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Archive for January, 2011

Walking through the streets by the Grand Canal, watching the gondoliers float on by, hearing the soft Italian tunes playing; I’m off in my own Italian dream… then I’m brought back to reality by the bright shiny lights and noises of the slot machines ringing in the background.

A little Italian adventure is just steps off of the Vegas Strip. Tucked back in the Shops at Palazzo, a tiny sweet shop can be found. After peeling yourself away from the poker tables, give in to another weakness with a cupcake at Sweet Surrender.

Taste
Cake
The cake was doughy in the very center. The tops were a bit too hard. There wasn’t any real flavor to it.


Frosting
The frosting was a really silky. If satin could be tasted, I’m positive this is how it would taste. However, there wasn’t any dominating flavor. It was supposed to be a vanilla crème flavor, but it tasted a bit bland. I couldn’t tell if the frosting was made out of butter, shortening, powdered sugar, or what. It was so whipped like it reminded me of the 7-minute frosting some grocery stores offer.

Presentation
This little cupcake looked like a little gem. The blue-tinted frosting was a bright, shiny shade of blue and was topped with gold white-chocolate crunch balls. My goodness, those little gold things were delicious! I would do just about anything to get a whole bowl of those right now!

Sweet Endings
For all the high rollers in Vegas needing to get their sugar fix, they can enjoy luxury with one of the most expensive cupcakes on the Strip, the Decadence D’Or. For $750, you can get a handmade cupcake with Palmira Single Estate Chocolate, Charentes Poitou AOC Butter, and Tahitian Gold Vanilla Bean Caviar, topped with edible gold flakes and Louis XIII Cognac encased in a hand-blown sugar Fleur-de-lis. Next time I’ll hit the tables and try my luck to fund this cupcake purchase. Or, if there’s anyone out there that would like to make a donation, I’d be much obliged.

Besides the beauty of the cupcake, there’s not much else to brag about. My advice? Walk a few steps further along the canal and get you some gelato in the middle of St. Mark’s Square.

Sweet Surrender
The Palazzo
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.607.0753

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The Cupcakery

In my second round of sampling Las Vegas’s finest cupcakes, I made it my mission to find a cupcake place on the strip. To my great pleasure and happiness, the Monte Carlo is home to one of Vegas’s local cupcake shops, The Cupcakery. Known as “the best little cupcakes in Vegas”, I was ready to try what they had to offer. Tickled me Pink, their signature cake, a white cake topped with pink vanilla buttercream was my cupcake of choice.

Taste
Cake
The cake itself was cooked evenly throughout, but was too dense. Half way through, it started to taste dry.

Frosting
The frosting had a weird grainy texture. It wasn’t smooth and silky like most. The vanilla flavor was extremely dull and was way too sweet.

Presentation
This was one of the prettiest cupcakes I have ever laid eyes on! My cupcake was dusted with edible sugar that just glistened. All of the cupcakes in the display case looked like little art pieces. Sadly, these photos just don’t do it justice!

However, I was extremely disappointed. I notice a dark brown edge peeking out from underneath the frosting of my cupcake. After scraping some of the frosting back, I realized that this was chocolate. It was as if they originally put chocolate frosting on top and realized that it wasn’t supposed to be chocolate. Instead of throwing the cupcake away (like most bakers would do), they scraped it off and replaced it with vanilla. I found that to be cheap and weak.

Sweet Endings
As I mentioned, these cupcakes are gorgeous! I felt like I was eating a million-dollar cupcake. Although the price was a bit high, but then again what isn’t in Vegas?! But the cupcake fell short of its appearance. If you’re out in Vegas and need a little sugar pick-me-up, there are much better options for you.

The Cupcakery
Las Vegas Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino
3770 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.730.7777
www.thecupcakery.com

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Old Town Alexandria is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the DC. Row houses line the cobble sidewalks throughout the city. Starting at the George Washington Masonic Memorial and following down King Street to the Potomac riverfront, this historic city is filled with history and character.

Situated in one of the row houses is a small boutique cupcake shop, Alexandria Cupcake. Walking inside the tiny store front, you meet history with modern. Their daily selections of cupcakes are proudly displayed on several pedestals on their simplistic counter. Each cupcake sits in its usual spot, just waiting to be taken out.

I spot my cupcake of choice, the Vanilla Bean.

Taste
Cake
This vanilla cake was perfectly baked and extremely soft and moist. Real speckles of vanilla bean were visible throughout. I’m such a huge fan of real vanilla beans! I think the little bits are so adorable, and I’m certain they can only add the best of flavor!

Frosting
The vanilla frosting was lightly whipped, although a little too sweet. I immediately tasted an intense flavor of powdered sugar, not so much on the butter. I liked the texture of the frosting, but could have used a bit less sugar.

Presentation
The cupcake had a minimalistic look. Instead of adding traditional toppings such as sprinkles, sugar, etc., they put a little blueberry on top. I wonder how they decided on a blueberry for their garnish, but regardless, it work extremely well and I thought it added a “freshness” value to it.

Sweet Endings
The cupcake smelled delicious! It had a sweet smell of pure vanilla. And, their store was filled with a great smell of butter and cakes baking. My nose was in a happy place, which made my mouth water dying to eat a cupcake.

They say that they use the finest ingredients, including Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, organic eggs, and European sweet cream butter. After tasting their creations, I 100% believe that they do. With the rich, balanced flavor of the cake and the creaminess of the frosting, there is no doubt this is achieved by using the top of the line ingredients!

Out of all the places I visited this round in DC, Alexandria Cupcake was by far my favorite!

Alexandria Cupcake
1022 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
t. 703.299.9099
e. info@alexandriacupcake.com
www.alexandriacupcake.com

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Baking Attempt #4

To jumpstart my New Year’s resolution (which is to eat AND bake more cupcakes), I decided to make NYE cupcakes!

Read all about my baking experience on my Baking page. Just be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom!
https://thesweettruths.wordpress.com/baking-2/

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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Love of Cake

For my third stop on my cupcake tour in DC, I visited CakeLove in National Harbor. National Harbor is a fairly new entertainment district on the other side of the Potomac River in Maryland. It’s only accessible by car or a ferry ride across the river from historic Alexandria. National Harbor is home to the Gaylord National and future home to a Disney resort, plus numerous of shops and restaurants. Needless to say, this area is an up-and-coming attraction to the DC area.

I was spending an evening down in National Harbor, taking in the holiday festivities. After walking through the frigid ExperienceICE!™ featuring “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I was ready to warm up with little sugar rush with a vanilla buttercream cupcake from CakeLove.


Taste
Cake
The cupcake was cold. I understand that most cupcake places either refrigerate the little guys, or keep it in a temperature controlled case. This makes sense because of the perishable ingredients used and to keep their freshness. However, I do not like biting into a cold cake. To add to my displeasure, this cupcake was dry. I felt that I needed a drink, my saliva, or something to moisten the cake as I ate. I could taste the unique flavor that screams made from scratch, however I was too distracted by the dryness of the cake to really care.

Frosting
The frosting was a pure lump of butter. I have no doubt that they used butter and only butter in their frosting. It was a very whipped, but sadly had no real vanilla flavor. They do describe their vanilla buttercream as “Italian meringue buttercream flavored with pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract.” Perhaps they should be a little more generous with the extract.

Presentation
The shape of the cupcake was odd. The top was a big circle, but had a small bottom. It’s very hard to describe, but basically the cake appeared to be bigger than it really was. Nothing really jumped out as “amazing” or “unique” about its appearance.

Sweet Endings
Overall, I was very disappointed in my visit. Firstly, the staff wasn’t very friendly. They seemed distracted and didn’t appear to care about my cupcake experience. Secondly, because of the odd shape of the cupcake, the price was a little high for what you got. Lastly, the taste of the cupcake was completely subpar.

My sister did get a cupcake that had a cream cheese frosting. That was good and I ended up eating the rest of hers.

They have seven locations in the DC area, so perhaps another location might be better. Honestly, I have no desire to attempt another location of theirs.

CakeLove
National Harbor, MD
160 National Plaza
National Harbor, MD 20745
Ph: 301.686.0340

For more information about the National Harbor, visit www.nationalharbor.com

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