If you take a walk around NYU, it is not hard to find bubble tea spots, including Kung Fu Tea, Boba Guys and Vivi Bubble Tea. Dedicated patrons wait in lines outside the shops both in the bitter cold and the sweltering heat.
As summer cedes to fall, a cup of hot bubble tea provides the sugar, the chewiness and the warmth that are essential to surviving the snow. But New York City’s bubble tea obsession has reached levels that the original format of a beverage can no longer manage. Enter, a dish that brings those delicious tapioca pearls into pastry form: Bubble Cake.
C Tea, a tea shop located in the heart of Nolita has released the Bubble Cake and has caught the eyes of Boba lovers everywhere. Just a short walk from campus, C Tea seems like the perfect spot to grab a cup of tea after class.
The Bubble Cake has had a persisting presence on social media. It indeed looks good — chiffon cake covered in earl grey milk foam with glittering Boba slipping down the sides. As a bubble tea addict, I decided to try it myself. When I discovered that I would need a reservation even to try the cake, I expected the taste to match its exclusivity.
While I was waiting for the cake, I expected it to be sizable considering the relatively high price of $11.97; however, it was only the size of my hand. I was initially worried about if there would be enough for my friend and me to share, but the cloying taste prevented us from even finishing it.
The Instagrammable moment came when I poured the hot, caramelized Boba onto the cake. As the milk foam slowly melted down the cake with the hot caramel, a gentle lava like flow of cream oozed out of the cake when I cut it. At that moment, I was amazed at its beauty. But the cake was only delicious in aesthetics. Once I put a piece of it into my mouth, I was disappointed. The milk foam tasted fine, but the Boba and the chiffon cake immediately flooded my mouth with a overly decadent sugary syrup that made my cavities ache. The cake itself tasted like a regular sponge cake that you could get at the supermarket for less than $5.
The staff informed me that it was a homemade earl grey chiffon cake, but without the toppings, the cake would be flavorless and incredibly dry. It seems that because the main selling point was the boba, C Tea neglected to develop the recipe of the cake further.
Not everything is picture perfect in real life. C Tea’s bubble cake wins its fame on Instagram and Facebook, but it loses that glory when it touches your tongue.
Email Teresa Zhang at [email protected]