I have to admit I was very late in hopping on the cupcake bandwagon. When Magnolia, Crumbs, etc. all started taking off and made the city all cupcake-obsessed, I didn't understand what was so great about a cupcake. I mean, I like all cakes (okay, all food). But I didn't know what made a little cake so damn special as opposed to all the other oodles of desserts. To this day I've never even purchased a cupcake at Magnolia - I've only eaten ones given to me on different occasions. They were yummy, but not mind blowing. I didn't really care for the frosting, which is usually everyone's favorite part (I'm more of a fan of starch and carbs).
While I was a nursing student at NYU, I'd go strolling around in the West Village between and after classes. My boyfriend at the time introduced me to Batch (he worked across the street from it), literally a hole in the wall cupcake store by Pichet Ong (former pastry chef of Spice Market) next to his dessert restaurant P*ONG. Batch cupcakes transformed me into a cupcake enthusiast. I'm not a fan of rich, sickeningly sweet cupcake frosting that most people are a fan of; my Asian taste buds prefer just a hint of sweetness that is more commonly found in Asian desserts. Pichet got it right. He had interesting, innovative flavors (pumpkin rum raisin with cream cheese frosting was my favorite, and I got a massive "cupcake" for my 25th birthday) with frosting that wouldn't instantly rot my teeth out of my face. Then without warning, Batch and P*ONG shut down. The horror. Wtf was I to do without my Batch cupcakes?!
Lucky for me and the rest of the city, he reopened his business with a dessert spot aptly named Spot Dessert Bar in the east village. I had the pleasure of going there earlier this year, and I can proudly say my tummy and I were very satisfied. He's also selling his cupcakes there, but no pumpkin rum. :( I'm going to have to come up with my own. Hmm, I foresee a future blog post.