Atwaters Bakery Cupcakes (Finally!)

We know it’s been awhile since we’ve shared a review (and believe me, we have plenty to share!), but we’ve know for a long time that Atwaters carried cupcakes, and so after finally trying a couple flavors just last night, we didn’t want to waste any more time reviewing them.

Atwaters is a Baltimore staple that is known for their delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches along with a variety of baked goods, homemade ice cream, coffee and more.

After a quick stop at the Atwaters in Belvedere Square for dinner (which was wonderful), I decided to bring cupcakes home with me for desert, while my husband chose the amazing chocolate pudding ice cream. There were only two flavors left in the display case, so I got one of each: Guinness Chocolate Stout and Coconut.

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The cake on both cupcakes was very dense and crumbly. The coconut cake was still moist and very flavorful, but the chocolate stout cake was a little on the dry side and the flavor was just okay to me. However, combined with the chocolate frosting, the stout cake worked very well. Atwaters’ chocolate frosting actually reminded me of their chocolate pudding ice cream, and is the perfect level of richness without being overly sweet. In the end, I preferred the frosting on the chocolate stout cupcake, but the cake on the coconut cupcake was delicious.

I would like to go to Atwaters more (their food really is quite good), and I wouldn’t shy away from trying new cupcake flavors, but their ice cream is so good, that I might end up getting that for dessert instead.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, Maryland)

 

 

Baked by Melissa’s Spring 2015 Flavors

Baked by Melissa announced that they were offering some very special new flavors this spring… Cupcarons! What’s a Cupcaron you might ask? Well, if you guessed a teeny tiny mini cupcake topped with the smallest macaron you’ve ever seen, then you guessed correctly!

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Luckily, Crusader Elisa and I had already planned our annual girl’s weekend to NYC and we arrived in time to try these new mini treats shortly after they were released.

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(Flavors from left to right: Cotton Candy, Chocolate Graham, and Strawberry Cream)

I started with the Cotton Candy flavor because I don’t usually like cotton-candy flavored anything (unless it’s the real deal). I was actually surprised because it wasn’t awful. Maybe the miniscule size made it just enough to not be overbearing, but I would have glad eaten another.

After that I moved onto the Strawberry Cream. Sadly, I wasn’t a fan of this one at all. I know that it’s nearly impossible to pack in real strawberry flavor into something so small, but it tasted way to artificial to me. Crusader Elisa didn’t love the Cotton Candy or the Strawberry Cream either, but she thought the Strawberry Cream was better than the Cotton Candy.

I saved the Chocolate Graham for last because this flavor looked the most appealing (although the bright colors of the Cotton Candy and Strawberry Cream make those two much more fun to look at!). Of the three Cupcarons, this was by far my favorite flavor. However, compared to another flavor they had that day, Triple Chocolate Fudge, it was just “good.” The Triple Chocolate Fudge was AMAZING.

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What really surprised me was how crisp and perfect the macaron-tops managed to stay on all three cupcakes. I didn’t eat them all the same day they were purchased, and so I was expecting them to possibly get a little stale and chewy, but that didn’t happen at all. They were perfect.

I’m not sure how long these Cupcarons will be available, so if you get a chance, definitely go try them for yourself!

While we were there, we also had a chance to try Baked by Melissa’s March mini-of-the-month: Cookies in Milk.

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This little cupcake was SO GOOD and packed a lot of flavor. It actually tasted like cookies dipped in milk. I don’t know how they do it, but Baked by Melissa has mastered the art of blending lots of different flavors in something that is so very small. We’ll definitely keep going back for more!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Enchanted Cakes and Treats – Parkville, MD

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(Cupcakes from top and going clockwise: PB&J, Cannoli, Reese’s, and Caramel Apple.)

Enchanted Cakes and Treats opened about 5 months ago and I finally had a chance to stop in and try their cupcakes. I selected PB&J, Cannoli, Caramel Apple, and Reese’s cupcakes and shared them with Crusader Jenn and her husband. While they were all pretty good, the clear favorite was the Caramel Apple. It had the perfect sweetness level, and there were lots of apple chunks in the cake. We thought that the PB&J and Cannoli cupcakes were good, but could be improved if they added more filling. The chocolate sauce drizzled on the Reese’s cupcake wasn’t our favorite, and the cupcake probably would have tasted better without it. Overall though all the cupcakes had moist cake and a good amount of frosting (not too much, not to little). Enchanted Cakes and Treats offers a large variety of cupcake flavors and serves all kinds of desserts and pastries. Their prices are really amazing too, so I’ll definitely be going back and trying more.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

New Year, New Changes!

Hello Cupcake Lovers! We are so sorry that we have been completely MIA lately. Things have been crazy and we’ve found that we haven’t had much time for writing up our full reviews like before. However, we have still been eating lots of cupcakes and have decided that on this blog we will focus on sharing quick, short reviews of the NEW bakeries and treats we try. They will be straight forward and right to the point, absolutely no fluff. We hope you are okay with the new format, because we really want to continue sharing our experiences with you all.

Since we’ll just be reviewing NEW shops here on the blog, if you’ve missed reading about ALL of our cupcake adventures, we encourage you to head over to our Facebook page, hit the “Like” button, and stay posted on all the tasty treats we indulge in.

Thank you for your support as we make some adjustments. We love sharing our thoughts with all our fellow cupcake lovers like you!

 

Little Treats in The Big Apple

Is there a place that you love to visit? Where the more time you spend away from it, the more you long to go back? One of those places for me is New York City. Back in my carefree 20s, with very few commitments keeping me in Baltimore, I used to spend countless days and weekends exploring Manhattan with friends, eating amazing food, wandering through galleries, and seeing the latest plays and musicals—I was even asked at one point, “Why don’t you just move there?” to which I responded, “Because I love Baltimore too!” Somehow, the older I get the less and less I venture to the Big Apple, so now when I do go there’s a long list of things I try to accomplish while there. Spending time with friends and seeing shows is at the top of my list, but right below that is the food (i.e. brunch, cupcakes, and whatever new place we stumble into).

On a recent girls trip to NYC with Crusaders Jenn and Elisa, we had really high hopes for trying a new cupcake spot and getting macarons from Macaron Cafe. Sadly, neither of those things happened, but we did still manage a food-filled weekend that ended with cupcakes from our go-to, Baked By Melissa.

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In addition to their July mini-of-the-month, Root Beer Float, Baked by Melissa released three summer flavors at the end of June that we knew we had to try.

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(Summer cupcakes clockwise from the left: Key Lime, S’mores, and Cinnamon Bun)

The three of us were unanimous in our feelings on these summer flavors: The Key Lime was good, but not great. I thought it was a little artificial tasting, Elisa wanted more graham cracker, and Jenn thought it was a bit more like a lime creamsicle in flavor. The Cinnamon Bun also left us wanting more. Baked By Melissa used to carry a strictly “Cinnamon” cupcake which was Elisa’s favorite, but we all agreed that this new take on it lacked the immense cinnamon flavor of the original. But the S’mores was exactly what we expect from these bite-sized treats. Even though there was just a tiny bit of marshmallow, it came through so well. If you are interested in trying these for yourself, they are available until September 22nd.

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We’ve tried just a few Root Beer Float cupcakes in the past, and this one definitely impressed us. It had a true root beer flavor, and the crunchy sugar piece on the top was a nice added touch. We know it’s too late to get this cupcake now, but with any luck, it will make an appearance again next year.

Besides Baked By Melissa’s, some of the highlights from the weekend were sliders and fries from La Frite, fancy iced tea from Press Tea, and savory and sweet mini pies from Pie Face.

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La Frite’s combo deal was too good to pass up, so Jenn, Elisa, and I shared an order of veggie burgers (SO GOOD) with their “classic” fries and beef burgers with their thinner “allumette” fries. They also have a long list of sauces so we picked BBQ Ketchup, Saffron and Garlic Aioli, and Wasabi Ginger Mayo. Everything was amazing.

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I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved the iced tea from Press Tea. I choose a Hibiscus Black Tea that suited my taste buds perfectly. Jenn and Elisa each picked something different and loved theirs as well—Elisa’s was some sort of chai-blend, and if there is chai on the menu, she’ll get it. Always.

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We have now come full circle back to minature-sized sweet treats, but Pie Face has more than just sweet pies, they also have a huge selection of savory pies, which we highly recommend. To feed my sweet tooth, I decided to take the Apple Crumb pictured above home with me, and I’m so glad I did. After heating it up a little bit, I plated it with a dollop of whipped cream and a glass of milk. For being such a small pastry, there was plenty of apple filling and crumb topping, with just the right amount of pie crust. Delicious.

I’m not sure when I’ll make it back to New York, but I’m sure that whenever that happens, I’ll have plenty more food adventures.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

 

 

Celebrating an Amazing Night with Georgetown Cupcakes!

I’m just going to jump into today’s post by saying that back in March, Crusader Jenn and I got to meet Demi Lovato!

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(Eek! Seriously, how adorably is she? Gotta love the pink hair.)

Okay, “meet” may not be the correct word. It was more like: ran into a room and snapped a quick photo with Demi after standing in line for what seemed like hours (and very well could have been), but it was totally worth it!

I should start from the beginning (I promise I’ll get to the cupcakes soon). Back in October I convinced Jenn and Elisa to go with me to see Demi Lovato on her Neon Lights Tour. After buying our tickets, it didn’t take long until they were fans too, so leading up to the concert Jenn and I entered a few contests only to find out a couple weeks before the concert that we (well really Jenn…) won two tickets for floor seats along with passes to the sound check and a “meet and greet.” We couldn’t believe it! But this left us in a bit of a scramble because we ended up with two spare tickets and we didn’t want Elisa sitting alone. Luckily my sister, Alissa, and Elisa’s good friend (and major cupcake enthusiast), Laura, joined us, so no tickets went to waste. Everything worked out perfectly. Elisa, Laura, and Alissa when to dinner, while Jenn and I attended the sound check and “meet and greet.”

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(Our concert-going group from left to right: Jenn, Alissa, me, Elisa, and Laura. So glad I got to spend such an awesome night with some fab ladies!)

It was amazing to hear Demi sing to such a small audience during the sound check (if you don’t already know this, her voice is really incredible) and she KILLED IT during her concert, which at moments had the auditorium feeling like it was a gigantic night club. The energy before, during, and after the concert was palpable, so when we walked out of the venue to discover pouring rain, it didn’t ruin the mood at all. We happily walked/danced/skipped on the long journey back to the car where we discovered that Laura brought us Georgetown Cupcakes. She knows us well!

Laura really is the greatest friend a cupcake lover could ask for and she almost always shows up with Georgetown Cupcakes in tow.

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There was a great variety to choose from so we divided the cupcakes up. I selected Carrot Cake and Cherry Blossom to enjoy over the next couple of days.

Carrot Cake

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Somehow, I had never tried Georgetown’s Carrot Cake before, even though I really like this classic flavor. Unlike most carrot cake, Georgetown’s was very dense and much lighter in color and it wasn’t as chunky either. Even though there were no raisins or nuts (just carrot pieces), it still managed to taste like true carrot cake with a great spice flavor. The frosting was a little gritty in texture, but not too bad. It was also sweet, but the cream cheese flavor blended nicely with the cake. Overall this was a really satisfying cupcake. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but definitely worth trying if you can.

Cherry Blossom

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By the time I got around to eating this cupcake I thought that it would be a little dry, but I was surprised to find out that it was still moist after three days! The cake was also dense like the carrot cake and it had a very subtle cherry flavor. I don’t typically like things that are cherry flavored (except for Cherry Coke… I love that), however this time it was fine with me. Due to the lightness of the flavor it wasn’t overpowering or “fake” tasting.

Jenn and I are excited that we are going to see Demi Lovato preform again in October on her World Tour, which starts this fall. We’ll be in Hershey, PA for that concert, so I’m sure there will be cupcakes! Last time we were in Hershey, all of the cupcakes seemed to be a chocolate/peanut butter combo, so this time I hope to expand outside of that and try some new flavors!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Oh Hershey’s… How I love thee… but not this time.

I recently purchased two boxes of Betty Crocker Hershey’s cupcake mix on sale because, let’s be honest, how can you pass up a deal that includes cupcakes and chocolate?

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Each kit included the cake mix and filling for a dozen cupcakes, and the S’mores kit even included the crushed graham cracker for the base.

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I normally like to “fancy” up chocolate cake mix by adding a box of instant chocolate pudding and mini chocolate chips, but for this review I decided to bake them exactly as the instructions requested. I even left the container of chocolate frosting unmodified. Boy was that a mistake…

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Sadly, the cake for each cupcake was not good at all. It wasn’t that it was just bland, but it kind of tasted like what I imagine cardboard would taste like. I think if I had added pudding and chocolate chips it would have greatly improved the flavor. On the bright side though, the process for making these cupcakes was extremely easy.

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I haven’t made cupcakes yet that you bake the filling in the center of the batter, but it worked out really well. Some of the filling in the Hershey’s Chocolate cupcakes did explode a little out of the top of the cupcake, but luckily it wasn’t too bad.

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I would only buy this cake mix again if I intended to modify it. Adding some pudding mix and chocolate chips would only take a few extra seconds and I think the results would be so much better. What would take these to the next level even more, would be to use your own favorite dark chocolate frosting recipe, or modify store-bought chocolate frosting, as we have done before here.

Even though these cupcakes didn’t turn out as I was hoping, I’m still a box mix girl and probably always will be. I’ll leave the from-scratch baking to the pros, but I have definitely learned that adjusting a box mix is the way to go.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)