Screw the Cupcakes, Have a Muffin
The Buttercup Bake Shop specializes in cupcakes, cupcakes for the new millennium, weirdly unappetizing-looking little buggers with buttercream frosting in fluorescent dayglo and pastel colors that are completely unnatural to the culinary domain. I don't get this whole cupcake revival. For thirty or forty years cupcakes were relegated to the dustbin of history, and now people wait like sheep on interminable lines at places like Magnolia in the West Village for them. I don't get the cupcake thing. I don't get red velvet cake either, by the way, and I especially don't get red velvet cupcakes. I'm guessing the cupcake fad keys into some kind of atavistic, infantile comfort-food buttercream craving. Buttercup doesn't have the long lines like Magnolia, but their cupcakes are quite popular.
Cupcakes notwithstanding, I'm a regular customer at Buttercup's east side branch because they have what just might be the best blueberry muffins in all of Manhattan. If I had to propose an ideal blueberry muffin, this would be it. First of all, they're just the right size. Not small, and not those ridiculously humongous monsters that dominate the muffin landscape these days. And they're only $1.25 each, a steal. They're sweet enough, but not cloying, moist yet sturdy (unlike the pasty or dry, powdery muffins that are so common these days), with a perfect blueberry to batter ratio and a tasteful touch of sugar on top. They taste like home-baked muffins from a kitchen in a perfect 'fifties Twilight Zone Middle America that no longer exists. Yes, I can see Gig Young traveling back in time to a better place for a muffin just like this!
Buttercup Bake Shop has two locations:
973 2nd Avenue (Between 51st and 52nd Streets)
141 West 72nd Street (Between Amsterdam and Columbus)