Not Cupcakes, Not Cake Pops: Cake-Cups at Bee's Knees Baking Co.
Dominique Chatterjee Yep, those are called cake-cups.
In an attempt to improve on the cupcake, Bee's Knees Baking Co. in the West Village came up with the idea of assembling frosting and already-baked cake into thin layers in a small plastic container--the same ones that are usually filled with salsa, tzatziki, or sweet and sour sauce and belong at the bottom of a take-out bag. While the presentation could use some work, the concept isn't entirely half-baked. The execution enables the bakery to create a perfect cake-to-frosting ratio, something that's virtually unattainable with cupcakes. The result is an individual serving size of layer cake that can be scooped out with a tiny wooden spoon.
They're small, yes, but still flavorful. There are two sizes to choose from: 5 oz. for $4.50, or a flight of three 2 oz. cake-cups for $6.50. The larger size is roughly equivalent to a homemade cupcake, just enough to feel satisfied but not stuffed. The flight, by far the better option, means you can feel like you indulged in three pieces of cake while actually consuming a waistline-friendly portion. And unlike cupcakes, you don't have to wolf down a heap of frosting with your mini dessert. That's not to say there isn't plenty of it in the mix; cake-cups are about 70 percent cake, 30 percent frosting.
We sampled three of the eight "everyday favorites" and one seasonal flavor. There isn't a death-by-chocolate number on the menu, but chocoholics can opt for chocolate cake with either peanut butter mousse or salted caramel. The cake itself is pretty standard, not very dark or rich, so if you're in a serious chocolate mood, go elsewhere. The carrot cake, however, is right on the money with both cream cheese and German chocolate frostings and a medium dose of spice. The honey bourbon is a stand-out, punchy with lots of candied ginger but not quite enough bourbon. Unfortunately, the best one we tried-- gingerbread with eggnog frosting--was seasonal and is no longer available. Let's just say it tasted like a gingerbread oatmeal cream pie and should be available year-round.