Part 3: Cupcakes + Wolf Trap + Idina Menzel = Perfect Night Out with Cupcakes from Cupcakes!

As Crusader Jenn and Crusader Stacy said in their posts the past two days, we all adore Idina Menzel. My adoration only began because they introduced me to her and I thank them, because she is amazing… but enough about her talented self and onto more cupcakes.

Crusader Stacy and I made two stops before meeting up with Crusader Jenn and Guest Crusader Ashley at Wolf Trap for the concert. Our second stop was Cupcakes! in Vienna, VA. Located in a cute little shopping center, and upstairs from an eclectic gift shop, Cupcakes! was the perfect spot.

Cupcakes! boasts a lovely cupcake display with a variety of flavors to choose from, but they also have cupcake related gifts and gift items. Stacy went home with a new cupcake stand that has to be the most perfect little mini cake stand ever made. The staff were very helpful and sweet, explaining that they bake fresh every day and that the cupcakes are moist and flavorful, while the frosting is just sweet enough. They are just lovely; great customer service is never wasted on the Crusaders, we really appreciate it, as it can be hard to find.

We stuck to our “one cupcake per person, per location” rule for the day and decided on the following:

Dolce De Leche

Moist cake with smooth frosting that embodied Dolce de Leche. It’s a tough flavor to begin with, as it is sweetened milk that is heated and reduced down to an almost caramel type consistency, but Cupcakes! nailed it. The cake alone was lacking a little in flavor, but with the frosting and spot-on texture, all together it created perfect harmony. We liked this cupcake, and agreed its decoration was simple, but cute.

Strawberry

Two words: Strawberry CAKE. The staff told us that they use fresh strawberry in their cake, instead of using the strawberry in the frosting – we all thought this was brilliant! This allowed the strawberry flavor to shine, while the frosting wasn’t overly sweet. (I find fruit frostings to be on the sweeter side because you have to add more sugar to keep it stiff.) All of us enjoyed this cupcake, but I have to say that it was my favorite of the day and makes my list of top 5 cupcakes I have ever eaten. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Our experience with Cupcakes! could not have been better. Friendly staff and fantastic cupcakes, who could ask for more? Its only downfall is that it is so far away from Baltimore – because I wish I could go once a week for my strawberry cupcake fix. Whenever any of the Crusaders are in the Vienna, VA area we will have to stop into Cupcakes!.

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

Found: True “Cup Love” in Canton

I often run down Linwood Ave and pass by Canton Square at least a few times a week and so I was delighted when Stacy told me about a new exciting cupcake and frozen yogurt place moving onto the square! Frozen yogurt, like anything else sweet and delicious, is just one more thing that this Crusader loves, so last week I stopped by the new little “frozen yogurt, cupcakes & more” shop called Cup Love.

It was busy when I got there (the photo above was taken as they were about to close and the shop had emptied out), so I took a minute to look around and discovered it is a “serve yourself” style frozen yogurt bar, with 8 different types of frozen yogurt to choose from and every “fixin” you could ever imagine wanting! And of course, there were cupcakes in adorable little cake stands on the counter near the register. While I was taking it all in, one of the owners stopped and asked me if I needed any help or wanted to try any of the yogurt flavors. I introduced myself and was then introduced to the other owner, artist, sign maker, and cupcake baker! They were very gracious and welcoming, as they were with every customer.

After talking about how it all worked, and trying a couple of flavors, I decided upon Dolce de Leche for my frozen yogurt with pieces of banana toffee cupcake on top and just a bit of peanut butter frozen yogurt on the side. It’s paid for by weight, so the more yogurt you want and the more toppings you add, the more it will cost, but my yogurt concoction was just over 3 bucks, making it very reasonably priced! And the taste – OH MY! The yogurt was creamy, flavorful, and delicious! The cupcake pieces on top really added a nice texture and flavor as well.

But that wasn’t even the best part, because that night, I took 5 cupcakes home with me! (Thank you so much to Cup Love for sending me home with them free of charge!) Below are the flavors and reviews:

Lime Whipped Frosting on Vanilla cake

While I thought the cake was slightly oily, it was also spongy and had a sweet, subtle flavor. The icing was amazingly citrusy and tart – the perfect complement to the more subdued cake. Together they created a very nice and refreshing cupcake that I look forward to eating in the hot summer months ahead.

Peanut Butter on Devil’s Food cake

First of all, this cupcake was HUGE – so large that I split it up to share with some of my co-workers! The cake alone was a bit plain, but it needed to be so that when eaten with the icing and ganache together it all isn’t too sweet. Yes, I said icing AND ganache. The peanut butter icing was smooth and sweet, and the chocolate ganache melted in your mouth. The chopped peanuts on top added the most fantastic texture (just like when you add them to a frozen yogurt sundae, hint hint) and I loved the hint of salt I tasted too. Definitely a cupcake to be eaten again, but it will have to be shared as it is so large.

Vanilla Marshmallow Frosting on Vanilla cake

Moist and simple, the cake alone was very classic… then I tasted the icing. Immediately, I was whisked away to long ago summers at my Nona’s house and being in her kitchen, stealing a spoonful of her buttercream icing out of the fridge. While not exactly the same – Nona’s buttercream doesn’t have any marshmallow in the recipe – it is so very close and so very delicious. When writing my notes on this cupcake I wrote, “Fluffy, smooth, sweet, & buttery, don’t really taste any marshmallow, but I don’t care about that one bit.” That just about says it all.

Red Velvet

As you all know, I am partial to red velvet and enjoyed Cup Love’s take on this classic cupcake. The cake was on the drier side, but that’s almost expected with red velvet. The cream cheese frosting was smooth and creamy, sweet and savory… it didn’t taste like traditional cream cheese icing, and I kinda love that!

Banana Toffee with Cream Cheese frosting

FANTASTIC. It’s the only word I can use to describe this cupcake. The banana flavor was superb without making it taste like a muffin, which I have found is an issue with banana flavored cake. The toffee was a sweet addition that didn’t overpower the moist banana cake. The not-too-sweet cream cheese icing was perfection and the toffee bits on top added a whole other texture to love! My favorite of the cupcakes, I will be ordering this one again and again.

My first experience with Cup Love was phenomenal to say the least. The owners have to be some of the sweetest and most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and their vision for a “fix-your-own” frozen yogurt shop is the perfect “icing” on Canton Square. They are always working on tweaking the cupcake recipes to perfection, and thinking of new and interesting toppings for the frozen yogurt. I highly recommend going, creating your own frozen yogurt concoction, and taking a cupcake home for breakfast the next day. I already decided I’ll have to start carrying a couple of dollars with me when I run so that I can stop by on my way home and reward my running with some refreshing frozen yogurt, topped with cupcake of course!

Have you been to Cup Love? What did you order? AND what should I try next?!

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

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