Kupcakes & Co. New Boutique Cupcakes

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Kupcakes & Co., which was recently listed in our Top 5 on Best Friends For Frosting’s blog, has started offering a line of “Boutique Cupcakes.” They are the same wonderful cupcake, taken up several notches with toppings, fillings, special frostings, and then more toppings. While their daily cupcakes are $2.50 each, the Boutique line of cupcakes are $3.50 each and only available on Fridays and Saturdays. For now they have three flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Cheesecake with a Raspberry Drizzle, and Chocolate Pecan Turtle; and we’ve tried them all!

Chocoloate Chip Cookie Dough

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Kupcakes & Co. started teasing us with their new boutique cupcakes, dropping hints here and there on their Facebook page, with photos of some of the ingredients, fillings, and frostings. As soon as I saw the chocolate chips in one of their posts, I knew there would be a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake, and I had to have it. This really was the cupcake that brought me in on the day the Boutique line was released.

As an avid cookie dough lover, going so far as to make a small batch just to eat the dough, you can probably imagine my excitement when I first bit into this cupcake to realize that everything about it tasted EXACTLY like chocolate chip cookie dough. My exact thought was, “This is unreal! It’s like magic!” The frosting is already perfect and packs tons of chocolate chip cookie dough flavor, and then they take it to the next level with the cookie dough filling (which is actually baked in but maintains a doughy quality…I’m telling you, it is magical). I’ve been dreaming about this cupcake ever since.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with a Raspberry Drizzle

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This cupcake is a vanilla cake, with a cheesecake center, topped with cream cheese frosting and a raspberry drizzle. I like cheesecake and the cheesecake filling in this cupcake is very good, but it is a very sweet cupcake (I think because of the frosting).

Chocolate Pecan Turtle

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The Chocolate Pecan Turtle cupcake has chocolate cake with pecans baked on top, filled with homemade caramel, then topped with chocolate buttercream, more pecans, and drizzled with more of the wonder homemade caramel. It’s beyond decadent and I loved the texture the chunks of pecans added. I’m a big fan of the chocolate candy that inspired this cupcake, and now I’m a big fan of the cupcake as well.

You can sense the thought and time that Kupcakes & Co. has spent on creating these special cupcakes. The next time you are in their area (on a Friday or Saturday), I recommend stopping in and indulging in one of these Boutique treats. Which do you think you’d choose?

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

Baltimore Cupcake Picnic – Rain Rain chased the picnic away!

Sadly, due to inclement weather, we had to cancel our Baltimore Cupcake Picnic in Patterson Park. We were really sad the rain chased our picnic away, but luckily, for our family and very close friends, Crusader Stacy graciously opened her house so that we could gather together and share the cupcakes we’d already made.

We all couldn’t help but dig in right away, especially after hearing so much about Crusader Stacy’s Nerd cupcakes! As more people showed up, we made room on the table for the cupcakes – some store bought, some homemade. It was great when the tasting was in full swing, with so many kids there, it was hard not to feel like a kid yourself, eating more sugar than necessary and maybe even getting a tummy ache.

Overall there was an amazing variety of cupcake flavors in attendance:

1 & 2) Crusader Jenn’s FUN da-Middles mini Cupcakes, two ways – one with salted caramel and one without the salt
3) Crusader Stacy’s Nerds Cupcakes – keep an eye out for this recipe post!
4) Black Bottoms from a local bakery – yum!
5) Crusaders’ Dad brought four flavors of cupcakes from Sweet Hearts Patisserie, a cupcakery in Annapolis the Crusaders have been wanting to try. Watch for this review!
6) Crusader Elisa brought homemade Peach Cobbler cupcakes that Crusader Stacy had suggested on our FB page – thanks again for the suggestion!
7) A friend made Homemade Ginger Peach cupcakes, filled with a peach compote that was very flavorful
8) Crusaders’ sister Alissa and her friend brought red velvet cupcakes
9) Chocolate Chip cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, made by a friend
10) Healthy Crusader Rebecca brought healthy Black Forest cupcakes – watch for this healthy recipe post coming soon.

It might have been a rainy day, but we had a great time with our family and close friends. So many cupcakes, so many kiddies, so many wonderful people all in the same place! It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

The Crusaders would like to thank everyone who made it out to our picnics this summer. It’s been a great opportunity to meet our fellow cupcake lovers, try some new flavors, and spend time talking about cupcakes! Can’t wait for next summer!

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

Spotlight: Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, Part 2

We are so excited to bring you our final thoughts for the remaining six cupcakes we tried from Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, since we couldn’t fit them all into one review! If Part 1 wasn’t enough to make you crave a cupcake, I think this will do it!

Death by Chocolate:
This cupcake wasn’t ready when I first stopped in, but the owner insisted that I must try it. I was planning on grabbing lunch next door, so I told her I would be back. I’m so glad I returned!

After hearing and seeing all that goes into this cupcake, it’s understandable why it takes them all morning to bake it fresh. The chocolate cake is rich and moist, the chocolate buttercream is perfection, and if those aren’t enough, it is then hand dipped in chocolate ganache! A chocolate lover couldn’t ask for anything more out of a cupcake!

Strawberry White Chocolate:
Another gorgeous cupcake that puts others to shame, this cupcake is a strawberry cake, with whipped filling, strawberry frosting, and then topped with white chocolate shavings AND a white chocolate covered strawberry!

Us Crusaders are typically concerned with berry cupcakes being overly sweet, however the whipped filling tones down the sweetness and just like the others, the cake is perfectly moist. Also, eating a cupcake with a white chocolate covered strawberry just makes a girl feel special!

Blackbottom:
Considering this next treat a cupcake might be a little controversial, since there is no frosting on top. However, as soon as I saw it I couldn’t wait to try it!

All those chocolate chips mixed in with cheesecake had my mouth watering from the start. I was so pleased by this blackbottom that if they have it on future visits, there’s no way I could leave without one.

Carrot:
As I’ve mentioned before, carrot cake is one of my favorites. It’s a classic and, even though it’s more of a spice cake, you can find it year round.

This carrot cake could possibly be one of my all-time favorites. The cake has real carrot pieces and nuts, which add a nice texture, then a cream cheese filling, with American buttercream frosting. The mixture of spice and sweet is perfect. As large as these cupcakes are, I wish I had a whole one to myself and hadn’t shared! And I usually like sharing!

Boston Cream:
I love anything Boston cream. Pie, cake, doughnuts…and cupcakes are no exception. As soon as I heard this was a Boston cream, I became giddy.

This cupcake is a vanilla cake, filled with Boston cream, and topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache. While speaking with the owner, she told me that after they put the chocolate buttercream on the cupcakes, they chill them, so that the chocolate ganache sets up properly. Normally I would only want chocolate ganache on a Boston cream treat, however their chocolate buttercream is so rich that it holds up well to the overall flavor. I secretly would have enjoyed more pastry cream, but that’s only because I could have eaten bowls of it alone!

Party Cupcake:
I don’t know what else to call this cupcake, but it is so much fun!

This cupcake is priced at only $2.00, which I couldn’t believe. The moist vanilla cake and sweet American buttercream are reminiscent of a traditional birthday cake. Although it is an average size, unlike their other super-sized cupcakes, its decoration makes me feel like I attended a chic party.

I recently stopped by Snickerdoodles, after having been impressed by their cupcakes, and tried their coffee and sugar cookies. Just like with their cupcakes, everything was perfectly tasty! Like I said in Part 1 of our review, if you have a chance to visit Snickerdoodles, please do!

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

Spotlight: Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, Part 1

Named after the common cookie, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse (Hampstead, MD). Would it just be a take-out bakery that you stop in on your way to work for a quick cup of coffee and a muffin? When I finally went to their shop, I was surprised and pleased to find a sophisticated bakery and high-end coffeehouse, with plenty of room to bring friends and gather around one of their many tables, or just to come yourself and relax in their cozy surroundings. The mom in me loved seeing that they even have a miniature table with chairs, inviting guests to bring their kids with them.

After taking in the great atmosphere, I began investigating the goodies. My first thought? “WOW! Those cupcakes are HUGE!” My second thought? “How much are they?” With their size and the decoration and toppings on most of the cupcakes, I thought they would be pricey. However, they aren’t! At $3.00-4.00 for the large cupcakes, they are very reasonably priced. And the best part is that they are large enough to share (or to have more than one helping for yourself)!

On this day I was fortunate enough to leave with one of each flavor in the shop, making 12 cupcakes in total. Due to the grandness of these cupcakes, and the number we have to show you, we’ve decided to break our review into two parts, featuring 6 of the cupcakes in each post. Here are the first ones we’ve selected to show you:

Irish Car Bomb:
During the St. Patrick’s Day season, we see a lot of these cupcakes based on the popular drink (Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream) pop up. I’ve had a few takes on the idea, and this one is a clear stand out for me!

I usually see these cupcakes done with a chocolate cake, however Snickerdoodles has choosen to make this a true Guinness stout cake. None of the smooth Guinness flavor is lost and, just like an Irish Car Bomb, the Bailey’s Irish Cream filling and frosting complement the cake perfectly. It is so moist and flavorful!

Cannoli:
I think the best way to describe this next cupcake is with a photo.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that IS a whole (mini) cannoli on top! This cupcake has a chocolate chip cake that is moist and delicious, with a cannoli filling that I think even the toughest critic would appreciate, and is topped with a chocolate ganache frosting, American buttercream, and more chocolate chips.

Almond Raspberry:
For the Crusaders, this has become a classic combination. We love the pairing of almond and raspberry.

This cupcake has an almond cake, whipped raspberry filling and American buttercream frosting. I think the whipped raspberry filling is a nice change from the usual jam filling and also helps keep the cupcake light.

Red Velvet:
This Red Velvet cupcake has been taken to the next level.

I was really happy with the moistness of the cake! I’m always disappointed with red velvet cake, however this one is not only moist, but also has a great flavor. It’s paired with a cream cheese filling, American buttercream frosting, and topped with a chocolate shaving and toasted red velvet cake crumbs. The frosting makes this cupcake really sweet, but I enjoyed every bite!

Toasted Coconut:
This is another classic flavor. With the decoration, this cupcake needs no label.

All together the cupcake works, however it isn’t as “coconut-y” as I prefer. That being said, the moist poundcake-like cake, whipped filling, buttercream frosting, and generous toasted coconut shavings on top are still really tasty!

The Rainbow Cupcake:
This cupcake is a new one Snickerdoodles is working on and there’s only one way to describe it: Fun! Based on their “famous” Rainbow Cake, the Rainbow Cupcake is a miniature version.

I think it’s necessary to also show a photo of the inside of this cupcake, to really get a good idea.

As you can see, this cupcake has a rainbow cake, raspberry puree filling, chocolate buttercream frosting, dipped in chocolate, then piped with more chocolate buttercream, and topped with sprinkles. The cake is moist and the jam and chocolate combination is delicious!

If you have a chance to visit Snickerdoodles, please do! Whether you are looking for a special treat, a great beverage, or a place to just hang out, Snickerdoodles has it all! They also have beautiful full-size cakes, pastries, and cookies. I can’t wait to return! And, keep a look-out for Part 2 where we’ll be reviewing Strawberry White Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Boston Cream, Black Bottom, a fun, fancy, party cupcake and Death by Chocolate!

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

Walmart Cupcakes: Sometimes You Just Need a Quick Fix

As a crusader, I’ve “pledged” to try them all. So, when I passed by these on a recent trip to Walmart, in Westminster, MD, I knew I had to push my cupcake snobbery aside and take one for the team. After all, some people aren’t fortunate enough to have a selection of great bakeries right around the corner.

At around $2.50 for 12 mini cupcakes, I wasn’t expecting a lot from them. But they really weren’t that bad! I’ve noticed that depending on when you visit, they will have different flavors. On this day, carrot cake and chocolate chip were two of the few options available.

The carrot cake was topped with some sort of streusel crumb and what I think was supposed to be a cream cheese icing. While the flavor of the icing was mild and hard to pin-point, the cake had a nice spice to it and even had real pieces of carrot! It was a tad on the dry side, but the good ratio of icing helped with that.

The chocolate chip was my favorite of the two. I thought the amount of chocolate chips on top was pleasing. I would have preferred to see bigger pieces of chocolate in the cake, but the cake was fairly moist so that was a nice surprise.

Even though I’m always tempted, I haven’t tried any of the other flavors yet – since there always seem to be cupcakes lying around my house – but at $2.50 for a dozen tiny treats, I will definitely purchase these again.

Have you ever found cupcakes at an unlikely location and been pleasantly surprised by the product?

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

Guest Review: IcedGems Baking

We are happy to share another guest review from a new Guest Crusader! Kim has known two of the Crusaders for a very long time and has been following the blog. After reading some reviews, she decided to visit IcedGems Baking’s storefront located in Reisterstown, MD. I (Stacy) also recently stopped by IcedGems Food Truck in Baltimore City, so I’ve added my review after Kim’s. Read below to see what we though!

Guest Crusader Kim’s Review:

After reading Crusader Elisa’s review of IcedGems Baking, I realized that the shop wasn’t too far away. Actually it is closer to me than Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, and I have made a couple of trips to visit them (after reading some of the other Crusader’s reviews). So on my way home from shopping with my sister in Bowie, I decided to take a slight detour and see just how good IcedGems was for myself.

I walked into their shop – very cute and quaint – and was greeted with the wonderful aroma of the sweet cupcakes, as well as the very friendly young man behind the counter. He was very patient while I and another couple looked over the selection and between him and the young lady baker, any questions we had about the flavors were answered.

I chose two of the French Toast (one of which I shared with my husband that night), a Chocolate/Chocolate, and a Scarlett O’Hara (red velvet with raspberry icing).

We first tried the French Toast, which you could tell was a cinnamon cake with a maple frosting. The combination was perfect and reminded us exactly of French Toast you’d have for breakfast. After trying this, I just wanted to try the others that much more!


(French Toast cupcake from IcedGems Baking)

The night after we tried the French Toast we split the Chocolate/Chocolate and the Scarlett O’Hara. My husband’s evaluation was simple – he really enjoyed both of them just as they were!

I started by trying the cake and frosting from each separately. I have to say, I loved the raspberry icing on the Scarlett O’Hara. It was very light, almost whipped like. Both the cakes were nice and moist, and the chocolate icing from the Chocolate/Chocolate was almost fudgy, exactly how I expected it to be.

After my unusual start to taste testing I went ahead and tried a bite as they were intended. First up, the Chocolate/Chocolate. The fudgy icing and the moist cake went well together. Exactly what a choc-aholic like myself likes.


(Chocolate/Chocolate from IcedGems Baking)

Next up, the Scarlett O’Hara.


(Scarlett O’Hara (red velvet with raspberry icing) from IcedGems Baking)

I can’t say I know red velvet as well as “The Red Velvet Crusader,” but I thought it was pretty good. However I was not a fan of the red velvet cake combined with the raspberry icing. I am also not usually a fan of cream cheese icing either, but here I think it would have been a better choice.

To continue with my unusual ways, I did enjoy mixing and matching. I tried the chocolate cake with raspberry icing (very good), the chocolate icing with the red velvet cake (a little too much), and I even went ahead and tried the raspberry icing with the chocolate icing (pretty good).

I can’t wait to go back and try some new flavors!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Kim (Maryland)

Crusader Stacy’s Review:

Since we were posting Kim’s review on IcedGems Baking, I thought that I would share two cupcakes I got last week. The IcedGems’ Baking Truck drives around Baltimore City posting their location to their Facebook and Twitter pages, so on one of these days – even though the truck wasn’t in walking distance – I decided to pull myself away from the computer and find the truck at their next location. I was only going to get one cupcake (I was trying to be “good”) but before I left I saw on their Facebook page that if you said a secret phrase you could get a 2nd cupcake for free. So, I came back to the office with a Blueberry Chip cupcake and a Birthday Cake cupcake.


(Blueberry Chip from IcedGems Baking – Food Truck)

The Blueberry Chip was a must have for me. When I saw that flavor posted I knew I had to try it. It totally lived up to my expectations. The frosting was sweet and full of fresh blueberry puree. Alone, it was a bit too sweet for my normal liking, but combined with the densely moist cake filled with fresh blueberries and chocolate chips it was a perfect companion. The addition of the big chunks of purple sugar added a nice crunch texture. I savored each bite of this cupcake not wanting it to end.

I had already decided that I would save the Birthday Cake for the next day and it took everything in me not to scarf that down as well.


(Birthday Cake from IcedGems Baking)

Lunch time couldn’t have come fast enough. I didn’t want to eat the cupcake on an empty stomach, for fear I would just inhale it and not take time to enjoy the flavors, so after eating it was FINALLY time to bite in. Elisa had told me that this was a good cupcake but WOW! It screamed “Birthday Party!” I thought the Blueberry Chip was amazing, but this simple vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream dotted with sprinkles might have taken first prize. With every bite I couldn’t believe how good this cupcake really was.

The funfetti cake was dense but moist and the frosting was also dense but creamy. And how can you not like sprinkles inside your cupcake? I’m a big fan of funfetti and this puts my boxed mix to major shame.

I’ve had IcedGems in the past and been a bit on the fence about them, but they are definitely doing something right. Jenn is the only Crusader left who needs to sample IcedGems for herself, so I hope when she finally does, they live up to the hype Elisa and I have built!

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