Très “Fraîche” et délicieuse!

The Crusaders love the opportunity to review new places – not only do we get to eat cupcakes, but we also get to visit new shops! Recently, we all trekked to Bethesda, MD to Fraîche Cupcakery to spend some time together and taste some cupcakes. We even had a chance to meet our friend Joel, from Josie’s Confections. Thanks for meeting up with us Joel!

Fraîche Cupcakery (“fresh” in French – for those who don’t know) has been on our “to try” list for quite a while, and we love their dedication to being all natural and eco-friendly. Using all-natural and local ingredients, as well as recycled materials in their shop and display signs and packaging, already scores points with the Crusaders, as we all three try to watch our environmental impact.

After checking out the beautiful, clean, and contemporary shop we reviewed our flavor options and discovered they had mini cupcakes in almost every flavor. Minis are great because it meant we could order more flavors to try, so after selecting our flavors we sat down for our first bite of Fraîche cupcakes. No one was more excited to get to the cupcakes than our littlest Crusader, Jenn’s daughter, Leah – she was so excited to see cupcakes and very anxious to eat them. Below are our flavor picks and thoughts:

Chocolate Green Tea (Sept 26 – Oct 2 Special flavor – full-size cupcake)

Interesting flavor combos always intrigue and inspire us, so we knew we had to try this cupcake. When Crusader Jenn and I initially tasted the frosting we liked its punch of tea flavor, but then tasting it with the cake made us all look at each other quizzically. We just didn’t like the two flavors together. The cake flavor itself was ok, but the texture was off and reminded us of a cake/brownie mix. The frosting alone tasted exactly like green tea, but had a very sweet aftertaste that I didn’t care for. Joel also didn’t like this flavor combination, and didn’t finish this cupcake. While this might not have been our favorite cupcake, it did spark discussion of what kind of flavors might work better and might have inspired my next baking experiment flavor!

Red Velvet mini

Being the “Red Velvet Crusader” I am very particular, but this cupcake did not disappoint. Cake with a crunchy top isn’t always a good thing, but it was one of the many reasons I loved this cupcake. The cake had amazing flavor and the frosting was smooth with a well balanced cream cheese frosting. Crusader Stacy and I really enjoyed this mini and next time I’ll need to order a full-size Red Velvet.

Blueberry Pancake mini

Pancake in cupcake form? Yes please. While this cake was a bit on the dense side, it tasted exactly like a blueberry pancake. The subtle maple flavor of the buttercream frosting added just the right amount of “syrup” on top. Crusader Stacy said it best, “This is awesome.”

Cinnamon mini

Cinn-fully delicious! Wow, did this cupcake pack a cinnamon flavor explosion. We all enjoyed the generous dusting of cinnamon on top. And with the perfect sweet, moist cake and creamy frosting balance, this cupcake was a great fall treat.

Raspberry Almond mini

Almond is a favorite flavor profile of the Crusaders and this cupcake was the perfect balance of tangy raspberry and almond flavors. The cake was on the dense side, but that didn’t bother us as we dove in and devoured this mini. The frosting wasn’t too sweet and the sliced almonds on top added a fantastic crunch of texture.

Mocha mini

Jenn took this one home and enjoyed it, here are her thoughts: This cupcake had tons of coffee/espresso flavor in the frosting, but the cake had the same weird texture as the Chocolate Green Tea cupcake.

Joel picked a couple of flavors that we didn’t try, including Lemon Almond and Carrot Cake. He agreed that the cakes were dense and a bit too dry for his liking. He also thought the carrot cake tasted more like a plain yellow cake with carrots in it, missing the spices that are typical for carrot cake flavor.

Overall we enjoyed Fraîche Cupcakery’s cupcakes, and while the Green Tea cupcake wasn’t a favorite, it did inspire flavor discussions and baking ideas. All of the cake was on the dense side, but that didn’t take away from their fantastic flavors. Their friendly staff, great flavor options, and dedication to the environment will keep us coming back when we are in the Bethesda area. The Weekly Savory Specials in October (available on Sat and Sun) include: Rosemary Fig (Oct 6-7), Baked Potato (Oct 13-14) and Chips & Salsa (Oct 20-21) and are all flavors that make us want to stop in on the upcoming weekends – oh if only we lived closer!

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

Partying in Western New York with Cupcakes

Stacy and I have been traveling together for many years, and each time I’m reminded why she’s my favorite travel partner-in-crime! We always seem to find fun, even when we are least expecting it. This past weekend we trekked up to Hilton, NY for our friend Alli’s daughter, Freya’s, 1st birthday and house warming party. On our way there, we needed to stop for something to eat, and after randomly selecting an exit (Corning, NY to be exact) we ended up smack-dab in front of Walker Cake & Coffeehouse – with a cupcake on the awning!

It was kismet, we were meant to take that stop and run into our first cupcake taste of the trip. (Honestly, it would amaze people if they knew how often things like this happened when Stacy and I were together.)

Walker Cake & Coffeehouse Cupcakes:

“Mega” Size Chocolate Peanut Butter
In Stacy’s own words: “The ganache was thick and set up like the frosting on a chocolate frosted doughnut from DD… So good! The peanut butter frosting was really thick, almost like the peanut butter you would find in a buckeye or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I have mixed feelings on whether that’s appropriate for a frosting, but it was SO GOOD. The cake was dense and crumbly but moist.

Carrot Cake
Unusual in flavor, this carrot cake might be the best carrot cake cupcake I’ve ever eaten. The frosting was not the usual cream cheese, but was a thick and subtly sweet buttercream, a perfect complement to the moist, spicy, and savory cake. This cake was not like any carrot cake I’ve ever had – there was something special about it – neither Stacy nor I could put our finger on what it was, but it really made this cake stand out and shine. I only wish I had gotten in the “mega” size, because this cupcake left me wanting more.

Soon after, we arrived at Freya’s 1st birthday party and enjoyed watching her play, spending time with our friends, relaxing with a beer, and eating the delicious cupcakes that Alli made for the party. They were a chocolate stout beer cake with a cream cheese frosting. YUM! They tasted as good as they looked, in fact, I couldn’t resist eating just one.

Stacy researched and found fantastic and fun things for us to do – so after eating a wonderful breakfast the next morning at our B&B, White Farm, we headed over to Avon, NY for a huge flea market. We found some fun items to purchase, walked around for a long while, and worked up an appetite for cupcakes.

Our first cupcake stop of the day was in Penfield, NY called Dollop. They’ve won Cupcake Wars and had an interesting “build-your-own” spin on a cupcakery. After selecting our cake, frosting, filling, and toppings we were ready to order, and eat!


“Peach Cobbler” (Vanilla Cake, Peach Filling, Cream Cheese Frosting, and topped with White Chocolate Chips)
So good! Loved the cream cheese frosting even if it was a bit runny. Vanilla cake was a great texture and the filling was perfect.

“Caramel Apple Pie” (Vanilla Cake, Apple Pie Filling, Caramel Frosting, and topped with Graham Crackers and Caramel Sauce)
This cupcake was just as good as the Peach Cobbler. The caramel drizzle was a great addition because the caramel frosting was very subtle. The star of this cupcake was really the filling though!

“Caramel S’mores” (Chocolate Cake, Marshmallow Filling, Caramel Frosting, and topped with Graham Crackers and Marshmallows)
Really worth the wait! The cake was moist and had great texture, the fluff filling was basically melted into the cake, but had great flavor, the icing was subtle in caramel flavor, and the graham cracker and marshmallow topping made this the perfect combination.

“Cinnamon Apple Pie” (Vanilla Cake, Apple Pie Filling, Cream Cheese Frosting, and topped with Cinnamon)
Yummy vanilla cake with very flavorful apple pie filling, cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sprinkled on top = delicious. All of the components of this cupcake were shinning stars, I couldn’t pick my favorite part, I just want to order another one.

Stacy and I agreed that the pricing at Dollop was a bit more than expected for that size cupcake:

Cake & Frosting: $2.50
Filling: $.25
Topping: $.50
**You can earn a free filling with your first Foursquare Check-in

However, after tasting the cupcakes, neither of us minded spending almost $4 for each one.

After Dollop, we headed to Pittsford, NY to visit Dolce Cupcakery. This adorable shop was in an old barn and was so cute; inside was really lovely, with adorable photos of kids eating cupcakes on the walls. What a slice of heaven that whole area is, situated right on the canal we decided to eat lunch there too, but back to the cupcakes:

Blueberry Pancake
This cupcake was a slight disappointment as the frosting seemed to be made with a large amount of shortening, which we weren’t fans of. It made the frosting lack depth of flavor and left your mouth coated in a greasy film. The cake had really great flavor and seemed to be a blend of blueberry cake and brown sugar cake. While the flavor was good, it was very dense, more like a muffin.

Peanut Butter Chocolate
The cake was a bit heavy, but that is the only negative thing I have to say about this cupcake. The frosting was very flavorful, thick, and unlike the Blueberry Pancake cupcake didn’t seem to have any shortening in it, thank goodness. The cake had a peanut butter cup baked into it, which is always fun and adds another level of texture. Maybe it was the frosting that made me love this cupcake so much, maybe it was the chocolate flavor of the cake, either way, I scraped the plate clean.

It was a fantastic weekend, full of friends, food, drinks, and cupcakes. Stacy and I are so lucky to be able to travel all around and spend time doing things we both love. I can’t wait to see what our next trip will be, and I wonder what we’ll randomly run into next time!

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