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.

PARTY WILLandDAVE web_0028_Sized
(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)

Cupcakes for a Cause

Last week I was informed that Charm City Cupcakes was honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating a portion of the proceeds for every dozen of mini cupcakes that were ordered. Since the Crusaders and I were planning to join three other ladies in the mountains of Pennsylvania over the weekend (and I was put in charge of sweets) I knew this would be the perfect treat to bring. Six girls, two mini cupcakes each, breast cancer awareness, what could be more perfect?

I was hoping to get a complete mixture of cupcakes, but was then told that there was a minimum of 6 cupcakes per flavor, so I went with two flavors: Chocolate Cannoli and Almond Raspberry. I placed the order on Tuesday to be picked up on Thursday from their Mt. Washington location.

This little shop is dangerously close to where I work. My sweet tooth is loving it, but I’m not so sure my figure agrees…

I believe that the gentleman behind the counter was the same who helped me before because he was just as friendly and easy going as I remember. He retrieved my order quickly, and then went over all the flavors that day so that I could call my office and take some back to my co-worker. He was patient while I was on the phone, and I never felt rushed or like I was bothering him.

Charm City Cupcakes took the time to add a nice touch of “charm” with pink ribbon representing breast cancer awareness and their business card. I knew these would be a big hit with the girls.

I enjoy experiencing cupcakes with others to discuss different opinions on the flavors and hear what the favorites are, so as tempting as these look to eat, I was able to hold out until the weekend. Two days later, we were ready for some sugar! (Or I should say “more sugar” since we had french toast with pure maple syrup for breakfast thanks to Crusader Jenn who doubles as a french toast making pro). I was slightly afraid that these tiny treats would have dried out, but happy to say that they didn’t.

The girls seemed pleased with the two flavor selections, but everyone’s favorite was not a unanimous agreement. Some thought that the Chocolate Canoli worked better. That it packed in a lot of flavor while not being too sweet, while others thought that the Almond Raspberry was a perfect blend of nut and fruit and that the sweetness only served to complement those flavors. Here’s what I thought:

Chocolate Cannoli

Of the two, I think that this one didn’t stand out to me because of the amazing Orange Cannoli cupcake that Elisa and I had from CakeDreams. Of the five girls who tried this (one friend wasn’t ready for hers) we were the only two who didn’t find it the best of the bunch. I think our taste-buds will forever be loyal to that Orange Cannoli cupcake. Also, when I picked the cupcakes up, I was a little surprised that the cake wasn’t chocolate. Since it was a “Chocolate Cannoli” cupcake, I expected full on chocolatiness. However, that may have overpowered the cannoli filling that was present as a filling and as a garnish on top of the chocolate frosting. The most important part of this cupcake, the cannoli cream, was everything I want in a cannoli cream. It seemed to have a bit of cinnamon, or another spice in it, which I thought worked well. Also, it was perfectly smooth and not gritty like some not-so-great cannoli’s I’ve tasted before. However, I’m curious to hear Elisa’s thoughts on the actually cannoli cream, since she is the expert. I’m kicking myself now for forgetting to ask her.

Almond Raspberry

I love almonds and raspberries, and when the two are combined I think it is a harmonious blend that was meant for each other. Elisa has mentioned before how she prefers her almond paired with fruit so, for us, this hit the spot. I typically stay away from fruit infused frostings because I do find that they can sometimes taste like cheap candy, but this frosting seemed like it was made with fresh raspberries, and not some syrupy mixture from a bottle. The other girls thought that it was too sweet though, but maybe since it was just a mini cupcake, I thought it was fine? Or maybe my sweet tooth was in overdrive that day? Either way, I enjoyed every morsel of that bite sized cake.

Luckily the weekend was filled with more tasty treats, and the fun didn’t stop at these cupcakes. This week, we will share more of the other sugary foods we enjoyed on our girls weekend getaway.

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

An Unexpected Surprise!

I have a confession to make. I tried to cheat on cupcakes with another sweet treat… ice cream. While I adore cupcakes, my sweet tooth does not discriminate. So last Thursday I thought I would try to mix it up a bit, but the cupcake gods would not allow this. I headed to an area in Baltimore called Mt. Washington to visit an ice cream parlor that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Well, online their hours say they open at 12pm, but their storefront said 3pm. As I sadly left empty handed, I noticed that Charm City Cupcakes has apparently opened a small shop in Mt. Washington. This info is still not on their website or on the info section of their  Facebook Page, but I did notice a wall graphic that mentioned it was coming soon. Since I didn’t know this, and I had not been able to satisfy my sweet tooth, I was ecstatic to see their cute little shop. I wish I had gotten photos of it becuase it’s was so quaint with just enough room for a display case and a small counter. The gentleman working there was so friendly too. He asked about my day and described all the cupcakes they had there. It was a tough choice, but I made my final selections:

Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Turtle. After my less-than-fantastic Chocolate Turtle cupcake from IcedGems (read more here), I was really excited about this one. Charm City Cupcakes is probably the longest, still running, cupcake place in Baltimore City. I’ve had their cupcakes several times over the years, so I knew these would not disappoint.

My co-worker and I had just been talking earlier that day about cupcakes becuase she was thinking about stopping to get some after work. I was really hoping that she would share at least one of these with me, and as soon as I said, “Chocolate Turtle with Caramel and Pecans” she did not have to be convinced.

I already knew that when I cut into this there would be a caramel filling, since the nice man at the shop told me about that. The chocolate cake was moist, the caramel was nice and gooey, and the frosting was light and smooth. The pecan/caramel mixture that tops the cupcake was very similar to what you might find on a Cinnabon pecan stick bun. This entire cupcake worked well. It was decadent while not being overly sweet.

I decided to save the Mint Chocolate for the following day. Since I was at work, I didn’t have any Tupperware to keep it in, and was worried about it drying out, but figured I would take the risk instead of taking it home just to bring back the next day. I was glad I saved it, becuase the next day Cupcake Crusader, Jenn, and her little Leah came in to visit and were able to share it with me.

I’m a big fan of chocolate and mint together, so right away I was really excited about this one. The cake did end up getting a little dry, but I know that was because I left it in it’s box, and not becuase of Charm City Cupcakes since the chocolate cake from the Turtle cupcake had been perfectly moist. That didn’t stop this from being a fantastic cupcake though. The mint frosting was light and fluffy and full of minty goodness. It had a chocolate ganache filling, which I wasn’t expecting but was a nice touch.

All in all, this was a very wonderful unexpected cupcake surprise! If you would like to try any of their cupcakes, you can visit one of their 3 locations:

– Mt. Washington, Smith Avenue
– Downtown, Charles Street
– John Hopkins University (Blackstone Building), Charles Street

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