4th Annual Cupcake Tour – Roadtrip Style | Stop #1: Sweet Devotions | Havre de Grace, MD

For our Annual Cupcake Tour at the end of 2013, we decided to hit the road and visit a few places north of Baltimore, MD. Our first stop took us to a cupcake shop located in Havre de Grace, MD. Sweet Devotions hit the cupcake scene in 2010 with a bit of a twist, they served fresh, made to order crepes as well.

SweetDevotions_cupcaketour2013_1

On our visit, in addition to cupcakes and crepes, Sweet Devotions was offering cake pops, chocolate dipped pretzels and bacon (yep, chocolate covered bacon!), salad, wraps, and more. They had ample seating for all their customers in a shop adorned with cupcake nicknacks and paintings by local artists.

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We created a “game plan” for our day of cupcake eating to try and pace ourselves: Since there were four adults (my dad always participates in our cupcake tours) and one toddler, our goal was to order only two or three cupcakes, share them, and if they were awesome, we would go back and get more to take home with us. Well, on this first stop we failed miserably and ended up with five cupcakes, a cake pop, chocolate covered bacon, and three savory crepes. So much for self control…

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(Jenn’s daughter, Leah, enjoying her tiger stripped cake pop while sporting a 2013 Cupcake Roadtrip sticker on her hand.)

After finishing our crepes, we moved on to the cupcakes. I selected the French Toast with no bacon (which made this non-pork eater VERY happy), Jenn chose the Chocolate Covered Pretzel, Elisa went with the S’mores cupcake, and my dad got a classic Chocolate with Vanilla frosting and a Pumpkin cupcake for us all to share.

French ToastSweetDevotions_cupcaketour2013_3

Seeing that it was only about 11 a.m. when we made our first stop at Sweet Devotions, this French Toast Cupcake was the perfect choice. It was made of of a moist cinnamon cake topped with a great cream cheese frosting. I really enjoy cream cheese frosting whether it’s more on the sweet side or more savory, but this one stayed true to its name and packed in the cream cheese flavor, which paired perfectly with this morning themed cupcake.

Classic Chocolate with Vanilla Frosting SweetDevotions_cupcaketour2013_4

My dad is pretty easy to please when it comes to cupcakes, unless they are dry, and
unfortunately this cupcake was a little bit. That didn’t stop him from eating the whole thing though. You gotta love a man who loves his sweets. I guess I know where Jenn and I get it from.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel SweetDevotions_cupcaketour2013_7

Jenn is usually a little hesitant when it comes to Chocolate Covered Pretzel cupcakes, since the pretzels tend to get a little soft and stale, but this one was too pretty to pass up. She said it was REALLY good and was surprised that the pretzels weren’t mushy (even the one baked into the middle) and the chocolate cake was actually moist—unlike the cake from our dad’s chocolate cupcake. She added that it wasn’t overly sweet and overall it was well balanced.

S’mores SweetDevotions_cupcaketour2013_6

Elisa is a total sucker when it comes to S’mores, especially S’mores cupcakes (you may have read her recent recipe review for Pumpkin S’mores Cupcakes). With its toasted marshmallow frosting, this cupcake looked as good as it tasted. It even had a graham cracker filling that added a twist we haven’t seen before.

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We were all in agreement that this Pumpkin cupcake was SO GOOD. The cake was very moist and the frosting was the same found on my French Toast cupcake, with a true cream cheese flavor.

We all unanimously agreed that we had a great start to the day at Sweet Devotions. If you find yourself in Havre de Grace, please stop by their shop. Grab a crepe, grab a cupcake, then sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Next week, Crusader Jenn will share her review for our second stop, SAS Cupcakes in Newark, DE. Stay tuned!

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

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The Cupcakes You Didn’t See | Kupcakes & Co. | Elkridge, MD

Since Kupcakes & Co. made the #1 spot on our Top 5 cupcake places on the outskirts of Baltimore City, we have eaten a lot, and I mean A LOT, of cupcakes from their shop. Today I wanted to share with you some of their new spring flavors and give you a peek at some of the cupcakes we’ve had over the past several months that you haven’t seen.

To kick off March, Kupcakes & Co. did their own “March Madness” cupcake style. They had customers submit suggestions for new flavors and then they narrowed it down to their favorite 16 flavors. Each week customers could vote for the flavors they wanted to see in a bracket style tournament. When the final two flavors went head to head, in addition to voting online, customers could actually go to the shop and taste each option and place a second vote. The Crusaders couldn’t miss out on this opportunity! It worked out perfectly too, because my mom (and Jenn’s… we are sisters – twins – for those who don’t already know) was visiting from Florida and she wanted to get cupcakes with us from one of our favorite places. The two final flavors we got to try were Crème Brûlée and Tiramisu.


(Final March Madness Contestant: Crème Brûlée)


(Final March Madness Contestant: Tiramisu)

I was ecstatic to see the two flavors I really wanted to make it to the final round actually make it, but it was so hard to pick between them for my online vote! However, after tasting each at the shop, the Crusaders (with mom and husband in agreeance) thought that the Crème Brûlée was the better of the two. Unfortunately this flavor didn’t win, but the Tiramisu was still so good that I’m looking forward to having another. AND if you weren’t able to try both flavors and would like to, Kupcakes & Co. might be offering the Crème Brûlée for mothers day. If they do, make sure not to miss out! (I will be stocking up for myself and saving some in the freezer…)

Since Tiramisu won the March Madness Contest it will now be featured on their spring menu. Some of the other flavors on their spring menu are Irish Creme, Mint Oreo, and Hummingbird. We reviewed the Irish Creme with our St. Patty’s Day cupcakes, but wanted you to see the other two delicious flavors! All 3 of these flavors will be available through May.

Mint Oreo

The Mint Oreo has crushed Oreos blended inside the cake and a peppermint buttercream frosting with more crushed Oreos on top! Usually the mint cupcakes I encounter are a chocolate cake base, so this was a nice surprise. The yellow cake makes it much lighter and perfect for a sweet treat on a mild breezy afternoon or evening (or morning if like cupcakes for breakfast like I do). 🙂

Hummingbird

This southern classic cupcake is amazing. You have to like a chunky cake though because it is chock full of fresh bananas, crushed pineapple and pecans. It’s spiced similarly to a carrot cake, but still keeps it light coloring. It is then finished off with their amazing cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with coconut and topped with a pecan. If you like carrot cake, you MUST try this cupcake! It takes everything that’s great about carrot cake but puts it all in a more delicate and airy package, making it a great warm weather option!

While you are there getting the new spring flavors, you will most likely want to try some of their other offerings. Below is a brief look at some of the other flavors we’ve tried.

1. Hazelnut Crunch
2. Chocolate Dipped Strawberry
3. Key Lime
4. Vanilla/Vanilla
5. Salted Caramel
6. Red Velvet
7. Chocolate Covered Pretzel
8. Pancakes and Bacon

If you want to know more about any of these flavors, before visiting their shop, feel free to ask! We love talking about cupcakes.  🙂

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

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Modifying Box Mix: Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Since I’ve embarked an a quest to bake a new recipe at least once a month, I knew that my February baking adventure would be for my husband’s birthday. The question then was how to create the perfect cupcake for him? Well, he loves chocolate. He loves peanut butter. And I recently discovered that he loves chocolate covered pretzel cupcakes (this can be credited to Baked by Melissa‘s December Mini of the month, Snow Covered Pretzel). With all this in mind, I decided to create a Chocolate Covered Pretzel cupcake with Peanut Butter frosting.

Knowing that I’m not a baker, I decided to start with Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, Duncan Hines Chocolate Amazing Glaze, and store-bought chocolate covered pretzels. However, I wanted these to be extra special, so I was determined to make a frosting from scratch.

I started with the cake mix. After doing some online research I found out that by adding a box of Jell-o pudding mix to the dry ingredients in the box mix, the cake would be a little more moist and rich. Since it was a special occasion, I decided to give it a try.

After the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I followed the heating instructions from the bottle of Duncan Hines Chocolate Amazing Glaze and added a bit of it to each cupcake before topping it with crushed up chocolate covered pretzels.

The final step was to make the frosting. After going through a ton of recipes, I settled on one I saved a while ago from the blog, Dame Good Eats.

The recipe included the following ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 lb confectioners sugar, sifted
3/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream

The instructions from the blog called for a stand mixer, which I don’t have, so I made do with my hand-held electric mixer. I also don’t have a food scale, so after some simple math, I decided to use about 1 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar, which I did not sift because I also don’t have a sifter. (See? I’m not joking when I say I’m not a baker).

Here are the mixing instructions from Dame Good Eats:

In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, on low. Slowly add in confectioners sugar, once incorporated, beat on medium for about a minute. Add in the peanut butter until creamy, then add in vanilla. Once incorporated, add in whipping cream until frosting reaches desired consistency. Beat on medium for about a minute. (scrape down the sides throughout as needed so that all of the ingredients are getting incorporated equally into the mixture).

At first, the frosting tasted a bit too much like confectioners sugar so I ended up adding in a little extra peanut butter. My guess is that my math was a little off and I used too much confectioners sugar. I also used all 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. In the end, it turned out perfect!

After pipping the frosting I topped it off with an un-crushed chocolate covered pretzel.

I was super happy with the visual appearance of this cupcake. I don’t usually like to toot my own horn, but I felt like these were pretty enough to sell at a bakery.

As far as flavor goes, the peanut butter frosting was the shining star of the cupcake. It was smooth, creamy, and had the perfect peanut butter flavor. The cake was okay. It wasn’t as rich as I would have liked it to be, but it wasn’t awful either. It was a box mix, so you just have to accept it for what it is. However, I still plan to continue experimenting with making box mixes better. Also, next time I think I would not crush up the chocolate covered pretzels before placing them on top of the glaze (under the frosting). I think that because of all the moisture, those pretzels ended up getting a little soft. But that’s an easy fix, so next time I will just place a full pretzel on top of the glaze.

Overall, these cupcakes were easy to make, pretty, and very tasty. I would say this was a definite baking “win” for me.

Do you have any baking plans this weekend or this month? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it!

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