Lady M is a remarkably dainty little pastry shop in the heart of the Upper East Side. (Seriously. 78th and Madison - this is society matron territory at its best.) Its location helps to explain its bustling weekday afternoon trade (It also helps that there's little like it in the neighborhood, so
even working stiffs tend to visit for a quick coffee break.) as well as its absolutely obscene prices.
You'll pay $7.00 for a cappuccino here, and I can admit that it's a good cappuccino. But the real star of the show is the pastry, and the cakes in particular.
The shop's aesthetic mirrors that of its product: spare but luxe, light but creamy, elegant but decadent. Their signature cake is called the Mille Crêpes, and it's essentially 20 (not a thousand, as the name suggests) paper-thin crêpes stacked one on top of the other. Pastry cream is mixed with whipped cream and sandwiched in between each layer, and the top is covered in a fine, bruléed sugar crust. It is, in a word, delicious. (It's also pretty easy to copy; check out my recipe for it over here. That's a photo of it below.)
Last week, I decided to branch out from my usual crêpes cake routine to try the lemon meringue cake, a typical Lady M spin on a classic. Fluffy lemon cake replaces the lemon curd pie filling. A thin schmear of lemon custard separates the two cake layers, and the whole thing is topped by a perfect mountain of slightly toasted meringue.
It's a pretty good dessert, though I think the cake could be a bit tarter, which would make it a far better foil for the sweet-sweet-sweet meringue. All in all, it can't ever replace the Mille Crêpes in my estimation, but it's still pretty dang tasty.