Friday, April 10, 2009

My little obsession with cupcakes....

Lately I cannot stop thinking about these things! I've always been a dessert person, but there is just something about a cupcake. I'm not quite sure what it is - the childhood memories, the infinite amount of varieties, it's a personal size dessert just for you, and maybe the fact they are just so damn cute! I even bought cupcake earrings the other day. Allie also bought me my first cupcake tower holder! I'm so excited to use it!! And who knows, maybe I'll open my own cupcake place sometime with a little help from my friends ;-)

Over the past few months I've tried four different cupcake bakeries and I want to try even more! Here is a little taste of the cupcakes I have tried so far.

Cake Love
Multiple Locations throughout DC/MD/VA
$3.25 per cupcake/ Buy 6 and get one free
My very first "cupcake experience". Of course I've grown up eating cupcakes my mom would bake from the box or buy some at the grocery store - you know those ones with the super sugary icing you have throw half of it away! Anyways, I kinda heard about this guy Warren Brown on the Food Network. Then I found out he was from the DC area and was opening up his own bakeries with cakes and cupcakes! I just had to try them out. I have since been three times. At first I was impressed - since this was my very first gourmet kind of cupcake. I really enjoyed the strawberry and coffee flavored icings. It light and not too sugary, but after being their 2 more times, I've realized the the icing can be a bit waxy if you don't wait long enough for the icing to come to room temperature. It like you wait in line, you're starving to eat a cupcake, and THEN you have to wait at least 15 or more minutes for it to come to the right temperature. It's like torcher! Also, the past few times I've gone the cake has been quite dry. I have not counted this bakery out just yet as I do want to try some of their actual cakes and pastries. But as for cupcakes, I've found a few other places that I enjoy.

Flying Monkey Cupcakes
Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia PA
$2.00-$2.25 each
I came across this cupcake joint while exploring around the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philadelphia. Aaron and I had gone up for the day/night to see a Flyers game and decided to to the "touristy" things in Philly, that we had never done before. Aaron's family is from Philly and we have gone up so many times - yet he had never done all the stuff Philly is known for. So we drove around and visited Love Park, the Rocky statue, China Town, and checked out the Reading Street Terminal (RTS). If you like food (like Aaron and I) the RST is a foodie lovers dream. After we got a quick bite to eat, Aaron had to use the restroom. I wandered around and stumbled upon the Flying Monkey Cupcakes. I was just going to look, but I could not resist and picked out two cupcakes for the way home. I chose Lavender and the signature Flying Monkey Cupcake. I was very impressed! The lavender icing on chocolate cake complemented each other very well, and the little purple sugar crystals on top gave it a tiny sweet crunch. The lavender was very suttle and the icing was not too sweet at all. After I ate it I wish I got a few more. The signature cupcake was a chocolate cake, filled with banana, and topped with chocolate icing. I was impressed as well! I will go back here next time I'm in Philly.

Georgetown Cupcake
1209 Potomac St. NW Washington D.C. 20007
$2.75 per cupcake/$15 for half dozen
I learned about Georgetown Cupcakes from my friend Ashley. She told me nothing but how wonderful these cupcakes tasted and that we had to go try them together! About a week ago we decided to go for a run in the city not only for cupcakes but to checkout the Cherry Blossoms as well. We parked in Georgetown and ran to the Tidal Basin and back to Georgetown. Whew! It was quite a run, but a beautiful day for Cherry Blossoms and cupcakes! After a quick bite to eat, we headed to Gtown Cupcake and were faced with a line - bout 20 people deep I'd say. This made me even more excited to try them. You know there's good food where the people are! So after about a 15-20 min wait or so, we made it through the line to this cute little cupcake shop. I loved the simplicity and the theme colors (pink and black). While in line Ash and I decided on a half dozen cupcakes - we got two red velvet, two cherry blossom, coconut and lemon berry. They packaged them in a cute pink box with little holes that the cupcakes fit into so they wouldn't swish around, and a simple black and white sticker. There's something about walking around Georgetown with this pink box in your hand - it's like "Ohhhh THEY went to Georgetown Cupcake." When we got back to the car, I could wait no longer to try them! We broke out the cherry blossom first - and WOW! It was amazing!! By far one of the best cupcakes I've had from these kind of places. The cherry blossom was a cherry cake made with real cherries and then topped with a vanilla cream cheese butter cream icing. The flavors went together so well and the cake was so moist and the icing was good enough to eat by itself. I was in cupcake heaven. Thank you Ash!! BTW - The other cupcakes were just as good :)

Hello Cupcake
1351 Connecticut Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20036
So today we randomly decided to check out Hello Cupcake. While coming home from my grandparent's house in Ft. Washington, the traffic on 95 was horrendous. Since we were were not pressed for time, but did not want to sit in traffic, we decided to cut through DC. I was also craving a cupcake, and at first wanted to go back to Gtown Cupcake. We were driving through DuPont when I remembered Ash telling me about Hello Cupcake, so I figured it was a great time to try a new place since we were right there. Aaron typed the address into his iPhone (that thing is amazing I will admit) and it pointed us into the right direction. We had no idea what this place looked like and just kept an eye out. Pretty soon I see a brown van with pretty flowers on it and there was Hello Cupcake. I jumped out of the car and Aaron went to find some parking. Hello Cupcake definitely has more room than Gtown cupcake - a bathroom and tables to sit. When it came to ordering there were a lot that were out, but luckily it was just a few more minutes wait for a new batch. I was a bit overwhelmed with some flavors since I wasn't sure what they were and asked the lady to describe like all of them to me, but hey it was my first time - sorry lady. I ended up ordering a half dozen: chai, tiramisu, coconut, vanilla, carrot, and lemon. After I finished paying for my half dozen, the cherry blossoms came out - and of course I had to get that one too, so I can compare it to Gtown. I did notice the box was not as pretty as Gtown cupcak (but as my friends would say, only I would notice something like that!! lol) Then Aaron came in and we split the tiramisu and the cherry blossom right there in the store. They were very good! The tiramisu was a espresso flavored cake with a sort of cream cheese/mascarpone icing topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean. I was a bit let down by the cherry blossom though. It was prepared differently than Gtown's - lemon cake with cherry preserves in the middle and white chocolate icing. It was not bad at all, but I just liked Gtown's version much better. Overall, Hello Cupcake was good and I'd go back if I was in DuPont and in the mood for a cupcake.

So that has been my cupcake experience so far! There are still alot of cupcake places in the DC/MD/VA area I have to try:

Baked and Wired

Red Velvet Cupcake

Baltimore Cupcake Co.

Charm City Cupcakes

Just Cakes

Nostolgia Cupcakes

I'm excited to explore more cupcake places soon. I'm headed to Seattle for a week and I will be scoping out the cupcake scene there for sure! I did a little googling and here are a few in Seattle I hope to check out:

Cupcake Royale

The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co.

Trophy Cupcakes

That's my cupcake update for now. Stay stuned for more cupcakeness! My next obsession: frozen yogurt! <3 Cara Lee

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