705 Ninth Ave.; 212-974-6012
Last year, we went out on a confectionery limb by anointing Babycakes’ radically wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free cupcake the best in town. The popular category keeps expanding, though, and this year brings a new, equally unconventional pick. Do we care that by using soy milk in her chocolate-soufflé cupcakes, chef Ritsuko Yamaguchi is able to reduce the amount of butter and eggs? Or that she chooses to dust them demurely with powdered sugar rather than bury them under an ostentatious cloak of buttercream frosting? Not when they’re as light, moist, and remarkably flavorful as the ones for sale at this sleek Japanese dessert bar. Even moister and astoundingly rich are her “miso chokos,” not cupcakes per se but mini-morsels of such dark and fudgy intensity that we’ll never think of fermented soybean paste quite the same way again.