Fancy Cakes by Leslie over on Bethesda Row recently opened up, so around noon I bundled up in my down coat and braced the cold winter wind as I made my way over to the shop. I chose from a wide variety of cupcakes, and ended up picking out four flavors: Carrot Cake, Pumpkin, Red Velvet, and Brownie.
The first thing I noticed when I bit into the Carrot Cake was that the Cream Cheese frosting had a gooey/stringy consistency...what in the world? And not only was the texture weird, the taste was off too. Cream cheese frosting is very easy to do, so I'm not sure how they got this wrong. The cake didn’t even taste like carrot cake, it had this weird blandness to it that I can’t even pinpoint. The lady at the counter suggested this one to me when I had her pick out her favorite, and she was raving how it was all full of great spices like nutmeg. I don’t even taste any spices. This is probably one of the worst carrot cakes I’ve had.
The Pumpkin was better than the carrot cake, but that’s not saying much. The only thing that made it better was that you could actually taste a flavor to it – the pumpkin. Georgetown Cupcake’s and Hello Cupcake’s Pumpkin are both worlds better than this. Really it tasted like something I’d expect from an amateur baker, and seeing as to how Leslie is a very seasoned baker, there’s no excuse.
A slight improvement, the Red Velvet cupcake was decent. The cake was incredibly sweet though, sweeter than any Red Velvet I’ve had before. Like the Red Velvet cupcake I had from Starbucks last week, I can compare this to a sugar cookie. However if I had a choice between Starbucks Red Velvet and Leslie’s Red Velvet, I would 100% of the time go for Starbucks. This just came up short, not to mention it unfortunately used the same weird cream cheese frosting as the pumpkin and carrot cake.
Lastly, the Brownie Cupcake. What a disappointment. I’ve had better brownies out of a box from the grocery store. The kind of rich, gooey chocolateness you expect from a brownie was completely lacking, and it even bordered on dry. The chocolate frosting was very cocoa-ish and thick, and I think it could have used a little more sweetness to balance out the heavy cocoa flavor.
In summary: Leslie is an amazing decorater, one of the most talented I’ve seen. But where were those skills in decorating these cupcakes?? Not only were they not pretty, but they were sloppily made as they clearly baked out over the edge of the liner, which in turn made the edges hard. And while we’re talking about actual baking, I'd like to go out on a limb here and say that she has a lot to learn. The cakes are all lacking in flavor and creativity. Considering the gourmet price ($3.25/cupcake, the brownie one is $4), there is nothing gourmet about them. When I first bought the cupcakes and saw the minimal dollop of frosting, I was a little dismayed, but considering the taste of the cream cheese frosting, that was probably best. I can't help but wonder, is this what her expensive designer wedding cakes taste like??? I sure hope not, because you'd have to pay me to serve this at an event. I won’t be wasting a dime on any cupcakes from Fancy Cakes by Leslie ever again.