The Cupcakes You Didn’t See | Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse | Westminster, MD

Even with all of our Starry Night reviews, there are still cupcakes that haven’t been seen by our followers! Around Oreo’s 100 year anniversary, Starry Night went crazy creating Oreo-stuffed cupcakes. Being a cupcake lover AND an Oreo lover, how could I resist? I initially went in for what I thought would be a few cupcakes, and left with a dozen! Starry Night seems to always do this to me, but thankfully I have people to share with! While I was picking up my Oreo stuffed cupcakes, they also had a couple of candy themed cupcakes that made it into my dessert box.

One of my favorites from the cookies and candy themed collection was the Nutter Butter:

Starry Night’s chocolate ganache frosting is a perfect match for the peanut buttery goodness of the cupcake. This cupcake should be a permanent offering, it is THAT good!

Every other cupcake in the collection was also perfectly moist and delicious:

1: Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with American buttercream
2: Oreo stuffed red velvet cake with American buttercream
3: Oreo stuffed yellow cake with peanut butter frosting
4: Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
5: Berry ‘licious – Berry Oreo stuffed yellow cake with berry buttercream
6: Choco Mint – Mint Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with chocolate mint buttercream
7: Junior Mint – Junior Mint stuffed yellow cake with chocolate mint butter cream
8: Twix – Twix stuffed yellow cake with caramel buttercream

Of course with stuffed cupcakes, we also have to show you the inside. The cookies held up well during baking and added a nice crunchy texture:

1: Example of the regular Oreo stuffed cake
2: Example of the Mint Oreo stuffed cake (you can see hints of the green Oreo cream)
3: Example of the Berry Oreo stuffed cake (you can see hints of the pink Oreo cream)
4: Twix stuffed cake
5: Junior Mint stuffed cake (this didn’t hold up as well as the cookies)

Starry Night’s Oreo and candy stuffed creations give you a great idea of the fun flavor combinations you will find in their bakery. More recently they also added a Samoa cupcake to the menu, fashioned after the popular Girl Scout’s cookie!

This cupcake has a caramel cake, frosted with chocolate ganache and topped with plenty of toasted coconut and half of a Samoa cookie! It’s the perfect execution of a Samoa in cupcake form.

There have been a few other new additions to the spring cupcake collection at Starry Night, so they will be seeing the Crusaders again soon!

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

Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Starry Night Bakery and Coffee House | Westminster, MD

Every Tuesday for the month of March (and the first week in April) we will be counting down our Top 5 favorite cupcake places outside of Baltimore City. In order to make sure we did the proper research and included places that would “qualify” we decided that any place that was within a 20 to 45 minute drive from the Baltimore City boundary would be included. If you don’t see a place that you think should have been featured in this Top 5 let us know! We do our best to research where the cupcakes are, but there is no better way to find out than a recommendation!

I’ve been enjoying Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse’s cupcakes for quite a while now, located in Westminster, MD. They made it to the final round on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars due to their creative flavors and fun designs. Aside from cupcakes, they also have a full coffee shop of inventive beverages, cakes, cookies, and other pastries. When we decided to do a Top 5 of the Baltimore suburbs, I knew I wanted them to be on the list. That was my cue to make sure that the other Crusaders had a taste of what makes Starry Night so exceptional!

One of the fun things about Starry Night is their quirky side…hence the name for their specialty cupcakes, or “Quirky Cupcakes.” This quirkiness starts with the cupcakes and cakes, but then spreads throughout the shop, with fun décor, including hand-painted murals on the wall. I love a place where I can grab a cup of coffee and sweet treat with a friend, and just sit and feel “cool.” And, Starry Night is that sort of place.

Another great thing about Starry Night is their social media activity. New flavors are posted on their Facebook page, along with photos, and special offers for their Facebook followers. Although their website can be hard to navigate, they’ve used Facebook to its fullest and I often find myself going to pick up a new flavor or take advantage of a special offer they’ve posted about.

We’ve reviewed Starry Night cupcakes many times. A couple of our favorites have been the seasonal Cinnamon Chip, which is unfortunately no longer available for the spring, and the Mahoo Wahoo, which you can usually find and was one of their Cupcake Wars creation.

From our Cinnamon Chip Review:
This cupcake was so moist and packed a great cinnamon sugar punch. I don’t know how they created a cinnamon chip…maybe some sort of streusel…but I can’t stress enough how amazing this cupcake was. While having the cinnamon flavor you’d expect from a cinnamon roll or muffin, it still maintained a cupcake quality, which I loved about it.

From our Mahoo Wahoo Review:
This cupcake uses Kona Coffee and is a chocolate cake with coffee drizzle glaze and coffee buttercream. If you like coffee and you like it strong, as I do, then this is the cupcake for you! Paired with the chocolate it’s a match made in heaven.

With the friendly staff, specialty desserts, coffee, wedding cake tastings, and of course THE CUPCAKES, Starry Night has become a favorite place for the Crusaders to visit. For these reasons they have taken our #2 spot on our Top 5 list! With all the competition and all the cupcakes we’ve tasted to compile the Top 5, Starry Night has proven to be a front-runner in the industry with their creativity and enthusiasm. Although their standard cupcake flavors are not the stars, their “Quirky Cupcakes” are well worth the visit. If you are in the Westminster area, or just a fan of Cupcake Wars, please take some time to grab a cupcake and a specialty drink from Starry Night!

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

National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challange: Taste of the Seasons

This past Saturday, Crusader Jenn and I braved the nasty rain soaked roads and headed to the National Capital Area Cake Show‘s Cupcake Challenge in Annandale, VA. This year’s theme was ‘Taste of the Seasons’ which was well represented with approximately 75 entries. With this many entries and about 700 attendees, we knew we needed a plan of attack, so prior to the show we decided on the flavors we most wanted to sample.

Between the two of us, we only had about 3 duplicate flavors, so we sampled 15 flavors in total. Before I proceed, I should clarify that they were mini cupcakes, so it was easy to taste every flavor in one sitting.

After sampling them all, we decided that it would be slightly overwhelming for our readers to have a full description and critique of 15 flavors, so we have picked our very own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and then provided you with a peek at the remaining 12. (These selections are not reflective of the competition’s decisions and are solely those of the Crusaders and the 15 flavors we tried).

1st Place: French Vanilla Coffee Creme Brûlée (Season: Winter)

Baker: Inayah Zaman

This was our clear favorite of the night. Amazingly, you could taste all the flavors, and there was an added element of strawberry which was unexpected, but worked incredibly well. The edible gold glitter and the chocolate “handle” added the perfect finishing touches. We both voted for this as our favorite on the People’s Choice ballot.

2nd Place: Cherry Blossom Sake (Season: Unknown)

Baker: Wanda Cushing

The delicate gum paste cherry blossom on top of this mini cupcake matched the mild sake and cherry flavors. Both flavors complemented each other nicely creating a really enjoyable and totally unique cupcake.

3rd Place: Chocolate Covered Coconut Robin’s Egg (Season: Spring)

BAKER: Monica Pearson of Monica’s Sugar Studio
(This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Spring’ category, voted by the competition judges. This baker was also last year’s ‘Best Professional Cupcake’ winner)

This adorable mini cupcake had really good coconut flavor throughout. The coconut blended well with the chocolate which somehow managed not to be overpowering. There was even a coconut filling in this tiny little treat!

As you can see, the competition was fierce! Here is a glimpse at the other flavors we tried, with a special “Honorable Mention” for a cupcake we thought was great, but didn’t make it into our final 3:

Honorable Mention: Root Beer Float (Season: Summer)
Baker: Deanna Rybak
(This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Amateur Summer’ category, voted by the competition judges.)

1: Gluten Free Eggnog Coco (Season: Winter) – BAKER: Caroline Litt
2: Gingerbread with Lemon Curd (Season: Winter)
– BAKER: Trevor Burroughs, “The Cake Guy” featured on Food Network’s Sweet Genius
3: Carrot with Orange Marmalade (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Linda McLean
4: Orange Creamsicle (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Sandy Schmuff, Dessertabilities
5: German Chocolate Easter Egg Nests Cake Ball (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Emily Baird, Alexandria Cake Pop Company (They won this year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Winter’ category for their Peppermint Chocolate Cake Pop, voted by the competition judges.)
6: Piñajito (Pineapple Mojito) (Season: Summer)
– BAKER: Catherine Baroang
7: Peach cobbler (Season: Summer)
– BAKER: Lora Gookin, Gâteau (This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Summer’ category, voted by the competition judges.)
8: Maple & Rum Flavored Pumpkin (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Juanita Holloway
9: Chocolate Bacon Chipotle (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Kyle Downes (Tied for 6th Place People’s Choice)
10: Red wine poached pear (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Tracy Fuller, Simply Desserts
11: Gluten Free Chai Brown Butter Meringue (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Becky Rink

After sampling all of these bite sized treats, we headed to the auditorium for a live demonstration by Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery. Sticky Fingers is a vegan bakery that has competed three times on the Food Network’s show, Cupcake Wars. They have won twice and are the first vegan bakery to ever win on an All-Stars show.

Doron’s demonstration was entertaining and full of great advice for upcoming bakers like, “Take business classes, the rest is easy. You like to eat, you taste it, if you like the way it tastes, it’s good.” That evening she was showing us all how she makes her Chocolate Bananas Foster cupcake. Even with all the sampling we had done, by the end of the demo, our mouths were watering hoping to one day try that cupcake.

Following the live demo was a book signing where we got to meet Doron. She couldn’t have been nicer and even posed for a quick picture with us!

We promised her we would be visiting her shop in DC this summer, when the weather got better, and we can’t wait! You will probably also see some of the recipes from her book posted on our blog as I dabble into the vegan baking world!

Overall it was a great night that couldn’t have ended on a better note!

To see a full list of the official National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challenge winners click here.

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

Green, Green, and More Green! Gotta Love St. Patty’s Day!

What could possibly make St. Patrick’s Day any better when you already get to wear green, act a bit crazy, drink lots of beer, and eat your weight in corned beef, cabbage and potatoes? You guessed it! Cupcakes!

Local bakeries and cupcakeries seemed to have a ton of fun this year with St. Patty’s Day offering everything from Chocolate Mint, Green Velvet, Irish Cream, Guinness, and even Corned Beef and Cabbage cupcakes. Below is a sampling of some that the Crusaders were fortunate to try!

“Car Bomb” Cupcake from Hamilton Bakery – Baltimore, MD

This cupcake screamed “GUINNESS” and “BAILEYS!” The cake was moist and rich, and the frosting was not sweet, but instead, it was buttery and very booze-infused. I’ve had several cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery, and this is my favorite so far!

Irish Cream Cupcake from Kupcakes & Co. – Elkridge, MD

Kupcake & Co. paired their amazing chocolate cake with a sweet and smooth Irish Cream frosting. The frosting was so flavorful that there’s no need to sit down with an after dinner Baileys on the rocks when you have this cupcake.

Green Velvet Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Crusader Jenn said that while the green cake on this Starry Night cupcake was really fun and festive, unfortunately it didn’t have much flavor that she could pinpoint. But her exact words about the frosting: “The chocolate ganache…oh the ganache! So good!” I’d say that she enjoyed it.  😉

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Some may argue that this is not a real cupcake due to its savory nature, but as always Starry Night stepped outside of the box and offered up something different. This Smithwicks cupcake was topped with corned beef in a Guinness glaze and finished with whipped potatoes & cabbage. Crusader Jenn said that it was the perfect pre-dinner appetizer!

We hope that you were able to enjoy some fun green-themed cupcakes this St. Patty’s Day! If so, share them with us!

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

Super Cupcakes for the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl yesterday, it was a big weekend for parties. And we know what that means…CUPCAKES! This was no exception for the Crusaders. Many places were offering Super Bowl themed cupcakes, so we got out to make sure we had a few ourselves.

Starry Night Bakery and Coffee House not only had their cupcakes decorated with hand-drawn candy footballs and XLVIs, they were also offering a new flavor…Hot Chocolate!


(The decorated cupcakes are Starry Night’s amazing Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes)

After having a few hot chocolate cupcakes from other bakeries this season, I was very excited to try this flavor from one of my favorites. And it didn’t disappoint. The moist chocolate cake was complemented with a marshmallow filling and what I believe was a marshmallow buttercream frosting. I hope they keep it on the menu through winter, because I’ll be needing another one!

When Crusaders Stacy and Elisa heard that Pirate Cupcakes created a spicy chocolate cupcake specifically for a Super Bowl chili cook-off that was taking place at Captain Larry’s in South Baltimore, they knew they had to try it.

According to Stacy, “The rich chocolate cake was moist but WOW there was a ton of heat after the first bite!” This cupcake was also filled with pepper jam and topped with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting was sweet and delicious, but unfortunately did nothing to cool the burning left behind. This cupcake definitely requires a cold beer immediately after sampling. Elisa and Stacy just couldn’t handle the spiciness and decided that they will return to try some of Pirate Cupcake’s other, non-spicy, cupcakes.

Did you have any cupcakes during the Super Bowl? Were any more on the savory side? Do you like savory cupcakes, or do you prefer them to stick to their roots as a sweet treat?

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

Starry Night: We just can’t get enough!

When I found out that one of my favorite local bakeries, Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, was introducing a new flavor, Cinnamon Chip, I just HAD to get down there and check it out! The other crusaders couldn’t resist either, so with a great “buy 1 get 1 free” deal, I stocked up for all of us. And I’m so glad I did!

This cupcake was so moist and packed a great cinnamon sugar punch. I don’t know how they created a cinnamon chip…maybe some sort of streusel…but I can’t stress enough how amazing this cupcake was. While having the cinnamon flavor you’d expect from a cinnamon roll or muffin, it still maintained a cupcake quality, which I loved about it.

Throughout many trips to Starry Night, I’ve been able to try some of their other cupcakes as well. One of these tasty treats included a cupcake they call Voodoo.

The Voodoo is an espresso cake with caramel buttercream, what I think is a chocolate filling, and topped with shaved chocolate covered espresso beans. As usual for Starry Night, this cupcake has moist cake and bold flavors. I highly recommend it for coffee enthusiasts.

On another visit, I decided that I should to venture out of their “Quirky Cupcakes” and into their standard cupcakes, so I picked up a toasted coconut.

This cupcake was good and I appreciated the sprinkling of regular and toasted coconut shavings on top. However, it wasn’t quite up to the standards I place on Starry Night because it wasn’t packed full of coconut flavor, like I expect from a cupcake. So I guess I’ll just have to stick with the “Quirky Cupcakes,” because WOW, they are good!

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

Will Flavor Cupcakery “Win” the Crusaders Vote?

Several months ago, prior to their appearance (and win) on Cupcake Wars, a couple of friends told the Crusaders about Flavor Cupcakery, located north of Baltimore City in Bel Air, Maryland. We were unable to make it to their storefront location before the show aired, but after their success, we knew we had to check them out. So, last Saturday, Crusader Elisa, some good friends and I met for brunch followed by cupcakes at Flavor. The day was warm for January and brunch was great, it was a perfect way to start the day!


(Flavor’s shop located at 118 North Tollgate Road  Bel Air, MD 21014)

When we arrived at Flavor there were a few customers ahead of us, which was great as we could shop the fun merchandise and make our cupcake selections.


(They had some great t-shirts! See the peach “LOVE” shirt at the top right? That shirt belongs to me now.)

The staff were amazingly friendly. Patient, full of smiles and willing to answer all our questions. They couldn’t have been a better fit in the adorable cupcake shop.

We all decided to have a cupcake there and then take a bunch home. They didn’t have any seating inside, but they did have a small table and a bench outside. Since the weather was so beautiful, we took the chance to enjoy it.

I decided that I would have the Cupcake Wars flavor, Modern Fruit Cake, first.

I was so intrigued by this flavor and didn’t know what to expect. The rum vanilla bean frosting was not too sweet and very creamy, like butter. The five spice vanilla cake was very dense, but still moist and had a great flavor which the spices really came through. While the frosting and cake already formed a great cupcake, the filling is really what made it stand out.

The filling was full of raisins, cherries and walnuts and had a great gooey texture. Overall this cupcake had so many different levels of textures and flavors that all worked cohesively. It was the only Cupcake Wars cupcake they had that day, but I would love to see what their other ones taste like. It’s amazing to me that this cupcake was thought up in minutes, not weeks.

While we were there, Elisa decided to have the Snickerdoodle one she bought.

Here are her thoughts on this cupcake: “This cupcake really spoke cinnamon to me! The cake was teaming with cinnamon and the butter cream icing swirled with it as well. You might be thinking, that’s too much cinnamon, but the flavor was spot on! Not over powering at all! The moist cake complimented the buttery icing, creating a smooth, not-too-sweet cupcake that I could eat over and over again. On top of tasting great, this cupcake was beautiful in color and texture.”

So far, we were two for two! Our two friends decided to eat the S’mores cupcake they selected. It consisted of a graham cracker pie crust, chocolate cake, and a marshmallow frosting.

Elisa also got this cupcake and tried it later, at home. She said, “The shocking part of this cupcake was when all three components were eaten together it completely tasted like a smore, but when eaten apart, I couldn’t taste the marshmallow flavor in the icing. That minor detail didn’t matter, because together the buttery graham cracker pie crust, moist chocolate cake, and buttery sneakily marshmallow flavor, created one rich and whimsical cupcake.”

All in all, we left there very happy and with many cupcakes to indulge in later. I also left with a dozen cake truffles since my husband and I were having company over that night. But I’ll post more on those later. For now, we’ll get back to the cupcakes.

Crusader Jenn was coming to my house the next day and really wanted to try these cupcakes too, so I saved the remaining five (of my initial half a dozen) so we could enjoy together.

We started with the Peanut Butter Chocolate.

The dome of peanut butter frosting really had us excited. It was a little less “frosting-like” and a little more peanut buttery, but still was a very satisfying peanut butter mixture. Unfortunately the chocolate cake was crumbly and dry. We were super bummed about this and hesitant to move on to the next cupcake, a Double Chocolate cupcake with chocolate cake and dark chocolate frosting.

As we suspected, the cake was also dry and crumbly, but the frosting was amazing! I’m a big fan of dark chocolate and this frosting hit the mark. If the cake had been more rich and moist this cupcake would have been a big winner.

We still had 3 cupcakes to go, so we decided to go with the last cupcake that contained chocolate cake: The Salted Caramel.

Surprisingly, the cake wasn’t dry and the smooth salted caramel frosting was UNBELIEVABLE! This is easily the best salted caramel frosting I’ve ever tasted. It was just the right blend of sweet and savory. The saltiness didn’t over power the caramel and likewise, the caramel didn’t overpower the saltiness. It was a perfect combination. I was so glad I decided to get this one!

With only two left to go, I decided to give the Vanilla a try. If you’ve been reading recently, you’ll know that lately I’ve been really into Vanilla. I used to think it was boring, but I’ve had some cupcakes that had great vanilla flavor and have decided that, when done correctly, it’s a tasty classic.

Unfortunately this Vanilla didn’t do it for me. The cake was moist and the frosting was creamy, but it lacked the punch of vanilla flavor that I was looking for. So, not a total disappointment, just not the best I’ve had.

With that, it was time for the last cupcake, the Mixed Berry one.

This cupcake is vanilla cake, with a raspberry filling and a strawberry frosting. Normally, I’m not a fan of strawberry frostings, but this cupcake was AMAZING. It was definitely my favorite of the bunch. On its own, the frosting was really sweet, but with the mild vanilla cake and the tart raspberry filling, it all worked so well together.

The filling was the biggest surprise. The way it was so evenly distributed in the cupcake was really nice. It ensured that with every bite you got the raspberry and strawberry flavors mixed together. I would drive the half hour to have another bite of this cupcake. It was so good!

As I mentioned above, I also got some cake truffles for “game night” at my house. They had three flavors in the shop, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Funfetti, and Double Chocolate, so I requested a mixture of them.

The first I tried, before everyone arrived, was the Salted Caramel. Like the cupcake, it was a great blend of salty and sweet. Later that night I sampled the Chocolate Funfetti which was dipped in white chocolate. This little cake truffle was packed with rich chocolatey sweetness. After just one, a tall glass of milk would have been wonderful. I didn’t try the Double Chocolate until the next day and strangely, something seemed “off” about it. We aren’t sure what it was, but there were three of us tasting it and we all couldn’t quite place it.

Overall, I was really happy with my Flavor experience. There may have been some things that weren’t my favorite, but the treats that were good, were really good.

I’m so happy that our Maryland cupcakeries are getting so much recognition on a show like Cupcake Wars. One day, I hope to visit all the Maryland locations that have competed.

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

Ringing in the New Year with Cupcakes!

As I’m sure you all know, there is no way the Cupcake Crusaders could have celebrated the New Year without cupcakes. Below are reviews from two of our local favorites that offered New Year’s Eve specific cupcakes.

Kupcakes & Co., Elkridge, MD

When I heard of all the cupcake shops making Champagne cupcakes, I knew I had to get my hands on at least one. Lucky for me, Kupcakes & Co. did not disappoint. They announced that they would have Champagne, Strawberry Champagne, and Mimosa cupcakes for two days only, so of course I was there on day one.

Elisa and Jenn couldn’t go with me to pick out cupcakes, but they placed their orders with me and we ended up with at least one of each. Here are our thoughts:

Champagne

Elisa did an amazing job describing this cupcake: “Bravo for a spectacular champagne cupcake! With light moist cake that gave you a hint of brut and smooth creamy icing that did the same, this cupcake really embodied a toast to the new year! I loved the chunky sugar on top too, just a small sprinkle went a long way to add another texture to this cupcake. I’d love to eat more of these and can’t wait to try more drink inspired cupcakes from Kupcakes and Co.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m slightly obsessed with their Egg Nog cupcake at the moment (I’ll be so sad to see it go) and this Champagne cupcake was on par with that. Their Hot Chocolate cupcake is also amazing, so they really seem to have a good grasp on how to turn a beverage into a cupcake.

Strawberry Champagne

This moist strawberry filled cake was topped with the same creamy frosting as the basic Champagne cupcake, and the pairing was amazing! There were actual chunks of strawberry in this cake which made the experience that much better. The sweet cake combined with the dryness of the frosting was a perfect balance.

Mimosa

This was Jenn’s selection and after personally tasting the Strawberry Champagne and reading her review, I was a little jealous that I didn’t get one of these as well. Here is her description: “This orange citrus cupcake with champagne buttercream has made it on my list of favorites! The orange cake was light and not overpowering and champagne really came through in the frosting, giving this cupcake the true taste of a mimosa!”

Our second review is from Crusader Jenn. She stopped by Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse knowing they wouldn’t let her down.

Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, Westminster, MD

When I found out Starry Night was offering New Year’s Eve inspired cupcakes, I knew that I had to head over there and pick up something special for the night. I’m so glad I did! Their cupcakes were decorated beautifully and made our night-in feel like something worth celebrating.

2012!  – Winter Spice with Maple Buttercream

Already knowing how amazing Starry Night’s maple buttercream is from their fall seasonal Pumpkin Maple cupcake, I was really excited about this cupcake. The spice cake was perfect and the handmade candy “2012” so exciting!

Chocolate Whiskey Cocktail

This cupcake was very similar to Starry Night’s Mahoo Wahoo, which we reviewed during Thanksgiving. The Mahoo Wahoo has been a favorite of mine due to its coffee punch with moist chocolate cake. Their Chocolate Whiskey topped with coffee buttercream was no exception. Although you can’t really taste the whiskey in the cake, it made the cake a little richer and moister. The hand drawn candy martini glass added to the top was so festive for the night!

Energy Drink Ginger Poppyseed

This cupcake was another Cupcake Wars contender, minus the guava frosting. Since our original review it’s been a favorite of mine, but hasn’t been on the menu for the fall. However, with the theme for the night being high energy, Starry Night brought it back! I missed the guava buttercream, however since the cake is amazing I was happy to at least get another taste of it!

Raspberry Champagne

It being the New Year and all, you can’t celebrate without some Champagne! Starry Night opted to keep the champagne in the cake and not the buttercream frosting, so the champagne flavor didn’t really come through but did make the cake super moist! The raspberry jam was in just the right proportion, so it didn’t overpower the cupcake and the champagne colored sprinkles added elegance to the cupcake that one associates with drinking champagne.

We hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve, with or without cupcakes! If you did have some cupcakes that are worth mentioning, please let us know, we would love to hear about them!

Happy New Year!

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

I ❤ Sprinkles “on” Georgetown!

I’d heard of Sprinkles from Stacy, but little did I know on my first visit, that it was started in Beverly Hills and has been stated as “the world’s first cupcake bakery” by the Food Network. The shop in Washington DC is very crisp, clean-lined, and contemporary. The decorations on the cupcakes are the same.

Being in DC is always a treat, but since it is also a rarity for me, I decided to buy a half dozen. The staff was very helpful and very cheery! They talked to me about the flavors and made some recommendations. I was lucky, because no one else was there, so they could really take some time with me and help me pick! Here are my flavors and thoughts!

Lemon:

(Please excuse the photos. We had a blogger photo fail and forgot to photograph the cupcakes before splitting them up.)

Moist fluffy cake that screamed citrus! The frosting was very sugary, and missing the vanilla flavor that I was hoping for, but this is a great cupcake for a sweet-tooth looking for a lemon/sugar fix.

Peanut Butter:

Chocolate Chip peanut butter cake was less moist than most of the other cupcakes, but still worth it! The frosting can only be described as “super yummy” – not too sweet, with just the right amount of savory, a must when you are talking peanuts! The chocolate jimmies on top where reminiscent of my kid days. I’d like to eat one of these for breakfast… and the next time I get down to DC, I plan on saving it for the next morning.

Cinnamon & Sugar:

While I think $3.50 for a cupcake that doesn’t have frosting is a little steep, this is a very interesting take on one. It tastes like a fluffy snickerdoodle cookie, and I could have eaten the cinnamon & sugar covered top over and over again!

Carrot:

WOW. What a carrot cupcake! Moist, cinnamon-y/nutmeg-y cake with REAL carrot pieces in the cake. The cream cheese frosting was more sugary than I typically like, but all in all this one of the best carrot cake cupcakes I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Caramel Apple: (A Seasonal Special!)

(Of the photo-fails, this is almost the most epic fail of them all. We took a bite before we even realized we needed to take photos. Sorry!)

The apple cake with spices was really nice, the mix of savory in the cake works so well with the very sweet lightly caramelized flavor of the frosting. The frosting left me wanting more caramel flavor and less sugar, especially because this it is also a cream cheese based.

Red Velvet:
(Sorry, no photo available. Definitely the biggest photo-fail of the group.)

Well, as you all know, I am some-what of a red velvet maniac. This one did NOT disappoint! It is by-far the second best red velvet I have ever tasted. The cake was just as the others, super moist. The frosting was sweeter than the usual cream cheese frostings (just as on the other cupcakes) but on this one it worked. The cake’s subtle sweetness equaled out the over-sweet frosting and created perfect bliss.

The day I went out it was a cold, but sunny and beautiful… and getting to eat such delicious cupcakes was the “icing” on the cake. 😉

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

What will you be dishing up this Thanksgiving?

The Cupcake Crusaders knew that we had to celebrate Thanksgiving in “Cupcake Style,” so when we saw what Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse had up their sleeve for this holiday the temptation was too much to bare.

I couldn’t wait to get these masterpieces out of the box to more closely admire them. While I was most excited about the cupcakes that looked like Thanksgiving staples, I also appreciated the festiveness of the turkey character and the simple leaf on top of chocolate icing.

Starry Night chose to take one of their special Cupcake Wars’ cupcakes, Mahoo Wahoo, and dress it up for the holiday with a cartoon turkey. This centerpiece for the collection is a good place to start.

While the flavors are not your typical for the season, the coffee taste for me represents the warmth that you expect this time of year. This cupcake uses Kona Coffee and is a chocolate cake with coffee drizzle glaze and coffee buttercream. If you like coffee and you like it strong, as I do, then this is the cupcake for you! Paired with the chocolate and it’s a match made in heaven.

Next in my selection was the Turkey Leg, which is their seasonal Pumpkin Maple cupcake (read a past review here).

While the decoration is seemingly simple, using crumbs and a candy bone sticking out of the frosting, it really looks like a turkey leg! And, what Thanksgiving would be complete without it? As for flavor, this is probably the 5th or 6th time I’ve had this cupcake this season. The maple flavor paired with pumpkin is a new favorite of mine and I just can’t get enough.

Moving around the dinner plate brings us to the Mashed Potatoes, or in this case chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, topped with a dollop of caramel.

This cupcake flavor falls into Starry Nights “Standards” and while it was tasty, with a buttercream icing that is just right, the cake wasn’t as chocolaty rich and moist as I would have liked. I wouldn’t say that it was dry, but I do prefer a decadently moist chocolate cake and this was not it. However, the caramel “gravy” did take the flavor to the next level and really makes me wish they plopped caramel on more frequently.

As with any dinner plate, there’s always a veggie. In this case it was Peas and Carrots, or a Red Velvet cupcake with buttercream frosting.

The detail in the decoration impressed me, right down to the sugar mimicking salt and pepper specks. I’m not usually a fan of peas and carrots, or Red Velvet, but was hoping for this cupcake to change my mind. Red Velvet is just so difficult to do correctly so I feel like most places should just skip it. While the flavor of this cake was good, better than most actually, the cake was dry so I wouldn’t recommend this for Crusader Elisa who knows her Red Velvet cupcakes. Also, while the butter cream icing was very good, I do prefer a cream cheese frosting on Red Velvet.

Continuing around the plate, takes us to dessert! In this case what looks like a sweet potato pie, but what is really an apple cake with buttercream frosting.

I’m assuming this cake is the same used in their Salted Caramel Apple seasonal cupcake (read a past review here). I was concerned that it wouldn’t be as good without the caramel buttercream, but this cupcake proved me wrong. The cake is just so good! Moist, flavorful, chunks of apple, need I continue? Topped with their perfect, not too sweet, buttercream really worked and it lets the cake be the star flavor, which I really appreciated.

Last on our plate is the Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Ganache frosting, adorned with some festive sprinkles and a fondant leaf.

As with the chocolate cake, this cupcake could have been more moist. Not that it was what I would call dry, because I’ve had some very dry cupcakes, but it just could have been better. However, this is the same chocolate ganache frosting that was on their Halloween cupcake (see here) and I could eat tubs of it.

Like with any meal, some things stand out as the stars and others not so much. Over all I was pleased with what Starry Night brought to the table this Thanksgiving and I’m very thankful to have such a tasty bakery just minutes away! If you have a chance to stop in, their “Quirky” cupcakes are the way to go!

What will you bring to the table this Thanksgiving?

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