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When Magnolia Bakery opened in the West Village, it targeted a trend for nostalgia in home baking. Billy Reece was one of the first of several former employees there to branch out on his own. The shop recreates the retro charm of a family kitchen circa 1940; though similar to Magnolia's, his offshoot is brighter in appearance and attitude as sunlight streams through large storefront windows and good cheer encourages lingering. The small, inexpensive cupcakes stick to simple pleasures: The frosting, no matter what color, is vanilla or chocolate. But other desserts get fancier and more flavorful. A traditional ice box cake compiled from chocolate cookies and whipped cream manages to be light and creamy, and the key lime pie is firm and tangy. Portions are universally enormous. And unlike other cupcake specialists who shall remain nameless, Billy's will permit walk-in orders up to two dozen.Extra
If you need more than two dozen cupcakes, Billy's recommends preordering a day in advance to guarantee the selection you want.