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Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of this holiday surrounded by love, I want to say “I love you” to cupcakes. I know it might sound silly, but cupcakes have given me a joy and a passion that I get to share with all! I’ve been grateful to taste so many delicious treats in my years!

On this special day, I want to mention a few of my favorites… an old love and a new love.

3 Girls Cupcakes
My relationship with 3 Girls Cupcakes goes way back. I can still vividly remember the day I stalked the van around downtown Kansas City to try this concept of a “cupcake truck”. I was hooked. Something about her cupcakes just makes my taste buds explode! In all of their cupcakes I’ve tried, I’ve never had one that I didn’t like.

Buzz Bakery
This is a very new love of mine. We met at the beginning of this year during my bi-annual trip to DC. I immediately was captivated once I walked inside. My attraction grew stronger as I sipped on their coffee and bit into their cupcakes. I couldn’t get enough of them, so I made sure to visit them one more time before leaving.

I am truly thankful for my two cupcake loves. My life has been sweetened by their passions. Thank you for letting me share in your joys!

My heart of sweetness has a lot to give! Who knows what this year might bring… perhaps a few more cupcake loves will enter my life!

3 Girls Cupcakes
http://www.3girlscupcakes.com

Buzz Bakery
http://www.buzzbakery.com

My first vanilla vanilla from 3 Girls Cupcakes


My new vanilla vanilla love from Buzz Bakery

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On round two of my “DC Cupcake Tour – Virginia style”, I visited Buzz Bakery in Arlington, VA.

I always have high hopes and a little bit of anxiety as I taste new cupcakes. I get a thrill of the unknown! Sometimes, I’m blown away by what I taste… and in the case of Buzz Bakery—I was thrown out of the water!

Vanilla Vanilla


Taste
Cake
Moist, crumbly, mouthwatering, lip-smacking, succulent… just plain tasty. I wish I had better words to describe what a real made-from-scratch cake tastes like, but I don’t. However, if you try this cupcake, you will know exactly what I mean!

Frosting
Just the way I like it… creamy, right amount of vanilla and butter. A very luscious frosting!

Presentation

The cupcake was topped with blue and gold sugar sprinkles. Although, sugar sprinkles aren’t usually my thing, I did find the color combination to be very pleasing to the eye!

Sweet Endings
Head to toe, this bakery was a well-designed branded product. Everything from the art décor to the coffee cups, they implemented their brand seamlessly.

The have a sliding price scale for all of their treats. The more complex the flavors get, the higher the price. Nothing too outrageous… I believe the highest priced item was $4.00. But, you could get a simple vanilla-vanilla (my fav!) or chocolate for $2.75. And all of their cupcakes are very generously sized!

In addition to the yummy cupcakes, the coffee was delicious. I was a little nervous to get their house blend (since I prefer mine nice and dark), but it was great flavor and wasn’t weak on the taste at all. If you wanted a different type of buzz, you could order one of their many alcoholic drinks. Low on cash? Come in for their happy hour at night!

All in all, I believe I found my second favorite cupcake in the country! It was so delightful, that I had to go back again before I left. You bet I will return once I’m back in the nation’s capitol!

Round 2!

Buzz Bakery – Ballston
818 N. Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22217
Ph: 703-650-9676
http://www.buzzbakery.com

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Oh, it feels so good to be back on the cupcake trail again! Yes, I have been enjoying the tasty morsels, but I haven’t really been keeping tabs. I couldn’t tell you how many cupcakes I have in the queue. For some of them, I think I just need to go again!

Last week I made my annual/bi-annual trip to the Nation’s Capitol. Not only is it one of my favorite places in the country, it’s top-notch for cupcake places! This time I kept my cupcake adventures in Virginia.

For my first day back, I headed over to Bakeshop in the Clarendon area of Arlington, VA. Being a rainy day and my first time there, I had some trouble finding the place. It wasn’t located too far off of the main streets, but it could easily be missed.

Immediately upon walking in, I was overwhelmed with a great scent of baking! You can’t fake that smell… if you are a bakery and you don’t smell like one, you are probably doing something wrong. After I asked about all the flavors for kicks, I ordered my traditional vanilla-vanilla. Also known to them as “Perfect White Cupcake”.

Here’s his description: “Light, fluffy and white as snow. This was the first cake I ever baked, and will always be a favorite.

Taste
Cake
Wonderfully baked! The top has crisp, sweet edges (reminded me of bundt cakes, where you sprinkle sugar over the sides of the pan). Inside was delicious moist and fluffy.

Frosting
Sooooo creamy! Mmm, mmm, mmmm! It was similar to ice cream-smooth. Once it rolled over the tongue, it sorta melted in your mouth. And then, it popped with a burst of vanilla flavor. I was calling it the vanilla bomb!

Presentation
Simple and sweet.

Sweet Endings
I really enjoyed my visit. First of all, the people were awesome! While I was there, they were jamming to some tunes and just hanging out. The chill atmosphere definitely stems down from the owner, the sugar master himself. Actually, anyone who calls themselves Sugar Master… Mr. Cupcake… and Confectionary Artist ranks high on my list! Second of all, he offered me free coffee to warm up. Such a small gesture, but it didn’t go unnoticed!

I was also pleased with the pricing of their cupcakes. The size was regular and they only charged $2.50. I’ve seen that size being charged $3-3.50… Outrageous, right?! Good job guys for keeping it real.

I would definitely go back to Bakeshop. The cupcake, the atmosphere, and the selection (vegan-friendly options too) makes it on my list of top places in DC!

Bakeshop
1025 N. Fillmore Street, Suite G
Arlington, VA 22201
571.970.6460
http://www.bakeshopva.com

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Eating cupcakes is one of my favorite things to do. But, there’s more to it than just eating cupcakes. There’s a whole experience behind the cupcake craze, and visiting the bake shop is an important element. Every shop is different – the atmosphere, ambiance, cupcake selection, people, design, etc, etc. I believe eating cupcakes at the original shop is similar to enjoying a culinary experience at a prized restaurant.

You can imagine my joy for my first trip to a Sprinkles Cupcakes shop. For those who have read some of my past posts, you can recall my first Sprinkles experience. It was nothing short of amazing. So, the top item on my agenda in my weekend getaway was to visit the new Sprinkles store in Georgetown.

Taste
Cake
The madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake burst with pure, homemade vanilla flavor. It was moist and had that “melt-in-your-mouth” magic. However, in the very center, it was a bit chewy and undercooked.

Frosting
The “creamy vanilla frosting” as they advertised was exactly what I got. The buttercream was creamy, silky, and extremely smooth. It was similar to having a velvet sheet of frosting dancing across my tongue.

Presentation
This cupcake was covered in white sprinkles. Although it looked elegant, it took away from the best part of the cupcake. The sprinkles were yummy (the thin, crunchy, sweet kind), but I would prefer the signature single sprinkle placed in the center. Also, the frosting was spread uneven on top. It looked sloppy.

Sweet Endings
The cupcake was a wonderful combination, and the store experience exceeded my expectations. Not only does Sprinkles bake unique, delicious cupcakes, but they’ve established a strong, lasting brand. I’ve been so impressed by how well they pay attention to the small details. Once you walk into the store until you walk out, you know you are enjoying Sprinkles Cupcakes.

My complete Sprinkles experience was one that I won’t forget. If only they would open up a store in Kansas City, I could enjoy them more frequently!

Sprinkles Cupcakes
www.sprinkles.com

Finally, we meet!

Inside Sprinkles!

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It has been my philosophy that everyone deserves a cake for their birthday. When I was a child, I remember getting to pick out the theme and design of my birthday cake. Every year, I got so excited to look through the book of cakes at our local grocery store. I was enamored by all the choices and how pretty and delicious they looked. Picking out my birthday cake is a cherished memory of mine, and to this day, selecting my cake is my favorite part of my special day.

Times have changed and I can’t possibly eat a whole cake to myself. So, I happily opted for cupcakes. Lucky for me, a sister’s getaway weekend was planned the same weekend as my birthday. I would be picking up my sisters in DC, which meant one important thing – I could get cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop from their new location in Arlington.

In honor of my big day, I choose the Happy Birthday cupcake.

Taste
Cake
This cake was a vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles mixed inside. Their cakes are baked perfectly – moist, fluffy, flavorful, and a balanced consistency. I enjoyed the rainbow sprinkles confetti for that festive touch!

Frosting
I was fortunate to have both types of frosting on my cupcake. On top was cream cheese frosting that was thick and exceptionally smooth. The edge was frosting with rainbow sprinkles that added a fun celebration, which surprisingly the texture didn’t distract from the cake itself. A dollop of vanilla buttercream was filled in the center. Just a little bit of extra happiness!!

Presentation
If you haven’t stepped inside a Crumbs shop before, you are missing out on some of the best cupcake art I’ve seen. Each cupcake is decorated to the max, and my birthday cupcake was no exception. The rainbow sprinkle edge plus the yellow rosette in the center was delightful! When seeing a cupcake this beautiful it’s just too pretty to eat! (don’t worry, that didn’t stop me for long!)

All the beautiful cupcake art!


Sweet Endings
The best part of my cupcake is it came with a birthday candle. They place it in the center, so once you’re ready to sing “happy birthday”, the candle is secured and hidden. I used to carry birthday candles in my purse. You never knew when you might have to celebrate a birthday! But, this is an ingenious idea.

Crumbs has exploded as a company! Their expanding shop locations, e-commerce business, and debut on the stock market, this company will be one to watch closely in the upcoming years. I blew out my candle in a wish to them!

Crumbs Bake Shop
www.crumbs.com

Birthday time! I'm the big 2-5!


The sisters with our cupcakes!

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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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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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