Fenwick Bakery: A True Baltimore Bakery

Opening Day at Camden Yards is not an event to be taken lightly in Baltimore City. If you happen to be stuck at work (like me), don’t expect emails in your inbox or the phone to ring, it just won’t happen—or at least not often.

This past Friday was Opening Day and even the local bakeries get into the spirit. Fenwick Bakery never misses a chance to celebrate our city’s sporting events, so on Friday they converted their Fedora (a cupcake baked without a liner, flipped upside down, and then covered in a chocolate shell whose shape mimics its namesake) into an Orioles’ Rally Cap:

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(Photo from Fenwick Bakery’s Facebook Page. No harm or infringement intended.)

Fenwick Bakery is a true Baltimore bakery (and although their address says Parkville they are still within city limits). According to them, their “love story” began when the two original owners married in 1913 and opened a bakery shortly after (originally named Uebersax Bakery). A century later, it has only had three different owners and still uses original recipes.

When you first walk in, you are immediately struck by the smell of fresh doughnuts. If that’s not enough to put a smile on your face, the two displays filled with baked goods that make up most of their small storefront surely will. But don’t expect any fancy decor or over the top greetings. Fenwick Bakery is a no-frills bakery that only promises to produce fresh, tasty treats. The women behind the counter won’t greet you with an over-the-top smile and perky “hello,” but they will ask you what they can get for you and put your order together quickly. If you are lucky, you might even get called “hon” or “babe.”

Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to pick up their recent Orioles’ Rally Cap Fedoras, but it did remind us that we have been bad bloggers and haven’t shared ANY of the treats we’ve enjoyed from Fenwick Bakery, including the Fedora.

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(Their classic Fedora and a Black Bottom cupcake we tried on our first visit)

When we tried the Fedora it had the perfect, rich, moist chocolate cake. The Black Bottom cupcake was the same, and might have been the best Black Bottom I’ve ever eaten.

On our first visit they didn’t have any regular cupcakes, but it wasn’t long after that I decided I NEEDED to try their doughnuts. While there, I saw they had made special Ravens cupcakes for the playoff games (yes that was about 3 months ago…did I mention I’ve been a bad blogger?).

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Words can’t describe how unbelievably amazing their doughnuts are. They don’t have a ton of flashy flavors like Dunkin Donuts or Fractured Prune, but they are melt in your mouth amazing.

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After having a great experience with the Fedora, Black Bottoms, and doughnuts, I had high expectations for their cupcakes. Unfortunately, they didn’t live up to my hopes. The cake was dry and the frosting tasted different than that of the oh-so-wonderful frosting on their doughnuts. I was bummed.

I don’t think I’d get their cupcakes again (never say “never” though, right?), but this down-to-earth bakery still has a lot to offer. And there is no way I can stay away from those crazy-good doughnuts for very long.

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

Warming Up This Winter with Hot Beverage Cupcakes

As a graphic designer, you would hope that I would be impervious to products marketed specifically for the winter season. I know the tactics used to get shoppers to buy these products, so theoretically, this should keep me from purchasing them. Well cupcake lovers, this is not the case. I too fall subject to the snowflakes, fun type, and bold colorful photos. Exhibit A:

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When I saw this Betty Crocker Hot Chocolate cupcake mix, I almost danced in the grocery aisle. I can’t help myself. Sure, I know that it’s really just a normal chocolate cake mix with some mini marshmallows tossed in and a sub-par frosting mixture added to the box, but while my head says “don’t succumb to the festive graphics,” everything else inside of me screams, “BUY IT!”

So that is exactly what I did.

It turned out to be a good thing that I purchased this box mix because I signed up to make 3 dozen cupcakes for a charity event and knew the kids would love these. To go along with the “hot beverage theme” I also decided to make two dozen Coffee and Doughnuts cupcakes, which have been on my list for quite some time.

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(Coffee and Doughnuts and Hot Chocolate cupcakes ready to be eaten.)

Aren’t they pretty? I wish they all had turned out this well…

I decided not to modify the Hot Chocolate cupcake mix in order to provide you all with a review of exactly what I thought of Betty Crocker’s winter product. The directions say to beat the frosting while it cooks on the stove and that it will fluff up in the process. Unfortunately, I have no electrical outlet near my stove, so this proved to be a challenge—which I lost. The frosting ended up super runny and there didn’t appear to be enough for twelve cupcakes, so I added confectioners sugar until the consistency thickened and there looked to be enough for the dozen cupcakes I had cooling. This, however, made the frosting lose its marshmallow-like flavor and instead, just taste like sugar. Despite this, it went on the cupcake nicely and I figured the kids probably wouldn’t mind the sugary flavor.

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(I only have a few of these fancy teacup cupcake cups, so the majority of the cupcakes were baked in Christmas paper liners.)

I was really happy with the end result and added little marshmallows and a cookie roll to the top for the finishing touches. Sadly, when I woke the next day, the cupcakes looked like this:

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The frosting on about half of them had oozed and melted off the cupcakes, while the other half remained in place. I have no idea what happened. The cupcakes had completely cooled and (ignoring my usual “no fridge rule”) I left them in the fridge overnight, just to make sure the house didn’t get too warm with all the baking I was doing. In the end, I decided that these could not be taken to the event so only delivered six of these and two dozen of the coffee and doughnuts cupcakes, instead of the three dozen I initially promised.

The Coffee and Doughnuts cupcakes actually ended up being much easier to make than the Betty Crocker Hot Chocolate cupcakes. I used my typical chocolate cake modification for box mix (one box of instant chocolate pudding and mini chocolate chips). For the frosting, I made a simple buttercream recipe (3 sticks of butter and about 5 cups of confectioners sugar to taste) and then mixed one to two tablespoons of cream with about a tablespoon of instant decaf coffee and added it to the frosting. I just did everything to taste, so if you like a sweeter frosting you can use more sugar and if you prefer a more buttery frosting, just use less sugar. It’s really as easy as that.

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To make these cupcakes even easier, I bought pre-made doughnut holes and placed them on top before delivering them to the party. These cupcakes were a huge hit, and I have to admit, the coffee buttercream was some of the best frosting I’ve ever made.

Since there was some frosting leftover, I decided to freeze it to make cakepops at a later time. I also had some frozen chocolate cake leftover from removing the center of cupcakes for fillings, so all I had to do was thaw the cake pieces and frosting, mix those together, roll into balls, and freeze. For the chocolate coating, I didn’t want it to be too thick, so I turned to one of my favorite blogs, Love from the Oven. From there, I navigated my way to Simply Designing, which recommended to add a bit of vegetable oil to the chocolate while melting it.

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The cakepops dipped well into the melted chocolate and, as I had hoped, there was only a thin layer of coating. I was worried that some of my family wouldn’t like them because of the coffee flavor (they aren’t all addicted coffee drinkers like my sisters and I), but the chocolate ended up overpowering the coffee, so everyone loved them. Next time I will add some instant coffee granules to the cake/frosting mixture to bump that flavor up more, but for this occasion, I think it was perfect and that the coffee undertones actually helped to enhance the chocolate flavor.

Even though not all of these hot beverage cupcakes turned out as I had hoped, I still have many “beverage themed” cupcakes I would like to explore, like tea-infused and Dr. Pepper cupcakes. My advice, however, is this: skip Betty Crocker’s Hot Chocolate cupcake mix, and make your own version of a Hot Chocolate cupcake instead. You’ll thank me later.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Sorta related to Cupcakes.

In my opinion, there are several things in the “cupcake family.” Included in this list are cakepops, cakeballs, donuts, muffins, you get my point…If it is sweet and a single serving, then I think it can be discussed on this blog. Well, I guess since it’s my blog I can discuss anything I want, but back to my story:

So, this weekend I started a small, casual search for Starbucks’ Birthday Cake Cakepop. I heard that it was amazing from a friend, and after trying the Tiramisu flavor a while back, I decided that I had to try this one also. My search began on Friday night when I decided to stop into a local Starbucks while picking up dinner. Well, to my suprise, not only did they not have any of the Birthday Cake Cakepops left, they didn’t have any cakepops left at all. So, instead I got:

You may have guessed, it’s the Birthday Cake Mini Doughnut. I have to admit, I love doughnuts, so I was fairly excited about this, but to my disappointment it was bland and didn’t have much flavor at all. Of course that didn’t stop me from finishing it.

So, my search continued… On Sunday, during the trip home from visiting my Grandmother who recently had her hip replaced, my big sister and I decided that a Starbucks trip was necessary. We were about an hour from home and I was convinced that Sunday would be the day I could try the Birthday Cake Cakepop. But no. They had the Tiramisu and the Rocky Road:

So, since I had already tried the Tiramisu I went with the Rocky Road. Thankfully the Rocky Road was actually very delicious. I still think I liked the Tiramisu better, but at least it was much better than the mini doughnut. I can only imagine how good this Birthday Cake Cakepop must be since it’s been sold out the past two times I’ve been to Starbucks. So, the search continues…

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