Kitchen & Cooking

These cupcakes from Baked by Melissa are some of the best we've ever tried

These mini cupcakes keep me warm at night.

Mini cupcakes on a pink background Credit: Baked by Melissa

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I was not born with a sweet tooth. I was born with sweet teeth, and if my dentist would let me, I’d eat dessert for every meal. There’s no cookie I’ll turn down nor a piece of cake I’ll deny, so when I heard about Baked by Melissa—a New York-based bakery that sells bite-sized cupcakes—I knew I’d have to test them… for the sake of journalism.

We’ve tested some of the best gourmet foods out there, from Milkbar to Harry & David, but how does Baked by Melissa stack up? Here’s what we thought.

What is Baked by Melissa?

Baked by Melissa
Credit: Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa is a New York-based business that sells tiny treats.

Baked by Melissa makes and sells tiny treats, namely cupcakes and macarons. It was founded by Melissa Ben-Ishay in 2008, and since then, the brand has expanded to include 14 locations and nationwide shipping. The cupcakes themselves come in packages of 25, 50, and 100, while certain holiday packs come in smaller sizes.

Cupcakes from Baked by Melissa are small—we’re talking literal bite-sized treats. Each cupcake is made without paper and topped with a dollop of icing (and occasionally an additional treat, like a cookie or sprinkles), making them extremely snackable.

Each package of cupcakes comes in a plastic container with domed tops to keep each cupcake held tightly in place without ruining decorations. You can also order special packaging for any cupcakes, including holiday and birthday boxes.

What cupcakes can you buy from Baked by Melissa?

Cupcakes
Credit: Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa released a number of holiday-themed cupcakes.

Baked by Melissa prides itself on its unique flavors—you won’t find standard chocolate and vanilla cupcakes here. Instead, you’ll be treated to cookies and cream, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate chip pancake, and even caramel hot cocoa. New flavors pop up each season, so keep your eyes peeled for new flavors as the months tick by.

Buyers can pick their favorite flavors and customize a pack of cupcakes for themselves, or they can opt for the Latest & Greatest Cupcakes, which feature a mix of new and popular cupcakes from the brand. And mercifully, for those who are gluten-free, Baked by Melissa offers a range of gluten-free cupcakes featuring top-selling flavors like red velvet, triple chocolate crunch, and birthday cake.

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How we tested Baked by Melissa cupcakes

We wanted to get a good sampling of what Baked by Melissa offers, so we tested a range of cupcakes from the brand, including:

To test, I ate them. I ate every single one of them. For you, and for science. And even though there were days where I ate 10 cupcakes before 10 am, I have no regrets.

Everything I loved about Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa
Credit: Reviewed / Kate Tully Ellsworth

Cupcakes from Baked by Melissa arrive in attractive packaging.

As I mentioned above, I am a huge sweets fan. I learned how to bake as soon as I moved out of my parents’ house because I didn’t want to live in a world where I couldn’t have immediate access to baked goods at any given time. As a result, I’ve become picky about which pre-made treats I’ll buy for myself since I learned I could get superior desserts by just making them at home.

All that being said, cupcakes from Baked by Melissa exceeded my expectations. These tiny treats tasted like they came straight from a nearby bakery, despite the fact that they were shipped from New York City. Each cupcake was deliciously moist and flavorful, and even though they were bite-sized, they delivered an immense punch.

Specifically, here’s where Baked by Melissa excels:

  • The flavors are exactly as advertised. That’s right, the peanut butter and jelly cupcake tastes like a classic PB & J sandwich. The chocolate chip pancake tastes like it’s syrup-infused and the candy cane tastes like the real thing. The flavors are creative, unique, and stunning. There wasn’t a single flavor I didn’t enjoy.

  • The icing was on point. Icing is hard to perfect on a cupcake, especially one that has to travel across the country. But the icing on Baked by Melissa cupcakes was fantastic, especially considering the cupcakes had an assortment of icings. My favorites overall were the cookie dough, mint chocolate, and candy cane cupcakes, as each was topped with a tiny treat that further elevated the cupcake.

  • The packaging was incredibly effective. Most meal kits and food deliveries come with packaging specifically meant to keep foods preserved as they ship to your home. Unlike other services that go a little overboard with their preservation methods, Baked by Melissa gets it just right. The cupcakes are small, so they can be easily stacked in small cardboard boxes, topped with dry ice to keep the treats cool. Styrofoam is pre-cut in small pieces, while the dry ice comes in small bags, meaning you can easily fit it all in the trash without feeling wasteful.

  • The plastic tin is resealable. If you’re someone with self-control, you’ll love the fact that you can reseal the plastic bubble package the cupcakes sit in. This means you can pop a cupcake every few hours without worrying about them drying out or getting ruined while you manage to not eat them all in one sitting. Unfortunately, I lack self-control, so I didn’t get to take full advantage of this feature.

Baked by Melissa is one of the best places to shop for food gifts

Baked by Melissa cupcake box
Credit: Baked by Melissa

Who needs flowers when you can just have cupcakes?

Baked by Melissa doesn't have the same vast selection as other gourmet food stores, but when it comes to quality and presentation, Baked by Melissa is unmatched. We tried both the Valentine's Day collection and the Holiday collection, both of which featured some of the brand's most popular cupcakes, as well as an impressive assortment of holiday-specific designs and flavors.

For Valentine's Day, each cupcake arrangement came in a colorful, heart-themed box with three individual Valentine's Day cards with personalized notes. We tried half-boxes (which contain six cupcakes each) and full boxes that hold up to 50—neither box lasted longer than three days because as soon as you know you've got Baked by Melissa in the fridge, there's little else you can think about.

The Valentine's Day collection, in particular, shines with its festive flavor combinations, from strawberry cheesecake to chocolate blackout. It even introduced me to my new favorite cupcake flavor, Salty Chocolate Caramel, which made my eyes roll back into my head after each bite.

What I’d change about Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa on pink
Credit: Baked by Melissa

These tiny cupcakes pack a lot of flavor in each bite.

As with any relationship, I hold a lot of love for Baked by Melissa, but there are a few things I dream of changing. Namely, the pricing. Baked by Melissa is on par with its high-end baked good competitors, including Milkbar and Jeni’s. The difference is that you can crush a package of Baked by Melissa cupcakes in one evening (I tested during the 2020 election, OK?), whereas with Milkbar or Jeni’s, you get enough treats to last several days.

One 25-pack of cupcakes from Baked by Melissa starts at $32, but if you live outside of the New York or New Jersey area, shipping starts around $15. That means for 25 mini cupcakes, you’ll pay about $50. It’s less expensive than a cake from Milkbar or a pack of ice cream from Jeni’s, but still more money than an average buyer may be willing to spend.

Should you buy Baked by Melissa cupcakes?

Baked by Melissa
Credit: Baked by Melissa

How could you say no to these cupcakes?

Baked by Melissa cupcakes are—and I’m so sorry for the pun—an absolute treat. They’re cute, tasty, and a joy to receive. I’d not only buy them again, but I’d highly recommend sending them as a gift to coworkers, friends, or loved ones, especially if they are also afflicted by a loud and demanding sweet tooth.

Would I personally still buy them again at that price point? Absolutely, just not as often as I’d like.

Shop cupcakes from Baked by Melissa

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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