The advantages of living in Ithaca are that you can enjoy the lake, the gorges, the wineries, the hippies, the downtown Commons and still be exactly four hours from New York City. Perhaps the greatest city in the world for vegans.
Growing up, I used to go to the city at least once a month with my high school art class (I lived in Binghamton at the time, so it was only three hours). Of course, once we got there we would immediately head downtown to Soho and walk the streets in the rain (visiting all the hip record stores and art galleries and smoke cigarettes and wear scarves). At that time I wasn’t vegan and, at that time, Babycakes didn’t exist.
Today, we make it to NYC whenever possible and whenever we go … we stop at Babycakes. The only vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free (mostly sugar free) bakery that matters. It’s as much a destination as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. It is a requirement. Last time I was in NYC, I spent almost two hours at Babycakes drinking coffee (they serve Stumptown but should serve Gimme!) and ordered donuts and cupcakes until I couldn’t move. The bakery is tiny, so that once you own that little corner by the window … never leave.
This past week I was delighted to find in my mail a sweet package from Babycakes that included the Vanilla Cupcake (or cake) Mix and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Of course, I couldn’t wait to start baking.
We own both of the Babycakes cookbooks and Erin McKenna’s recipes are pretty intense. To cook really good gluten-free and vegan pastries and desserts takes some effort but I was delighted to find out that the Vanilla Cupcake Mix was a breeze.
Had to add some oil, agave nectar (for sweetness) and apple sauce (as a binder), a little vanilla and water and whisked it into a smooth batter in no time. A batter so good, I licked the whisk afterwards.
The box made exactly 12 cupcakes and they turned out perfect … delicious. The next day, Jen whipped up a batch of her famous frosting (BTW, at the bakery they sell shots of frosting for $1.50) and we topped each one and transformed them into the delectable cupcakes we can usually only get in New York City. Arguably, the birthplace of the cupcake.
As luck would have it, we already have a trip planned for February to the city and you can bet that Babycakes is on our must-do list (as is MooShoes which, as if it were planned, is right around the corner).
New York City … the best place to …
Not near New York? Babycakes also has locations in Los Angeles and Orlando. Get there … or order some for home!
NEXT UP: Gluten-free/vegan chocolate chip cookies … only from Babycakes!