Richardson Farms: Cookie Dough Cupcake

On a recent lunch trip into Richardson Farms (located in White Marsh, Maryland), I spotted a single cupcake flavor in their bakery display. This was my first time in Richardson Farms, but I’ve only heard amazing things about their food, so there was no question that I was getting the Cookie Dough cupcake to complete my lunch order.

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I was excited to try this cupcake since it was an unexpected treat, and it wasn’t an everyday classic chocolate or vanilla. Unfortunately it was only okay. The frosting was just a standard buttercream, and nothing really stuck out as amazing or unique about it. The cake was dense, crumbly, and a bit dry. Luckily the “cookie dough” portion of the cupcake was really good, and totally saved this cupcake. When eaten with the cake and frosting, the flavors all balanced out really well. I don’t know if it was intentional, but the “cookie dough” part was fully cooked and at the bottom of the cupcake. I think it would have worked better at the center of the cupcake (and more “doughy”), but since it was a large cupcake, I ended up eating it with a fork so that didn’t matter too much.

The man working in the bakery department was very nice and served up the cupcake with a large smile and told me that this flavor had gotten approval from his family. Because of his hospitality, the decent price (only $2.50), and the overall flavor combination, I would give them another try to see if the cake’s texture was better on other varieties. And who can say “no” to a pretty cupcake served with a kind smile?

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

Throwback Thursday: Ashley’s Sweet Beginnings | Towson, MD

Today we are posting a “Throwback Thursday” review because it was almost a year ago that we first visited Ashley’s Sweet Beginnings (located in the Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, Maryland), but we never shared our thoughts. At that time, they were preparing for their grand opening, but were still opened for business, so we grabbed a variety of treats including cupcakes, macarons, truffles, and coffee.

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Ashley’s serves Zeke’s Coffee, which is a local Baltimore favorite, so we were already off to a good start. Along with her coffee, Crusader Jenn ordered the Triple Chocolate cupcake, a coffee macaron, and an pistachio macaron.

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Unfortunately Ashley’s refrigerates their cupcakes, which isn’t the best way to enjoy them while sitting in the cafe (we prefer our cupcakes at room temperature). Jenn still enjoyed the dense fudgey dark chocolate center and said that even though it was cold, the cake was still relatively moist, but it was just your average chocolate cake. The buttery chocolate frosting also would have been a nice balance to the dark chocolate center, but because the cupcake was cold, it was a bit on the hard side.

Like Jenn, I ordered one cupcake and two macarons with my coffee, but instead of being different, I selected the same coffee and pistachio macarons as her. However, I chose the PB&J cupcake and also included a chocolate raspberry liquor truffle with my purchase (which isn’t pictured — but it was delicious!).

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PB&J cupcakes are one of my favorite flavors, so the standard has been set pretty high for me. Overall this cupcake had really amazing, well-balance flavor, with the just the right amount of filling, but I think because of the refrigeration process, the cake was overly dry. It may have improved if I had let it get to room temperature. Even though the frosting was cold and a bit hard, the flavor was perfect and it had a nice creamy texture. Each cupcake was priced well at only $2.50.

Jenn and I really love their macarons and have become repeat customers. They are miniature sized with a price to match at only $1.00 each, which means we tend to get a variety of flavors depending on what’s available. They always have a nice crumbly shell and light fluffy texture on the inside. The flavor of the coffee macaron was a bit mild for me, but Crusader Jenn thought it was perfect, and the pistachio macaron had a wonderfully nutty flavor. Since then we’ve tried many flavors including lemon, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla, and more. I haven’t been disappointed yet!

My suggestion to anyone visiting Ashley’s is to take your cupcakes to go so you aren’t eating them cold. If you are sitting and staying for a while, I would recommend selecting macarons, truffles, or any of the variety of other pastries they offer.

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

 

 

 

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.

NYCTreats5(Cupcake haul from Baked by Melissa)

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.

NYCTreats6(July’s Mini-of-the-Month: Root Beer Float)

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)