Vanilla Bake Shop

The cupcake situation has gotten out of hand. Long queues, bitter rivalries, impassioned discussions about icing-to-cake ratios, the inexplicable veneration of red velvet (it’s dye, for crying out loud). Still, it’s hard not to get a little giddy when beholding this tiny affair’s meticulously organized rows of mini- and full-size cupcakes: Meyer lemon and raspberry, toasted coconut, Mom’s Birthday Cake (moist yellow cake, milk chocolate icing). Their little heads shimmer, pastel sugar crystals refracting infinitesimal shards of light from swirled frosting dos. Along with mod layer cakes that seem lathe finished—not a scintilla of icing breaking formation—VBS makes elfin renditions of icebox desserts (key lime or pumpkin pie, tiramisu, Dirt Cake) packed into shooter cups harboring itty-bitty spoons.