Bakeries around New York and the Popular Cupcakes

Neighborhood by Neighborhood Guide

The Best Bakeries & Cupcakes Shops in NYC

New York is full of pastry shops and all, or almost all, offer cupcakes ... moist, creamy, colorful, decorated mini-cakes with a thousand different flavors! You can find sweets including the famous Cupcakes in most bakeries and coffee-shops ... but do you know when cupcakes actually appeared in the United States for the very first time??

The Cupcake History

We are going back in history to approx. 1796 when cupcakes were first mentioned in America. These small pastries became increasingly popular from the beginning of the 19th century, and already in the early 1800s, several cupcakes recipes appeared in cookbooks. They are, therefore, "older" than the classic muffin which is still one of the most eaten breakfast items in the country. Cupcakes are served especially during birthday parties, weddings, and celebrations and the success is due to the relatively small size (compared to normal cakes) as well as the colorful and inventive decorations they display. The actual name seems to derive both from the old way of cooking them -- in tin cups, as well as from the way you measure all the ingredients -- in volumes cups

But let's go back to our Bakeries :-), in New York there are so many, each neighborhood has different ones, the most interesting are usually small and family-run. The origins as always range from Italian, French, South American, Mexican or Argentinian, Greek, Polish, Eastern European,Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Asian ... in short, you will have so many options you won't know what to do with yourself. Some old bakeries are found only in "Neighborhoods" that are known to be populated by these minorities.

Neighborhood by Neighborhood, we are going to come up with our special "Map of Pastry Shops & Bakeries" trying to keep it updated, adding new ones, eliminating those that closed down, unfortunately, it often happens in New York, and adding those suggested by you! Let's see what we have!

Harlem Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Lee Lee's Bakery -  283 W. 118TH STREET BTW. ST. NICHOLAS & FREDERICK DOUGLASS BLVD. Certainly among the best Homemade Rugelach in all New York City. It remains my favorite destination on a Sunday morning when Harlem dresses up for Church, or some other function, beautiful and elegant ladies wearing amazing hats, men in suits ... it is true in Harlem you can still breathe a "different air" ... even if the neighborhood has changed a lot during the last 2 decades, Harlem still showcases a "je ne sais quoi" vibe.

Upper West Side Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Silver Moon Bakery - Broadway and 105th St. This is a classic Bakery where you'll fall in love with basically everything .. from breads like their classic crunchy French baguette and homemade multigrain loaves to breakfast pastries (croissant, danishes, muffins etc.) cupcakes, and some special cookies for your 4-legged friend!! :-)
Levain Bakery  167 West 74th St (but also the one up in Harlem at 2167 by Frederick Douglass Blvd and the one in the Upper East Side on 3rd Avenue)- I love the original Levain Store, you are in the heart of the Upper West Side from Amsterdam Avenue walking on the north side of 74th Street and heading East, you will notice a small blue awning ...The place is definitely a "hole in the wall" kind of bakery but there you will find the best "chocolate chip cookies" in all New York!

Upper East Side Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Sprinkles - 780 Lexington Avenue  Between 60th & 61st
This Cupcake House opened its first location in California and quickly became known in many other major American cities, from Washington DC to Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas ... I actually like Sprinkles Cupcakes better than the super-famous Magnolia ones, so I recommend stopping here at least to try the difference and see which one you like best. If you are not around the Upper East Side / Midtown East, you can try the one at Brookfield Place in Downtown Manhattan. In the new mall, you will find a bit of everything and it is a great place for a "break" during your visits.

Midtown - Hell’s Kitchen (Clinton) Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Piccolo Cafe - 274 West 40th Street. You are in the middle of Midtown, surely you will spend much time there to get to Times Square and visit the Theater District, Broadway, the new Hudson Yards, etc. So, if you are looking for a quick break and some good coffee, you will find it for sure here along with good sandwiches and desserts.

Little Italy - Soho e Chinatown Pastry Shops & Bakeries

There is not much Italian left in Little Italy but the famous Ferrara Bakery is still worth a stop ... You will find yourself in a classic Italian-American pastry shop full of cakes and Italian-style cookies. I am always of the idea that visiting Little Italy, especially for those arriving here for the first time, is a bit disappointing as the neighborhood has unfortunately lost its true and authentic Italian charisma but I do think It remains a "must-see" neighborhood to see some original architecture of the early 20th century, the notorious Tenements Houses (poor immigrant projects) and also to understand how much has changed and how much has been lost ... and as always remember that the majority of the "Italian Things" that you can still find in New York are usually, still, Italian-American just so you don't expect to find things the same way you would find in actual Italy nowadays.

Chelsea Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Just go inside the Chelsea Market and you are spoiled for choice .... not only yummy sweets, cookies and cupcakes but also bakeries, pasta factories and a beautiful shop for all lovers of household items and kitchen equipment ... it sells everything you can imagine!!! Bowery Kitchen Supplies @ The Chelsea Market. For more info read CHELSEA AND THE FAMOUS MARKET.

East Village and Lower East Side Pastry Shops & Bakeries

The whole Village but especially the East Side is full of pastry shops and places to taste delicacies, desserts, cakes, and ice cream, among the most unique and most colorful ones. Follow me, I'll accompany you on the Tour:

The Instagrammer  - Graffiti & Food In The Lower East Side

Lower Manhattan and Financial District Pastry Shops & Bakeries

The chain Financier can be found in Midtown and throughout Lower Manhattan and the Financial District area. It is a classic French bakery famous for their cakes, macaroons, pastries as well as sandwiches and quiches. Very much loved by New Yorkers especially during Lunch Break.

Queens Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Martha's Country Bakery -3621 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria
The first time I came to this amazing Bakery was with my friend and colleague Kiara from New York City 4 All, and I couldn't not order a huge slice of Napoleon ..... My all-time favorite cake and I highly recommend it!!!

Williamsburg e Brooklyn Pastry Shops & Bakeries

Here are two small Bakeries I discovered wandering through Brooklyn and Williamsburg, surely Brooklyn offers a lot in terms of cafes and bakeries but let's start by pointing out two:

Bakeri a Williamburg - 150 WYTHE AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY 11211
It is very small but you absolutely have to go there to taste one of their delicious cookies and sweets. The sandwiches are also good and the atmosphere is very welcoming. If you can't find a place to sit inside, and if the season allows it, you can buy what you want and then continue towards the East River, only a few blocks away, and enjoy eating your desserts in front of the Manhattan Skyline!
Peter Pan Donut 727 Manhattan Ave - Brooklyn.  Do not miss this pastry shop (62 years in business), choose one of the many delights, sit at the counter, and enjoy your food shoulder to shoulder with your neighbor :-) the best way to feel at home in Brooklyn!


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