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Ask the Critic: Birthday Cake Delivery in Manhattan

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[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

Where Should I Call for Birthday Cake Delivery?

Hi, Critic, my daughter lives in Manhattan and she's turning 25 this week. I live on the opposite coast but I'd love to send her a birthday cake. She's a pretty discriminating eater so I want it to be a good one! Where can I call to get a cake delivered? Money no object... within reason, I can imagine such things in New York get quite costly. She lives in the West Village.

Happy birthday to your daughter! You're lucky in that, in Manhattan, it's possible to get pretty much anything delivered; although we'll stick to your "within reason" clause and not suggest an $80 mille crepe cake from Lady M Cake Boutique. (Fabulous though those may be.)

Lulu Cake Boutique

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

I've been lucky enough to have several birthday cakes (and charming hand-sized "snack cakes") from Empire Cakes, on Eighth Avenue near 15th Street. Simple, but sophisticated is the name of the game here. I love the vanilla cake with hazelnut buttercream, praline, and a chocolate glaze pictured above; true chocolate fans might prefer the Salted Caramel, a chocolate cake base with salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache. They deliver within Manhattan for a $25 fee.

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[Photograph: Maryse Chevriere]

Amy's Bread is another great option. They've won our NYC-wide carrot cake taste test, and scored admirably in our cupcake tasteoffs; Amy's does the classics right, particularly where cake is involved. In a recent interview, Amy Scherber herself told us that the Devil's Food with Chocolate Silk Frosting "is my all time favorite. It's moist and rich with a deep chocolate flavor, and a not so sweet, but super decadent chocolate frosting. It satisfies your craving for chocolate, and even a small slice can make you happy for hours!"

A few notes: Readily available delivery is a great thing about living in New York, but don't expect a deliveryperson to wait around if they can't make the dropoff. (And it's not as if we have private front stoops to just leave packages on.) Make sure your daughter's expecting a little birthday delivery, and give the bakery her cell phone number when you call—or enlist a friendly roommate (or officemate) to assist in the task. (They'll be rewarded with cake, too.)

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Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question. All questions will be read, though unfortunately not all can be answered.

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About the author: Carey Jones is the former managing editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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