Posts Tagged ‘Georgetown cupcake review


Cherry blossom cupcake vs. cherry blossom cupcake

This weekend, I bought the seasonal cherry blossom cupcakes from Hello Cupcake and Georgetown Cupcake to see whose was better (and to give myself another excuse to eat cake).

Last time these two DC cupcake shops faced off was during our coconut cupcake battle, which was a draw. Read it here.

Georgetown Cupcake's version

Hello Cupcake's take on the cherry blossom cupcake

Back to the cherry blossom cupcakes. The version from Hello Cupcake ($3.50) is a Meyer lemon base filled with cherry preserves, topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

The Georgetown Cupcake one ($2.75) melted in transit, which is why the poor thing looks so mangled in the cross-sectional photo. I thought I detected some cherry flavor in the icing. Bits of cherry are incorporated into the cake, which has a different crumb from their other cupcakes–it’s more moist and doesn’t break apart when you bite into it. In fact, the cake is pretty similar to their white chocolate raspberry seasonal flavor, which also incorporates fruit into the batter. I’m not sure what Georgetown Cupcake fans will make of the different cake texture.

Who emerged victorious? Pie has yet to weigh in, but I’m going to have to give the tiara to Hello Cupcake on this one. Theirs is more expensive, but it’s also larger and more pimped-out. Guess I have until the end of April to hoard these.

Hello, cherry preserves!

Cherries are baked into the cake at Georgetown Cupcake.


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.


dc cupcake wars revisited: georgetown cupcake’s lava fudge

Note: this is a multi-part series in response to the Washington Post Cupcake Wars last fall, which was clearly a farce.

The breakdown, cake: Same as the cake in the chocolate ganache cupcake, it had that box-mix flavor and texture.

The breakdown, icing: A cream cheese icing, decently proportioned. Flavor was very sweet, could’ve used a bit of tartness.

The breakdown, lava filling: The Achilles’ heel of this cupcake. I was all psyched for an ooey, gooey chocolate center. Instead, I get something that reminds me of the flavor, consistency and aftertaste of Hershey’s syrup. It just doesn’t make any sense, given all the high-quality ingredients Georgetown Cupcake touts on its website. To borrow a quote from In Living Color, “Hated it!”

Rating: 4.9 out of 10.

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dc cupcake wars revisited: georgetown cupcake’s white chocolate raspberry

Note: this is a multi-part series in response to the Washington Post Cupcake Wars last fall, which was clearly a farce.

The breakdown, cake: This was a seasonal flavor that’s already been replaced. Pity, because this cake was one of the better ones from Georgetown Cupcake that I’ve tried. It was dense and spongy, punctuated with bits of raspberry that added some tang. The texture reminded me of some vegan cupcakes I’ve tried. And no, that was not an insult.

The breakdown, icing: Couldn’t taste the white chocolate in this. It was a sweet cream cheese icing, good but pretty standard.

Rating: 6.8 out of 10.

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dc cupcake wars revisited: does georgetown cupcake’s chocolate ganache deserve the crown?

Note: this is a multi-part series in response to the Washington Post Cupcake Wars last fall, which was clearly a farce.

This is purported to be the Grand Poobah of DC cupcakes, crowned king by The Washington Post in its cupcake wars.

So I gave it my utmost attention (as did Mr. X-sXe) when we taste-tested it.

The breakdown, icing: The ganache is rich, creamy and you can taste the quality of the ingredients. But there’s a stingy layer of it that leaves me wanting. (You can always scrape frosting off, but you can’t put more of it on.)

The breakdown, cake: The cake tastes too close to box mix. Light, fluffy and a not-quite-homemade flavor (even though this is homemade). I was hoping for more heft to the cake, a more dark-chocolatey flavor.

We wanted it to be so much better, to live up to the promise. But I’m afraid the emperor is stark naked, and we’re left praying to the ganache fairy.

Rating: 6.2 out of 10.

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