Kupcakes & Co.’s Grand Re-Opening: Unveiling Their Boutique Celebration Room

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Just a little over a week ago, we mentioned that Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) would be debuting their new Boutique Celebration Room during a Grand Re-Opening. This past Saturday, the Crusaders were there to show our support, sample some new items, and get the full scoop on what the new space looks like and has to offer.

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Kupcakes & Co.’s Boutique Celebration Room has three large tables, plus buffet tables and benches along the walls for additional seating, with natural light pouring in from the front windows and small chandeliers (fit for a boutique) hanging from the ceiling. For now, the space will be available for adult parties only, with table settings, various food items, and staff provided for your event. Their brochure outlines some great options, ranging from the “Standard” (which provides the basics: 1 staff member and 1 cupcake per person, while you bring in the rest of your needs), to “Brunch” (which includes: 2 staff members, place settings, non-alcoholic drink options, and a selection of brunch offerings). On the day we visited, each table was set up with a different theme to give the guests an idea of how they could use the room:

Bridal Shower Brunch

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The Bridal Shower table showcased the brunch offerings, which included cupcakes and cookies, ready to eat or take as party favors. Champagne or wine can be brought in by the host to add to the celebration!

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(Close-up of the packaged cupcake and provided place settings.)

The brunch package would also be great for a baby shower, tea party, or small family reunion.

Cupcake Decorating Class

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I think most of us can agree that an afternoon of eating and learning how to professionally decorate cupcakes sounds like a lot of fun. I was surprised to see that the guests don’t just decorate one cupcake each, but are given six! Kupcakes & Co. even provides a cupcake for nibbling on while you decorate, that way you aren’t too tempted to dig into your creations before showing them off to your friends and family.

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(Close-up of the decorating techniques that will be taught and goodie-bag.)

When you book the Boutique Celebration Room for a decorating class, you not only take home six cupcakes, but also a goodie-bag filled with tools and decorations so you can continue to practice embellishing your own cupcakes at home.

Cupcakes & Cocktails

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Cupcakes & Cocktails…the ultimate girls’ night! You bring the booze, and Kupcakes & Co. will provide everything else.

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In addition to fabulous sweet treats, Kupcakes & Co. will also provide a selection of cheese, crackers, olives, bread, and mixers to pair with your drinks. I asked if they had any plans in the works for hosting their own Cupcakes & Cocktails night and it sounds like it is a possibility, so we’ll be sure to share any information we get on future events.

The Grand Re-Opening was also the perfect platform to debut a couple of new items. We Crusaders sampled EVERYTHING that was offered (would you expect any less from us?), some of which is tried and true, and some of which was new to us, like the Cinna-bon-bons. They were amazing. But the (non-cupcake) stand out for me was the new Bliss Bar.

Bliss Bar

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Appropriately named, the Bliss Bar is a cereal bar, with marshmallow, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and white chocolate. It’s light in texture and yet still rich in flavor.

Pink Lemonade Cupcake
The Pink Lemonade cupcake also made its debut. I’m very excited about this cupcake for a couple of reasons. One, it is perfect for summer! And two, it will be making an appearance at my daughter’s second birthday party (there will also be a new combination, never before done by Kupcakes & Co., so you’ll have to look out for more to come on that next month!).

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The Pink Lemonade cupcake is a lemon cake with extra zest and topped with a pink lemonade frosting, then sprinkled with lemonade crystals. It definitely has a different “zing” that a lemon cupcake. I only had a bite, but Stacy was able to elaborate, saying that the frosting was very sweet and tart. Maybe too sweet for her, because she couldn’t eat it all. However, the cake was perfectly pink and citrus-y. We both loved the simple, festive, and cute decorations.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcake
Earlier in the month, Kupcakes & Co. also added their summer seasonal cupcakes back on the menu. There was one we hadn’t tried, the Orange Creamsicle, so Crusader Stacy added it to her cupcake collection (she had also purchased the Pink Lemonade above, Peach Cobbler, and Key Lime).

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Stacy really liked this cupcake and said it was, “much more subtle than the Pink Lemonade cupcake, with a nice orange flavor.” She added that the, “cream flavor balanced it really well.” Sounds like one that I need to try this summer!

If you’d like more information about the Boutique Celebration Room, you can visit Kupcakes & Co.’s website or Facebook page. They have more photos on their Facebook page, so you can see additional details of the beautiful decor. I’d love to host a tea party for my friends in the new space, with cheddar chive biscuits, scones, and biscotti. The tough decision would be: Which cupcake to serve?! If you could throw a party at a cupcake bakery, what type of party would you like to have?

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

Mount Vernon’s New “Bun” Shop

Life in the city is always changing. Sometimes you have to say goodbye to places you love, like Sweet Bakery. That same change causes new places to be born and on April 8th, 2013 The Bun Shop opened at Sweet Bakery’s old address in Mount Vernon.

I happened to walk down Read Street one day last March and found signs on the doors for The Bun Shop. After finding them on facebook, I followed their renovation process and was excited to see they opened a month later. The entire space was completely re-vamped and renovated. It is eclectic and gilded, while fun, new wave, and inviting. It makes you feel like you are at home, and your home is clean, organized, and impeccably designed. The long family style tables, tables for two, and comfy couches give you a lot of sitting options. They even have events at the shop, including a recent Buns & Beer event with live music!

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(Their simple and beautiful display, a cool gold leafed sign, and the amazing window graphic.)

Okay, okay, I know, buns are not cupcakes, but we Crusaders agreed, a new place this cool, with sweet and savory bun options, was a must try! Being the indecisive person I am, I chose three buns to try, two savory and one sweet. (And yes, I ate them all at one time.)

Spinach & Feta Twist
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The employee behind the counter told me this was her favorite, and thank goodness she recommended it! The “bun” part was so light and fluffy, but had such fantastic flavor. The spinach and feta baked in created a wonderful earthy and green flavor. It really was light and didn’t feel heavy. While I love spanakopita, it has nothing on this savory bun treat.

Curry Puff
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Sweet potatoes, carrots, pulled chicken, curry spices and turmeric all fold together into one delicious triangle of dough. If you don’t like a curry kick, this might not be for you, but I loved it. The dough used on this savory “bun” was totally different than the dough used on the Spinach & Feta bun, it was a bit heavier and more substantial. It never overpowered the filling though, and there was just the right amount of both.

Rotiboy
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A traditional Mexican Coffee Bun, a Rotiboy is a sweet butter bun baked with a crisp, coffee-flavored topping. (When I did a little research I also found this Rotiboy brand which also mentions its Mexican origins, but is based out of Malaysia.) I saved this for last and was pleasantly surprised at its doughy flavor and donut texture. While the topping didn’t scream coffee, the faint flavor was there. And since I love butter, the savory and just-sweet-enough butter flavor of this bun made me smile. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it was so good I savored every bite.

The Bun Shop has 10 buns to choose from right now, including a new vegan Curry Puff made with chick peas. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Andrew, on my visit and he was as warm and welcoming as the shop itself. On top of the lovely staff and fantastic buns, the shop also specializes in Vietnamese coffee, which is a double shot of espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee. You can get this and other coffee and tea options iced or hot, and if you’re not into that, they have an eclectic variety of natural sodas to choose from as well.

Okay, so no, they don’t sell cupcakes, and it isn’t Sweet Bakery, but this place has been reborn as something different. A new gem in Mount Vernon, and definitely worth a stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or chilling! And for me, conveniently located right around the corner from work! I’d call that a win/win situation!

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

Kupcakes & Co. Always Doing New Things

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(New limited time Boutique Cupcakes, including: Banana’s Foster, Rocky Road, and Moose Tracks.)

We visit and review Kupcakes & Co. a lot and one of the reasons is because they are always doing new things, adding new flavors, and increasing their offerings of baked goods. For example, their cheddr chive biscuits aret a brilliant idea! I recently stopped in to grab one as I was passing by in the morning because hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

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They open early and have been offering coffee and homemade biscotti for some time, but (tough as it may be) I might not have stopped in on this particular morning if I wasn’t able get something savory (because I was already on my way to pick up a dozen cupcakes…shocking, I know).

Kupcakes & Co. is what I would have already described as the best in a boutique cupcake experience. We’ve shown you pictures of their cute storefront, talked about how wonderful the customer service is, and shown you many photos of their beautiful cupcakes. And now they are taking it to the next level…They are opening a Boutique Celebration room, and I got the scoop and a sneak peek!

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(Photo courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

The new space, adjacent to their storefront, will be available for parties of up to 24-30 guests. For now, they will focusing on adult events, such as bridal showers, but I suspect it will only be a matter of time before they host a cupcake party for a lucky little girl.

The Boutique Celebration room will be unveiled during a Grand Re-Opening event, on Saturday, June 8th from 10am-3pm. The party room will be fully decorated with all of the trimmings you’d expect (The owner, Michelle, also revealed to me that they have plans for a custom mural to be painted by a local artist). Of course you can’t have a Grand Re-Opening without cupcakes, so Kupcakes & Co. will be serving up free samples, new dessert items and will also have prizes and giveaways. The Crusaders will definitely be stopping by!

Some of the treats you might be able to sample are their new line of Boutique Cupcakes. We’ve been trying to review all of their Boutique Cupcakes, because they bring the ultimate in cupcake indulgence and are only offered for a limited time. We missed the last round, which was a pie theme (Key Lime, Coconut Cream, and Boston Cream), but couldn’t miss the latest: Banana’s Foster, Rocky Road, and Moose Tracks.

Banana’s Foster

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I was expecting the Banana’s Foster cupcake to be my least favorite of the three, based strictly on appearance, but I should have known better. You can’t judge a book (or cupcake) by its cover, right? While it’s still a pretty cupcake, it didn’t seem to have the thrills (i.e. toppings) that the others had. Man, was I wrong! The banana cake was so moist and full of flavor, and the homemade caramel filling took the level of moistness up even higher. Paired with a light meringue frosting (love!), this cupcake had the perfect amount of sweetness.

Rocky Road

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Rocky Road is hands down, my favorite ice cream flavor. While I was really excited about this cupcake, all in all it was my least favorite of the three because it was the most “expected.” The signature fluffy, moist chocolate cake was baked with walnuts and filled with marshmallow cream that oozed into the cake. That part was really amazing. The cupcake was then piled high with chocolate buttercream. I had to pull out a fork to eat this cupcake. If you love milk chocolate frosting, then this cupcake is made for you. It’s very rich, so keep a glass of milk nearby!

Moose Tracks

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As soon as I heard the description of this cupcake, I knew it would be my husband’s favorite. It’s a vanilla cake stuffed with homemade fudge and a peanut butter cup and topped with chocolate peanut butter buttercream. If that’s not enough, it’s then also topped with another bit of fudge and a mini peanut butter cup. The fudge…oh the fudge! It’s like someone said, “I really love peanut butter chocolate fudge, and I’m going to add cake to that.” The cake was pretty much just a (delicious) vessel for the fudge. Even the frosting tasted like peanut butter chocolate fudge. My only note is that I didn’t detect the peanut butter cup on the inside, so maybe it melted in the baking process or my husband had it in his half? But really, it was still so amazing that I didn’t say to myself, “Hey, where’s the peanut butter cup?!”

Dark Chocolate Ganache Preakness Cupcake

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This Dark Chocolate Ganache cupcake is on Kupcakes & Co. regular rotating menu, but they like to dress it up for special occasions. This particular one was for Preakness, but you can also see these pretty flowers on their Mother’s Day cupcakes and more. I had never tried the Dark Chocolate Ganache cupcake before, but being a big fan of dark chocolate, I’ve had my eye on it. As simple as it may have seemed (underneath the flower and sprinkles), especially compared to the Boutique Cupcakes, it wasn’t simple at all. The ganache was rich and cocoa-y without the extra sweetness of milk chocolate buttercream. And the chocolate cake, always moist and light, is perfect on its own.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Kupcakes & Co. yet, their Grand Re-Opening would be the perfect opportunity. Check out their website or Facebook page for more info, and maybe I’ll see you there!

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

Heaven Sent Cupcakes to Bowie

Being dog mom to my rescued German shorthaired pointer, Delilah, means planning my entire schedule around her. I’m more than happy to do that, because I love her more than anything, but am lucky to have help from my family when I need to get away for the weekend. My mom loves Delilah almost as much as I do, and often watches her for me. We meet up for the “Delilah hand off” in Bowie, MD at the Town Center Mall. During our recent meet up, my Mom noticed a cupcake place called Heaven Sent Cupcakery in the mall’s food court.

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Obviously I had to bring a couple of cupcakes home to try! Luckily I didn’t have to try them alone because I was headed back to Baltimore to meet up with Crusader Stacy and a couple of friends at Bistro Rx. After grabbing some yummy coconut curry mussels, white truffle fries, and a couple of craft beers, we decided it was time for dessert.

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While Crusader Stacy and I both feel that Apple Pie is more of a fall flavor, in the end, we were both happy this flavor made its way onto our plates. This cupcake was simply decorated with pie filling and a little bit of edible glitter. The cake had a nice texture and the frosting was just sweet enough for the apple flavor to stand out. The apple pie filling and topping was a plus and added a nice texture. It might not be fall, but this flavor was a winning combination.

Maple Walnut Chocolate ChipHeavenSent-MapleChocChip

When I saw this unique flavor combination, I couldn’t pass it up! The sweet maple frosting paired well with the walnut and chocolate chip cake, creating an interesting savory, sweet breakfast feel – maybe it’s the maple. And who doesn’t love chocolate chips and walnuts on top? This cupcake inspires me to create something new with the yummy walnut cake I used in the Walnut & Fig Cupcake.

The cupcakes from Heaven Sent were really good and an unexpected sweet treat! I look forward to going back the next time I meet up with my mom, ‪who happens to also be “heaven sent.” I can’t thank her enough for always taking the best care of Delilah. She’s definitely the best Mom in the world. (Granted I may be slightly biased, ‪but aren’t we all when it comes to our‬ moms?)‬

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

Birthday Cupcakes from Corazon Cakery

Several months ago Corazon Cakery commented our our Facebook page and, after reading their stellar reviews and seeing pictures of their vibrant cupcakes, we knew we were going to have to try them for ourselves. It wasn’t long after adding them to our list that we saw a great Living Social voucher to get one dozen cupcakes for only $16. The expiration date was only four days after Crusader Elisa’s birthday, so I decided that would be the perfect time to order them.

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To my surprise, instead of just selecting one or two flavors when redeeming the Living Social Voucher, Corazon Cakery was offering sample packs with six different flavors (two of each flavor). Since they were for Elisa’s birthday, I let her decide on which sample pack we would order and she selected the  “Exotic Sampler” which came with: Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam, Dirty Sanchez, Happy Ending, Cherry Jubilee, Cafe Mocha Latte, and Orange Creamsicle.

I had them delivered right to my office (for a small extra delivery fee) so I could take them directly to Elisa’s party and ensure they would be at their ultimate freshness. Megon, the owner and baker of Corazon Cakery, had the cupcakes packaged really well with pretty tissue paper. It was like a gift all on its own! And their aroma was amazing.

The birthday girl decided that we should cut them up and share, which was fine with me and the other party goers (there were lots of our cupcake loving friends  at the party, including Crusader Jenn and Guest Crusaders Beth and Rebecca).

Cherry Jubilee (Seasonal Flavor)

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Overall this was probably everyone’s least favorite cupcake of the dozen. It had a bit of a cough syrup taste (which is why I normally don’t like cherry flavored anything, except Cherry Coke. I LOVE Cherry Coke). Even though the majority of the group didn’t like it, Elisa said the artificial cherry flavor didn’t bother her and she happily finished her piece.

Orange Creamsicle

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This cupcake got mixed reviews. Overall everyone liked it, but not everyone loved it. I personally really liked it. Creamsicle cupcakes are becoming one of my favorite flavors, even though I never liked Creamsicle Popsicles as a kid. The cake on this cupcake was really moist and though some claimed the frosting had a bit of an artificial flavor to it, that didn’t bother me any. Someone actually made a good observation and said that the cake tasted very “creamsicle-y” while the frosting was more like orange soda.

Cafe Mocha Latte

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Being a total cupcake AND coffee addict I was most excited about this cupcake and its flavor did not disappoint. The coffee flavor was really present and the cupcake wasn’t too sweet. The only downside was that the cake was a little on the dry side. It wasn’t too bad, but we all felt it could have been more moist.

Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam

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It’s no secret that PB&J cupcakes are high up on my list of favorites, and this cupcake sadly didn’t meet my expectations. There just didn’t seem to be that “POW” of nostalgia that I look for in a PB&J cupcake, but Guest Crusader Beth really enjoyed it.

Dirty Sanchez

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The Dirty Sanchez is a Mexican hot chocolate cake topped with bourbon vanilla frosting and garnished with spicy chocolate, which is right up Elisa’s alley. She loves mixing sweet with savory and gives this cupcake two thumbs up. I personally can’t handle the heat, so this cupcake just isn’t for me. Like the Cafe Mocha Latte, the cake also could have been a little more moist.

Happy Ending

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This cupcake was the clear favorite. After taking the first bite comments like, “Ohhh yeahhhh…” were muttered and Elisa said “it’s lovely.” The cake was super moist and it wasn’t too sweet but was very rich, with the flavors of the hazelnut cake, Nutella filling, and peanut butter all coming through.

Normally for a birthday celebration we would order cupcakes from a trusted source, but we were all glad to try new cupcakes. Corazon Cakery delivered a great product that we were happy to indulge in. When asked what her top three favorites were, Elisa listed the Nutella, Dirty Sanchez, and Orange Creamsicle. Jenn and I both agreed that the Nutella was our number one favorite, but we thought that the Cafe Mocha Latte would also make our top three.

If you are looking to order fun, unique, and vibrant cupcakes definitely visit Corazon Cakery’s website and give them a call!

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

What Was I Thinking?

We’ve all been there… You’re hungry. You’re craving something sweet. And there, sitting in front of you, is a cupcake. It’s really not a great looking cupcake. You know you’ll probably be disappointed. But it is a cupcake nonetheless. And you’re hungry. So you give in and buy the sketchy looking cupcake.

This has happened to me on multiple occasions. If it hasn’t happened to you, then well done. You have way more self control than I do.

Recently, after a crazy couple of days, I found myself starring at these jumbo sized cupcakes at my local Safeway:

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Not only was I curious about how these new gigantic cupcakes tasted, but I was in desperate need of a cupcake (don’t judge… I know you’ve been there too…) I was torn between a couple flavors, but went with my go-to comfort flavor, the Chocolate Raspberry.

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This cupcake was easily the size of two or three cupcakes combined, and a total steal at $2.99. Of course, since it was a grocery store cupcake, I proceeded with caution. While the cake had a subtle hint of raspberry flavor, the frosting completely tasted like cotton candy. There wasn’t an ounce of raspberry flavor present! I tasted it over and over again, to see if my tastes buds were off, but couldn’t get past the artificial cotton candy sweetness. For as much as I love real cotton candy, I don’t like anything that is trying to taste like it (or, in this cupcake’s case, that isn’t supposed to taste like it but still does). The cake was a little dry on the outside, but fairly moist on the inside, and after the day I had, I wasn’t going to be too picky. I finished the cake and trashed the frosting.

As I mentioned above, I have often purchased questionable cupcakes in the past, each producing mixed results. There are two times in particular that are especially memorable for me: first, an awful cupcake from Au Bon Pain in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and second, a sketchy looking cupcake from Target in White Marsh, MD, which ended up being okay.

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(Vanilla cupcake from Au Bon Pain).

I had heard bad things about the cupcakes from Au Bon Pain, but I wanted some coffee so decided to stop in one afternoon. Of course, I couldn’t resist browsing the desserts while I was there and left with more than just an iced coffee (ignoring all advice to avoid the cupcakes). I really should have taken a closer look at the Vanilla cupcakes before spending $3 on it. The frosting looked like half melted wax, and it certainly didn’t taste any better. Even though you can see the vanilla bean specks, there wasn’t any vanilla flavor and it had a weird texture. While the cake had a decent flavor, it was completely void of any moisture, like a dried out sponge. I decided to try and microwave the cupcake to see if I could salvage the cake (the frosting was a lost cause), but that didn’t do anything to help, so into the trash it went. At least I had a tasty iced coffee to comfort me and my cupcake sadness.

With a handful of “What was I thinking” cupcake moments under my belt, you would think that I would learn when NOT to buy a cupcake, but we’ve vowed to try them all, and it’s something we take VERY seriously (well, as serious as cupcake eating can be). And, for as many bad experiences as I’ve had, there are also some not-so-bad ones too, like this Ticklebelly White Out cupcake from Target.

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I really wasn’t expecting much from this cupcake, but it came in a cute little to-go container, and since Crusader Jenn has had such great experiences with Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe (found at her local Walmart), I figured I’d give it a try. Plus, it was only $1.29.

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(Ticklebelly White Out cupcake from Target)

The cake was a little spongy and commercial tasting, but it was also more moist than a typical grocery store cake. The frosting was a little greasy (I think they used some kind of shortening as the base), but not overly sweet, with a nice flavor. The biggest surprise was the filling (I didn’t even know it had a filling!). It was a pastry cream that was actually pretty good. Overall, this cupcake was totally worth its low price—especially since I knew I could reuse the to-go container.

Ticklebelly also makes cake pops, molten cakes, dessert shots, and sheet cakes. I’m curious to see if Target carries any of their other products because I’ve only ever noticed the White Out cupcake and Red Velvet. They also offer Chocolate, Key Lime, PB&J, Pumpkin (seasonal), and Snickerdoodle filled cupcakes. According to their website, you can find their products at Kroger, Ralphs, Raley’s, Fred Meyer, and King Soopers, in addition to Target.

I think the most important things to remember when buying cupcakes are to keep an open mind, don’t expect too much, and always have a back up plan if you really need to feed your sweet tooth. In the world of cupcakes, whether you are at a high-end pastry shop or the local grocer, some are great and some are not, so why not give them all a try?

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

Everyone Wins with La Casa de Sweets!

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This year the Crusaders were unable to host a Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry like we did last year. However we still wanted to help out Jackie, from La Casa de Sweets reach her goal. When she posted the menu for her pre-order bake sale, we couldn’t resist. First, a dozen cupcakes were only $20. Wow! Secondly, the flavors sounded amazing. I decided to throw a dozen cookies on top of my order, because those also sounded too good to pass up.

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I’m so glad I followed my instincts with these cookies. All of them were chewy! I’ve told Jackie before that it seems like magic when a baker makes a cookie that stays chewy for days. The Peanut Butter Oatmeal was gluten-free and I never would have guessed it. Neither did my daughter or husband who gobbled them up. The Fudgy Brownie cookies had a thin crunchy exterior, but were very soft on the inside and just melted in my mouth. And the Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies, which I first tried when Jackie donated a couple dozen to our Passionately Pink Bake Sale, were the most perfect chocolate chip cookies you could imagine.

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La Casa de Sweets’ cupcakes can all be summed up by a quote from my husband after trying the Chocolate Salted Caramel, “La Casa de Yum.” The chocolate cake was moist and even with a generous drizzle of caramel, the cupcake wasn’t overly sweet. For me, it was a harmonious balance of flavors.

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Have I mentioned before that I LOVE lemon cupcakes? I’m sure I have, but if not, well…I LOVE lemon cupcakes. And La Casa de Sweets’ version sits at a high ranking. The cake on the Lemon Mascarpone cupcake was on the dense side, but not dry. I found the lemon flavor to be refreshing (not artificial), not overly sweet, and perfectly tart.

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I have a secret about the last cupcake, Chocolate Peanut Butter: I didn’t tell my husband that it was egg and dairy free. He still doesn’t know (well, maybe now he does). Chocolate and peanut butter combinations are his favorite, so I wanted to get an unbiased review from him. All I got was a bunch of caveman like sounds, that resemble, “MmmHmmm.” With that, I’d have to say he was completely satisfied. The chocolate peanut butter cake was more moist than the Chocolate Salted Caramel, which was hard to believe. The cupcake was rich, decadent, and bursting with flavor, even though from its appearance it seemed like a simple cake with just a glaze on top.

Even though I felt like I was the winner, with these cupcakes and cookies as my prize, La Casa de Sweets met their goal, raising over $1,000 in one week for No Kid Hungry, through bake sale purchases and donations. That’s amazing!

It isn’t too late to donate. If you’d like to help out, please visit La Casa de Sweets’ donation page. Thanks!

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

Ooh La La Cupcakery’s New Storefront is so Trés Chic

With a wall-mounted flat screen tv, a couple of high top tables with chairs, and bold black, white, and pink decor, Ooh La La Cupcakery‘s new location is certainly a big step up from their previous location in Inner Harbor (although, while that location wasn’t a full walk-in shop, they did a great job glamming it up as best they could).

Their new shop on 1216 North Charles Street opened at the beginning of February, less than a block away from where my weekly grad-school class meets. Even though it’s been over two months since their opening, I wasn’t able to stop in until this past weekend. Working full time, going to school, and keeping up with this blog have put a serious limit on any free time I used to have. Thinking back, it’s been about two months since I’ve actually gone cupcaking in a full service cupcake shop (I’m not counting stops at cupcake trucks, fundraising events, etc. Of course there have been cupcakes, just no new visits to actual cupcake shops).

There is something wonderful about stepping into a room filled with beautiful cupcake displays. I love the process of reading the names, asking questions, and narrowing the options down to my final selections. Obviously I like eating cupcakes, but I also really love the entire experience. However, if the service isn’t good, it can ruin that experience. On my first visit to Ooh La La in the Inner Harbor, I was helped by a young man who seemed less than eager, but this time, that same gentleman was AWESOME. He greeted me an enthusiastic “hello” and a warm smile before going over the flavors. I guess everyone has off days, and I was glad to see his happy side.

On that day Ooh La La had many refreshing warm-weather flavors and tasty looking classics available, so it wasn’t an easy choice to make. I saw the Birthday Cake cupcake and knew right away that it was going home with me (I can’t say no to anything with sprinkles). Then I decided on the Pistachio, Key Lime, and Lemon cupcakes as my remaining three.

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At first, I was a little disappointed that my cupcakes weren’t placed in a cupcake box (I’m always worried they will be smooshed and destroyed before I can take pictures), but the cupcakes were arranged neatly in their containers and carefully placed in a white bag with a pretty pink ribbon. They even included pink napkins and an information card on Ooh La La. And luckily their cupcakes are pretty sturdy and held up nicely on the ride home.

Pistachio Cupcake

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For some reason pistachio flavored food intrigues me, but I think I’ve decided that it’s just not a flavor I enjoy. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Ooh La La’s Pistachio cupcake. The cake was moist, the pistachio flavor was present throughout the cupcake, but I didn’t dig it as much as the others. But, if you love pistachios, then you should definitely try this cupcake.

Key Lime

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The cake on this cupcake was moist and had a nice key lime flavor, but the best part was the frosting. It was perfectly tangy and sweet. I REALLY wish this cupcake had a filling. It might actually be the first Key Lime cupcake I’ve tried that didn’t, and I think that it helps make the cupcake reminiscent of a Key Lime pie. Still, it was a tasty cupcake.

Lemon

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This cupcake was so good and exactly what I look for in a Lemon cupcake. Similar to the Key Lime cupcake, it was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet. This was easily my favorite of the four. There is really not much else to say other than: YUM.

Birthday Cake

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Sprinkles! As I mention above, the second I saw how jam-packed this cupcake was with sprinkles, I knew it was going to be all mine. Funfetti is one of my favorites, and this cupcake was like Funfetti taken to the next level. It even tasted almost like a spoonful of sprinkles! Which is a good thing—at least in my book. This cupcake was sweet, fun, and totally put a smile on my face.

Other than the fabulous new location and storefront, I really enjoyed how the cake AND frosting were flavored in all the cupcakes I purchased. More often than not, cupcake shops will use a basic yellow or chocolate cake as a base and then just flavor the frosting to create a variety, but not Ooh La La. They also offer chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate dipped pretzels, candy covered apples, and ice cream.

Their website is currently under construction, but they have been very active on their Facebook page, where you can follow them to stay updated on new flavors and specials.

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

Fenwick Bakery: A True Baltimore Bakery

Opening Day at Camden Yards is not an event to be taken lightly in Baltimore City. If you happen to be stuck at work (like me), don’t expect emails in your inbox or the phone to ring, it just won’t happen—or at least not often.

This past Friday was Opening Day and even the local bakeries get into the spirit. Fenwick Bakery never misses a chance to celebrate our city’s sporting events, so on Friday they converted their Fedora (a cupcake baked without a liner, flipped upside down, and then covered in a chocolate shell whose shape mimics its namesake) into an Orioles’ Rally Cap:

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(Photo from Fenwick Bakery’s Facebook Page. No harm or infringement intended.)

Fenwick Bakery is a true Baltimore bakery (and although their address says Parkville they are still within city limits). According to them, their “love story” began when the two original owners married in 1913 and opened a bakery shortly after (originally named Uebersax Bakery). A century later, it has only had three different owners and still uses original recipes.

When you first walk in, you are immediately struck by the smell of fresh doughnuts. If that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, the two displays filled with baked goods that make up most of their small storefront surely will. But don’t expect any fancy decor or over the top greetings. Fenwick Bakery is a no-frills bakery that only promises to produce fresh, tasty treats. The women behind the counter won’t greet you with an over-the-top smile and perky “hello,” but they will ask you what they can get for you and put your order together quickly. If you are lucky, you might even get called “hon” or “babe.”

Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to pick up their recent Orioles’ Rally Cap Fedoras, but it did remind us that we have been bad bloggers and haven’t shared ANY of the treats we’ve enjoyed from Fenwick Bakery, including the Fedora.

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(Their classic Fedora and a Black Bottom cupcake we tried on our first visit)

When we tried the Fedora it had the perfect, rich, moist chocolate cake. The Black Bottom cupcake was the same, and might have been the best Black Bottom I’ve ever eaten.

On our first visit they didn’t have any regular cupcakes, but it wasn’t long after that I decided I NEEDED to try their doughnuts. While there, I saw they had made special Ravens cupcakes for the playoff games (yes that was about 3 months ago…did I mention I’ve been a bad blogger?).

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Words can’t describe how unbelievably amazing their doughnuts are. They don’t have a ton of flashy flavors like Dunkin Donuts or Fractured Prune, but they are melt in your mouth amazing.

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After having a great experience with the Fedora, Black Bottoms, and doughnuts, I had high expectations for their cupcakes. Unfortunately, they didn’t live up to my hopes. The cake was dry and the frosting tasted different than that of the oh-so-wonderful frosting on their doughnuts. I was bummed.

I don’t think I’d get their cupcakes again (never say “never” though, right?), but this down-to-earth bakery still has a lot to offer. And there is no way I can stay away from those crazy-good doughnuts for very long.

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

Groovy Girl Cupcakes

We love getting tips and cupcake sightings from our family, friends, and readers. Without their recommendations, we’d miss out on so many opportunities to try new cupcakes. A recent “tip-off” lead us to Groovy Girl Cupcakes, a trailer fully equipped with a commercial kitchen, located in Cockeysville, MD.

We don’t typically find ourselves in that area very often, but we each recently completed an eight week beginners’ calligraphy course with CCBC. So, every Thursday after work I would head up York Road for our evening class. I’m not sure how I missed the cupcake trailer, maybe because it’s parked by a gas station and I’ve never thought to glance in that direction?

After talking with Crusaders Jenn and Elisa, I decided to get just two flavors (Elisa wasn’t joining us for class that evening). They had about 8 flavors to choose from and it was really hard to just pick two, but I settled on the Butter Pecan (that was an easy selection) and the S’mores (came highly recommended).

Jenn and I decided that it probably wasn’t the best idea to eat cupcakes in the middle of our calligraphy class (things can get messy with pens, ink, and paper strewn all over our desks), so before going our separate ways, there was a solid debate on who would take which cupcake. Normally, we would just cut them in half, but we hadn’t taken any pictures and didn’t have a knife. In the end, since I bought the cupcakes, I won with my choice of the Butter Pecan.

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(Like my fun little graphic? Learning the basics to calligraphy was so much fun! The three of us have decided to join the local guild and continue learning new techniques and experimenting with different pens, inks, and paper. We are addicted.)

Butter Pecan isn’t a flavor that I come across often, so I was really hoping this would be a great cupcake. Plus, the service at the cupcake trailer was wonderful and you could tell that the baker invests a lot of love into her treats. Giving a bad review with such good service is never fun. I wish I could say that this cupcake was amazing, but really, it was just good. Not bad, but just okay. The overall flavor of the cupcake was a nice blend of sweet and buttery with really strong pecan flavor (they do get extra points for this, I love pecans!), however the cake was a little dry.

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Jenn had similar thoughts on the S’mores cupcake. She told me that the chocolate cake had a graham cracker baked into the bottom and it was filled with a light marshmallow filling, “that was wonderful.” But like mine, the cake was a little dry around the outer edges, however she thought that the combined flavors were really good.

I wish I had taken a picture of the cupcake trailer, but it was dark and I was on a time crunch. If you get a chance, if for no other reason than to see their adorable trailer and experience their great customer service, you should definitely stop by and try a cupcake or two for yourself.

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