Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Sticky Buns, Best Cupcakes in NYC: Downtown Bakery News
For whatever reason, new bakeries seem to be opening up throughout New York City with about the same frequency as new ice cream parlors. Which is to say: insanely frequently. Which is to say: this is a great time to be alive, a New Yorker, and in the mood for some dessert. In fact, there's been too many new baked goodies for us to keep up with it all, but here's a look at two recently-opened spots, both in the East Village, both with a gimmick intriguing enough to get us in the door.
Jane's Sweet Buns is the cheeky name of bartender/baker Jane Danger's spanking new, screaming-pastel bakery on St. Marks Place. The gimmick here — and it's a good one, especially for this neighborhood — is that all of the pastries at Jane's Sweet Buns are inspired by cocktails. And so you have fruit-filled Tartlettes (they're rectangular, like pop-tarts, and they're decent) in flavors such as Raspberry and Rum. And you have cakes, sold by the slice, like the Harvey Wallbanger, a pound cake flavored with Galliano and orange, and the Chocolate Attack, a chocolate fudge "tunnel cake" spiked with coffee liquor and Galliano Ristretto.
Best of all, however, are the signature sticky buns here at Jane's Sweet Buns, which are in fact quite possibly the best sticky buns we've ever had. We've tried both the Old Fashion (pecans, bourbon, sugar, vanilla, Angorstura bitters) and the Rum Runner (aged rum, brown sugar, Galliano, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins), and both have been spectacular: sweet, moist, gooey, richly-flavored and deeply satisfying. Jane's Sweet Buns also has a few savory items, and the last time we were there they were gearing up to sell Counter Culture coffee AND milkshakes. All in all, Jane's Sweet (Boozy) Buns is definitely worth stopping in the next time you're in the East Village and need a shot of sugary baked goodness.
The other new(ish) bakery in this part of town is Cowgirl's Baking, a casual, mostly-take-out spot on East 10th Street. Cowgirl's Baking is 100% vegan, has a fairly extensive menu of lunchy savory options (including burritos and sandwiches) and an impressive line-up of cupcakes, both traditional and slightly crazy (the Coffee and Donut, for example, features coffee-flavored cake topped by an entire, chocolate-coated, mini-doughnut). But really, what Cowgirl's Baking is known for in these parts is the Deep Fried Kool-Aid. Make that: the Deep Fried VEGAN Kool-Aid.
We've tried a few things at Cowgirl's Baking, including the Deep Fried Kool-Aid, which is a more interesting and impressive looking tart than actually good. It's like eating a ball of not-particularly-inspired fried dough filled with pixie stix. The cupcakes at Cowgirl's baking are just ok as well. Babycakes down on Broome (and, this summer, at Rockaway Beach) does much better vegan baking, and Butter Lane three blocks away on 7th Street is a better bet if being vegan isn't a concern. As for that Deep Fried Kool-Aid? We suggest you try it if someone offers — because, really, why not? — but it's certainly not worth a special trip.
Jane's Sweet Buns and Cowgirl's Baking Details
Jane's Sweet Buns is located on St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A, and is open every day at 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Sunday through Tuesday, until 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and until 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday. For more info and a look at the Jane's Sweet Buns menu, click here.
Cowgirl Baking is located on East 10th Street, also between First and A, and is open daily at 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information and a look at the Cowgirl's Baking menu, click here.