Monday, June 30, 2008

Juicy Couture Cupcake Necklace

While out feeding my addiction (not the cupcake one...the shopping one) I finally caved and picked up the Juicy Couture Cupcake Necklace. Hey, give me some credit, at least I refrained from the $830 Neiman Marcus one! It's an adorable little charm and pink is my favorite color after all and I do love cupcakes and I did have a $20 Gift Card and yea I think that's enough excuses for now. Moving on. Isn't it cute?
The crystal topped Juicy Couture "Wish" Necklace comes in one color, Pink Cupcake, and goes for $48. It has a Lobster closure and the chain measures 16" in length. The top actually pops open to reveal a place big enough for a wish or two, such as "I wish that Neiman Marcus cupcake necklace would go on sale..."

Best Buns Cupcakes

Since we've lately been on the topic of Arlington area cupcakes, here's another one for the bunch! Best Buns Bakery. A cute little fixture in a row of shops and restaurants, Best Buns has indoor and outdoor seating and an array of baked goods & other food. (One of our Meetup group members says their Croissant sandwiches are to die for!) But of course, my main interest is the cupcakes.

I picked out a Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream (top right), Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Buttercream (bottom right), Chocolate Cupcake with Toffee Buttercream (top left), and Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Coconut Topping (bottom left). Like the cupcakes at Heidelberg, Best Buns’ were huge too!
The chocolate with toffee cupcake tasted more like a thick piece of chocolate cake, but it was still good. The toffee frosting is really rich and the chocolate cake is very dense, but together the frosting and cake made a good combination.
The vanilla cupcake was good; the frosting was creamy, thick, and rich, and the heart shape sprinkles added a nice little crunch.
I liked the chocolate with peanut buttercream much better than the toffee, but the peanut buttercream tasted more like you were eating peanut butter from a jar, and not really like a frosting. It was also a little on the oily side. It wasn’t bad, but I probably wouldn’t get it again.
Last but not least was my favorite of the bunch, the chocolate with cream cheese buttercream and coconut topping. It was nice and sweet, but not too rich.
My overall evaluation of Best Buns? Definitely worth the trip. While these are not the best cupcakes I have had, they certainly are better than many others. Best Buns is in a great location, there's ample parking behind the shops, and the cupcakes themselves are huge, sweet, and filling. If you’ve tried any of the other flavors and would like to comment, please feel free! I’d love to know!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mia's Dessert Cupcakes

Last night a couple of my girlfriends and I decided to try Mia's in Bethesda, Maryland. I would link you to their website, but they don't have one! It's next door to Caddies, at 4926 Cordell Avenue. They've got delicious speciality pizzas and some pretty tasty Sangria. But best of all, they've got cupcakes for dessert! With the exception of a few other restaurants, like Rustico in Alexandria or Tabbard Inn in DC, not many restaurants around here carry cupcakes on their dessert this was a nice surprise!
Perched on the counter by the kitchen sits an adorable little cupcake tree with a pastel array of different cupcake flavors. Last night, they had three different flavors...Vanilla with Chocolate Buttercream, Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream, and a Cheesecake Cupcake. My girlfriends and I went with the Vanilla on Vanilla and Cheesecake.

I split the cupcakes into fourths, and we each tried a piece. The Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream was a little dry (probably from sitting out on that cupcake tree), but it had good flavor...almost batter-like...but not in a bad, hasn't been cooked kind of way; it was sweet. The buttercream could have been a little sweeter and thicker, I think it got a little melty from sitting out. When the sun is setting, it shines right into the restaurant and actually directly onto where the cupcakes were sitting.
Next was the Cheesecake Cupcake! Half cheesecake, half cupcake, this one was really good! The topping was a tasty whip cream that paired perfectly with the cupcake. The cheesecake portion was delicious, and the cake half actually tasted more like a flourless chocolate cake. It was very rich, and very good.
The cupcakes were $2.50 each, which is cheaper than your average bakery cupcake. Overall, Mia's is definitely worth the trip. Good pizza, good cupcakes!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Heidelberg Cupcakes

Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe is a charming little bakery located in Arlington, Virginia. They've got everything you could ever want...cheesecakes, cookies, strudels, brownies, chocolates, danishes, pies, cakes, and most importantly, cupcakes the size of your head. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but they are really really big!
I picked up a Carrot Cake (of course), Red Velvet (I'm on a mission to try everyone's Red Velvet), and a Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting and a Chocolate Truffle filling. Before I give you my reviews, I've got to mention that outside of the shoppe they had all the Heidelberg guys grilling up different types of Wursts for sandwiches, along with home made soft pretzels. There was a very long line, so it must have been good.

Okay back to the cupcakes. We'll start with the Carrot Cake. Hello Cupcake's Carrot Cake still reigns King, but this Carrot Cake was pretty good. I don't like raisin's so I wish they weren't baked in, but it was moist and flavorful with lots of spices. The cream cheese icing was my only was too thick and almost tasted a little sour. Most icings should change consistency when they hit your taste buds, but this one stayed a thick blob. Unfortunately, they used the same cream cheese icing on the Red Velvet. I just cut it off the top and tried the cake part, and wow, it was REALLY good. Moist, crumbly, rich and velvety...I loved it. Quite possibly my favorite Red Velvet so far. If I were to order any of these in the future though, I would probably ask them to hold the icing and just put on some of my own homemade cream cheese icing...
Last up, the Chocolate Truffle. If you're a chocolate lover, you will love this cupcake. VERY rich, and the chocolate truffle in the middle is a great addition. All of the cupcakes I tried were Jumbo size, but they do have regular size chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Some of the other Jumbo flavors include Yellow Cake with a Caramel topping and Chocolate Cake with a Raspberry frosting. There are some little bistro tables inside for you to sit down and enjoy whatever dessert you end up choosing. If you've never been to the Heidelberg, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Recipe of the Week - 3 Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Sea Salt

(Picture by Cheryl Porro of Cupcake Bakeshop)

While enjoying my carrot cake cupcake at our DC/Metro Cupcake Group meetup this past Sunday, I heard about this recipe from one of the other group members. They're called 3 Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Sea Salt, and they come from Cheryl Porro of the Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit. Cheryl creates each and every recipe on her blog! Anyway, I love vanilla, so I can't wait to try this recipe. Here's the recipe from her website:
Vanilla Sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 pound sugar
1. Split the vanilla bean but don’t scrape out the seeds. Put it with the sugar in an airtight container. Store in a cupboard for around 5 days or more. Shake it up once in a while.
3 Vanilla Cupcakes
20 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-2/3 cups vanilla sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2-2/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Vanilla Bean Frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) philly cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and 3 cups of powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.
1. Frost each cooled cupcake with a healthy mound of frosting.
2. Top with vanilla seat salt or whatever you so desire.
(A little sidenote from Chockylit, if you can’t find the vanilla sea salt, just find some high quality sea salt and mix it with some vanilla bean seeds.)

Interview with Cupcakes Take The Cake

A couple days ago, Rachel from Cupcakes Take The Cake asked me if I'd like to do an interview! Of course I was really excited and agreed. You can check it out on Cupcakes Take The Cake by clicking here, or just take a look below:
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Cupcake interview with Danielle Buckley, DC/Metro Area Cupcake Meetup Organizer

Name: Danielle Buckley
Age: 24
Location: Rockville, MD
Occupation: Government Contracts Administrator by day, Cupcake Blogger and Aspiring Entrepreneur by night.

Why did you start your blog and how did you get interested in cupcakes?
I love traveling around DC area bakeries trying all sorts of cupcakes; I thought it would be fun to have a place to talk about my finds and post the pictures.
I remember being interested in cupcakes way back in elementary school. I’d always look forward to my classmate’s birthdays because their parents would bring in cupcakes for everyone!
Which are your favorite DC cupcakes that you’ve tried so far?
I had the privilege of sampling 5 different flavors of cupcakes from Hello Cupcake, set to open later this summer in Dupont. Definitely the best cupcakes I’ve had. Just talking about it is putting me in a state of cupcake euphoria.
How do you think the DC cupcake scene compares to cities like New York and LA? Is there anything that’s missing from the DC bakeries you’d like to see them offer?
I think DC has definitely been a late bloomer in the cupcake craze, but now that we’re catching up, it’s full steam ahead! NY and LA definitely have more cupcake-only bakeries, while DC mostly has a lot of great bakeries that offer cupcakes. One thing about the DC bakeries I’d like to see more of is room for sitting down and enjoying your cupcake!
You’re about to launch the DC/Metro Area Cupcake Meetup. Why did you start the group and what do you have planned for it? What are you most looking forward to?
I’m so excited about this! I started the group because I knew there had to be other DC locals just as excited about cupcakes as I am, and I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to meetup and enjoy them together. I want to take advantage of this summer weather and have an outdoor social, and of course we’ll be meeting at local bakeries. I’d say I’m most looking forward to meeting new people and trying new cupcakes!
You criticized CakeLove for having bland flavors. What can bakeries do to stand out from the pack?
To make yourself stand out, I think you need to have great presentation (both with the cupcakes and your brand) as well as great taste. The cutest frosting patterns, colors, and decorations aren’t going to mask bad flavor. I think you also need to have something that is uniquely yours. Like an innovative flavor of cupcake or a special way of presenting them. Small touches like that help make customers both remember and recommend you.
What do you think makes for the perfect cupcake?
I’ve met a lot of people who try to say it’s either the cake or the frosting that make the perfect cupcake, but I think it’s both. The cake has to be great on its own and so does the frosting. Also, a nice presentation doesn’t hurt.
And now for some personal questions…
How often do you eat cupcakes?
Too often! Probably once a week on average? I lost some weight on Weight Watchers so I’m always watching what I eat, but cupcakes are the one exception.
What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?
The happy feeling they give you and how they’re perfectly portioned just for me!
What's your favorite type of cupcake?
Carrot Cake, definitely. But I’ll also never pass up a good, classic vanilla.
How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?
Honestly, with the exception of cupcakes, I’m not a big sweets eater. I do like brownies though; I make an excellent chunky toffee brownie that everyone just goes crazy for.
Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?
I’d definitely like seeing more cupcakes with surprises baked into them…like delicious fillings or layers.
Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?
All the time! My favorite thing is trying new flavors and of course the decorating. I’ve become the go-to girl for cupcakes among my friends and family. Unfortunately, nobody bakes them for me!
What's your first cupcake-related memory?
When I was little, my mom used to make cakes for children’s birthday parties. My twin sister and I wanted to be in the kitchen with her, so she’d prep a bowl of icing for us and let us decorate a batch of cupcakes while she worked. We always made a mess!
What's the most fun you've ever had with a cupcake?
One night my boyfriend was having a guy’s poker night, and along with the usual chips and dips I decided to bake a batch of Carrot Cake Cupcakes (his favorite) for all of them. The cupcakes practically disappeared! All of his friends were raving about how delicious they were and asked if I could make them for every poker night!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Arlington Cupcake Adventures

This weekend while I was in Arlington, I thought I'd swing by The Farmer's Market held every Saturday morning in front of the Courthouse. I've heard that the owner of ShoeBox Oven sets up shop there (since she doesn't have an actual store) to sell her cupcakes. After paying the meter and finding the stand, I was quite disappointed to find that she doesn't sell her cupcakes at the market in the summer months! Apparently the cupcakes can't handle the heat. As a matter of fact, we won't be able to find ShoeBox Oven cupcakes at the Arlington Farmer's Market until November! I should have checked her website can see a list of what she currently has available on Saturdays.

One thing I wanted to share, I found out she makes this crazy cupcake seen below- the Lilliputian. It's a vanilla bean and creme fraiche cupcake topped with fine spun sugar...mmm!
(Picture from
Back to my cupcake travels, at this point I just wanted a cupcake! So my friend and I headed over to Murky Coffee. Murky sells the cupcakes seen below for Justin Stegall, owner of BakeShop DC (who also does not yet have a store location.) Just an FYI for those who've never been - Murky Coffee in Arlington has a HORRIBLE parking situation. There are only 4 or so spots in front of the store, and when you reverse, you better do it quick because you're reversing into traffic onto Wilson Boulevard! Ugh. Anyway, my friend and I parked and headed inside, only to find out that they hadn't received any deliveries from Bakeshop DC, i.e., NO CUPCAKES!
(Picture from Murky Coffee Website - Nick Cho, President, Murky Coffee)
Refusing to give up our cupcake search, we swung by a local Starbucks since I've heard they carry some really tasty Vanilla Cupcakes. But of course, there were no cupcakes to be found!
Cupcakeless, we decided to call it a day and try to forget about our disappointment poolside back in Maryland. Lesson learned - always call ahead!!!

Cupcake Bath Fizzers

Now you can have cupcakes in the tub! Urban Outfitters is selling these cupcake shaped bath fizzers in either Cherry or Mint Chip. They're topped with floating soap icing, and apparently they smell pretty good! They measure 3.25"w x 2.75"h and go for $6 each.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meetup 1 - Baked & Wired

This morning was the first meetup for our DC/Metro Cupcake Group! And it was a lot of fun! The owner of Baked & Wired in Georgetown was kind enough to open up half an hour early to accommodate our group. Maggie, pictured below, told us all about Baked & Wired’s flavors for the day, which included Strawberry (made with real strawberries!), Carrot Cake, Red Velvet, Vanilla on Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla with Chocolate Satin Frosting, and Karen’s Birthday Cupcake (Karen is the owner’s Grandmother, and the cupcake is her original recipe).

We all grabbed our cupcake and coffee and sat down in one of their lounge areas. We chatted up a storm for about an hour and a half, and talked about other area bakeries that might be good for upcoming meetups.

Out of all of the cupcakes we tried, I think our overall favorite was the Carrot Cake with the Strawberry coming in a close 2nd. For me, the only disappointment was the Red Velvet, as it didn’t taste anything like Red Velvet. All of the cupcakes were very thick, but this isn’t a bad thing. They were moist and rich, with the exception of the Vanilla cupcake which was actually pretty dry. I would definitely recommend Baked & Wired though. It’s in a great location, good coffee, friendly employees, tasty cupcakes, and lots of other great desserts (I heard the “Phig Newtons” are pretty good!)

If you have any recommendations about future meetup locations, feel free to post them! And if you'd like to join our meetup group (there's 70 of us so far!), visit the group page by clicking here. It was great meeting everyone, and I’m already looking forward to next time!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hello Cupcake!

Penny Karas, Owner & Executive Pastry Chef of the much anticipated Hello Cupcake (set to open later this summer in Dupont), graciously offered me a sneak preview of her treats before the shop’s Grand Opening. With original flavors like the Velvet Elvis and Maya Favorite Cupcake, I was SUPER excited to make my way over to Penny’s place and put my taste buds to work. And work I did! After tasting 5 different flavors, I can safely say that Hello Cupcake's cupcakes are the best I have had in this area!

With charming little touches like both indoor and outdoor seating, recycled pink packing, a flashy pink chandelier, and the perfectly crafted cupcakes themselves, Hello Cupcake is all about the details. And you can taste Penny's attention to detail in each and every bite. I think it's this special attention that is going to make Hello Cupcake so successful. Here are my reviews:

Gluten Free Carrot Cake - Oh.My.God. GLUTEN FREE?!?! I’ve died and gone to cupcake heaven. The cream cheese icing was SO delicious it’s hard to put into words! The mixture of cinnamon, real carrots, walnuts, and pineapple was perfect. When you go to Hello Cupcake, you have GOT to try this masterpiece.

Vanilla Gorilla - A light and fluffy banana bread with an anything but average vanilla frosting. I gave one to a friend who is a banana bread connoisseur, and her eyes about bulged out of her head when she took her first bite. “This is AMAZING!!” I would have to agree. I've never really liked bananas, but I LOVED this cupcake.

Vegan German Chocolate - I tried this one both room temperature and warmed up. I think I prefer the warmed up version as it makes the caramel topping a little creamier. This combined with chocolate cake was a great combination.

Triple Coconut - My taste buds had a field day with this one. The Triple Coconut is exactly how a cupcake should taste: sweet, light, and moist. Normally I avoid coconut as I’m not a big fan, but this was just divine.

Peanut Butter Blossom - WOW. The peanut butter frosting on this cupcake is so creamy and delicious you must try it for yourself. Unlike many other peanut butter frostings I’ve had, this one is not at all oily or overpowering. It’s perfect. The chocolate cake was smooth and rich. Put them together and you’ve got one amazing combination.

You can find these and over 15 other flavors on Hello Cupcake's menu. Speaking of which, I asked Penny if we could be expecting any new flavors once the shop opens, to which she replied "Oh definitely! Coming up with new flavors is the best part." For more on what Penny had to say about her cupcakes and her shop, check out our conversation below:

(In regards to the Vegan German Chocolate Cupcake)
Penny: “The caramel topping doesn’t have the butter in it to make it really gooey, so it hardens almost into a caramel fudge, it’s awesome. If you wanted to have the gooeyness, I would recommend just warming it up. Pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds and it goo’s right up.

Penny: And then this is Gluten Free Carrot Cake.

Danielle: OH those are my favorite!

Penny: Oh good! This is really good even if you’re not eating gluten free, so I think you’ll enjoy it but the real stuff is also amazing . You’ll have to come and have some of those some day! The gluten-free one has carrots, toasted walnuts, pineapple and coconut, filled with all kinds of goodness, and then a traditional cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon.

Danielle: I love the way you do your icing. I was checking out the website and everything is so cute, people are loving it! You know you’ve got so many good reviews already and you haven’t even opened. Everyone is just like, “I love the way they look!”

Penny: It kind of validates the whole idea of really going for a high end brand look too. I mean, I think the products are number one, and they’re really good, so that’s a good thing, but I also think that just having the brand appeal has really attracted people.

Danielle: People really go for presentation.

Penny: I think that’s true; and I wanted the shop itself to have a modern aesthetic. The whole idea behind the shop is that when you walk in it feels more like you’re walking into a little boutique.

Danielle: Yea, I read about your pink chandelier!

Penny: Hahaha Yea!

(Back to cupcakes)

Penny: This is Peanut Butter Blossom which is my basic Scharfenberger chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, which is addictive. [This is] Vanilla Gorilla, which is banana cake and has real bananas, not just banana flavoring, and vanilla cream cheese frosting. It’s a really nice moist cake because of the Banana.

Danielle: Speaking of the Banana, your Velvet Elvis cracks me up.

Penny: Isn’t that great? I didn’t know if people would get the reference! There is another one called Lucy, “the sassy red head.” A friend of mine who is like 10 years younger than me said “are you sure younger people are going to get this reference?

Danielle: Oh, I definitely think so.

What I like most about the cupcakes from Hello Cupcake is that not only are the cake and frosting delicious on their own, but when you bite into them together, it's the perfect combination. They look great, they're moist, the flavors are rich but aren't overpowering; they’re absolutely delicious.

Penny was shocked that I came all the way from Bethesda to her corner of DC to try the cupcakes. Are you kidding?? People are going to be coming from all over to try these cupcakes! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the Grand Opening later this summer, Hello Cupcake is going to be a huge hit.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Critter Cupcakes

A friend of mine clipped these articles out of the June issue of Ladies Home Journal. How adorable! These cupcakes would make excellent desserts for your kid's next birthday party, or maybe just for fun at an upcoming BBQ! The issue shows how to make the Panda's shown above, as well as...


An Alligator (my favorite)



Thursday, June 19, 2008

Doggie Treats

Dogs deserve cupcakes too! These colorful treats come from Richmond, VA based pet store For The Love of Pete, and are made of whole wheat flour, peanut butter, rolled oats, molasses, and yogurt. They are a little pricey, selling for $7.00/each, but a percentage of the store's proceeds benefit area rescue shelters. Plus, who doesn't like to spoil their dog? To pick up a couple for your little prince/princess, you can visit their store at 322 Libbie Avenue, or simply click here!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cupcakes at Tiffany's

Now if Tiffany's were selling these precious charms back in the Hepburn's heyday, you know Holly Golightly would have been wearing one!
Available in either 18k Gold with multi-colored gemstones or Sterling Silver with pink enamel, you can buy the Tiffany's Cupcake Charm on a chain, link clasp necklace, link clasp bracelet, or simply all by itself. Options range from as much as $4,050 to as little as $150. Click here to see all your choices!

Recipe of The Week - Sunken Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

This week's Recipe of The Week comes from Bon Appétit Magazine. With reviews like "Delicious!" "Divine!" "Rich!" and "The Best!," I thought these flourless chocolate cupcakes were definitely worth trying.
1 cup blanched almonds
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place almonds in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until nuts are coarsely ground. (Really, make sure they're ground enough so the cupcakes aren't crunchy).
Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Microwave chocolate and butter in small bowl on high 30 seconds; stir. Microwave until almost melted, about 30 seconds longer. Stir to combine. Cool chocolate mixture until barely lukewarm but still liquid, about 5 minutes. Whisk egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl until blended. Mix in orange peel, ground almonds, and chocolate mixture.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in another large bowl until mixture is thick and glossy and peaks form. Fold egg-white mixture into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (about 1/3 cup batter in each). Bake until edges are firm and tops are cracked all over, about 16 minutes for very soft cake or about 22 minutes for firmer cake. (Delleicious Note: Reviews say you should cook for 22-23 minutes, any less and they're too runny). Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Click here to access the reviews and recipe through Bon Appetit's sister site,
Have a cupcake recipe you think should be the next Recipe of the Week? Send it my way!

Update to DC/Metro Cupcake Group Meetup

As everyone knows, this Sunday is the first meetup for the DC/Metro Cupcake Group. Our RSVP list of 20 spots filled up quite fast, and left a lot of Group Members unable to attend! I wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to come, so I contacted Baked & Wired this afternoon to work out an arrangement. They're going to open up early for us, at 10:30am!

Hopefully everyone who has RSVP'd "Yes" can still attend, and hopefully those who wanted to come now can! Please make sure that you still RSVP if you plan on attending.

See you at Baked & Wired, Sunday June 22nd, at 10:30am!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Safeway Cupcakes

You probably read this title and thought, ew? She's reviewing Safeway cupcakes?? Well tonight while at Safeway buying some bottled water (my house water is still brown as a result of this water main break!!) I wandered into the bakery section and wouldn't you know it, a couple of lonely cupcakes sat in the display window. I couldn't just leave them there! Safeway is part of the DC/Metro area, so I figured they deserved a review too! I had the woman at the counter box them up, and off I went with my cupcakes and Fiji.

$.99/each or $3.49 for four, these cupcakes were the sweet and sugary goodness you would expect from a grocery store cupcake. The batter was obviously a Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mix, which means it was nothing special, and the icing was sugary and plentiful (typical of a grocery store). While these were no Magnolia masterpiece, all in all the cake and icing made a good combination. If you like your treats to be very sweet, these cupcakes will definitely do the trick. Make sure they're room temperature though, otherwise the icing tastes too creamy.

Presentation? Check. Price? Check. Palatable? Check. Ohmygosh did Safeway just get a better rating than Cakelove? Ouch...

Cupcake Dessert Dishes

All my posts on Cupcake goodies thus far have been rather pricey (5K purses, 1K necklaces), so I thought I would fill you in on some adorable cupcake stuff more in the average gal's price range! And seriously, how darling are these little dessert dishes???

These hand-painted plates come in a set of 4, are dishwasher safe, and packaged in a cute little gift box to boot! The best part? Only $19.95! Pick yours up at one of the three Sur-La-Table locations in our area: their DC store on Wisconsin Avenue, their Arlington store in Pentagon Row, or on the 2nd floor of Tysons Galleria, across from the Juicy Couture boutique. Not close to any of these locations? Save money on gas and simply click here to buy them online!

Strawberry Cupcake Clutch

Remember those $830 Cupcake Necklaces I mentioned a few days ago? You thought that was expensive? Well my dears, feast your eyes upon the purse everyone is talking about: The Limited Edition Leiber Strawberry Cupcake Clutch.

While browsing Neiman Marcus’ website tonight, I came across this little gem and thought, where have I seen this before? After a little research, I found out it was one of the purses seen in the Sex & The City Movie.

This handcrafted work of art is fully beaded with Rose and Light Pink Austrian Crystals. It can be carried by its chain shoulder strap, or you can tuck the chain in and carry it as a clutch. The purse is a tiny treasure, measuring 4"L x 3"W x 4"H; with a 7" drop handle.

If you’ve got $4,295 to spend, you can pre-order your own through Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman. However, for my savvy shoppers out there, you can add yourself to the waitlist at Bag Borrow or Steal (which has also gained a lot of publicity from the SATC movie) by clicking here. Bag Borrow or Steal allows you to rent the purse for $136/week or $400/month.

And for those of us who cannot afford to buy, bag, borrow, or steal this fabulous piece of eye candy…just think about how many cupcakes we can buy instead.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Maggie Moo's Ice Cream Cupcakes

Did you realize that there's absolutely nowhere to get a good cupcake in Ocean City (hint hint, aspiring cupcake entrepreneurs)??? I went into one of the thousands of Candy Kitchens that overrun the town, but nope, nothing.

I did remember however that Maggie Moo's recently jumped in on the cupcake craze and came out with their own line of Ice Cream Cupcakes, and what do you know, there so happened to be a Maggie Moo's in West Ocean City. So after a long day of roasting in the sun at Seacrets, my girlfriends and I ventured onto Route 50 and dropped by the Maggie Moo's. For $8.95, we picked up a 4 pack: 2 "Sprinkles" (Vanilla Ice Cream with Yellow Cake) and 2 "Chocolate Heaven" (Chocolate Ice Cream & Chocolate Cake). We sat down with our spoons and dug in.

We all preferred the Sprinkles flavor over Chocolate Heaven, but both made for really good ice cream cupcakes. As you would expect, they taste exactly like a piece of Ice Cream Cake, just in cute little cupcake form. These would be an adorable alternative to a plain old Ice Cream Cake for a kid's birthday party. They've got a couple other flavors, like Better Batter Cookie Heaven, Cotton Candy Carnival, and their award winning Dark Chocolate ice cream on top of chocolate cake, a marshmallow filling, and topped with real chocolate ganache...mmm! You can even request a custom creation! To get more info on Maggie Moo's Ice Cream Cupcakes, or to find a Maggie's Moo's near you, click here

Two of my girlfriends about to dig in!

We're Famous!

While I was sunning my pale self in Ocean City this weekend, the ladies at Cupcakes Take the Cake wrote about our new DC Cupcakes Meetup Group! When I blogged about the group last Sunday, we had 14 members...we've now got 55! Our first meeting is a week from today (June 22nd) at Baked & Wired in Georgetown. I hope everyone can make it!

Click here to read the shout out at the Cupcakes Take the Cake blog: DC Cupcake Meetup Group

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not feeling the (Cake)Love

Tonight when I was swinging by Nordstrom to pick up a few things for my Ocean City trip tomorrow, I remembered a new Cakelove store just opened up in the Tysons eatery. Excited to finally try this DC area sensation, I walked over and picked out four flavors...New German Chocolate, Peanut Butter on Chocolate, Lemon Vanilla, and the Gluten Free cupcake.
I have never been so disappointed in my life! Let's start from the beginning.
First I tried the Lemon Vanilla. Woah. While the Vanilla cake was decent, all you could taste here was the lemon icing. It was extremely overpowering. If you love lemon, you will like this cupcake. Otherwise, you will be disappointed.
Second was the Gluten Free Cupcake. I mainly chose this cupcake to see if a gluten free cupcake could taste halfway decent...and that's about all I can say for it: it was halfway decent. It was very bland, topped with a cream cheese icing (which I feel like I have made tastier versions of in my own kitchen). While not bad for a gluten free cupcake, it certainly was not good.
Next I tried the Peanut Butter on Chocolate. The Chocolate Cupcake I had from Just Cakes last week was much more flavorful than this. And to make it worse, as with the Lemon Cupcake, all you could taste here was the oily peanut butter frosting.
Last up was the New German Chocolate. It was definitely the most original tasting one of the group, but was by no means GREAT, or even worth finishing.
Extremely disappointed, I went onto Cakelove's website and found out that ALL of the cupcakes are either Vanilla or Chocolate cake, only the icing changes. How terribly lazy! If you're going to sell only two flavors of cake, the cake needs to be AMAZING! It was nowhere close. And not only are the icing flavors too overpowering, they're not even good. I was also disappointed with the presentation. The 18 year olds working the counter obviously slapped some icing on with a big knife and called it a day.
Sorry Cakelove, but there was absolutely no love in these cupcakes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Favorite Cupcake Carriers

How much do you love the little Cup-a-Cake Containers? These adorable little things are so cute and convenient, you've got to own at least one. They're available at Linens N Things, The Container Store, Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Kitchen & Company in Bel Air, Maryland. I'll let you in on a little secret though...just go directly to the Cup-a-Cake website ( to get the best deal. Those big name retailers sell only select colors, and for $2.99 each, while sells all the colors (White, Pink, Green, Yellow, and Blue) in sets of 4 for $9.99.

How about the Cupcake Courier? Genius! This amazing portable device holds 3 stackable cupcake trays, with each tray holding 12 cupcakes. There really is no better way to get those cupcakes to your next party or gathering unharmed! They come in Petal Pink, Lemon Grass, Saffron Yellow, and Soft Blue Sky. Though currently out of stock on, you can find them at Target, Dillards, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdales, and on

Engagement Ring Cupcakes

I came across this cute idea for bridal shower/bachelorette party desserts in Washingtonian Magazine Online. I think it would be even cuter with some pink or turquoise colored frosting!
Take a look:

To make these adorable desserts, you'll need

  • 1 Box Salerno Cookies (or another similarly shaped brand)
  • 1 Bag Regular Size Marshmallows
  • Your favorite cupcake recipe

After the cupcakes have been baked, simply cut one marshmallow into a triangle by slicing a small wedge off of each side, so the top of the marshmallow is the original width but the bottom now ends in a point. Now cut off the tip and now you've got a diamond! Next, take one cookie and cut of a segment the size of the bottom of the marshmallow diamond, but be careful, the cookie breaks easily.

Frost a cupcake and press the butter cookie and marshmallow onto it as pictured above to create an "engagement ring!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cake Decorating Courses

I've been looking into some cake decorating/baking courses around the area and have found a couple options I thought were worth sharing.
L'Academie de Cuisine - This Academy of Culinary and Pastry Arts located in Bethesda, MD offers recreational courses to those of us who just want to have some cooking fun. Their Cake Decorating 101 and 201 courses fill up very fast. 101 teaches you how to fill, frost, and decorate with a pastry bag, as well as how to make classic buttercream. 201 focuses on the use of fondant, teaching students how to create satin coverings, roses, ribbons, and other decorations. CD101 is $65, and CD201 is $75. Click here for their calendar of course offerings.

Michael's Craft Store - Michael's offers Wilton Cake Decorating Courses at four different levels. Course I (Discover Cake Decorating) focuses on basic skills & techniques from icing prep to simple borders and roses. Course II (Flowers & Borders) teaches more intricate flowers and borders like pansies and basketweave. Course III (Fondant & Tiered Cakes) introduces rolled fondant, advanced borders and flowers, and tiered cake assembly. Lastly, there is a Fondant & Gum Paste Course that teaches you how to marbleize fondant, work with a ribbon cutter, make gum paste flowers, and more! Right now Michael's is running a special, register for a class for the month of July and you'll get 50% off your tuition, plus save an additional $10. In addition, you'll receive the 2009 Wilton Yearbook for free. Courses are anywhere from $15-$30 (before the discount offer) and usually run for 4 weeks (1 class each week). You have to contact your local Michaels for dates and times. To find a Michael's by you that offers the Wilton courses, click here

Cupcake Necklaces

Can't decide what to do with that Stimulus Check of yours? (Ha). Check out these adorable cupcake necklaces by KC Designs!

Available through Neiman Marcus, these darling little charms have pavé diamond insets, and come in 14-karat Rose Gold, White Gold, and Yellow Gold. Oh yes, and they retail at $830.00 each. Insanely expensive? Yes. Do I want one? Of course!

Recipe of the Week

For fun, I decided each week I'll post a delleicious new cupcake recipe. This week's recipe comes from Gloria Bradley of Naperville, Illinois (a lovely little suburb of Chicago). Gloria won both the Grand Prize and Dessert Category for her Lemon-Scented Blueberry Cupcakes in Cooking Light Magazine's 2006 Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest.
This recipe is a great pick for the summer months. It uses fresh blueberries and lemons, and even has a low fat cream cheese frosting. Sounds like a cupcake you can eat morning, noon, and night! And who doesn't love that?

Click here for the recipe:
(Image by Howard L. Puckett @

Baking Fun

Word has spread around the office that I will be out of town later this week, i.e. not here to bake my coworkers their weekly cupcakes! So to please the masses, I decided to bake some cupcakes last night to bring in today.

I've never liked public transportation, but when choosing between a 17 minute Metro commute or a hour+ drive, I think the choice is obvious. Unfortunately today the AC was broken on the Metro. With this recent heat wave we've been having in the DC Area, you can assume that the ride from Shady Grove to Bethesda was a hot & sweaty nightmare. However, the compliments on my cupcakes from complete strangers, all the way from the Shady Grove Metro platform to the elevator ride up to my office floor, made the trip a little less miserable!

So lesson of the day: if you ever feel like socializing, walk around holding a plate of cupcakes. It's a guarenteed conversation starter!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cupcake Happy Hour

If you're going to treat yourself to a happy hour, skip the bar and head to the bakery! The Baltimore location of the Baltimore Cupcake Company offers a Cupcake Happy Hour every weekday from 5:00-6:00pm. All cupcakes are only $1! Though their flavor menu changes daily, you can find great flavors like Vanilla Vanilla, Key Lime, Coconut, Strawberry, and Cookies & Cream.
Yea, Baltimore may be a little outside the realm of the DC/Metro area, but I thought this was definitely something worth knowing!
The Baltimore Cupcake Company is located in Locust Point, at 1443 E Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230. Check them out at Baltimore Cupcake Company

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The DC/Metro Cupcake Group

I recently combined my love for cupcakes and socializing by starting the DC/Metro Cupcake Group! I was inspired by the success of the NYC Meetup Group hosted by the lovely Nichelle of Cupcakes Take the Cake. The group has only been open for 3 days and so far we’ve got 14 members! 3 days, 14 members…growing pretty fast!

Our first meetup is Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 2:00pm. I thought Baked & Wired in Georgetown would be a great place to go. Realizing DC’s obsession with cupcakes, Baked & Wired went from making a “couple dozen cupcakes a week to 100 a day,” according to owner Teresa Velazquez. In addition to their increased production, Velazquez upgraded the store to include an area with leather lounge chairs for hanging out. This will be a great spot for everyone to have the opportunity to meet eachother while enjoying some delicious cupcakes!

Some of their biggest hit flavors are Strawberry, Chocolate Cake, and Birthday Cake. All cupcakes are $3.25 each.

Check out the group at, and check out Baked & Wired at Be sure to stay tuned later this month for pictures and details of the meetup! I can't wait to meet everyone!

(Photo by Erin Chrisinger)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Washingtonian's Best Of Party

Washingtonian Magazine is throwing their Best of Party on July 8, from 7-10pm, and Baked & Wired, Georgetown Cupcake, and Heidelberg Bakery will be providing the desserts!

The Best of Party is known to attract the DC Metro Area’s fun, hip crowd. So if you’re in the mood to meet some new people and taste the best of what DC has to offer, head out to the National Building Museum for a guarenteed good time!

The $95 tickets will buy you access to ample amounts of food from all the best restaurants in the DC Metro Area, as well as open bar all night. Shelling out an additional $30 earns you VIP status; this entails a “Best of Washington” T-shirt and allows you be the first to sample food and drinks at 6pm! A little pricey, but a portion of the proceeds go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Good cause, good food, good people, how many more reasons do you need? Click here to check out the list of restaurants, libations, and desserts, and to purchase tickets!