A Bakeshop Called “Bakershop” in Arlington, VA

With the abundance of bakeries, cakeries, cupcakeries, pastry shops, and bake shoppes (or bakeshops) you might think that a new venture would go for a unique name to set themselves apart. But Bakeshop, on Fillmore Street in Arlington, VA, chose to go with the idea that “simple is better.”

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With the large, bold “Bakeshop” type on the storefront windows , there is no confusion on what you will find behind them. Once inside, you will see that Bakeshop is a blend of modern, classic, and quirky with a display of mismatched dessert stands showcasing Parisian macarons, cookies, and pretty little cupcakes.

After exploring their website and Facebook page, I knew I would be getting some macarons along with my cupcakes, but I was also interested in something they call “Oreo in a Blanket.” If you think an Oreo cookie can’t get any better, think again. Bakeshop has baked an Oreo inside of a chocolate chip cookie, which I can only imagine tastes like heaven. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up leaving with my entire wish list, because at $2.75 each, the Oreo in a Blanket cost more than their cupcakes or macarons, so I had to pass.

Crusader Jenn was with me and we decided to take three cupcakes and three macarons home with us. I selected a Lemon cupcake, a Lemon macaron, and a Peaches N Cream macaron. Jenn decided to stay in the car with her sleeping daughter, Leah, and asked that I pick out two cupcakes and one macaron for her, so I chose a Cookies N Cream cupcake, a Strawberry Lemonade cupcake, and a Salted Peanut macaron.

Lemon Cupcake

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The frosting on this Lemon cupcake didn’t seem to have much (if any) lemon flavor to it, but it was smooth, light, and creamy. While the cake had more flavor, it seemed like there was an extra flavor in there which reminded me of a lemon poppyseed muffin. The cake was far from muffin-like though with its moist, fluffly, and light texture. Even though this cupcake didn’t have the burst of fresh citrus flavor I prefer in a Lemon cupcake, it was still really tasty.

Strawberry Lemonade

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Crusader Jenn said that this cupcake was moist and light, but it had a bit of a weird flavor that tasted more like candy than fresh fruit. Even though you can see the strawberries in the frosting she said she couldn’t taste it at all.

Cookies N Cream

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Crusader Jenn said that this cupcake was better than the Strawberry Lemonade but it still was nothing special, and that while it had the same nice texture, the chocolate cake tasted a bit like a box mix. She also said that the frosting was good by itself, with a good cookies and cream flavor, but that with the cake it just tasted like a chocolate cupcake. She added that, “I don’t usually say this, but it needed more frosting for a true cookies and cream flavor.”

Macarons

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I think macarons accompany cupcakes in a great way. Small and packed with flavor, if a bakery or coffee shop sells them, I will almost always buy one or two. I’m still not an expert on macarons, but these were $2 a piece which I think is about the normal average cost of one. The outer shell of the cookie was not quite as smooth as I’m normally used to seeing, but that didn’t stop me from diving it. I thought the Peaches N Cream really could have used more flavor, but the lemon one was great. It had a more true lemon flavor than the cupcake from Bakeshop, so it was a happy surprise. Jenn said that the Salted Peanut macaron was the best of all three treats she tried from Bakeshop because it had lots of rich flavor that was a good balance of sweet and salty. She felt like it might have been a little more airy than she’s had in the past (I thought the same about mine), but that since it had a nice crunchy outside and was soft and moist on the inside it was still really enjoyable.

Bakeshop’s cupcakes are on the small side, but priced well at only $2 each. If I ever find myself in their neighborhood again, I would definitely stop in to get some macarons. I might even grab a new cupcake flavor or two (at only $2 each, how could I say “no?”).

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

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Baked with Love: Tweet’s Sweets

Last month we shared an interview with Tweet’s Sweets discussing both her charity event to raise money for cancer patients and why cancer awareness is so important to her. Tweety has seen many close friends and family battle cancer, so she has dedicated her company and her baking skills to fighting back. Her most recent event, Cancer Bites: We’ll Bite Harder, raised $1,500 which was divided between three charities. Tweety told us that two of those charities had people waiting to receive the funds to help with the expenses for fighting cancer. At the event, Tweety made a shocking announcement: she’s now battling cancer herself. Instead of letting this discourage her, Tweety is pressing forward and is determined to overcome cancer while growing her business. To watch videos of the event, click here and here.

After her fundraising event, Tweety found time in her busy schedule to hand-deliver cupcakes to us for a tasting. She provided three flavors: Suga Mama (Sweet Potato), Red Velvet, and Licia’s Puddin (Banana Pudding).

Suga Mama (Sweet Potato):

Our initial reaction? This woman can BAKE! The sweet potato cake was incredibly moist. So moist in fact that Crusader Jenn said, “Maybe almost too moist?” I’m not sure how that is possible, except that it was a little difficult to pick up and eat, but being a cupcake warrior, I seemed to manage just fine.

Red Velvet:

I think this was my favorite out of all three. Normally Red Velvet isn’t my thing (I reserve this flavor for our Red Velvet Crusader, Elisa), but Tweety had just the right blend of flavors and moist cake—which seems to be a rarity when it comes to Red Velvet. While the frosting to cake ratio might not seem to be enough for some, it was surprisingly perfect.

Licia’s Puddin (Banana Pudding):

This cupcake ended up being Crusader Jenn’s favorite. The moist cake was a bit denser than the Red Velvet, but that’s to be expected since it was packed with real bananas. Because of all the fresh ingredients used, Tweety told us to keep this cupcake refrigerated. Normally this wreaks havoc on cake, causing it to dry out, but not Tweety’s cupcakes! It was just as moist and wonderful as if it was fresh from the oven.

Tweet’s Sweets’ cupcakes are a rare find in today’s world of over-the-top cupcakes. They are simple with a homemade quality that doesn’t come around very often. With each bite you feel like you are sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen, listening to the stories of the “good ole days,” while snacking on fresh baked goods. She says she learned to bake from her “Nan” back when she was just a young girl and her love of baking is evident with each cupcake.

Tweet’s Sweets recently celebrated their 5th anniversary by giving goodies away to their fans while raising money for the homeless (Tweety is a super-hero when it comes to giving back!). When asked where she sees herself in the next year, she replied, “Next year I am anticipating having another fundraiser where I announce that I have bitten cancer into remission.” We believe that with her drive and determination, Tweety can do anything!

To read our full interview with Tweet’s Sweets, click here.

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

Sunday visit to CakeLove at the National Harbor

Growing up, I spent many Saturdays going to work with my dad in Oxon Hill, MD. This meant that Crusader Jenn and I either spent the morning with our Grandmother (who only lived a few minutes away) having tea parties, swimming, and playing rummy cub, or we would relax in our dad’s office reading the hours away. No matter which we did during those mornings, one thing was certain, we would spend the afternoons exploring Washington DC. I have countless memories from our frequent excursions to the museums, parks, and art galleries throughout the DC area.

Despite my vast history with the DC area, I don’t go there nearly enough anymore, which means I don’t visit with my grandparents as much as should either. But I’m working on that and after a recent Sunday afternoon visit with them, I decided to stop by the National Harbor where CakeLove has a location.

To my surprise I realized that I hadn’t been to the National Harbor since it underwent its major redevelopment. I couldn’t believe all the restaurants and shops that formed a little city along the waterfront. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I wished I had more time to wander up and down the docks, browse through shops, and maybe even sit with a coffee or ice cream cone. But I was on a mission. Cupcakes.


(Look at that blue sky and those pretty fluffy clouds! The day couldn’t have been nicer!)

After wandering around the harbor for a little bit, I headed into CakeLove’s shop and was greeted by a less than enthusiastic woman. They had a good variety of flavors though, so I took a few minutes to make my final selection of a Strawberry Cheesecake cupcake and a Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake.


(Strawberry Cheesecake cupcake from CakeLove.)

When I first sampled the frosting on the Strawberry Cheesecake I was surprised to find that it actually tasted just like cheesecake. The strawberries added a nice sweetness, just as they do on a typical strawberry cheesecake dessert, but there was something off putting about the cake. It was very dense, dry, and spongy, but not in a light and fluffy way. While the top of the cupcake was full of flavor, the cake itself was seriously lacking.


(Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake from CakeLove.)

The Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake had this same problem. The chocolate ganache on top was decadent, the peanut butter frosting was light but had great peanut butter flavor, and the caramel added an overall richness, but the chocolate cake was bland, dense, and dry. In the end, I decided to just eat the tops off both cupcakes and discarded the cake portion.

CakeLove is celebrating 10 years of being in business, they have many locations, and the founder, Warren Brown, has hosted a show on the Food Network, written cook books and even been featured on shows like Oprah Winfrey. With all of this hype, I was really expecting more out of these cupcakes, and unfortunately they just didn’t do it for me. Maybe the consistency of the cake was due to the lack of quality control with having so many locations, or maybe it was because they refrigerate their cupcakes? (They say they do this because of health code regulations and so that the cake flavors have time to “marry overnight”, but refrigeration can cause cake to dry out quickly.)

That said, I still really enjoyed my time at the National Harbor. I look forward to returning and spending more time there, and maybe even giving CakeLove another shot. Everyone is allowed a second chance, right? 🙂

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