Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holy Cupcake, Batman

Yes, I know that cupcakes have been done and done. That does not mean, however, that the cupcake craze is going anywhere. Nope, it appears that at $3 per bite, with a quantifiable amount of associated guilt, these capitalistic endeavors are here to stay. For your reference, therefore, are my personal preferences in the local cupcake market.

1. Georgetown Cupcake - In the midwest, with our modest natures, our moms all snickered when they had the nerve to serve something affectionately known as better than sex cake. The strawberry variety at Georgetown Cupcake (and I've only been able to find it on the menu once) is the closest thing I've ever had to meeting that description. But pretty much everything here is good - I've never had a bad cupcake from Georgetown. Gaining notoriety for a Today Show appearance during the inauguration, this little shop enjoys its reputation for a reason - theirs are the best. The only unfortunate part is that I'm not able to get to Georgetown regularly to enjoy the facebook free flavor of the day.

2. Cupcakes Actually - By far, these little goodies are the most competitive to Georgetown Cupcake. Though Fairfax Square is a long way out there, the dipped varieties (and a drop in a Wegmans) are worth the drive. I also like the selection here; lots of original flavors.

3. Buzz  - They made me a special order of Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Harp icing (previously on the EatBar menu)...Need I say more?

4. Red Velvet - These babies are consistently good, even if not the best. Plus, in the heart of Chinatown, Red Velvet gets points for accessible location. I'm a fan of both the peanut butter and morning call (mocha).

5. Lavender Moon - Just off King St. in Alexandria, I was much impressed by the Mexican Chocolate Pudding Buttermilk cupcake. Now that I've uttered the name, I find myself salivating.
6. Something Sweet - Being directly across the street from 2Amys does not help this cupcakery; you don't want to be compared with a local business that truly is best at its craft. Something Sweet just about says it. These cupcakes are pretty, but lack flavor. Basically, they just cream and cake, and the chocolate is particularly dry.

7. Mother's Macaroons - This version was not memorable, and was definitely not satisfaction for my sweettooth on the day that I tried.
8. Cakelove - At lunch the other day, my friend randomly said to me, you know which cupcakes suck? And in my head, I was going Cakelove, Cakelove, Cakelove. Indeed, she agrees that these are far too sugary, and the frosting lacks the right texture. Not for me, but it seems that these meet some folks' standards. It seems Cakelove has a location in every shopping district in the area.
Still to try

Baked and Wired - It's getting so nice, we're sure to find ourselves at the Georgetown waterfront soon, so I will have to stop in. Lots of folks swear these are absolutely the best.

Hello Cupcake - Sadly, I'm so old, I have not found myself in Dupont in over a year (well, at least with time to kill). So, I have not yet had a chance to try out Hello Cupcake.

Bakeshop - How did I not know about this place in Clarendon? Not until it made the finals in Washingtonian's bracket challenge did I realize that there existed Ballston-Rosslyn corridor cupcake goodness. So excited to try; though I'm not excited about the previous alliance with Murky Coffee.

Crumbs - Evidently, the NY shop is looking to expand into a DC presence. With a rumored location in Clarendon, I'll have to try to of course declare that the local versions are better.

Probably not likely to try
Curbside - The truck locator on the website does not work (and I don't have facebook or twitter access at work), and when I need a cupcake, I will likely just walk to Red Velvet instead of searching for a truck.

Arlington Bakeries - Heidelberg and Pastries by Randolph have so many other tasty offerings (great for bringing to a party/holiday or serving to guests), I'm unlikely to be ordering a cupcake at these destinations.

I hope these ranking will be useful in your own cupcake search. If not, try this WaPo online reference. Nicely organized and informative, I do love a spreadsheet.


W. Mark Felt, Sr. said...

Tried Bakeshop whilst strolling though Clarendon on a beautiful Friday...chocolate with strawberry frosting. Eh. I think they get a lot of foot traffic because of location, but I've had much better.

W. Mark Felt said...

Did not anticipate posting on yet another cupcake so soon, but I found myself wandering near Dupont today. My eyes were dilated at the optometrist, and I was hesitant to board metro with blurry vision. Thus, I headed to Hello Cupcake and had the lady behind the counter read and describe the flavors for me. Now I'm not sure if like HC's Velvet Elvis (banana cake w/ pb frosting) or GC's strawberry version more.