4th Annual Cupcake Tour – Roadtrip Style | Stop #3: Cupcake Heaven | Wilmington, DE

Two stops into our roadtrip tour we Crusaders felt like we won the cupcake jackpot! Great cupcakes, cool shops, and even a little brewery break set the bar pretty high for our last stop, Cupcake Heaven in Wilmington, DE. (you can read those first two reviews here and here).

Following the GPS to the shopping center, things started to look oddly familiar. As we parked, I knew this was not my first time at this cupcake shop. A friend lives near Wilmington and we stopped by Cupcake Heaven during one of my visits. Honestly, I was hoping this experience would be better than my first… so we walked in and I wiped the opinion slate clean.

CupcakeHeavenSFacade

Cupcake Heaven had a variety of cupcakes to choose from. The staff was helpful, but didn’t seem enthused to be working. After making some difficult choices, we sat to try our flavors.

Cinnamon AppleAppleCinn-HC

Stacy’s Cinnamon Apple cupcake looked pretty appetizing, but was a complete disappointment. The cake was incredibly dry and the frosting was “blah.” The only redeeming quality of this cupcake was the filling, unfortunately there was very little of it, making for an overall sad cupcake experience.

Mint Chocolate ChipMintChoco-CH

Jenn was weary of her cupcake after seeing Stacy’s reaction… but as a true Crusader would, she trekked on and tried the Mint Chocolate Chip cupcake. The chocolate cake was very dry. And the frosting, while oddly bright, was surprisingly smooth and had great mint flavor. The best thing about this cupcake was how much Leah loved the frosting.

Sweet PotatoSweetPotato-CH

My sweet potato cupcake looked fantastic, but tasted like cinnamon cardboard. The frosting was too sweet and didn’t have much flavor, while the cake was a crumbly mess. After years of eating cupcakes all over the spectrum from good to bad, this one sticks out as one of the worst. Confirming that my first experience wasn’t a fluke.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake TrufflePBtruffle-HC

The best part of this cupcake stop, minus the company, was Stacy’s Peanut Butter Cake Truffle. The chocolate cake had great peanut flavor mixed in and the truffle texture was smooth. It might have been the only thing that made us glad we stopped by Cupcake Heaven. Well….That and Leah’s face covered in frosting:

LeahFrosting-CH
(No one can deny that adorable face!)

It was such a shame to have our last stop be such a disappointment. Cupcake Heaven was more like Cupcake Purgatory… there wasn’t fire and brimstone, but it certainly wasn’t Heaven. Sadly, after our experience there, I think Jenn and Stacy’s dad, Mr. Ross, said it best: “Go get some tasty cakes instead.”

Overall, our cupcake roadtrip tour was a HUGE success! We enjoyed our stops along the way and while not everything was perfect, spending a whole day together is always a great time!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Elisa (Baltimore, 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.

HeavenSent-BoxLbl

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.

Apple PieHeavenSent-ApplePie

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)

Cruisin’ and Boozin’ (and Eating Some Cupcakes Too)

Let’s be honest. I think we ALL know you really only go on a cruise for two reasons: food and alcohol. Sure it’s great to relax, see some new sights, and meet some cool people, but really, everyone on that ship is there for the buffet and daily cocktails. We all know this, and that is what makes a cruise such a wonderful thing.

When my husband, Ken, and I decided to book a cruise for our big yearly vacation, I was obviously hoping to work cupcakes into it somehow. I noticed that some Royal Caribbean cruise ships actually have a cupcake shop on board called the Cupcake Cupboard, but sadly, our ship did not. I figured with all the desserts and buffets though, there were bound to be some cupcakes eventually, so I boarded the ship confident that I would eat at least one cupcake on my journey.

Our first day was spent at sea, exploring the ship, and checking out all the eating options. After lunch at the buffet, Ken and I passed the main dining room and saw a spiced rum cake on the menu. Never one to pass up a tasty treat, we headed in and were seated at a table with about four or five other diners. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one ordering just dessert.

CruiseCupcakes1

Now, I know this isn’t your typical cupcake, BUT it is a cake baked in a cup… so technically, it’s a cupcake. At this point I wasn’t sure if I would encounter any actual cupcakes, so I enjoyed every bite of this spiced rum cake with a soft center and slightly crunchy exterior.

The next day we docked in Port Canaveral and opted to take the shuttle to Disney World to spend the afternoon at Epcot. I absolutely love Disney World, but had never been to Epcot before, so was excited to walk around, ride some of the attractions, and find each of my nieces a special gift.

CruiseCupcakes2
(Ken and I posing for a quick picture in “Italy.”)

I have read that you can find cupcakes in Disney World, but Epcot is a big park, with tons of shops and places to eat, so I wasn’t 100% sure if I would. However, my cupcake luck must have been spot on because within a half hour I had a cupcake in hand.

CruiseCupcakes3

Ken and I stopped for lunch at Sunshine Seasons in The Land and before I even decided on what food I wanted to eat, I was buying this gigantic Cappuccino cupcake. It was about $4 dollars—which I think is good considering its size and the fact that amusement park food is usually about twice as much as it is anywhere else. I wasn’t really expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised that the cake was moist and the overall flavor really delightful. Even my non-cupcake-loving-husband (don’t ask… I don’t get it either) enjoyed it, saying the cake and whipped cream filling were both nice. I didn’t think there was enough cappuccino flavor, but Ken, who isn’t an avid coffee drinker like me, said he could taste it in the frosting.

After lunch we continued on our adventures around the world and beyond: flying to Mars, spotting Donald Duck in Mexico, stalking Snow White in Germany, and stopping for photos in Italy. When we reached The Liberty Inn restaurant in The American Adventure section of Epcot I noticed a very large gingerbread house, only to discover that they were selling mini seasonal cupcakes.

CruiseCupcakes4(They must be used to people taking pictures because they smiled at the camera without even being asked.)

CruiseCupcakes5
(I didn’t think twice about getting these holiday cupcakes.)

I was most excited about the Eggnog and Gingerbread, but since you couldn’t pick and choose at this stand, we took away all four flavors. Feeling positive after his first cupcake tasting of the day, my husband agreed to split these with me, which meant we had about a bite each.

CruiseCupcakes6
(Top left going clockwise: Gingerbread, Eggnog, Apple Pie, and Red Velvet)

The favorites in this group were the Gingerbread and the Apple Pie (which had a wonderful apple pie filling and a good contrasting texture with the candied pecans). I had high hopes for the Eggnog, since they are typically one of my favorite winter cupcakes, but this one had too much filling which left the cake soggy. The cake in the Red Velvet was pretty bland, but the cream cheese frosting was amazing. Ken also really liked it and actually couldn’t recall trying cream cheese frosting before (I know, who am I married to?!).

Back at the ship that night, I didn’t think my cupcake luck could improve, but I was wrong (well sort of…). While we were walking around the upper deck, I looked in the buffet room window and saw the staff put out cupcakes for the late night buffet.

CruiseCupcakes7
(Vanilla and Strawberry cupcakes on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship)

I wondered if this cupcake filled day could get any better, but it couldn’t. The cake was a weird dry yet sticky texture that lacked any flavor and the frosting wasn’t nearly sweet enough. Oh well… at least I didn’t have to pay for them. Plus, I knew the rest of the trip would be filled with plenty more food, drinks, and desserts.

CruiseDrinks
(A glimpse at some of the drinks from the cruise. Every day I tried the daily signature cocktail. Some were good, and some were okay, but it was fun to keep my record going.)

While no more cupcakes presented themselves the rest of the trip, I couldn’t believe the luck I had on our first day at port, and I of course still ate some amazing sweets like mudpie, souffle and crème brûlée.

CruiseDesserts
(Mudpie from the Chops Grille, the main dining room’s fancy take on a Jaffa Cake, Chocolate Souffle with espresso drizzle, and Baily’s Crème Brûlée—yep, that’s two desserts in one night you see there. Why not? It’s a cruise!)

All in all I would say that, with or without cupcakes, my first cruise experience was great. It was so nice to sit back, relax, and eat all the food you could manage without even lifting a finger. I want to go back.

CruiseCupcakes8

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Fresh Bakery | Owings Mills, MD

We are excited to introduce our next series! Every Tuesday for the next 5 weeks we will countdown our Top 5 favorite cupcake places outside of Baltimore City. In order to make sure we did the proper research and included places that would “qualify” we decide that any place that was within a 20 to 45 minute drive from the Baltimore City boundary would be included. If you don’t see a place that you think should have been featured in this Top 5 let us know! We do our best to research where the cupcakes are, but there’s no better way to find out than a recommendation!

Our 5th favorite cupcakery located outside of Baltimore City is Fresh Bakery. Fresh Bakery is currently stationed in the food court at the Owings Mills mall, but they used to have several kiosks spread out in malls around the outskirts of Baltimore City. My first experience with them, almost 2 years ago, was at one of those kiosks located in Towson Town Center. I randomly stumbled upon it on a shopping trip and ended up going home with four of their deliciously square (yep, they are square!) cupcakes.


(My first four cupcakes from Fresh Bakery were: Key Lime, Bananas Foster, Strawberry Chocolate, and Red Velvet)

After my first taste of these cupcakes, I was amazed at how moist and full of flavor they were. Each one of them was unique, yet wonderful.

Fresh Bakery’s only downside is their location. While they used to be housed in several shopping centers (Arundel Mills, Columbia, and Towson Town Center), they are now only located in the Owings Mills mall. For anyone who has been there recently, you know that this mall doesn’t have a lot to offer. It seems to be slowly closing down so there are very few stores and food options remaining. This means that you will most likely have to make a separate trip there just for these cupcakes. When they were placed throughout several great malls, their cupcakes were the perfect end to a successful (or not-so-successful) shopping excursion.

Over time, the Crusaders and I have had many encounters with Fresh Bakery’s cupcakes and I have never had a bad experience with any. We do have our favorites though, so for now we are going to focus on just a few that we would highly recommend to anyone.

Vanilla

By now most of you probably know about my growing fascination with vanilla cupcakes. Some may find them boring, but I think they are a great classic when done well and Fresh Bakery knows how to make this classic a standout. There is an intense vanilla flavor that creates a total birthday party in your mouth. The cake is also very airy and moist which is a great contrast to the thick creamy frosting.

Apple Pie

You can’t really go wrong when apples and caramel are paired together, and this cupcake is no exception. The sweet caramel melded into the moist cake which was brimming with perfectly cooked apples. I’d rather have this cupcake than actual apple pie any day.

Cookie Dough

I’m a big fan of cookie dough straight from the bowl (or a store bought container…), so this cupcake combines two of my favorite things. The cookie dough isn’t just a light sprinkling throughout the cake or frosting, instead there is a big ball of it baked right in the center.

Look at all that wonderful cookie goodness! You might think that the frosting would play second fiddle to the awesomeness of the cookie dough in the cake, but that’s not the case at all. The frosting itself manages to taste exactly like cookie dough too! I don’t know how they do it, but if you get a chance, you must experience this cupcake for yourself.

Snickerdoodle

I’ve had some really tasty snickerdoodle cupcakes recently, and this is one of them. Sweet, moist and packed with cinnamon flavor. You really can’t ask for more from this tiny treat. It is a definite must try.

Despite the less than perfect location, Fresh Bakery provides creative and mouth watering square cupcakes. If the shape isn’t already unique enough, their flavor combinations always make me want to return to try something I haven’t already tried. But they have also proven that even though they can go over the top, they can also keep it simple and cater to those who prefer the more classic flavors. So whether you are looking for something different or an old fashioned standard, Fresh Bakery delivers.

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