DC Cupcakes

September 26, 2008 at 7:08 am (dessert, food, review, travel, washington dc)

To break up the monotony of museum-going, I’ve been sampling cupcakes around DC.

Caveat – I’m not a big fan of cupcakes.  No, that’s not true.  I’m not a big fan of cupcakes as they are sold in cupcake stores.  They’re usually too sweet and have way too much frosting.  So, of course, I prefer the way that I make cupcakes:

Hello Cupcake – I tried one with chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting, and one with lemon cake and raspberry frosting.  The cakes were flavorful, moist and tender.  That’s good.  They were a little too dense, in my opinion.  And slightly too sweet.  The flavor of the frosting was good, but I’m not a fan of the texture, which was too crystally and not smooth enough.

I also tried Georgetown Cupcakes.  Mark and I tasted 4 different kinds – Key Lime, Caramel Apple, Red Velvet, and Chocolate (cake) Mint (frosting).  The cake texture was more bready, a little less tender than the Hello Cupcakes.  But still pretty moist.  Like the Hello Cupcakes, I thought these were too dense.  The sweetness level (not too sweet) of the cake was pretty good (but still not unsweet enough!).  The frosting was smoother, lighter and fluffier, which I prefer, but it also wound up being kind of crusty on the surface of the frosting, which was not appetizing.  You can see this crustiness in the photos below where the frosting has shifted around and the crust has cracked.

I don’t prefer either place.  I think I’d want to combine features of both – the GC had a sweetness level that I liked, but the flavors were a brighter and stronger at HC.  I prefer the cake texture of HC, but I prefer the frosting texture of GC, despite the crustiness.  The only things that really distinguished one from the other were that GC was $0.25 cheaper, and the cupcake display was much lovelier.

Am I alone in preferring cupcakes that are more fluffy and less dense?  Or in preferring less frosting?  Or in preferring less sweetness all around?  Is there a market for such cupcakes?  If I didn’t think the cupcake market was saturated and the cupcake trend on the tail end, and if I thought that there’d be a market for cupcakes like these, I’d consider opening a cupcake place.  But since both of these conditions are probably not met, I’ll stick to my day job.

Here’s my prediction for the next dessert trend – macarons.  These are merenguey cookies made from almond paste, egg whites, and sugar.  And they have filling sandwiched between two of these cookies.  They’re already getting some attention, and their popularity is going to explode.  My friend Hamutal introduced me to them in Paris back in 2002, and it was nice to think of these as our secret treat.  And you had to be “in the know” to know where to get them.  They are more available now in the US, but the tradeoff is that it’s no longer our secret treat.

Eating macarons in Paris

Eating macarons in Paris

The macarons are from Laduree

The macarons are from Laduree

Macaron from Miette in SF, after I took a bite out of it

Macaron from Miette in SF, after I took a bite out of it



  1. I found the perfect cupcakes « Babbling Blueberry said,

    […] 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm (dessert, new york city, restaurants, review) Remember how I said that all the cupcake bakeries that I’ve tried don’t make ‘em the way I like […]

  2. My predictions « Babbling Blueberry said,

    […] was also looking at an old post about cupcakes in DC.  Since we’re living here now, I wanted to refresh my memory about what I have already […]

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