A Sad Farewell to Caroline’s Cupcakery

Last week we heard that Caroline’s Cupcakery, located off Fort Avenue in Locust Point, was closing. Hearing this sad news, Crusader Elisa and I planned our final visit for their last day, which was this past Saturday.

Caroline’s has always been one of our favorite places to get cupcakes. We even listed it as a Top 5 pick for cupcakes inside Baltimore City on KimberlyLoc.com. Since this may have been the last time we were able to indulge in their signature “mile-high” frosting and fluffy moist cake, we decided to focus on getting our favorite flavors.

(Yes, you are looking at 2 dozen cupcakes. No, they were not all for Elisa and I. Almost a full dozen was for my family, who I was meeting up with later that day and some were for Jenn who asked Elisa and I to get some for her, because she couldn’t join us there.)

Since we did end up getting quite a few, and we have reviewed Caroline’s Cupcakery several times before, we will just quickly share some of our favorites that we decided to get on that last day:

(Pink Wonder with Strawberry Drizzle – I don’t normally like Strawberry cupcakes, and now I know why. None have ever compared to this one from Caroline’s.)

(Citrus Wonder with Lemon Drizzle – Like summer in a cupcake. Light and refreshing, this cupcake will be missed.)

(Red Velvet – I’m not sure how Elisa, our “Red Velvet Crusader,” feels about this cupcake, but I love it. The cake is rich, light and moist, and the cream cheese frosting is buttery and not too sweet.)

(Carrot Cake – I’ve had a hard time finding a Carrot Cake that I like, but this one is moist, light, and full of spicy carrot cake flavor.)

(Sunday Morning (French Toast Bacon Cupcake) – This cupcake sometimes has me wishing I ate bacon. It’s one of Jenn and Elisa’s favorites and the maple frosting on top (which I’ve sampled) is amazing.)

(Guinness cupcake with toasted coconut – Perfect combo of beer, chocolate, and sweetness. Elisa reviewed this cupcake before here.)

We were also able to try a new cupcake. It was called the Butterfinger Candy Bar Cupcake. This cupcake was buttery and sweet, just like a Butterfinger should be. The only thing that could have made it better would be the addition of more chocolate. (You can never have too much chocolate).

(Butterfinger Cupcake from Caroline’s)

Every bite of these cupcakes brought back some great memories. The Pink Wonder with Strawberry Drizzle took me back to my first experience with Caroline’s when Jenn and I attended a wine and cupcake night and were able to sample tons of mini cupcakes paired uniquely with specific wines.

(Cheers! What is better than wine and cupcakes? Click here to read about this night.)

Then, the Citrus Wonder with Lemon Drizzle reminded me of Jenn’s baby shower. We got a variety of cupcakes from Caroline’s, but this was a clear favorite of the day and was perfect with the hot summer weather.

(Caroline’s Cupcakes dressed up for Jenn’s baby shower.)

I also thought back to a more recent Caroline’s cupcake adventure where Elisa brought us Hot Chocolate cupcakes to enjoy while watching the most recent Twilight movie at the theater.

(Disclaimer: Most movies theaters are NOT okay with bringing in your own food. Do so with caution. Read our review here.)

Caroline’s will not only be missed for their amazing cupcakes, but for all the many wonderful memories we’ve had that have included their cupcakes.

We love you Caroline’s Cupcakery!

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


Farewell, My “Sweet” Cupcake Love

When Stacy recently texted me to tell me that Sweet Bakery was closing I was devastated. I almost feel like it still isn’t real…My first experience with Sweet was in the fall of 2010 when they were on Main Street in Ellicott City – I was there with the other Crusaders for some Oktoberfest beer tasting – and the cupcakes were delicious from the get-go. When they moved to the Mount Vernon area, conveniently located 4 blocks from my office, I was so excited and went in to get a cupcake treat on a regular basis, and was NEVER disappointed.

You may recall Stacy’s and my post “Cupcaked Out?” this past August. I went to pick up cupcakes and was greeted by the friendly staff; picking 4 cupcakes to eat that evening with Stacy. The standout was by far the Red Velvet. With it’s moist, fluffy cake and superb cream cheese frosting this Red Velvet cupcake has been, and will always be my all-time favorite Red Velvet. The other flavors were great too and I thus began my addiction to visiting Sweet on my lunch break.

(The Cereal Cupcake from Sweet Bakery)

My cupcake lunch break on November 17 included a very special cupcake created by Allison that morning – The Cereal Cupcake. I never posted a review about this particular cupcake back in November, but here goes: The Fun-fetti cake had amazing colors in it, while the cake was moist, sweet, and vanilla-y. I’m a huge fan of Fun-fetti and the fact that it was homemade with vibrant colors and scrumptious taste made this perfect! The icing was superb as well, with a really great Fruit Loop flavor with freshly placed and crunchy Fruit Loops on top! Next to the Red Velvet, this cupcake stands as my favorite, and definitely makes the list of the the top 10 cupcakes I have ever eaten.

(Look at all that homemade Fun-fetti inside the cake!)

Another stand-out for me would be the Strawberry with Key Lime filling. The perfect strawberry cake with sweet buttercream icing and tangy key lime filling. The Crusaders and I tried this one while on our Girls Weekend Getaway in October and we all really seemed to like it. Sharing Sweet cupcakes with my favorite girls was very special to me, and we had a blast cutting them up and taking about the different flavors!

(Key Lime cupcake from Sweet Bakery)

Sweet didn’t just make amazing cupcakes, they featured organic coffee, pastries, cannolis, tarts, and local art. You could order a cake for a special occasion, or even go in on a whim and have cupcakes decorated while you wait. The prices were more than fair and they came highly recommended by many wedding venues/planners for their wedding cakes.

Mount Vernon is a little less bright without this very “Sweet” bakery, and my cupcake lunch breaks are no more. I will always wish I could order just one more Red Velvet and enjoy the smiling faces of the staff.

Sweet Bakery, the Crusaders and I will miss you and we will miss sharing your amazing cupcakes with the special people in our lives. Thank you for the cupcakes, memories, and love that you put into your craft.

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

Nostaglia Cupcakes: A Farewell to Unforgettable Cupcakes

The Crusaders all agree that one of the reasons we have a such a passion for cupcakes is that they are nostalgic; a personal sized dessert that takes us back to when we were children but now customized as a treat for adult taste buds. So, when Stacy and I heard of Nostalgia Cupcakes in Annapolis, MD two and a half years ago, we thought, “What a perfect name!” Our dad introduced us to this delectable shop for our birthday in July 2010 and we were happy to see that they lived up to their tagline, “Cakes you’ll never forget, for the day you’ll always remember.” Any day that included one of their cupcakes made it a memorable day so we were very sad to discover that just a couple of weeks ago they had to close their shop, but we will never forget their cupcakes.

(Left – Crusaders Jenn and Stacy’s dad with his cupcake in July 2011. Right – Lemoncello Cupcake: Yellow cake with a tangy lemon buttercream.)

When our dad first brought us Nostalgia’s cupcakes, there was something for everyone, but I think the real crowd pleaser was their Chocolate City Cake (or at least it was for Crusader Stacy and myself).

(Chocolate City Cake: Chocolate cake with whipped ganache rolled in pure chocolate sprinkles and topped with chocolate buttercream.)

After ohh’ing and ahh’ing over the perfectly constructed chocolate dome of frosting and sprinkles, we finally dug in to this bit of heaven. The dark/semi-sweet chocolate flavor was rich and exactly what Stacy and I look for in chocolate cake. All of the cupcakes tasted that day were moist, not overly sweet, and packed with flavor. Nostalgia quickly became one of our top 3 cupcake places of all time…dare I even say top 2? I know my dad says they are number 1!

Because Stacy and I don’t get to downtown Annapolis as much as we’d like, it would be awhile until we could enjoy these special treats again. I was fortunate enough to go back with my dad one day after we had a delicious lunch nearby, and the Chocolate City Cake and Keylime were among my selections. The keylime has a bright green frosting that may have scared away purest, however the yellow cake with key lime pastry cream filling and key lime buttercream was flavored to perfection.

This past July my dad came through for us again and brought Nostalgia Cupcakes up for our 29th birthday. I don’t think I’ve ever needed a cupcake so much, having just giving birth 10 days earlier! This time he brought a full selection. In order to fully experience each flavor, we shared.

(Some of the cupcakes seen in the photos above are Chocolate City Cake, Red Velvet, Cocoa-Coconut (Chocolate cake with cream cheese icing topped with fresh coconut), Pink Lady (Yellow cake with strawberry pastry filling and pink vanilla buttercream), Little Boy Blue (Yellow cake with chocolate pastry filling and blue vanilla buttercream), and lastly, a summer seasonal Piña Colada.)

The Piña Colada was one of my new favorites that I hadn’t tried before. Also the Red Velvet, which not a usual favorite of mine, was very good compared with others I’ve had. These cupcakes were, once again, all very moist and delicious. Consistency was always at it’s best with Nostalgia.

Just a few weeks ago I was in downtown Annapolis and decided that I should stop in on a whim. Thank goodness I did, because unknown to me at the time was that this would be my last of their cupcakes. There was no sign about them closing the following week and had I known I would have gotten more cupcakes. But I walked out with my favorite, the Chocolate City Cake and a new one for me, their salted caramel.

(Salted Caramel – Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream, caramel and topped with sea salts.)

Who could resist the puddle of caramel in the center with sea salt glistening on the edge of chocolate? I knew I couldn’t and for my fellow crusaders who are slightly obsessed with salted caramel, I had to get it. I’m so glad that I was able to taste this selection prior to their closing.

I know that I will have dreams about the Chocolate City Cake. And I will probably spend years trying to replicate the chocolate dome of sprinkles, only to fail. I wish that I could go back and get another one. Knowing that it would be my last, I could more fully savor each bite.

Nostalgia, we will always remember your cupcakes and the occasions that were made special by them. Thank you for the wonderful memories and happy taste buds.

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

UPDATE: While Nostalgia is closed, you can now get her amazing cupcakes at her new shop located in Bowie, MD, called The Cake Courtesan.

Cupcaked Out?

Friday night my friend, Elisa (also a cupcake lover), and I went up against 8 cupcakes. We thought we had this in the bag. Our goal was to try 8 different cupcakes from 3 different locations around Baltimore. We devised a game plan that included only eating a quarter of 4 of the larger cupcakes and half of the smaller ones then splitting the leftovers. I had a small dinner. I thought we were prepared…

But by the end of the night I thought I never wanted to see another cupcake again. I know this feeling won’t last long, but it’s a good thing I have a lot of past experience with cupcakes to post about for a little while. Here is our review of our Cupcake Night:

We didn’t eat the cupcakes in the order that I’ll review them in, we kinda jumped all over the place. But for your sanity, I’ll group them by bakery. First up, Sweet Bakery now located in Midtown Baltimore. My first experience with Sweet Bakery was when they were located on Main Street in Ellicott City and it was a good experience so I was excited to try more of their cupcakes.
Chocolate w/ Vanilla Frosting: Their vanilla frosting is really good. Buttery and not too sweet, just sweet enough. The chocolate cake though? Meh. Not great. Elisa and I both agreed that Betty Crocker makes a better chocolate cake.
Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese Frosting: This was easily probably the best red velvet cake Elisa or I ever had. It was soft, moist, fluffy, wonderful. The cream cheese frosting was amazing too. Sweet, but like the vanilla frosting, not too sweet. It was a perfect compliment to the red velvet cake.
Vanilla w/ Vanilla Frosting: I typically don’t get Vanilla on Vanilla. With all the unique options out there I usually go for something different, but this was actually really good. Especially with all the other bold flavors we were trying, it was a nice “break” from the others. I would definitely get this one again, and I never thought I’d ever order a vanilla cupcake on my own. Elisa loves vanilla and said she thinks it’s the best vanilla cake she’s ever had.
Carrot Cake w/ Vanilla Frosting: Well… this one was such a disappointment. I’m so sad to say that because we saved this one for last because I LOVE carrot cake. The first big problem for me was the frosting. I’m a fan of cream cheese frosting with my carrot cake. And their cream cheese frosting was so good that it was a shame they didn’t put it on this one. Another big problem was that the cake was super chunky and super dry. While I like a lot of “stuff” in my carrot cake, this was just extreme. This cupcake was definitely the loser of the evening.

Next up:

You are probably questioning my cupcake tasting experience at this point, right? Well, shocked as you may be, Roland Park Bagel Co. was on Baltimore Magazine’s top ten best cupcakes in Baltimore, so we had to try them. We were pleasantly surprised by the fluffy softness and flavor of these cupcakes.
Cookies N Creme: Okay, first and foremost, I need to state that in my opinion, THIS IS NOT A COOKIES N CREME CUPCAKE! That said, it was still delicious. The frosting was cream cheese, which while it’s not appropriate for Cookies N Creme, it was light, fluffy, and very tasty. The chocolate cake was the same. No complaints other than, this is totally not a Cookies N Creme Cupcake. Elisa, however, liked it better than her recent experience with a Cookies N Creme cupcake she tried in Atlantic City (she will be giving me a review to post about that at a later date).
Chocolate w/ Salted Caramel Frosting: The person behind the counter told me this was a black bottom cake with a caramel frosting. What he didn’t say was that it as SALTED caramel and that the cake was really just chocolate cake with a speck of possible “black bottom-ness.” Either way, this was a favorite of the night. Like the “Cookies N Creme” the cake was light and fluffy. The frosting was the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Elisa and I are both really digging the recent salted caramel trend. We never seem to grow tired of it.

Last on our list:

Hamilton Bakery was listed as #2 in Baltimore Magazine’s Best Cupcake. I really don’t agree with that, but that’s just my opinion. They aren’t bad. They are decent, but they aren’t #2 good. Not compared to what’s out there. It might be a readers choice, so maybe they just have tons of supporters? Who knows, but that’s not important, what is important is our review:
Peanut Butter Chocolate: I think the most important thing to mention about this cupcake is that the cake is more like a muffin than a cupcake. It’s very dense, not too sweet and a little on the dry side. However, the peanut butter frosting on this is unbelievably amazing. And to top it off they actually spread a layer of crunchy peanut butter under the frosting. So, even if it is more muffin like, it’s really really good.
Coconut: Really, there isn’t much to say about this one other than: unmemorable. I had totally forgotten what I thought of it and had to look back at my notes (yes, we took notes…). That night we said, “more muffin like” and “more like a breakfast cupcake.” If those things sound appealing to you, then this is your cupcake. Otherwise, don’t bother.

I actually “cheated” on Elisa’s and my “Cupcake Night” by getting a cupcake from Hamilton Bakery a few days before. I figured I could wrap that up into this post. I went by their location and saw that they had a Boston Creme cupcake and knew that it probably wouldn’t be there the next day, so I decided to get it.

The cake was the same as above, very muffin like, and the frosting was just kinda blah. Not my favorite. I might try more cupcakes from them, but I’m more excited to try their breads and other pastries. Those look amazing.

If you have tried cupcakes from any of these locations I’d love to know your thoughts!

EDIT: Sweet Bakery is now, sadly, closed.

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