Walking down Bleecker Street (admittedly on my way to Magnolia Bakery), I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a small sign saying “Polka Dot Cake Studio.” At first I didn’t believe my eyes; I had never heard of this bakery before and I have a tendency to misread signs (my one-track mind once thought a sign for “Philly Cheese Steak” was talking about “Cheesecake”.) After close examination I could see that this sign did indeed say “Cake Studio” and I ran across the street to check it out.
Upon entering the bakery I was immediately drawn in by the bright display case filled with cookies, brownies, pudding and “nicely decorated small cakes” (the bakery’s specialty.) All cakes are uniquely decorated and come in flavors like Passion Fruit, Coconut, Carrot, Dark Chocolate “Blackout,” Lemon and many more. After staring at the case for at least 10 minutes trying to decide what to order, I asked the man behind the counter for advice. The clerk suggested the Passion Fruit cake, but a customer visiting the shop interrupted to put in her vote for the Lemon. As tempted as I was to buy both, I made a last minute switch and decided to go with my favorite dessert, the brownie. In addition to gorgeous cakes, Polka Dot features an incredibly rich, thick brownie named the “Better than Brad Pitt Brownie,” which comes with or without nuts. I’ve never had Brad Pitt, so I can’t speak to the comparison, but I can tell you that these brownies are in a league of their own. A thick layer of chocolate frosting rests on top of a perfectly doughy brownie base filled with chunks of chocolate. That sounds better than most anything to me!
I took my purchase down to the park across the street from Magnolia, and felt great satisfaction with my new find. The line for Magnolia was wrapped around the corner as usual, and I was able to get in and out of Polka Dot Cake Studio without any trouble. Yes, Magnolia may have prettier cupcakes, but the mini cakes and brownies are certainly superior at Polka Dot and you’ll spend your time savoring your selection instead of standing in line for it. The Polka Dot Cake Studio has been around since 2002, and while I wish it continuing success, may it never have the lines that Magnolia does.
Polka Dot Cake Studio
312 Bleecker Street (between Seventh Avenue and Grove Street)
Subway: 1/9 to Christopher Street