NYC’s Newest Dessert Trend – Flower Cakes By Clio and From Lucie (NYC)


January and February in NYC are our least favourite months of the year.  It’s a long cycle of bone chilling cold, endless clouds and waterfalls of rain, and as the years have gone by, there has been less and less snow to punctuate all that grey.  This winter, we emerged from hibernation upon hearing about two new cake shops — By Clio and From Lucie.  Both attempt to distinguish themselves from other NYC cake stores by lavishly layering icing and throwing a field of flowers on their home-style cakes.  And both sell their cakes at a rather high price point – more expensive than the more sophisticated patisserie art at Dominique Ansel for example, and at the same price of a Michelin star restaurant’s plated dessert.  Is this newest dessert trend of flower cakes worth your stomach space, and your wallet?  In one case, maybe, in the other, no.  With those prices especially, we can’t help but wonder whether either will last till next spring, or like their signature floral embellishments, slowly wither when NYC’s fickle crowds eventually find something new and shiny.

By Clio Bakery

  • ☑ Dessert destination: By Clio, Gowanus, Brooklyn. 
  • ☑ Budget: $$ ($11-13 per slice).
  • ☑ Must-eat: The “Lemon Velvet” and the “Braised Daikon” cake. 
  • ☑ Short and sweet story: Located on a desolate windswept avenue in Gowanus, By Clio lures you in with its cherry bright pink signage. Once inside, it steals your attention with a glass counter filled to the brim with cakes that look like they have come out of the pages of a fairy book.  By contrast to From Lucie’s flower cakes, Clio’s cakes have a more dense texture, more liberal swirls of icing, and more creative lavours. Our favourite of Clio’s cakes is the “Lemon Velvet,” a heavyweight cake with an energetic tang. Subtler flavours may be found in the “Orange Sage Olive Oil” cake, the “Persian Love Cake” with its waves of matcha frosting and slight rose tones, and the sweeter “Earl Grey” cake layered with pomelo curd and sandwiching pieces of grapefruit.  The most curious of Clio’s cakes is the “Braised Daikon” cake — with a complex interplay of savoury daikon, earthy sesame and sweet caramel flavours, it’s quite remarkable.  
  • Aside from cakes, Clio also offers a small range of brownies, cookies and other baked desserts. Don’t miss Clio’s banana pudding. It’s ultra silky smooth, and more of a custard sauce, than the banana bread pudding that you might be more familiar with from Magnolia Bakery.  

From Lucie

  • ☑ Dessert destination: From Lucie, East Village, Manhattan.
  • ☑ Budget: $$-$$$ ($11-13 per slice; $18 for the cupcake).
  • ☑ Must-eat: The “Carrot” cupcake.
  • ☑ Short and sweet story2022 was the year of “viral desserts” in NYC, and that “trend” does not seem to be abating.  Upon opening, From Lucie lured lines and lines of people, and received a barrage of attention from print media. Just a month after opening though, we visited in the early afternoon of a weekend, and there was no line. We tried the “Carrot” ($18) and “Pear Raspberry” ($13) cakes, both of which were iced over with cream and flowers.  By comparison to Clio’s cakes, Lucie’s cakes are less creative in terms of flavour profile.  They are also softer and less dense, akin to the type of cakes you might find in an English tea house.  There’s nothing per se to fault with the cakes — it’s the inflated price point that makes it difficult to swallow… and difficult to contemplate a return visit for what is not much more than a home-style cake made pretty with a sprig of flowers. 


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