Several years ago (2006) I saw a Martha Stewart episode featuring "Billy" from Billy's Bakery in NYC. On that show, he gave the viewers the recipe and demonstrated how to make his famous "Vanilla Vanilla" cupcake. I printed out the recipe and made it at home. Everyone loved the cupcakes I made, and since then, his recipe has been my "go to" cupcake recipe. 99% of the cupcakes I make at home and for birthday parties are his Vanilla Vanilla. Billy's Bakery ended up on our "must see" list while in NY. I had to taste one of his cupcakes to rate my own baking skills, and it had to be "vanilla vanilla" or bust.

Cupcakes are all the rage across the country. I never buy fancy cupcakes around town, because they are so easy to make from scratch at home. What I didn't realize is that if something is all the rage, it is REALLY all the rage in NY. You can't walk a block without running into a bakery. Specifically a cupcake bakery. They are here, there, inside Bloomingdale's, everywhere. I commented to my friend, "Manhattenites are all so fit, they're aren't eating this many cupcakes.." And she replied, "They are for the tourists." Good point. I wouldn't be surprised if we passed at least 50 cupcake storefronts over the weekend.

When we got to Billy's, the line was long, the place was packed. I asked the shop girl for a Vanilla Vanilla and she produced one from under the counter. I was not prepared for what happened next.

Dry! Dry as a bone. My cupcake was so dry! What a buzz kill. Billy! What happened? Did the employee minions over-mix that days batch? I was so disappointed. Only for a second though...because that meant that I can cook Billy's Vanilla Vanilla better than Billy himself. My cakes are moist and delicious... I turned my frown upside down. Don't feel sad for Billy, he's making a ton of money selling those cakes and everything else in his shop I'm sure...but come to my house and I will bake you what a cupcake should really taste like.

Cupcakes are serious business in NY (this is a random child, not my own.)

You may be wondering, "Julie- what the hell? You traveled all that way and took all those pictures on 3 cameras and came home to show us a cupcake?" I'm starving! I've got magnificent architecture shots coming soon...it's just hard for me to detox after a big food weekend....I figured I would look at these shots instead of eating. :)