The Cupcake Ship has Set Sail at Harbor East’s Lamill Coffee Shop

There’s nothing worse than waiting too long for something and then missing out completely. This is what happen to us recently at Lamill Coffee in Baltimore’s Harbor East. For a brief moment they offered cupcakes, but we kept pushing off our visit and sadly they don’t make them anymore. When they first opened, they were also known for their beignets, which they also stopped selling. Ugh. Utter disappointment.

Lamill hit the Baltimore coffee scene with a bang, bringing their own roasted beans and a variety of brewing techniques, including hand drip and siphon—which is seriously cool to watch. The atmosphere is a mix of sleek and rustic, which they’ve blended really well. The blog, Dear Coffee I Love You, has written about their coffee process and has amazing photos of the interior. You can check that out here.

When we asked the nice employee why they stopped making cupcakes, she explained  that they were really just okay, and Lamill didn’t want a sub-par confection on their menu. I totally understand that and, lucky for us coffee-loving sweet eaters, we like just about anything made with sugar.

Lamill2

While they don’t have beignets or cupcakes anymore (sigh…), they do still have a large assortment of pastries and cookies, including parisian macarons. We each selected a different macaron, and we each thought ours was the best. Elisa had the mint chocolate, Jenn got the cookies and cream, and I chose the blueberry. Lamill makes a great macaron with a perfectly crunchy outer shell and soft, moist, center. Each paired perfectly with our coffee selections.

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Though they don’t sell cupcakes or beignets anymore, they are making their own doughnuts with a variety of flavors. On our visit, they didn’t have them out at first, but just before we left had the opportunity to try one. The cake was a lot more dense than we anticipated, and a bit on the chewy side. I wouldn’t say it was a bad doughnut, just not at all what we expected. I would definitely like to try more.

Lamill is a great addition to the Baltimore Coffee scene. They have even started a campaign to encourage people to explore Baltimore’s local coffee shops, instead of sticking with the big names. To participate, just visit their shop and pick up their “Disloyalty Card.” You can also visit the participating coffee shops: Charmingtons, Pitango Gelato, Sidewalk Espresso, High Grounds, and Dooby’s. Once you’ve purchased a drink from each location and had your card stamped, you can receive a complimentary beverage from the shop of your choice. We think this is so awesome and a great excuse to explore the city.

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

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Blast From the Past: Pazo’s Cupcakes & Cocktails

Back in March of 2010, the Crusaders and a few girlfriends met up several times at Pazo for their Thursday night Cupcakes & Cocktails event. Pazo is known for amazing food and a unique cocktail selection, but we didn’t always order the cupcakes with their recommended cocktail pairing, since we can eat many more cupcakes than we should drink cocktails. Below are the cupcakes we tried, way back when…
Angel Food Cupcake with Rasperry Sorbet, paired with La Vie en
Rose (Moscato d’Asti, Soho Lychee Liqueur, rose water, and a fresh
rose petal)
Pazo-Sorbet
This was the first of our cupcake and cocktail combos. The cake was light and airy, as angel food cake should be. The cocktail was so delicious that Crusader Stacy said it was, “probably the best drink I’ve ever had!” Even though this was a frosting-free cupcake, the pairing worked well together and was certainly a great start to the evening.
Chocolate Cupcake, paired with an Espresso Martini
Pazo-Chocolate
(Photo from Baltimore Sun, no harm or infringement intended.)
This chocolate cupcake topped with white chocolate mousse and drizzled with salted caramel was AMAZING! Not too sweet, and the little bit of saltiness was perfect! The chocolate martini cocktail was smooth and sweet with the perfect alcohol zing.
Bacon & Manchego Cupcake with Miticrema Mousse
pazo-Bacon

This cupcake was interesting. Not a typical dessert cupcake in flavor or texture, this cupcake was good, once you knew what to expect. It was a tasty and an interesting take on a cupcake and cocktail pairing.
Sweet Corn Cupcake with Butter Pecan Ice Cream & Caramel Corn topping
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Both our friend Beth’s and my favorite of all the cupcakes, this sweet corn cake was amazing and tasted a bit like caramel corn. The maple iceream alone was wonderful and with a STACK of homemade caramel corn on top, it is a cupcake that still stands out to me today!
Rum Baba Cupcake with Crème Fraiche & Candied Mint, paired with
Classic Elderflower Mondello Mojito St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur,
fresh lemon.
Pazo-RumBaba
This cupcake was very good, with a lightness that paired well with the cocktail. Lemony and fresh this was a cupcake that we would love to try again.
We Crusaders still enjoy going to Pazo, and try to stop by when we are in the Fell’s Point/Harbor East area. They have fantastic food, a too cool atmosphere and comfy couches. On a recent visit, Crusader Stacy and I ended up there late night, sipping unique cocktails and catching up. With or without cupcakes we love this Baltimore gem… if only they would bring back Cupcakes & Cocktails!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Elisa (Baltimore, MD)

New Packaging & Fall Cupcakes From Kupcakes & Co.

FallCupcakes_NewPackaging

As always, Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) has new things happening, one of which is a change in packaging. In early September they announced they’d be shifting from their beautiful, black pastry boxes to the plastic cupcake containers, but that didn’t stop them from dressing the boxes up in true Kupcakes & Co. fashion. Tied with a black ribbon, the packaging still looks like a gift you can’t wait to open. Kupcakes & Co. made the decision to change with their customers in mind. Rising costs of their previous pastry boxes would have raised the price of their product, and they didn’t want that to happen.

Although many of us avoid plastic in striving to be more “green,” the Crusaders have some ideas on how to be more environmentally conscious in light of plastic cupcake containers. One of the things we do is reuse the containers. Unlike the cardboard boxes, which almost always end up with food stains and have to be thrown out, these containers can easily be rinsed in hot water and used again. Some other perks to the new boxes are that they travel better (great for the Crusaders, since we are always sharing) and they keep the cupcakes fresher (pastry boxes pull moisture from the cupcakes).

Even though Kupcakes & Co. is still making their new boxes look beautiful, I think we can all agree that what really matters is what’s INSIDE the box, right? Well, Kupcakes & Co. is also giving us new flavors to put in the new containers. So many that we can’t keep up! But here’s a sampling of some of the new flavors they are now offering:

Ginger Pear

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When I heard about this flavor, I couldn’t wait. The combination piqued my interest from the start. My husband was lucky that I waited until he came home to share it. The aroma when pulling it out of the box was pure, sweet pear. On my first bite I got a generous amount of fresh baked pear, a crunch from nuts in the cake, and a hint of spice. This cupcake is, by far, the most unique “fall” flavor I’ve had (and one of the most successful creative flavors I’ve tried in a long time). Kupcakes & Co. topped their Ginger Pear cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, a perfect match. Together this cupcake was not too sweet and well-balanced.

Mocha Frappuccino

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As an avid coffee lover, this was the other new flavor that I just couldn’t wait to get my taste buds on. I think I would have preferred more coffee flavor in the frosting, or maybe a dark chocolate buttercream, but that’s more of a personal preference since I’m not a huge milk chocolate buttercream fan. However, the cake was packed with frappe flavor that didn’t overwhelm or get lost in the chocolate

Pumpkin Cupcake

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Crusader Stacy requested the Pumpkin cupcake, which I’ve had before, but this was her first time. She said that it was, “So good. I love pumpkin everything and this cupcake screamed fall. The cake was dense, like on most pumpkin cupcakes, but still really moist for two days later.” We can thank the moistness on the new container!

Maple Brownie Cupcake

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Another new endeavor for Kupcakes & Co. has been brownies. We’ve mentioned before that the owner, Michelle’s, daughter is a student at CIA in NYC. After a summer of internships and helping out in the Kupcakes’ kitchen, Amanda shared a recipe that has been getting rave reviews (one of her mega-brownie creations was even featured in Howard Magazine). I was lucky to grab the LAST Maple Brownie cupcake (at 11am!). It was a great brownie topped with an amazing maple frosting, dressed up as our favorite…a cupcake!

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie

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Okay, so it’s not a cupcake…and it’s large, more than enough for two people. But, this brownie has to be shared. My exact thoughts were, “I mean, seriously? Holy moly.” The brownie was rich and moist, with a lot of depth to the chocolate flavor, topped with a thin layer of chocolate buttercream, and then smothered in a heavenly mint chocolate frosting. You’d think that the brownie might get lost under all that frosting, but each holds its own. Together it was decadent, but not too sweet, and refreshing. The frosting was so light in texture that it was like biting into a cloud (if that was possible).

Brownie Batter – Boutique Flavor

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Kupcakes & Co.’s “Boutique” flavors floor me every time. This cupcake tasted JUST like brownie batter! How is it even possible for a baked product to taste like batter? I just don’t know. I’ve said this about the Cookie Dough cupcake, but it’s like magic. The cake was baked with a fudge “batter” center and high quality dark chocolate chips. That all sunk to the bottom, but still added to the layer upon layer of chocolate flavor. If you are a chocolate lover (or brownie batter lover), you need to try this.

Some other new flavors hitting the Kupcakes & Co. menu are The Twist (a vanilla and chocolate combination cupcake topped with a Hershey Kiss), White Chocolate Espresso, and Beer & Pretzels (for Oktoberfest). I see another visit happening soon. Which flavor should we try for you?

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

A Yummy Path to Cupcake BLVD in Crofton, MD

Cupcake BLVD in Crofton, Maryland has been written about in local papers, has scores of local patrons, and almost 2000 Facebook fans. I’ve passed by the shop quite a few times, driving up Rt. 3 after visiting my Mom in Charles County. Alas, every time I passed by it was later in the evening and they were already closed. I knew I had to get there and review the cupcakes, but my timing was always off.

While Crusader Stacy organized an interview with the owner, Angelette, I picked up cupcakes on Saturday (luckily they put the cupcakes aside in the morning, because when I went to pick them up, they only had two cupcakes left!). I was excited to try their cupcakes, and especially excited to help them celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The special for the day was Mojadito (almond amaretto) and the two cupcakes they had left were Maple Bacon, which was not on my half-dozen order, so I added that cupcake to the lot. After a tour through the shop, including the back bakery area and party room, meeting the owners son and some friends, I took my cupcakes to share with some friends and family. With 7 cupcakes to try, I knew I couldn’t eat them alone, and was glad to share them with my boyfriend Mike, his Dad, Stepmom, and brothers. Here’s what we thought:

Maple Bacon
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We all know I love bacon, and I sure was lucky they had two of these cupcakes left so I could add it to my order! The cake alone wasn’t too sweet or flavorful, but the frosting was truly amazing. Very smooth and buttery, this frosting was super maple flavored and the crunchy bacon on top added a great texture.

Dulce de Leche
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Caramel filling was the perfect addition to this cupcake. The frosting followed the buttery flavor and consistency that I would find on all BLVD cupcakes, with a moist semi-sweet cake. Not too sweet and not too boring, this cupcake achieved the perfect balance between cake and frosting.

Nutella
BLVD-Nutella

This Nutella filled cupcake had a lightly flavored and airy vanilla cake with smooth chocolate frosting. Like the other cupcakes, this one was just sweet enough, and the chocolate shavings on top added texture and melted in your mouth!

Cinnamon French Toast
BLVD-CFT

While the other flavors were good, this cupcake really stood out of the bunch. It was amazing how this cupcake tasted exactly like french toast! You could really taste both the syrup and butter flavors in the frosting and the cake had a great light toasty flavor. I could have eaten about ten of these cupcakes, it was that good.

Milky Way
BLVD-MilkyWay

With part of the namesake chocolate bar on top, how could you go wrong?! The filling was like marshmallow fluff and it worked well with the chocolate cake to create the milky way flavor. The frosting was a bit sweeter on this cupcake, but still smooth and buttery.

Mojadito
BLVD-Amaretto

Super amaretto! This cupcake was almost too beautiful to eat. Edible glitter adorned the swirled, sweet frosting atop the moist and airy cake. Of all the cupcakes this was the sweetest. I love almond and amaretto, but because this cupcake was so sweet I couldn’t eat the whole thing—good thing I was sharing.

Coconut
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My favorite of the bunch, I have never had a better coconut cupcake. Moist, lightly flavored cake paired with a frosting packed with coconut flavor made for a very delicious cupcake. If you don’t like the texture of shaved coconut, just pick it off the top, I love the texture, so it was an added bonus for me!

All of the cupcakes from Cupcake BLVD were a treat and most exploded with flavor. My favorites were the special “Mojadito,” Coconut, and French Toast. Angelette was lovely and couldn’t have been nicer—taking time out of her busy day to chat with me and give me a tour. The one thing I wished was for all of the daily flavors to be listed online, because I didn’t know that the Bacon Maple was an option until I got to the shop as it was not on their “daily flavors” list for Saturday. I could have easily called and asked, which I will do next time around so I don’t miss out on the Pumpkin cupcake. I look forward to going back to Cupcake BLVD and trying some more flavors with Crusaders Jenn and Stacy, because they’ve got to try them!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Elisa (Baltimore, MD)

Cupcake BLVD Tells Us How They are Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and More!

This month Cupcake BLVD, a cupcake shop located in Crofton, MD with a truck that provides cupcake in the Maryland and DC area, is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Latino inspired flavors and owner Angelette Aviles will be donating a portion of the proceeds to a local charity. Angelette and the Crusaders have been in contact since their early days on the cupcake scene, but we’ve never had the chance to try their cupcakes until now! Crusader Elisa will be sharing her review later this week, but today we are happy to share an interview with Angelette, who took time to answer questions about her involvement in the Latino community, how she balances everything, and more!

CupcakeBLVD_fromFB1Can you tell us a little bit about how you have been involved in giving back to the Latino community, both in your former hometown, Florida, and more recently in Anne Arundel County, Maryland?
Everywhere you go in Florida you are influenced by the Latino culture, from food to history. Although I grew up in Maryland, I spent my college and early adult years in Florida where I was involved in several professional Hispanic organizations which either helped raise funds for Latino college scholarships for my alma mater (University of South Florida) or organized cultural related events. I even had a public relations and branding company in Florida that specialized in the Hispanic market. Although Anne Arundel county is not known to have a large Hispanic community, I decided to share and introduce something different, inspired by my Spanish culture.

Why is it important for you to give back to the community?
If it wasn’t for the community support of my business we wouldn’t be where we are today, therefore it only made sense to give back to our community through Cupcakes for a Cause. The organizations we choose to support are local, such as B.A.R.C.S (several of our customers have even adopted pets from them) or Hospice Hundred (a division of Hospice of the Chesapeake). We will continue to choose several more organizations in the upcoming year.

CupcakeBLVD_fromFB2Can you describe some of the special Latino-inspired flavors you are offering during Hispanic Heritage month?
Tres Leche…something you see in many Latino restaurants which is basic vanilla cake soaked with sweet condensed and evaporated milk and topped with a sweet whipped heavy cream and cinnamon.  We carry Dulce de Leche (very similar to caramel) cupcakes twice a week but for our Hispanic Heritage tribute we made it with our chocolate cake. The cake is filled with Dulce de Leche and topped with a Dulce de Leche frosting. Piña Colada….a coconut flavored cake topped with a fresh pineapple buttercream. Margarita and Mojito….which are both our Lime zested cake soaked with either Tequila or Rum and topped with a fresh Lime buttercream or Mint cream cheese frosting.  Mojadito (Amaretto Almond)…which hails from my island of Puerto Rico!  It goes on with Flancocho which includes Flan, Churro cupcake, Guava and Cream, and Chocolate Chili.

What is your favorite baking memory?
One of my favorite memories was when I was about 11 years old making cookies with a friend and recording it on a camcorder imitating Julia Child, with the voice and all, then decorating them with frosting only to realize I misspelled a word!

CupcakeBLVD_fromFB3How do you juggle your charity work, your business and your family?
I go to the kitchen just before my 2 youngest kids wake up and, luckily living only 1 mile away, I run home to get them off to school and then come back. I try and do as much as I can while my kids are in school, so that I can either go over homework or haul them off to dance and sports. Fridays are usually the longest days as I not only work on orders for that day, but also prepare for Saturday’s menu, and then head over to watch my oldest son play for Spalding’s varsity football team. #GoCavs! Sundays and Mondays we are closed!

What is your favorite tool in the kitchen?
My employees will say the fondant roller since I’ve pretty much been handling all our fondant related orders, but I have to say the zester or blender since it is what breaks down our natural flavors.

Of course we have to ask, what is your favorite cupcake flavor?
Hmmmm….I love Nutella and Dulce de Leche, and pretty much every cupcake with our cream cheese frosting, including the Red Velvet.

What sets your cupcakes apart from the competition?
That we use fresh ingredients and bake from scratch. We don’t take a box mix and add a few other extra stuff and call it our own. Every cupcake we provide has gone through some alterations to make sure it was just right like taste and texture prior to opening. That was a lot of taste testing! Butter, butter, butter! No shortening in our cake or frosting. Yuck!

We want to thank Angelette for taking the time to answer our questions! Follow Cupcake BLVD on Facebook and Twitter to find out about where you can find their truck. And remember, for the remainder of Hispanic Heritage Month, Cupcake BLVD will be offering their special flavors listed here:

10/1: Chocolate Chili
10/2: Tres Leche
10/3: Flancocho
10/4: Mojito
10/5: Pina Colada
10/8: Chocolate Dulce de Leche
10/9: Margarita
10/10: Churro Cupcake
10/11: Guava & Cream
10/12: Mojadito (Almond Amaretto)

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

Photos in this post were found on Cupcake BLVD’s Facebook page. No harm intended. 

Charm City Cupcakes – Are New Locations Impressing New Neighbors?

Engelia, from Key Events, is a new friend to the Crusaders. We met at church and quickly discovered a love for a couple of things: Reality TV and cupcakes! I later found out that Engelia is also party lover and expert at DIY. This lead her and a friend to start Key Events – Boutique Event Planning. Check out their website…You’ll find beautiful wedding cupcakes in their gallery. Today, Engelia is sharing a review of Charm City Cupcakes’ new location in Owings Mills, MD at the Valley Village Shoppes. Thanks, Engelia!

In the process of running around town picking up food and decorations for a “manly” themed birthday party, I stopped at a stoplight across from the Valley Village Shopping Center in Owings Mills, MD. A sign caught my eye that read “Charm City Cupcakes.” I live in the area and pass this center at least five times a week and knew that this was a new addition. As I pulled into the parking lot and parked, my heart sped up at the anticipation of a new dessert hitting my lips and maybe even making an appearance at this “manly” birthday party.

Charm City Cupcakes is a well-known bakery in the MD area. With three locations including a flagship store at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, they have a new location at 9101 Reisterstown Rd. Owings Mills, MD 21117. Out of all of their choices, I selected the red velvet cupcake (one of their Charm City Classics as listed on the menu) with a cream cheese frosting and a chocolate mousse filling. They require a minimum order of six cupcakes. I placed an order of six cupcakes for pick up the day before the party. Side note: I did not order more as 1) this was my first time ordering from Charm City Cupcakes and wanted to minimize loss if the cupcakes were not enjoyed and 2) I’d just picked up a dozen cupcakes from Giant. Basically, I’d already filled my cupcake party quota with the Giant order but thought it would be a nice surprise for my client.

The pickup went smoothly and the associate behind the counter was the same woman who helped me when I placed the order. She was very pleasant and was able to call the owner directly with any questions. The cupcakes were placed nicely in a white box. I placed the treats in the refrigerator overnight and prayed that they did not dry out.

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(Red Velvet cupcakes in custom cupcake wrappers, from Etsy. To see more from this moustache party, visit Key Event’s Facebook album.)

Party Night! I placed the six cupcakes out on a glass display. I wrapped them in moustache themed cupcake wrappers and placed a moustache ring on top of the cupcakes. Long story short, I had to swipe one of the cupcakes about an hour into the party so that I could try it later. As I listened to guests enjoy the cupcakes, there were mixed reviews. A couple of guests commented on how smooth the chocolate mousse filling was and made a great pairing with the softness of the cupcake. Another guest did remark that his cupcake was a little dry and the frosting too sweet. I quickly interjected that the dryness most likely had to do with the fact that I refrigerated them overnight.

My thoughts: I finally got to try the red velvet cupcake around 11:30pm that night. The cupcake was at the perfect temperature as it’d sat out for about two hours. I have to let you know that the red velvet flavor is my absolute favorite and I’ve tried it in pretty much every way possible from cake pops to cakes to cheesecake to doughnuts. Often, if not mixed and baked properly, the essence of the flavor can be easily dried out. Charm City Cupcakes did a good job of preserving the center of the cupcake and incorporating the filling. The center was soft and moist. The top of the cupcake was a little hard around the edges but was offset by the softness of the cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting was semi-sweet. I tend to like my frosting a little less sweet but as we know everyone is different. Overall, I would have liked the cupcake to be moister at the top and a less sweet frosting but I’m more than open to trying their other flavors and recommending them to others.

– Guest Crusader Engelia, from Key Events (Baltimore, MD)

Cupcake Crusader + Cupcake Enthusiast at the Best of Baltimore Party

Friend and follower, Alyssa works in Public Relations and loves cupcakes almost as much as we do. Today, she shares with us her very first guest review from our date night at the Best of Baltimore Party. Thanks Alyssa!

For the second year in a row, Crusader Elisa and I attended Baltimore Magazine’s Best of Baltimore Party at the Hippodrome Theater. It’s such a fun event, complete with delicious food samples, booze and a photo booth (LOVE a good photo booth!). But being that I was with Crusader Elisa, we were on a mission that sticky August evening: to sample Baltimore’s Best Cupcake. (Last year Crusader Elisa reviewed the cupcake offerings, this year, I was up for the challenge!) Baltimoreans wisely voted La Cakerie as the Best Cakes, so Owner and Executive Chef Jason Hisley had a HUGE booth full of full-size cupcakes, macaroons and cookies for guests to taste.

Elisa and I selected our treats – Orange Creamsicle for me, Chocolate Salted Caramel (Jason calls them “The Baltimore Cupcake”) for her, coconut macaroons for both of us – and headed to a table to get our nom on. Elisa could not stop talking about how much she loved La Cakerie’s cakes, how great the owner is, and on and on and on about how amazing and delicious and wonderful it all is going to be, so I had pretty high expectations for this experience.

Well, can I just say: these cupcakes BLEW MY MIND.

Orange Creamsicle
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The orange cake was light and orangey without being too sweet, and the buttercream frosting was orangey without being too acidic or too sweet. The only other orange creamsicle cupcake I’ve had was way too sugary and tasted like a bottle of orange soda in frosting form. But La Cakerie’s version was like an orange cloud of deliciousness exploding in my mouth. I could have easily eaten three more of those if given the opportunity, if I wasn’t going to be harshly judged by my peers.

Chocolate Salted Caramel – aka The Baltimore Cupcake
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I haven’t had too many chocolate salted caramel cupcakes in my life – maybe three varieties at most; I’m not a cupcake connoisseur like the Crusaders – but La Cakerie’s was the best version of that combination that I have ever, ever had. The cake was incredibly moist, chocolaty and ACTUALLY SALTY. The caramel frosting was smooth and sweet and perfect. It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more. Jason placed a chocolate-dipped crab chip (WHAT!) on top, firmly cementing the salty-sweet combination as the greatest combination to ever happen to man.

The coconut macaroons were bite-sized chewy balls of goodness, and I was able to sneak three into my purse for snacking later. 🙂 All in all, our La Cakerie experience was fantastic. I can’t wait to visit the newly-opened Mount Vernon store! And the rest of the party was pretty fun too.

PhotoboothAlyssaElisa2013
(Our 2013 photo booth photos: Kissing the Flamingo, Classy Ladies, Prom Pose, and Our “Mckayla Maroney is Not Impressed”)

– Posted by Guest Crusader, Alyssa (Baltimore, MD)