pitiful, they still tasted great. Both cupcakes were sweet and moist—the lemon one was tart and the chocolate one was very chocolaty. When it comes to cupcakes, I totally appreciate one-dimensional flavors. The texture and taste achieved without butter or eggs by the clever bakers at BabyCakes is very impressive.

NY Magazine 2006 Best Cupcakes: BabyCakes

In a city overrun by copycat cupcakes, we despaired of finding a great one. Moist, crumbly cake. Good, natural flavor. Frosting that wasn’t teeth-achingly sweet. Satisfaction came in an admittedly unconventional package: the vegan version at BabyCakes. Are we actually suggesting that the exclusion of eggs, dairy, sugar, and wheat doesn’t spell doom for a cupcake? That cold-pressed coconut oil, agave nectar, garbanzo flour, and spelt aren’t just substitutes, but superior? Yes, indeed. And you’ve gotta love a place that sells frosting shots for a buck.


11 Responses to “BabyCakes”

  1. 2 Jon June 7, 2007 at 12:33 am

    here in DC, the cupcake craze has taken form in the evil that is “Cakelove”. the guy who runs it is the host of “sugar rush” on the food network. his oversizedcupcakes are expensive, dry and the frosting doesn’t hold on the cake. i hate that place with a passion.

    i don’t reject vegan foods out of hand, but i’m always confused as to why they say lactose and gluten are common allergens when so few people are actually affected by them. lactose intolerance is one of the biggest myths bestowed on the american people, and i really don’t get it. cyliac’s disease also only affects a tiny percentage of the population.

  2. 3 .megan. June 7, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Note to Jon and others thrown by vegan/wheat free baking:

    Cyliac is uncommon, but most people who suffer any kind of gastointestinal problems can solve them by cutting out wheat. I have had psoriosis (skin problem) for 23 years and it wasn’t until I stopped eating wheat, dairy, sugar, and caffeine that I brought it under control without steroids. And yes, the food I eat is delicious and satisfying, and it didn’t take long to adjust.

    Wheat and cow’s milk is hard for humans to digest. Gluten in grains like spelt is more fragile and breaks down much better, and cow’s milk is very different chemically than human milk, which is why many people who are sensitive to dairy can still have goat or sheeps milk. The problem is that most people don’t know they are effected until they change their diet.

  3. 4 .megan. June 7, 2007 at 5:12 am

    Oh, and thanks for posting this site. A friend of mine and I have been planning a place just like this in Ontario, so it’s good to know that there are other places out there that are succeeding.

  4. 5 dinsan June 7, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    cooooooooooooooooooooooool 🙂

  5. 6 Deb June 7, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the nice posting. I’ve had their cupcakes and other tasty treats many times. Found out that the frosting consists mainly of coconut oil, hence the melting at warm temps. If you’re interested in other desserts using agave, please see my blog, Altered Plates. I’m working on a book of recipes using agave instead of sugar.

  6. 7 alef beit June 7, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    it must be delicious – I can’t stop imagining all those cakes 🙂

  7. 8 Tine June 7, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Ok why do I live in Belgium? 😦

  8. 9 margalit June 18, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Babycakes and it’s owner were recently featured on Martha Stewart. The owner has a lot of food allergies and she’s very serious about the ingredients she puts into her cakes and cupcakes. They’re fairly odd ingredients, too, but they taste delicious. I wish there was a bakery like this in my city, so I could indulge in cupcakes just like you regular folks.

  9. 10 Misao Kiley April 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    You can sneak a peak at some of Babycake’s recipes- Her cornbread, cinnamon loaf and brownie cupcake- by searching the Martha Stewart clips (they’re awesome- She doesn’t take Martha’s pushyness!)or, for the brownies, have a look: …Tea’s written them out for you!

    Why not give the recipes a try before buying her Cookbook? 😉

  10. 11 Kathy September 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted
    to mention that I’ve really loved surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write once
    more soon!

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