Posts Tagged ‘Georgetown Cupcake

17
Jan
12

Pie Vs. Cupcake: Pie Sisters comes to Georgetown

When Sprinkles opened in DC last year, it seemed like Georgetown had reached dessert saturation point. Or at least, cupcake saturation point.

Personally, my cupcake fatigue set in last summer. Maybe I’d partook of too many free cupcakes (thank you, Sprinkles and Georgetown Cupcake*). Maybe I’d overstocked them in my freezer—I’ve still got some Baked & Wired ones from Ms. Pie’s wedding last August. But now I just don’t get that jonesin’ for them anymore. I can actually walk past a cupcake place without getting the shakes. Not that I’m defecting to Team Pie. Yet.

But apart from Baked & Wired, there’s a lack of places in Georgetown to grab a great pie. Until last week, that is. Pie Sisters just opened at the edge of Georgetown, by the Key Bridge before you get to the Exorcist steps. Their story is similar to the owners of Georgetown Cupcake: sisters who gave up their careers to pursue their dream, family tradition of baking, that kind of stuff.

The cuppies ($4, including tax) is Pie Sisters’ answer to the cupcake. They’re individually sized and hard to resist, even though you probably get more bang for your buck ordering by the slice. The nice thing about the menu is the pies come in both sweet and savory flavors. I love that I could just have an entire meal there made up of cuppies. Even though I’m mildly embarrassed to order anything called a “cuppie,” because it sounds like something you pad your bra with.

This key lime and coconut cream cuppie were surprisingly intact after being schlepped all over Georgetown. And they tasted as good as they look. The crust is really thick, with a nice crunch. It’s not your typical flaky lard/shortening/butter crust. That’s actually a good thing because it’s not a bit soggy. If anything, it could’ve used just a touch more salt to play off of the sweet fillings.

Lots of key lime pies are maddeningly sweet. This one was pleasantly tart. I prefer puckeringly tart, but that’s challenging to achieve since excess acid can prevent your filling from setting (as I’ve learned in previous baking fiascos). The coconut cream was also good, thick with toasted coconut in the filling.

Pies may not be any healthier a fixation than cupcakes, but it’s nice to know there’s another option in Georgetown for getting your sugar fix.

*Georgetown Cupcake gives away 100 free/day per location. Sprinkles gives away 50/day. See their Twitter feeds for the secret flavor or phrase of the day.

15
Mar
11

Who makes the best cupcake in DC?

There’s nothing like a massive cupcake taste-off to help you visualize yourself in that projectile puking scene from Stand By Me–with cake vomit standing in for pie vomit, in this case.

This shot was taken before disgusting amounts of cupcake consumption commenced. Photos by Ms. Pie.


Last weekend, Ms. Pie, Mr. x-sXe, Greenie, Token Vegan and I set out to determine who makes the best cupcake in DC. According to The Washington Post cupcake wars from 2008, the winner was the chocolate ganache from Georgetown Cupcake. Since then, quite a few more cupcakeries have cropped up around town, so it was time for a re-match.

The red velvet contenders, clockwise from 5 o'clock: Sticky Fingers, Sprinkles, Georgetown Cupcake, Crumbs.

Aside: If you want to take all the pleasure, joy, and fun out of cupcaking, try tasting 30+ cupcakes between 4.5 people (the .5 being Token Vegan) over the course of 3 hours. While OD’ing on cupcakes like this may put most people off cupcakes for the foreseeable future, I was hitting the freezer for leftovers within 24 hours. Appalling but true.

Appearance-wise, Red Velvet Cupcakery's cupcakes are the woman grocery shopping in sweatpants.

The Methodology: We pitted 7 DC bakeries/cupcake shops against one another. Asterisks indicate national chains.

1) Sprinkles*

2) Georgetown Cupcake

3) Baked & Wired

4) Red Velvet Cupcakery (not to be confused with red velvet cupcakes)

5) Hello Cupcake

6) Crumbs*

7) Sticky Fingers (vegan cupcakes)

We taste-tested 3 mainstay flavors side-by-side: red velvet, chocolate-on-chocolate, and vanilla-on-vanilla. Hello Cupcake doesn’t do a red velvet, and Baked & Wired was out of that flavor the day we went, sadly.

The chocolate contenders, clockwise from 6 o'clock: Hello Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcakery, Sticky Fingers, Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired (in parchment), Crumbs.

We also tasted 3 wildcard flavors:

1) Vegan peanut butter blossom from Hello Cupcakes

2) Menage a Trois from Baked & Wired (chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling, cream cheese icing, and cringeworthy name)

3) Chocolate marshmallow from Sprinkles

The wildcard flavors, clockwise from 7 o'clock: Sprinkles chocolate marshmallow, Baked & Wired Menage a Trois, Hello Cupcake Vegan Peanut Butter Blossom

Cupcakes were scored on a 10-point scale (with 10 being the best) based on:

  • Appearance
  • Frosting
  • Cake
  • Taste
  • Overall

Let the chest-beating begin: The winners

Red Velvet: Sprinkles. Score: 7.75. The cream cheese icing was exactly the way you’d want it to taste–the tangyness comes through, perfectly paired with a fluffy, moist cake. Crumbs took second place with 6.25.

Chocolate-on-chocolate: Baked & Wired. Score: 7.25. The chocolate icing is a creamy consistency (did I detect a hint of coffee in there?) atop a dense cake with a hefty crumb. Sprinkles wasn’t far behind, with a score of 7. Note that we tested the dark chocolate from Sprinkles, which some taste-testers found “too rich.” And while Ms. Pie noted that “Hello Cupcake’s chocolate cupcake is like the Platonic ideal of what a cupcake should be,” they tied for third with Crumbs at 5.25.

Vanilla-on-vanilla: Baked & Wired. Score: 7.25. Crumbs was second, with 6.25. Overall we were most underwhelmed by the vanillas. Maybe that’s why the word vanilla is used as an insult? But we also tasted them last, giving them an unfair disadvantage, since we were ready to swear off cupcakes by then.

Wildcard: Baked & Wired, Menage a Trois. Score: 7.25. A thimbleful of raspberry filling complements the chocolate cake and icing nicely. Hello Cupcake was neck-and-neck with a score of 7.2. Actually their peanut butter blossom was a sleeper hit–much tastier than any of us anticipated. And by “tasty,” we don’t mean “tasty for a vegan cupcake.”

The aftermath. By this point we were feeling very, very ill.


In conclusion: the best overall cupcake in DC is the red velvet from Sprinkles, but the best bakery overall is Baked & Wired. They also offer the best value, with cupcakes weighing in at 5.7 oz. ($3.50)–or as Ms. Pie puts it, “the Quarter Pounder of cupcakes.” To put that into perspective, a Georgetown cupcake ($2.75) weighs around 2 oz.

Sticky Fingers, a recent Cupcake Wars winner, was disappointing considering their big victory, although Ms. Pie is rallying for them to bring back their flower cupcakes.  Their scores were consistently at the bottom along with Red Velvet Cupcakery (“frosting like a stick of butter”).

05
Mar
11

Georgetown is now the cupcake triangle

Sprinkles opened on Thursday–so there’s now 3 cupcake sources within a few blocks of one another, officially making Georgetown the Bermuda Triangle of diets.

Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles sit right on M Street, while Baked & Wired’s tucked away on Thomas Jefferson St. Like many, I’m wondering what kind of impact Sprinkles will have on the 2 others. Judging from the lines outside Georgetown Cupcake this morning, they haven’t taken much of a hit. Which worries me, since Baked & Wired will probably feel the effects more.

Stay tuned because next weekend, we’re pitting Sprinkles, Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired, Crumbs, Hello Cupcake, Sticky Fingers, and  Red Velvet Cupcakery against each other in a taste-off of whose cupcakes are the swoonworthiest in DC.

Around noon today, there was no line outside the door of Sprinkles. About a dozen customers were inside.

Meanwhile, at Georgetown Cupcake, the line was snaking outside the door. Be glad you don't live on that block.

14
Nov
10

November’s seasonal flavors at Georgetown Cupcake, caramel apple and pumpkin

The tourists may be gone, but the lines at Georgetown Cupcake are still ridiculous.

Luckily, we did a pick-up order online. While the store may not have a red velvet rope outside, it kinda feels like you’re sailing past one as you flash your order confirmation to the cupcake bouncer.

Georgetown Cupcake is offering a pumpkin and a caramel apple cupcake through November. The  caramel apple was very tasty with a moist apple cake, dulce de leche filling, and cream cheese icing. (See cross-section below.) Mr. X-sXe noted that there were actual bits of apple that gave the cake a slight tartness.

The pumpkin, a more modest cupcake, was good too. If you’re into spice cakes, you’ll enjoy this one.

Ever since Pie brought over those Baked & Wired cupcakes, though, everything else has seemed wimpy in comparison. Georgetown Cupcake is no exception, since their cupcakes are among the smallest in DC. And don’t be surprised if the ratio of icing-to-cake leaves you with a serious hankering for more cake.

28
Aug
10

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.

31
Jul
10

Pie V Cake’s tips for avoiding the ridiculous lines at Georgetown Cupcake

This was the scene outside Georgetown Cucpake’s M Street location this morning at 11:15 AM.

In other words, TLC’s DC Cupcakes has dashed my hopes of ever getting another free Facebook cupcake on weekend mornings. It used to be, pre-DC Cupcakes, you could show up near opening time on weekends and sail through the line within 10 minutes. With a free cupcake, no less. Those days are gone, now that every tourist and their mom wants a cupcake. <<{{Gnashing of teeth.}}>>

Here are our tips for getting your cupcake on:

  • Order ahead. You can place your order the day before, then not have to wait in line to pick it up. Cut in front of the sugar-starved mobs at your own risk.
  • Walk a few blocks to Baked & Wired, where the cupcakes are bigger (and some say better), anyway.
  • Jump on the blue Georgetown Metro Connection bus to Dupont Circle’s Hello Cupcake. Especially if their Gianduja is on the menu that day.
09
Jun
10

Georgetown Cupcake’s orange blossom

This is a seasonal flavor for June. Since I’m a sucker for desserts made with orange blossom water, I bought two. But after trying it, I couldn’t actually tell whether there was any orange blossom water in here (not that they claimed there was–I was going off of the name).

A cream cheese frosting may have worked better than the buttercream. I actually had to scrape some off. It had a buttery heaviness that reminded me of the box of lard my mom had in the pantry, circa 1980.

The zest dotting both the frosting and cake give this cupcake a decent citrus flavor. And I loved the candied orange peel topping it off. But after it leaves in July, I’m not sure how many folks will be missing it.

29
Apr
10

Interview with the folks behind Hello Cupcake, Georgetown Cupcake, Baked & Wired and Something Sweet

Click on the photo to check out an interview with the ladies behind some of DC’s favorite places for cupcakes, from NBC4.

05
Apr
10

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.

27
Mar
10

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.