Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Cupcake Triangle

I don't like cake. 
I never have. 
When I was growing up, I would always pass up on the birthday cake at school, never really cared for the Young Women's after lesson cupcake treats, passed on the cake served at family parties......
and for my birthday, I always requested an ice cream cake. Nothing else. 
I just never understood what all the cake fuss was about.

But since this big cupcake fad has come about, I have grown to like cake a bit more. Now it has to be good cake- moist, dense, with fillings of some sort, and a really good frosting that is heaped on top. (I love frosting.) And it has to be a cupcake. And it has to be a bit on the creative side for me to even care about it. Plain chocolate, or plain vanilla...no thanks...boring.

I love watching Cupcake Wars on Food Network. I could watch it all day long and it would never get old for me. I have also grown to recently love the show, "DC Cupcakes" on TLC that features a cupcake shop here in Georgetown. So of course when my family was here visiting, I took them cupcake hopping. Since moving to VA, I have gotten into all the cupcake craze here in Georgetown. And I wanted to share that with my family. 

I like to call it, "The Cupcake Triangle." 
Now, there are three cupcake shops here that are in rivalry against each other and are all the talk on Urban Spoon and Yelp. There is a debate on which of the three shops really has the best cupcakes. 
The three different shops are: Georgetown Cupcake, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Baked and Wired.
So of course, we tried all three when my family was here, because we just had to know. Right?

#1- Georgetown Cupcake (DC Cupcake)
Here is what the line usually looks like at Georgetown Cupcake. 
Luckily, we went in the morning about an hour after they had opened, so there was actually no line which was a miracle. They were still completely overflowing with pick up orders for the holidays however. There were boxes and boxes of cupcake orders along all the walls not leaving any room for customers to sit down after their purchase and enjoy their cupcake. So they were still quite busy. Plus, we were one of the first 100 customers of the day, so after telling them their "secret flavor," that was posted on Twitter that morning, we got 1 free cupcake of a special kind that isn't normally on their menu. 
Here is what we selected:
Now are these cupcakes really all that good, or are they just famous because of their TV show?
That's the big question.
I think a little of both. 
They have some amazing cupcakes that are mind blowing. These ones have fillings and chunks of yumminess in the batter to spice it up a bit. Their pumpkin cheesecake cupcake....amazing. Dulce de Leche, amazing. Salted caramel, amazing. But they have some other ones, not so much. Just ordinary and boring. In the words of Florian Bellanger, a judge from Cupcake Wars, "That was just a stupid chocolate cupcake."
They have a lot of "stupid chocolate cupcakes" that are nothing special.

#2- Sprinkles Cupcakes
This cupcake shop had no line at all. It wasn't even that busy. You would think there was nothing special about it just walking by. But it is actually quite special. Candace Nelson, a judge on Cupcake Wars, opened the first ever cupcake shop in the United States in LA. It was called, Sprinkles Cupcakes. Now she has several locations all around the US, including this one in Georgetown. So it is definitely famous. 

Since we were quite "cupcaked out" after eating at Georgetown Cupcake and all the other sweets that we had that day, we only got two to split between all of us. We wanted to try it and see what made these special. The two flavors we chose were peanut butter chocolate and salted caramel. Classics.
The first thing I noticed about these cupcakes was that they were much bigger than regular sized cupcakes but were also a bit more expensive as well. The frosting wasn't piped on in a swirl, but instead was spread on flat but still really thick. The texture of these cupcakes was really different because they had more of a muffin feel than a cake feel which I really liked. It was like we were eating a sweet, dense, dessert muffin with frosting. So yummy. 

One cool thing about this place too is that they do frosting shots. It is actually on their menu. You can walk in and just order a shot of frosting, any flavor that you want. This is something that I would totally do because I am a sucker for frosting much more than the actual cake.  

#3- Baked and Wired

Now these cupcakes are shareable. They are huge! It is more like a mini cake instead of a cupcake. I think that is why they call them cakecups instead of cupcakes.This place also has a whole different feeling to it. The cupcakes are more rebellious and whimsical, kind of on the crazy side. Rustic. It is obvious by some of the names chosen for these dudes: Chocolate Cupcake of Doom, Elvis Impersonator AKA the Unporked Elvis (has candied bacon on top), Unicorn and Rainbows, Razmanian Devil, and of course, Pretty Bitchin' (chocolate cupcake with a crunchy PB frosting.) I didn't name it. Don't judge me. 

I love how they are wrapped in parchment paper with the edges coming up from the sides. I love how they are displayed in the glass jars. It is a really neat place. And the cupcakes.....
fabulous. They have more of a homemade feel, more cakey than Sprinkles. I think their frosting is where it is at though. They swipe it on so it almost looks messy on top with different edges sticking up higher than others. Crazy.

So.....the verdict.

If you are wanting a cute, proper, traditional cupcake
 that is more famous for its TV show than the goodness of its cupcakes, 
Georgetown Cupcake is the place for you.

If you enjoy more crazy flavors that are a little out there and you are feeling a bit wild, 
Baked and Wired is the place for you.

If you are like me and prefer the frosting part of a cupcake more than the cake,
 than Sprinkles is the one for you. 
Their frosting is to die for, the I am really diggin' that muffin texture. 
Like I said before, cake has never really been my thing.

Can't wait for my next adventure to Georgetown
 to get me some more Sprinkles cupcakes and frosting shots! :)

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