Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hello Cupcake Update

I dropped by Hello Cupcake around 12:30pm to pick up some cupcakes for my boyfriend. I walked right inside and waited in line for about 2 minutes. I suppose nobody is coming out since they think they will be waiting out in the rain! So today is the day to try Hello Cupcake if you haven't already!

Hello Cupcake Opening Day

As promised, here are a couple pictures from Hello Cupcake's Opening Day this past Monday. I had forgot my camera, so Penny's husband let me borrow theirs to snap a couple pictures. As everyone knows by now, it's been pretty busy over at Hello Cupcake, so it took a few days for them to get the pictures to me :)

The line winding out the door to get a taste of Hello Cupcake.

That's one way to eat a cupcake.

The pretty pink chandelier

Some customers digging into their boxes of cupcakes in Hello Cupcake's seating area.

Get 'em while you can, they go fast!

4 Cupcake Limit at Hello Cupcake

Just an FYI for anyone planning on venturing out to Hello Cupcake anytime in the near future...
I'm not sure how long this rule is in place for, maybe just opening week, but Hello Cupcake has placed a 4-cupcake limit on all customers. While I think it's clear they've done this as an attempt to assuage customers' anger over standing in long lines only to find that Hello Cupcake has run out, the attempted nice-gesture has unfortunately upset a lot of customers.
People come in planning on spending $50+ on large orders to share with friends and family, but get turned down. I guess there is no way to make everyone happy. Ultimately, I think everyone is looking forward to a few weeks down the road when the excitement, and the crowd, dies down a little. Until then, be prepared for long lines and purchase limits.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Organic to Go

Organic to Go, a Seattle-based cafe and catering company chain who makes their meals with organic and natural ingredients, has migrated to the east coast...speficially in Washington, DC. They are America's first fast casual cafe to be USDA certified as an organic retailer, AND, they make cupcakes!
Joe Yonan, a food writer for the Washington Post, recently stopped by the cafe's new McPherson Square location to try everything from the soups to the cupcakes. Joe describes them as "a pleasant surprise: dense but moist inside; sticky-soft on top. They come in convenient carrying cups, eco-friendly because they're plant-based."
You won't find the cupcakes listed on their online menu, but apparently they have two basic flavors - vanilla with chocolate frosting or chocolate with vanilla frosting, and they're $1.99 each. You can check Organic to Go out during their cafe hours, from 6:30am to 4:00pm, at their McPherson Square location or their Metro Center location on F Street. Their Dupont Circle and Arlington locations will be opening in September, and from what I hear there are future plans to open up shop in Bethesda.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Opening Day!

Well as everyone should know, Hello Cupcake officially opened the doors this morning to their adorable store in Dupont Circle! Around 11:30 I hopped on the Metro, getting there a few minutes before noon. As I stepped off the escalator onto the street, I was wondering if it would be hard to find, but no sooner did that thought cross my mind than I saw a line of girls, and a few guys, winding down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.
I walked over and jumped in at the end of the line. Everyone was all smiles and excited to try the cupcakes. I stood there eavesdropping on the multitude conversations...people were talking about how they like Georgetown Cupcake but can't wait to compare these to those, which flavors they thought they were going to order, how they had been checking out the pictures on the website for months. One girl came walking out of the front door biting into a Coconut Cupcake, exclaiming to everyone at the end of the line, "it's SO worth the wait!" She was followed by loads of people with boxes of cupcakes and iced coffees.
A Hello Cupcake employee was walking around handing out samples of a Root Beer Float flavored cupcake and little take-home menus with ordering information. He made it over to me with the last sample piece, and as I popped it in my mouth I was surprised at how similar the flavor was to an actual Root Beer Float. Turns out as I got to talking to him, I found out it was Penny's husband (Penny as you might remember from previous posts is the owner of Hello Cupcake). Her husband, Bill Bonstra of Bonstra Haresign Architects, is the one who designed the shop, bringing Penny's idea of a more modern-boutique-like cupcakery to life. And it looked great! Sparkling Pink Chandelier and all.
I was telling Bill how bummed I was that I forgot my camera, but he was kind enough to run behind the counter and grab his. I snapped a couple pictures with it so I could share them with you guys, and he should be emailing those to me in the next couple days.
Now onto the cupcakes...I only had to wait about 15 minutes to get through the line. Not bad at all. I wanted to try a couple different flavors this time, so I picked out the 24 Carrot, Velvet Elvis, and Peanut Butter Blossom (which Penny actually let me sample a couple months ago, so I already know this one is fantastic). Velvet Elvis is only available on Mondays and Thursdays, while 24 Carrot and Peanut Butter Blossom are daily flavors. Today is my fathers birthday, so I've got to save them to bring to him tonight when I get off work. Don't worry, I'll come back and repost how they taste when I try them! But from my previous experience, I already know they are going to be amazing!
If you haven't already, be sure to make your way out to Dupont Circle this week to try Hello Cupcake. It blows Georgetown Cupcake out of the water. And Cakelove? Ha. They aren't even in the same playing field.

Meetup No. 3 - Reflecting Pool

Yesterday afternoon the DC/Metro Cupcake Group had our 3rd meetup, and it was a really good time! We had great weather and a great spot in the shade by the Reflecting Pool. Minus a couple of us sitting in Goose poop, everything went smoothly!
There were about 15 of us, and we had wayyyy too many cupcakes (if there is such a thing!). There were so many delicious flavors - two different types of Vanilla, Chocolate with Orange Frosting, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Lemon with Raspberry Frosting, Golden cake with Chocolate frosting, two different types of Carrot Cake, Strawberry, Smores, Ginger, Double Chocolate, it was fantastic! The Smores, Ginger, and Double Chocolate were all brought by one of our group members, Sam, and his wife who picked them up from Lola Cookies & Treats in Leesburg, Virginia. I didn't try the Ginger, but the Smores was amazing and the Double Chocolate was really really good too. I'll have to check this Lola place out.

Some of our cupcake spread!

Group Members Dana and Sam, with the WWII Memorial & Monument behind them

Group Member Shelley and her husband in front of the Reflecting Pool

The DC/Metro Cupcake Group enjoying some cupcakes!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hello Cupcake Announces Opening Day!

Yay! The much anticipated Hello Cupcake will be having its Grand Opening on Monday, August 25, 2008. That's next week people! I am so excited for everyone to try these delicious cupcakes and give me your opinions.

If you're familiar with a lot of my old postings, you know that I think they are truly fabulous. Anyway, make sure you get down there at some point next week and check out the place! I guarentee it will win you over.
Hello Cupcake is located at:
1351 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(Just south of Dupont Circle, across from the Metro)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Co Co Sala Chocolate Cupcake

Being DC Restaurant Week, I know a lot of locals have been out and about trying new restaurants or visiting their favorites, so I have to ask if anyone has been to Co Co. Sala? Tom Sietsema for the Washington Post recently reviewed the relatively new dessert restaurant, which is how I found out they've got a chocolate cupcake on the menu. Has anyone tried it?
Apparently it's part of the "Childhood Favorites Experience" on the Monde Du Chocolat portion of the evening menu. That "experience" costs you $20, but you can order the "Main Dessert" portion of the experience seperately for $12. Still quite steep for a dessert if you ask me, especially since the cupcake is also a mini.
I have heard good things about this place though...other than it apparently being quite loud and the dinner food not fitting the price tag, the desserts, drinks, and friendly staff make it worth checking out.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Couture Cupcakes!

Did you know that some of the tastiest cupcakes in the our area can only be found online? It's true! Online sales and word of mouth are how Paula Domenge of Couture Cupcakes has skyrocketed herself as one of DC's premier cupcakeries, being featured in such publications as Daily Candy, DC Magazine, and the Washington Times.

When Paula offered me a sample of her charming cupcakes (pictured above), I of course jumped at the chance! So last weekend when she was in Bethesda delivering some cupcake samples to a few brides-to-be, we met up and chatted for a little before I headed off with my box of delicious treats!

Paula has over 20 tantalizing flavors available on her menu. The little sugar flowers garnishing the top of each cupcake are adorable, and Paula handmakes them all herself. As a matter of fact, in terms of design, Couture Cupcakes prides itself on being able to create pretty much anything their customers can come up with. Additional costs do apply of course, but you can view the gallery on the website to check out some of the past creations. I've copied and pasted a few of them below.

Now onto my favorite part - tasting the cupcakes! The first one I tried was Pamela. Pamela, known as the brownie cupcake, is a chocolate brownie cupcake with vanilla buttercream and a caramel swirl. This one is definitely on the top of my favorite cupcakes of all time list. The buttercream frosting is not at all sweet, which was surprising considering it's buttercream, but that's a good thing here because the brownie itself is so rich. Moist and gooey with a chocolate center and a caramel kick, it was delicious.

Next up, Summer. Summer is a lemon rum cake with a homemade lemon curd center topped with a lemon buttercream. With all those lemon components, you might assume this cupcake would be overpowering, but it's not. The cake was very dense, like a pound cake, but was still nice and moist. The frosting was the same as the one used on Pamela, but obviously with a lemon flavor. The lemon curd center was sweet and almost pudding like. Lemon-lovers and non-lemon lovers alike with enjoy this.

Sophie. This chocolate cake cupcake topped with a Cookies n' Cream buttercream was decent. While the very mild buttercream worked great on Pamela & Summer, I thought this cupcake could have used a bit sweeter frosting. This cupcake was by no means bad, I think people will enjoy it especially if they aren't a big fan of sweet frostings, but in my opinion it was not as great as the former two had been.

Maya. Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors, so I was really looking forward to this one. Maya is a spicecake topped with cinnamon infused buttercream. The cake here was great; when you cut the cupcake open, it's amazing how the smell of cinnamon from this one little cupcake actually fills the air! The cake was strong and fantastic. So I hate to say that the cinnamon infused buttercream didn't hit the spot for me with this one, but I thought it could have been a little bit richer. Maybe it was just that the cake was so bold that it made the buttercream come across a little bland. It didn't really bother me though, I just wiped off the buttercream and ate the cake alone!

Lady Bourman. This vanilla cake cupcake has a homemade custard filling topped with chocolate ganache; it's Paula's Boston Cream Pie cupcake. The custard filling was great, not too sweet and with a pudding-like consistency. The vanilla cake was moist and buttery, and the chocolate ganache frosting was rich and a nice change up from all the buttercream frostings I'd been eating! I really liked this one.

Ruby is a chocolate cake topped with strawberry buttercream and a strawberry coulis. The buttercream was once again very mild; the basic buttercream used on the first four I tried but with a strawberry twist. The chocolate cake was moist; I think it was the same chocolate cake used in Sophie. While I liked this cupcake, I was hoping for a little more here...maybe one of the signature fillings or some bits of fresh fruit? The cake was good but because the frosting is so mild, all you can really taste is the chocolate cake.

Shannon. This cupcake is a vanilla cake topped with milk chocolate buttercream. For my personal taste the cake was a little too dense for what I like a vanilla cake to be, but that aside, the vanilla flavor was good and the cake was moist. I think this is one flavor where a more bold frosting would've made a huge difference. If I had a choice between Shannon and one of the other 6 flavors above, I would choose one of the others.

My overall review? Couture Cupcakes look fabulous; owner Paula Domenge is truly what her title says - a cupcake designer. But she's also a fantastic baker. Aside from my opinion that the Shannon vanilla cake could've been a little fluffier, all of the cake portions of the cupcakes were terrific. Many had strong, unique flavors that I have yet to taste in a lot of the storefront cupcakeries in the area...and that brownie cupcake is to die for!

If you read all of the above reviews, you notice that my main discrepency was with the buttercream frosting. Paula uses a very mild buttercream, which works out great on the cupcakes with a strong and bold cake, but on the more basic cake flavors like vanilla and chocolate I personally would've liked to taste something a little sweeter or stronger in flavor. I keep saying "I personally" because I know frostings are all a matter of taste. While some people have a sweet tooth and enjoy the sugary goodness of a sweet buttercream, others can't handle or simply don't like it, some even going as far as to wipe it off. So once again, I believe that frostings are all a matter of personal taste.

You should definitely give Couture Cupcakes a shot. And you don't need a special reason, there's always an excuse to order some cupcakes! Friends coming in town for the weekend, hosting a party, giving someone a gift, catering a meeting, whatever the event, I really encourage you to pick up the phone and give Paula a call. You won't be disappointed! For more on Paula and Couture Cupcakes, check out the interview below:

1. What inspired you to start Couture Cupcakes?

When I lived in Beverly Hills, the now famous Sprinkles had just opened across the street from my hair salon. I couldn't resist their cupcakes; I would indulge myself every time I went for my monthly hair appointment. When I moved to DC, I noticed there were no cupcakeries here and the bakeries that had cupcakes just didn't make them the way Sprinkles did. I yearned for my cupcakes so I started making my own using my family's cake recipes. I started Couture Cupcakes after working on an ad for a local jewelry store. When presented with the task of creating an ad for a 9 carat diamond, I had to think of something as desirable and feminine to pair it with. Cupcakes came to mind immediately and I enlisted the help of a local pastry chef to make my visual come to fruition. The two of us worked for a month on creating an intricate and ornate cupcake to put the ring on top of. The tag for the ad was "Just A Little Frosting." You can see the ad on my blog:

2. How long have you been baking and decorating? I see that your mother played a part in helping you grow your menu of delicious flavors. Is baking big in the Domenge family?

I have been baking for as long as I can remember. In my house, my mother has an old snap shot of a little red headed toddler stirring a pot of custard- I think I was 3 years old when that picture of me was taken. Baking and cooking are the fibers of my family. Being French Mexican meant hours upon hours in the kitchen preparing gastronomic masterpieces with my Grandmother and Mother. When I launched Couture Cupcakes, it was only natural to include my Mother since I consider her to be the Mexican version of Julia Child.

3. Before you moved to DC, you lived in Beverly Hills. How would you compare the west coast cupcake craze to that in DC?

The beginnings on the west coast were very different from the East Coast, well DC at least. Sprinkles launched and everyone thought she was crazy. People in California watch every calorie! But when she opened 2 hour lines formed daily outside her tiny Santa Monica Blvd storefront. It was shocking....until you tried one, then you understood. She made the ideal cupcakes and great original flavors (like the Chai Tea Latte, my favorite) and no one cared about how fattening those delicious cakes were. But we all braced ourselves for the trend to end. Since everything in L.A is cyclical, trends stop as soon as they start. But not with cupcakes. Soon other cupcakeries launched like Yummy Cupcakes and Crumbs, but unlike DC, the flavors were totally different. It seemed to me that every cupcakery wanted to be very very different from the next. So they made an unbelievable effort to be extraordinarily different. Here, I find that the cupcake craze is based on the cupcake itself, not the quality of them and the uniqueness of the flavors. When I moved here I was a bit disappointed since I was spoiled with a large selection gourmet cupcakes.

4. I love the naming scheme for your cupcakes. How do you come up with new names and new flavors?

It all started with my friend Duracell. I knew her from boarding school. She was nicknamed Duracell because her hair was the same color as the top of a Duracell battery. She loved carrot cake. I mean, LOVED carrot cake. This was the first flavor I developed and I just thought of her when I made it. I thought it would be wonderful to name each cupcake after someone I knew because it would give the flavors personalities. I create new flavors from listening to clients and friends. Sometimes I find flavors when I listen to childhood stories or other times by talking to friends about a recent trip they took where they ate something memorable. I always credit my clients and friends who inspire me to create flavors by naming cupcakes after them. And they love it! Pamela was my latest creation and that one was named after my dear friend Pam who took such great care of me after a horrible car accident when I was in L.A. She helped deliver brownies I made to the firemen that helped me. So, the Pamela cupcake, a brownie cupcake, had to be named Pamela (Pam).

5. On your website,, you mention that customers can submit their ideas for new and fun flavors, and possibly even have the cupcake named after them if it makes the cut! Has anyone done this yet?

Yes! A new flavor called Alani was submitted by a client who's daughter is named Alani. She asked me for a coconut cupcake, but it had to have pineapple in it because she loved pineapple and she was from Lanai (which is where Dole pineapples are grown, or were grown). She asked that if I created them, I would name them Alani. So I did! Patti, Kayla and Ruby all came from people who submitted requests and ideas.

6. Are there still new flavors to come?

Yes, of course! The holidays are coming up and we will be launching our seasonal flavors for Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I'm hoping to have them up on the site by October. You can expect a apple cinnamon cupcake, a pumpkin spice cupcake, a maple leaf and walnut cupcake and if perfected, a sweet potato cupcake. Yum!!!

7. Speaking of flavors, what is your favorite flavor of cupcake?

Hmmm, that's a tough one. I love all of them. But I have to say that my favorites are those with fillings. There's nothing more divine than to bite into a cupcake to find a gooey filling inside.

8. What do you think separates Couture Cupcakes from the competition?

A cupcake is ordinary, a Couture Cupcake is extraordinary. There is nothing better than taking a simple traditional dessert and making it an artistic and edible marvel. Whether baking 400 cupcakes for a wedding or 3 dozen for a toddler's birthday party, every order gives me the opportunity to create something unique. I tried to model my company like the ones on the West Coast. All of my cupcakes are gourmet cupcakes, some of the flavors are as unique as the presentation. I researched for 2 years to find the best ingredients to make the best cupcakes. I don't use Valrhona for example. I find it a bit bitter. Instead I combine two French chocolates since, to me at least, the two yield the best chocolate cupcake and frosting. My frosting is not just butter and confectioners sugar, it's a gourmet buttercream that takes time to make and must be cooked to ensure perfection. But I don't stop at taste. Presentation is everything.

9. Are there any future plans to open up a storefront?

Oh yes! We are looking to open a storefront the beginning of next year. Where? I have narrowed it down to two cities. Now it's a matter of finding the right spot.

10. Anything else you'd like to add?

I hope that the cupcake craze continues to grow on the East Coast and that more and more people become inspired to open their own cupcakeries. Or even better for anyone to walk into their kitchen and create their own unique flavors and creative presentations. Cupcakes are fun and a wonderful way to get children excited about baking and cooking. It just takes a little time and a whole lot of imagination.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baltimore's Perfect Cupcakes

Picture from
How I never knew about this, I simply do not know. Evidently, if you venture to Baltimore's Inner Harbor Wednesday through Sunday (maybe more often over the summer) you're likely to come across a little cupcake-on-wheels-operation known as Perfect Cupcakes. If a truck and a golf cart got together and had a baby, the Perfect Cupcakes truck is what would come out. Take a look! How cute is that???

Picture from
Perfect Cupcakes Owner Catherine Hamiton drives this little truck from Canton each day, setting up shop near the Pier 5 Hotel in the Inner Harbor, and sells cupcakes out of the back! The opening animation to her website is actually a girl (her) driving a cupcake truck to a "Cupcake Girl" song that Hamilton herself wrote! Very clever.
Hamilton has a wide variety of flavors, including her signature cupcake, Pink Velvet, along with Red Velvet, Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Lemon, Coffee, Candy Cane, and a White Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. My sister was in Baltimore for the day and brought me a Red Velvet and a Chocolate on Chocolate. Cupcakes are $2 each or $10 for 6. Here are my reviews:
The Red Velvet was good, very sweet. Hamilton uses a basic sweet buttercream frosting as opposed to the traditional Cream Cheese Frosting normally found on Red Velvet cupcakes. This gives the cupcakes a completely different flavor than what you're used to, but this isn't a bad thing. The cake was moist and the large sprinkles on top gave it a nice crunch. While I think I prefer Red Velvet to have Cream Cheese frosting, I did like this cupcake.The Chocolate on Chocolate was very light in weight, and actually broke in half when I took the wrapper off and attempted to take a bite. Aside from being hard to handle, it was a good, average chocolate cupcake. The cake was moist and had more of a fudge like taste it, which I like. My only criticism with this one is that the chocolate frosting could have been a little bit richer, it only tasted one step above a grocery store frosting.
Overall, Hamilton has a good thing going! I would definitely recommend stopping by Ms. Sprinkles (the name of her darling little cupcake truck) and trying some of these cupcakes!

Picture from

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Coconut Cupcakes

I wanted to share these pictures of some Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting that an acquaintance of mine made late last week. Actually, it was her husband who made them! Look pretty good, huh? The cupcakes were very sweet, moist, and crumbly. Not to knock guys' cooking skills, but it's not often you find a good male baker!

DC Cupcake Contest

Looks like the DC area is having a cupcake contest! Blogger Miss Rehoboth of Blondies-I-View put together the contest, which will be held on September 25, 2008 at the Washington Club in DC at 15 Dupont Circle.

Entries will be accepted in three categories of cupcake expertise:
1. Professional
2. Amateur
3. Out-of-Town,

in three flavor categories:
1. Vanilla with Chocolate Icing
2. Chocolate with Vanilla Icing
3. Wildcard - where creativity counts

So far, Baltimore Cupcake Company, Baked & Wired, and 52 Cupcakes have joined in on the contest, as well as amateur bakers Amanda Gregory, Catie Woolley, and Tiffany Rose Goodyear, and Out-of-Towners Nostalgia Cupcakes, Sweet N Sassy Cupcakes, and Patticakes.

Stay tuned for more Cupcake Contest information and updates as the date draws near!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Whole Foods Fancy Cupcake

So yesterday I jumped on the Metro to Tenleytown on my lunch break, trekking to Whole Foods to find some edible flowers for the 90 cupcakes I had to frost for a party by 7pm, and while there I finally encountered a Whole Foods Cupcake. Up until now it had been quite elusive; I'm at Whole Foods practically every week and they're always sold out, and I doubt you can place an advance order for one lonely cupcake.
Anywho, there it was: "Fancy Cupcake, $3.49." Whoa, $3.49? Who the hell do they think they are, Sprinkles? Actually wait, aren't Sprinkles Cupcakes only $3.25 each? As I had the lady behind the counter box it up for me, I thought to myself, "this better be damn good."

Well, it wasn't. The only thing I liked about this cupcake was the presentation, and I didn't realize that I forgot to take a picture of it before I tossed it in the trash...oops!

The chocolate cake was very thick and very dry, topped with a thin layer of chocolate ganache frosting. The ganache, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry on top would have to be in every bite to make this cupcake even remotely tolerable, and even then I still wouldn't eat the whole thing. Had the cupcake been moist, I think it could have been pretty good. You could taste that the cake itself was very sweet, but it was just too hard to get past the dryness. This isn't a cupcake I would ever eat again.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Metal Sugar Cupcake Jewelry

Check out these cupcake jewelry pieces sent to me by one of my readers, Michelle! They're all from Metal Sugar, a jewelry company started by Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Melissa Cohen. Her pieces are all handcrafted, as Melissa draws inspiration from different loves in her life - such as animals, Japanese toys, food, and texture.

Melissa makes, among many other pieces, a cupcake necklace and two different cupcake rings! Click here to check out her website!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rustico's Guinness Cupcake

Photo from
While on the topic of obscure Alexandria Cupcakes...who's tried the Guinness Cupcake from Rustico in Alexandria? I've yet to do so myself, and have heard mixed things. I attempted a beer cupcake recipe once, and that was an utter disaster. So I'd be interested to try one that is actually halfway decent.
From what I understand, the Guinness Cupcake is actually made by Buzz Bakery and sold by Rustico (for a lot more $$$)'s not actually available at Buzz. I've heard people refer to it as one of Buzz's "best creations" and a "must-try," to "gross" and "dry." What do you think, worth the trip out to Alexandria?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DC/Metro Cupcake Group Meetup - Cupcake Picnic at the Reflecting Pool

I've posted a new meetup for the DC/Metro Cupcake Group! We'll be having a Cupcake Picnic on Sunday, August 24th at 1:00pm at the Reflecting Pool in DC. Visit the meetup page to join the group and get more details!

Nickell's & Scheffler Strawberry Cupcake

Has anyone ever been to Nickell's & Scheffler in Alexandria? Apparently they make some terrific, moist Strawberry Cupcakes that contain a puree of fresh strawberries. They sell for $2 each (cheaper than most cupcakes around town). I'm interested to see how they compare to Baked & Wired's infamous Strawberry Cupcakes.
Nickell's & Scheffler is a cafe, located in Old Town at 1028 King Street. It's actually been open for six years, and is run by a local couple. Aside from cupcakes, it's sounds like they have a very broad, tasty menu...with everything from soup and paninis to rosemary lemonade and crabcakes. Tasty!
Anyway, if you've been to Nickell's & Scheffler and tried these Strawberry Cupcakes, let the rest of us know what you think!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Georgetown Cupcake

After New York Times Food Critic Frank Bruni recently gave his two cents on Georgetown Cupcake (which was a rave review) I figured it was about time I headed over to M Street and did an official review of Georgetown Cupcake myself.

After chatting with a sweet woman who let me cut in front of her (there were only about 4 people in line ahead of us, and it was a Saturday afternoon right after lunch) I ordered a Lemon Berry, Red Velvet, and Chocolate3.

To begin with, Katherine & Sophie (Georgetown Cupcake founders) definitely get points in the presentation department. With cute frosting design and nice little garnishes, like the little fondant heart on the Red Velvet, the french chocolate sprinkles on the Chocolate3, and the chocolate covered espresso bean on the Mocha, all placed in a charming little pink box, these cupcakes definitely look more than appetizing.

I first tried the Chocolate3. To my surprise, this was pretty average. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great...not something I would order again. Considering this cupcake is made with Valrhona Chocolate (named after the Rhône Valley in France from which Valrhona's founder hailed), which is known to be a top quality luxury chocolate, I was expecting this cupcake to be a little more decadent and rich. Well, I can't use either of those two words in describing this cupcake. It was nothing special, and actually bordered on bland. A little disappointed, I moved onto the Red Velvet.

Unfortunately, the Red Velvet was nothing spectacular either. For Georgetown Cupcake's "Signature Cupcake," I was expecting a little more. Like the Chocolate3, the cake here was also a little bland. I was, however, a fan of the cream cheese frosting. From what I understand, Georgetown Cupcake only uses cream cheese based frostings on all of their cupcakes. From what I've read on other blogs and websites, some customer's don't appreciate the lack of variety, but hey, at least they make it well. (Unlike certain other area bakeries who only use one or two types of cake {cough cough Cakelove cough cough} and can't even get that right).

Lastly, Lemon Berry was definitely the best of the bunch. A lemon/raspberry flavored cake topped with raspberry frosting and a candied lemon peel. The frosting had a very berry-sorbet taste to it, which might be a little too sweet for some, but I thought it paired well with the lemon/raspberry cake. I will say that I wasn't a huge fan of the cake on it's own, but like I said the combination of the cake & frosting was good.

Don't get me wrong, these cupcakes were all decent. They were moist, had good frostings, and none of them were "bad." And trust me, I've had some bad cupcakes, so I would know. But if I had to choose between Georgetown Cupcake and it's neighbor, Baked & Wired, I think I'd be opting for Baked & Wired. From what I've tasted, I think Georgetown Cupcake may be a little overhyped. I won't be too harsh though, there are still many flavors I haven't their Carrot Cake, or their Key Lime (both flavors Bruni raved about), or even their basic Vanilla2. So as I go back and try different flavors, I will keep on reporting for you guys. But as for now, if I'm in Georgetown looking for good cupcakes, I'm sticking to Baked & Wired. (Until Hello Cupcake opens!)