Posts Tagged ‘DC cupcakes


August’s flavors at Georgetown Cupcake: ginger peach & cherry cheesecake

"Ginger" peach (L) & cherry cheesecake (R)

When I saw that ginger peach was one of the August flavors, I had to try it. It’s a cake studded with peaches topped with ginger icing. Sounds delicious, right?

But tasting this made me want to cry a la Clara Peller, “Where’s the ginger?” I was expecting a ginger bite, or at least a whisper, but the icing had less gingeriness than Ginger Ale.

The cherry cheesecake delivered more satisfaction, luckily. I was digging the thick graham-cracker bottom, which stayed crispy despite the sogginess of the mascarpone-based cheesecake (tasty but overly moist). The cream cheese icing seemed to put this one over the top, given the richness of the cake. But as they say when it comes to icing, you can always scrape some off, but you can’t put more on.

The lines at the Georgetown location have been insane since their TLC show aired. I ordered ahead online and was in and out within 3 minutes. Just tell the cupcake bouncer at that you’ve got a pickup order, go straight to the counter, and you’re done. The payment process is all done online.


Why is Georgetown Cupcake so successful? Let’s take a closer look.

Pie and I were talking yesterday, as we munched down on cupcakes from Red Velvet. Why is it that, even though some of their cupcakes (and those at other cupcakeries) could go toe-to-toe with Georgetown Cupcake’s, they don’t get nearly the same amount of publicity or business? 

Here are some of our observations, for what they’re worth. 

  • The sisters who own Georgetown Cupcake both have business backgrounds, which translates to a lot of marketing savvy. Look at their packaging, for instance. You see someone walking down the street with that bright pink box, and you know exactly what’s in there. A visual shortcut that tells you there’s something covetable inside, evoking a Pavlovian response in sugar fiends like me. Kind of like what Tiffany’s blue box does for women in general. Ok, not quite. But you get my drift.
  • To that point, the sisters are telegenic and PR-friendly. They’ve been on TV (their own reality show, Cupcake Sisters, is currently filming, though I’m wondering how they’re gonna bring the dramz), in newspapers, magazines, and more. They milk the PR machine, something the other DC cupcake places don’t do as well. They take full advantage of social media. Check out their FB/Twitter promo giving out free cupcakes. Plus they have fabulous names like Sophie LaMontange, which makes her sound like a French countess.

Georgetown Cupcake's lime flavor is my favorite. See the flecks of lime zest in the icing and cake? But it always leaves me wanting more cake to balance the amount of icing out.

  • Georgetown Cupcake was “first to market”–before they hit DC in early 2008, there were bakeries that sold cupcakes–Cakelove, Baked and Wired–but none that specialized in just cupcakes. (Readers, correct me if I’m wrong here.) In business, that’s important in establishing market dominance. Or something like that.
  • Their cupcakes are moist, which is what the people want. There are different preferences out there–some like Cakelove for the old-school dryness because it reminds them of their grandmother’s homemade cakes. But overall, we’re a generation raised on  Betty Crocker mix, which means moistness.
  • Their cupcakes are less expensive than some of the other places. Hello, Red Velvet. A dozen there costs over $39 after tax (whoa). At Georgetown Cupcake, I paid $31.90 after tax last month. No, not cheap, but not unreasonable for boutique cupcakes.
  • They won The Washington Post cupcake wars a while ago with their chocolate ganache cupcake. I don’t think it’s their best, but hey–chocolate’s a crowd-pleaser. When was the last time you heard an American say they hated chocolate?
  • Their prime locations. When I’m in Georgetown Cupcake (or any cupcake place), 75%+ of the customers are women. And women go shopping in Georgetown and Bethesda, their two locations. Add to that the college kids from GWU/Georgetown, and you’ve got a captive audience.
  • They ship around the country, helping to build their brand nationally. (E.g., they were featured in a Wall Street Journal article.)

And that, in part, explains why they’re pulling in millions of dollars a year from suckers like me 😉 

As more players enter the DC cupcake market (Sprinkles, Crumbs), it’ll be interesting to see whether Georgetown Cupcake can maintain its edge. But for now, they’re the queens of the DC cupcake scene.


$50 at Red Velvet Cupcakery for $25

I’m all over this Living Social deal of the day. They’re offering a $50 gift card to Red Velvet’s E Street location for half price. While I don’t recommend the lime flavor (the icing reminds me of Crisco), the other flavors I’ve tried are pretty tasty. Plus it’s rare to get a cupcake in this town for less than $3!

Photo via


Keep the freebies coming, Georgetown Cupcake

Why are they giving out free cupcakes?  Not like they’re hurting for business, so I’m guessing they want to keep their stores busy while they’re filming their new Cupcake Sisters reality show, and to build loyalty before the DC cupcake assault begins. Sprinkles and Crumbs are coming to town this year. (Aside: As my coworker pointed out, one’s a top, the other’s a bottom.)

But back to how you get a free cupcake: the first 100 people who ask for the flavor of the day by name receive one. You gotta check out their Twitter feed or FB page every morning to see what the flavor is. They’ve been giving these out for weeks now. Show up early, and pray that you’re not the 101st person to ask for it.


Is there such thing as cupcake fatigue?

Someone must’ve caught wind of how much moolah the Georgetown Cupcake sisters are pulling in, because there’s a slew of cupcake places coming soon to DC. A sugar coma is imminent.

According to Washingtonian magazine, Crumbs is opening seven (!) locations in the DC Metro area starting in May. Their cupcakes are over the top, and big enough for sharing.

Sprinkles will be opening a location in Georgetown (timing TBD). I’ve only tried them via their mixes at Williams & Sonoma. I can’t wait to try the real goods.

The market for cupcakes in this town already seems near saturation point. Will someone open a French macaroon place, please?

Read the article:


Delivering treats to your door, Curbside Cupcakes

DC needs more food trucks that sell something other than dirty water dogs, so Curbside Cupcakes is a welcome addition. I must have some innate cake homing device, because I randomly came across their truck on Connecticut Avenue this afternoon. Then again, the bright pink is hard to miss.

They’ll deliver to your door (minimum 2 dozen cupcakes per order). The truck also roams the streets of DC, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, you can get your cupcake fix. Check out their schedule here:

I’m guessing the peppermint chocolate cupcake (pictured) is the redheaded stepchild of the menu, because it was the only flavor left. A customer behind me actually walked away empty-handed when she found out they’d run out of everything else. I recommend this cupcake after it’s been refrigerated, which I know is heretical among true bakers. But it gave the subtly minty icing a nice, almost chewy texture akin to the filling of a Peppermint Patty. I’m looking forward to trying their key lime next time. Until we meet again, cupcake truck!


January’s seasonal flavor at Georgetown Cupcake: salted caramel

While Georgetown Cupcake is good, the products often don’t live up to the endless hype (making me wonder if they’re paying off publications like The Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine). So I was on the fence about trying this new flavor.

Is the salted caramel trend here to stay, or will it go the way of the pork belly?

The salted caramel thing is everywhere now, from Haagen-Dazs to Coco Sala, but the balance of salt-to-caramel is only sometimes done right. I actually really liked the buttercream frosting on this because I could taste both the salt and the caramel. Mr. X-sXe thought it was too much like eating a stick of butter, though.

Like Heidi Montag after her latest round of plastic surgery, this flavor-of-the-month is top-heavy.

Georgetown Cupcake is now a wildly successful local chain–the Bethesda store opened at the end of last year, and the Georgetown store moved to larger digs on M Street in December. But for what it’s worth, my favorite cupcake in town is still the Gianduja at Hello Cupcake.