Restaurant: Bee’s Knees Baking Co – 113 West 10th Street, Manhattan, New York
Cupcakes have been all the rage the past year. However, is it time we ditch the cupcake and go the way of the cake-cup? If you were to ask the people behind Bee’s Knees Baking Co., they’d enthusiastically say yes.
Opened just last December, the Bee’s Knees Baking Co. storefront is the next evolution of a baking company known for its wedding cakes, not its miniature-sized cake treats. The store can be described as spacious, bright and modern. There is a large wooden table in the center of the store for communal dessert dining as well as bar stools lining a tabletop looking out onto West 10th Street. The atmosphere is notably relaxed and low key.
What is a cake-cup you ask? On it’s website, Bee’s Knees describes it as the intricate, complex textures of traditional cakes with the quick, easy-to-enjoy experience of the cupcake. The result is essentially a miniature-sized cake in a five ounce plastic cup. The concept is definitely unique and Bee’s Knees has a number of different flavors, each boasting different textures and flavor profiles. On this particular trip, I decided to go with:
- Red Velvet: classic red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and roasted pecans
- Honey Bourbon: bourbon cake with burnt honey cream and candied ginger
- Chocolate Salted Caramel: chocolate cake with salted caramel and roasted pecans
- Lemon Raspberry: yellow cake with raspberry honey jam and lemon curd
The cake-cups are just the perfect amount of dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. You don’t feel like you’ve just eaten an entire cake, but are rewarded with all the flavors and quality that you would have gotten if you had just gone ahead and eaten one. In most cases, the cake-cups are layered with cake, frosting or cream, then more cake on top. The cake to frosting/cream ratio is such that you’re not eating globs of icing, but instead give the actual cake part the opportunity to shine through. However, in order to get all of these flavors, you need to dig deep and pull from all the various layers – cake, frosting, cream, etc. Don’t hesitate and just skim from the top or you’ll miss out!
If five ounces of cake is took much, Bee’s Knees also offers an even smaller version of its cake-cups. These cake ‘shots’ are offered individually or you can buy a flight of them and put yourself in a dessert-induced coma.
I was a big fan of the cake-cups, the uniqueness of the flavors and entire concept. However, if there was one thing I could say needs improvement, it’s the spoons. The cake-cups are served with wooden spoons, which I didn’t particularly care for. The cake gets somewhat stuck to them and I think a regular plastic spoon would be more appealing and deliver a better overall dessert experience. (I know, this probably isn’t as Earth-friendly as the wooden option.)
The service at Bee’s Knee’s is great. The people behind the counter take the time to walk you through the various cake-cup flavors on display. They even spend time explaining a little bit about the business, the concept and just chatting. Best part, before I left, they gave me a few of the mini cake-cup ‘shots’ to take home. Great customer service.
The five ounce cake-cups are around $4 each and the mini cake ‘shots’ are $6.50 for a flight. For the quality of ingredients and amount of dessert you’re getting, I think these prices are right in line with what they should be.
When I eat dessert it’s often an ‘all or nothing’ experience – I either eat every single dessert in sight, or abstain from it completely. Bee’s Knees solves my problem with these perfectly proportioned cake-cups. I’ll admit, after finishing one of them I did want to have another, but they were just the right about to satisfy my sweet tooth. While many people are saying that the cupcake bubble may have popped, I don’t envision Bee’s Knees Baking Co. going anywhere anytime soon, especially if they keep innovating new flavor combinations.