The cutest cupcake shops in NYC

These five adorable cupcake shops are as sweet as they come

Personal-sized perfection is what cupcakes are all about. Baked up fluffy and light, frosted with flair, and often filled with ooey gooey goodness, cupcakes make folks smile, and who could blame them? Whether you're two or 102, the thrill of cupcakes never goes away. Thankfully, NYC is cupcake heaven, with plenty of shops to stop for your favorite bakery treat. And these five adorable cupcake shops are as sweet as they come.

Molly's Cupcakes

Via pinterest.com

Named one of the 10 Best Cupcake Bakeries in the Country by USA Today, and winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, Molly's Cupcakes evidently serves up some of the most delicious cupcakes around. The NYC location (there are others in Chicago and Iowa City) is baking up batch after batch of cupcake creativity, filled with flavor and fun. Some noteworthy cupcake confections include their Cookies-N-Cream, which is chocolate cake, cookies-n-cream filling, vanilla buttercream, and cookie topping; the Samoa, a vanilla cake, caramel filling, buttercream, toasted coconut, chocolate and caramel drizzle, and shortbread cookie cupcake creation; and "The Ron Bennington," made with chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate ganache, and crushed butterscotch topping. Vegan options are available, as are cookies, bars, pies, cheesecake, eclairs, cake pops, and brownies. A portion of Molly's Cupcakes proceeds goes towards donations to local schools, making every purchase even sweeter.

228 Bleeker Street, New York, NY

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Via foodgal.com

With three booming locations in NYC, Sprinkles Cupcakes is sprinkling its sweetness all over the Big Apple. Their outrageous cupcakes are made in regular and mini sizes, satisfying a major sweet tooth or just to hold you over 'till suppertime. Flavors like chocolate marshmallow, lemon coconut, red velvet, peanut butter chip, Cuban coffee, cinnamon sugar, and vanilla milk chocolate are craved by cupcake-lovers, and since some flavors are offered as gluten-free, sugar-free, or vegan, nearly anyone can enjoy the Sprinkles experience. They even make "pupcakes" a treat for Fido with a yogurt frosting. Ice cream and cookies are served up too, and their Cupcake ATM on Lexington Ave. "dispenses freshly-baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7." Talk about instant gratification!

225 Liberty Street, New York, NY

2 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY

780 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY

Georgetown Cupcake

Via sassandthecityblog.com

Owned by sisters who have a flair for frosting, Georgetown Cupcake is a NYC hot spot… or better yet, sweet spot, for those who love cupcakes that are as pretty as they are pleasing to the palate. Along with the NYC location, there are five other Georgetown Cupcake shops across the U.S., so if you're not in Manhattan, indulge in L.A., Atlanta, Boston, D.C., or Bethesda, MD. Go for their Vanilla Birthday, a Madagascar vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkles; the red velvet with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a red fondant heart; or Sunshine on Chocolate, bright yellow vanilla frosting on top of a Valrhona chocolate cupcake topped with a seasonal decoration. And that's only a taste of what Georgetown Cupcake is baking. Daily specials keep customers on their toes with limited offerings of carrot, salted caramel, mocha fudge, chocolate coconut, and lemon blossom cupcakes, to name a few. Vegans and those who follow a gluten-free diet are in luck with flavors like apple cinnamon and strawberry lava fudge. Attention to detail with exceptional decorating turns these edibles into works of art. But these are a case of "now you see 'em, now you don't" as they disappear into the eager mouths of Georgetown cupcake fans.

111 Mercer Street, New York, NY

Baked by Melissa

Via theseventhdistrict.com

With 14 locations throughout the city, Baked by Melissa is giving New Yorkers a bite (literally) of pure bliss. Their bite-sized desserts are pop-in-your-mouth magic, made with creative culinary care. Each tiny treat is topped with just the right amount of sweet frosting, making each cute cupcake perfectly balanced. But who could eat just one? Flavors include cookie dough, triple chocolate fudge, cannoli, mint cookie, sugar cookie, peanut butter and jelly, and a whole lot more. Along with Baked by Melissa's signature cupcakes, they also whip up mini cookies and macarons, with options for gluten-free and nut-free baked goods. For a special gift, Baked by Melissa creates beautiful boxes, samplers, and subscriptions for that friend who is crazy for cupcakes.

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Magnolia Bakery

Via eatamadworld.wordpress.com

There are six Magnolia Bakery locations throughout the city, one in L.A. and another in Chicago, allowing lots of cupcake aficionados in on their delectable freshly baked goods. Known for their super-moist cakes and generosity with frosting application, Magnolia's cupcakes are beloved by customers who are always eager to return time and time again. German chocolate, red velvet, carrot, caramel, devil's food, truffle, and pistachio are all favorites, proving that simplicity is indeed, scrumptious. Crowds come for the cupcakes, but don't pass on Magnolia's morning muffins and scones, layer cakes, cheesecakes, pies, cookies, brownies, and their "Famous Banana Pudding." Since 1996, Magnolia has been a NYC gem, and with the bakery's ongoing popularity, expect to see a Magnolia near you for years to come.

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Oh, what goodness you'll gobble. NYC must stand for New York Cupcakes!

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!