Well, last month while hanging out with one of my favorite bakers in the world, Matt Lewis (co-owner of Baked in Brooklyn and Charleston, SC--as well as co-author of the best cookbooks of 2008, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and multiple magazine articles--as well as known cupcake defender), I got to find out when we toured a small sampling of some sweet shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
First, we hit up Sweet Revenge in Manhattan to taste-test their namesake cupcake, the Sweet Revenge (pictured above), which is comprised of peanut butter cake, ganache filling and peanut butter buttercream. Now, a cupcake with a description which includes "butter" three times in addition to ganache might sound like too much, but really, it's just enough. It was very sweet, but the slight saltiness of ground peanuts on top really added a nice complement and we had no problem devouring it. For visitors later on in the day (or those who are feeling particularly decadent in the daytime) Sweet Revenge is also offers cupcake and wine/beer pairings too.
Next it was over to Brooklyn, where we first hit up the adorable Almondine where I scored some macarons from their gorgeous bakery case, but not before cooing over every single item in the case and hearing some very good things about their bread.
The macarons had that truly ethereal Frenchie way about them: slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, with divinely rich filling; the standout for this little Cake Gumshoe was mos' def the pistachio.
After enjoying the view a bit it was across the street to the Jacques Torres shop and factory, where we not only got a free sample from the newly opened ice cream shop (more decadent peanut buttery goodness!), but also got a behind-the-scenes tour of the chocolatemaking area. Now, you definitely don't need to be told that this is an awesome thing to experience. My only regret is not picking up some of those awesome chocolate-covered cheerios.
After some walking and talking about sweets we split ways (me off to more bakeries, Matt off to continue writing and baking up some brilliant masterpieces), but oh, what a sweet afternoon it was.
Sweet Revenge, 62 Carmine Street, NYC (212)242-2240; online at sweetrevengenyc.com;