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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
National Harbor, MD
160 National Plaza
National Harbor, MD 20745
For more information about the National Harbor, visit www.nationalharbor.com