Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cupcake Wars - Week II

In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post, Food Editor Joe Yonan and his team are back, weighing in on two more of the DC/Metro area’s cupcake bakeries. And who’s next in the ring for this week's Cupcake Wars? Buzz Bakery and Pastries by Randolph!

While this week’s contestants fared better than last week’s disappointments, the scores were still nothing to be proud of. First up, Buzz Bakery of Alexandria, Virginia. Of the Buzz cupcakes, here’s what Joe had to say about his team’s taste test:

“We had high hopes, partly because Buzz should get bonus points for such a well-designed box, which protects the contents while allowing easy access. Things started off well enough, with – finally, after last week’s debacle – moist textures and the taste of fresh ingredients. But our affection diminished as we moved through the group, which turned out to be a mixed bag. The biggest mystery: the Bumble Bee cupcake, a cute concept but a muddled combination of flavors.”

Joe and his team claim Vanilla with vanilla frosting as the “best of the bunch,” and Red Velvet as the biggest Buzz loser, as it had “very little flavor” and a “slightly funky taste to the frosting.” Buzz’s score? A 5.5 out of 10. While Buzz now holds the highest score bestowed by Joe’s team upon any cupcake place in the Cupcake Wars, a 5.5 is still flunking! What do you guys think? Is 5.5 accurate?

Next to be thrown into the gauntlet – Pastries by Randolph. This bakery has been an Arlington staple for twenty years now and bakes a wide range of desserts, pastries and other tiny confections. While I’ve never tried a PBR cupcake, I have had a slice of their carrot cake. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t bad either.

The vanilla and chocolate cupcakes at PBR go for $1.50, while their other flavors like Cappuccino and German Chocolate go for $2.75; more expensive than Buzz! Unfortunately, Joe and the team were not fans. Take a look:

“For the most part, no better than what you’d find in a grade-school cafeteria, and they seemed to have picked up (stale) flavors from the cake. The low point: lemon, which reminded us of Pledge; and orange, which tasted like an Orange Julius. (In other words, artificial).” Ouch!! A “Pledge” cupcake??? Gross.

Joe and the team did like PBR’s Red Velvet, saying that it’s “one of the most substantial cupcakes we’ve tasted so far,” but even with that Pastries by Randolph finished with a disappointing 3.5.

Here’s the Cupcake Wars results thus far:

Buzz – 5.5
Pastries by Randolph – 3.5
Cakelove – 2.8
Sticky Fingers – 2.1

While I can’t comment on Pastries by Randolph as I haven’t tried their cupcakes, I can say that I agree with Joe and the team’s scoring so far. I feel like the scores will begin to improve as they move onto other bakeries like Lavender Moon and Hello Cupcake (which I hope are on the list!) What do you guys think?


Danielle said...

Someone made a comment here earlier today, and I apologize because is being crazy today and erased the entry, and the comment! I've reposted the entry as you can see, but don't have the ability to recover comments.

Bitsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bitsy said...

I been meaning to post this...

Before the cup cake wars camecv out, on Sat. Sept. 6th, I had a cup cake birthday party. We bought cupcakes from Hello Cupcake, Baked and Wired, and Georgetown Cupcake.

Let me stop right here and say: Hello Cupcakes packaging is awful. I can't get the cupcakes home with out them falling all over each other. And I live not more then a block from the store! An empty, to big box, is really no way to carry cupcakes. Both set of cupcakes from Georgetown held up much better, and they were carried from Georgetown to Dupont!

After polling the party goers everyone (but the Vegan, who only had one choice, from Hello Cupcake -- for which I give them credit), much preferred Baked and Wired to the other places. The cakes had a crumb was more moist then the others, that everyone preferred. Though, they still don't quite get chocolate right in my option (it needs to be more chocolaty).

So, review.

Anonymous said...

I didnt enjoy cupcakes from buzz. I think they use crisco-based frosting. The cake was dry. Perhaps better quality flavorings would make them have a better product.

With that being said, I dont understand how the pastry chef won an award for "best pastry chef of the year" It must be for his work prior to working at this establishment.

Anonymous said...

I have been ordering not only cupcakes but other treats from Suga Chef Desserts! They seem to be fair in price and the service is good. They even have delivery available. Try their Tahitian Vanilla or Dark Chocolate. Let me know what you guys think.