Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Little Cakes in Whitestone

Little Cakes
14-33 150st
Whitestone, NY 11357
(718) 746-1020

Monday & Tuesday-closed
Wednesday - Friday 12PM-8PM
Saturday & Sunday- 10AM-4PM

Items ordered:
strawberry shortcake cupcake, crumb cake cupcake, rainbow cookie cupcake, red velvet, vanilla, & chocolate with no frosting.

Price: $13.50 (standard flavors like vanilla are $2, special flavors like red velvet are $2.50)

Rating out of 5:

In November I blogged about a cupcake shop opening up in North Eastern Queens, specifically in Whitestone. This is a big deal because Queens seems to be the forgotten and neglected borough.
Despite the heavy over-development that goes on here, and being the most culturally diverse place in the world, were usually seen as "not worth the trip" by those outside the borough. And I really don't mind that as much as I used to- the moment a place becomes appreciated by the masses is often the moment its ruined by them.

Little Cakes is a sliver of a store situated right off the Cross Island Parkway, accessible only by bus or car (the Q15 or Q76). Its surrounded by a small but lively strip of stores that extends for a few blocks, and includes Cherry Valley (they have the best sandwiches in Queens), Storks Bakery, and La Dolce Via (gelato & pastries).

You can read about the owners success story here.

Anyway, enough chatter, onto to the cupcakes!

From left to right, the top row: Strawberry short cake, crumb cake, red velvet.
From left to right, the bottom row: Rainbow cookie, vanilla, chocolate without frosting.

The vanilla: The cake tastes very similar to a corn muffin, but is softer, which is good. The frosting has a light, whipped texture to it as opposed to often thick buttercream. Overall a decent cupcake, but I didn't think the frosting complimented the cake at all, it did taste just like a corn muffin, after all. If your looking for a familiar comparison, think of a toned down version of Magnolias vanilla- this isn't a sugar bomb, but its still sweet.

The crumb cake: To me, almost all crumb cake tastes the same (like it might as well have come out of an Entenmann's box). I'm sure there are some amazing exceptions out there, but I haven't been fortunate enough to come across them. The cupcake is good, sweet and soft, but as you can see in the picture the hard crumb part is loaded onto one side of the cupcake, leaving the other side bare. Its un-evenness was its only flaw.

Look at those beautiful colors!

The rainbow cookie: By far my favorite cupcake out of the bunch, which surprised me because I had such low expectations for it. Most bakeries have trouble making a proper rainbow cookie, never mind transforming the cookie into a cupcake. But it tasted like a rainbow cookie (it was NOT simply yellow cake dyed rainbow), the almond flavor came through nicely, but the cake itself wasn't heavy with almond paste like the cookies are. It retained the lightness cake is supposed to have. My one issue is the choice of frosting- blech! The chocolate frosting tasted cheap, and not sweet or bitter enough to belong in either category. I wiped it off and ate the cake by itself, its definitely good enough to do that. This cupcake alone gets a 4 out of 5, but if they work on that frosting it could very well become a 5 out of 5. Or maybe a 4 1/2 out of 5, since I'm so damn picky.

Strawberry shortcake: To be honest, I'm not a fan of strawberry flavored things. I got this flavor because the box held six cupcakes, and we had only picked out five, so this was what I went with. Its not a bad cupcake, sweet but not "too sweet" as some say. I just couldn't take more than a couple of bites.

Chocolate without frosting: My roommate got this one, he's a freak who prefers his cakes naked. He described the cupcake as "rich", and said I might like it. I tried a bite, and while it was super moist, I found it more bitter than rich. Not a fan.

Red Velvet: I almost didn't get this one, mainly because I don't like cream cheese frosting, and most bakeries insist on putting it on their red velvet cakes. This was one was no exception, although they do sprinkle some cinnamon on the top- an interesting and unique addition. The icing has a gentle cream cheese flavor, probably the least cream cheesy cream cheese frosting I ever ate (which is why it was not spit out). But I still didn't find it enjoyable. As for the cake itself, its not red velvet. There was no vinegar in it, and without that its just chocolate cake dyed red. It was still decent red chocolate cake, and very moist.

Every cupcake we bought here was fresh, and the staff were friendly and helpful. They also have seasonal flavors, like gingerbread and snowballs. I do think the frosting on the cupcakes needs to be spread around the whole top, and not piled so high, it makes eating it in one piece awkward and its hard to get frosting with each bite.
Over-all a good experience, with solid baked goods. So...come to Queens to check out our cupcakes! And then go home (I of course mean that in the nicest way possible) ;)

Update: Just something to keep in mind, these cupcakes do not keep well, by the next day their a little too stiff to eat, so make sure you eat these babies the day you get em!


  1. Hey Lucy!

    I was so excited when you originally blogged about our little shoppe back in November, and was anticipating your arrival! I have to say, I was a little upset initially when I read your review, but after careful evaluation, I have taken your (in my mind, expertise) opinion and revamped our cupcakes!

    I think you were truly valid with your thoughts, and we have changed some things accordingly.

    First, we cut out the salt completely from our vanilla recipe so that it is more cupcake, less corn muffin. (I completely agreed with you on that one!) It is now perfection!

    Secondly, our coffee cake cupcake has the streusel only on the top and no longer in the batter, so that it is much more uniform. It's still delicious, but now much prettier ;)

    We have replaced our light chocolate frosting with a much richer (and darker) chocolate buttercream, and have topped both our signature rainbow cookie cupcake and peanut butter chocolate chip cupcake with fudge! It accentuates them both much better.

    I will say though, we did in fact make our red velvet cupcake's cream cheese frosting even more cream-cheesy, (I know you are not a fan of cream cheese), but our customers requested it and I receive praise for them almost daily! You mentioned that you did not taste the vinegar in the batter, but, (and maybe it's just me), isn't that a good thing? LOL! Trust me, I use enough that I find myself holding my nose while baking!

    I really do appreciate your thoughts, and am so happy that you brought some great insight that I believe has helped my business flourish even more. I hope that you decide to come back in to taste our changes, (on the house of course!), and introduce yourself this time!

    Thanks again for your comments and your help!

    Christina Pappas
    owner, little cakes cupcake shoppe

    P.S. Due to high demand, we have extended our shoppe hours from 12-6 to 12-8 Wednesday through Friday ;)

  2. I am...giddy and honored that you would take my opinion so seriously! And relieved that you didn't stay upset :)

    I'm especially exited to hear about the fudge topping on the rainbow cupcakes- that sounds perfect!
    I'm even glad to hear about the extra cream-cheesiness in the red velvet frosting- I know I'm in the teeny tiny majority of folks who don't like it, so its totally a good thing that you listened to your customers :)
    I'm a nutjob when it comes to red velvet, and (I feel) that when done just right, you don't actually taste straight up vinegar, but you get a bite, and ever-so-slight addition to the over-all flavor that can make good red velvet great. I'm also a fan of red velvet cakes that use apple cider vinegar, as opposed to other kinds. It doesn't smell any better, but I think it tastes better, haha!

    I'll definitely be coming back, I'm so exited to try out the revamped cupcakes! I'm thrilled to hear you've had to extend your hours too. I'm a little shy, so I will try to get up the nerve to identify myself as a *deep breath* food blogger lol.

    Thank YOU for giving our borough something wonderful :)


  3. Just tried the rainbow cupcake..excellent! Also tried some of the minis. Red velvet was my least favorite and strawberry was out of this world. Had planned to eat only half of each to cut calories, but I finished them all....every last crumb. Thanks for bringing good cupcakes to Whitestone.