Our Westminster, MD Cupcake Picnic Recap

Sunday’s Westminster Cupcake Picnic was another successful gathering, with help from Joel of Josie’s Confections. More cupcake lovers were able to make it out to the Westminster Community Pond and the cupcakes were plentiful! We scored a great spot under the pavilion, next to the playground, which worked out well for some of our youngest attendants.


(Crusader Elisa, Guest Crusader Beth, and myself hanging out while others arrived.)

Although sitting on blankets at our DC Cupcake Picnic made it really feel like an old-fashion picnic, it was nice to have the tables this time. The breeze felt great sitting in the shade. It couldn’t have been a better day for a picnic!

We were admiring the cupcakes that had already shown up, but holding off digging in. It seemed like it would be more polite to wait until some of the others arrived. But then our little niece Lylah said, “I want a cupcake.” With that, the cupcaking began and didn’t stop, as more people showed up with their picnic contributions.

Cupcakes that were in attendance:
1) Joel brought some of his new Josie’s Confections’ boozy flavors, including Tiramisu with a Kahlua filling. Look out for a full review of Josie’s Confections coming later this week.
2) Josie’s Confections’ Mango Passion Fruit and Rum & Coke.
3) Josie’s Confections’ Ciroc Red Berry Lemonade.
4) Robin and Camille came with homemade marble cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache.
5) Beth brought an assortment from Fresh Bakery. We’ve reviewed Fresh a few times but this was the my first time tasting their Creamsicle and it had the perfect Creamsicle flavor.
6) Rachael brought her homemade Snickers cupcakes, which I also tried at her daughter’s 1st birthday and are always a hit!
7) Crusader Elisa made Honey Grapefruit cupcakes, two ways. One had a grapefruit curd filling and the other had a honey filling. Keep an eye out for a full recipe review soon!
8) I brought these store bought cupcakes that came from Walmart. Flavors included Lemon, Vanilla Bean, and Triple Chocolate. For those curious about how these full-size Walmart cupcakes tasted, I’ll be doing a review next week.
9) Crusaders’ Dad brought Golden Snitch cake pops, extras from a Harry Potter birthday party he hosted the night before. Guest Crusader Beth was very excited to see these there!
10) I think these Pink Lemonade cupcakes also came from Robin and Camille’s group. So many cupcakes, it was hard to keep track! After tasting and complimenting them, I found out that they were made with Pillsbury’s Pink Lemonade cake mix.
11) Another candy bar themed cupcake came from Guest Crusader Kim, who wrote about her first experience making these for her 30th birthday party.
12) Crusader Stacy made Lemon Blueberry cupcakes and jazzed them up for the summer with some fancy decorating. She’ll be featuring these in a post coming soon!


(With so many cupcakes, we learned that there would be a lot of cupcake-exchanging going on. This time the Crusaders provided a “to-go” option for our guests.)

At the last picnic we had a cupcake eating challenge and thought maybe we’d see if anyone wanted to take on “The King” and try to beat his time of 5 cupcakes in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. There was one brave lady, Simone, who stepped up to the plate (or in our case the picnic table…we ran out of plates that could fit all 5 cupcakes).


(Simone with the 5 cupcakes she selected. We admire her courage in taking on The King!)

She attacked those cupcakes with gusto, but in the end Joel gets to keep his reigning title as the real “Cupcake King.” We were very proud of Simone’s attempt and she left with a prize pack as a thank you for participating.


(My cupcake carnage…Those cupcakes didn’t see what was coming to them.)

We hope that everyone had a good time and thank our guests, especially those who drove over an hour from DC and Northern Virginia! It was great to meet other enthusiasts and enjoy the nice day talking about baking, cupcakes, and getting to know one another better. After two great Cupcake Picnics, we are even more excited for our final Baltimore picnic next month and are already getting requests to have a 2013 picnic series! If you are interested in attending the Baltimore Cupcake Picnic, check out more details and RSVP here.

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

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A First Mother’s Day without Cupcakes? Not me!

Last year I was pregnant during Mother’s Day, and although a lot of nice people wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day” I still didn’t really know what it meant to be a mom. I was able to sleep in, eat when I wanted to eat, take a nap when I wanted, and just enjoy all the simple pleasures that you take for granted before you actually have a child. I’d love to say that this Mother’s Day was everything a person could ever have dreamed of, but with a baby (who turned 10 months old yesterday), I had little expectations for a relaxing day.


(Some of the nice Mother’s Day gifts I received from family.)

In addition to thoughtful gifts I received throughout the weekend, I made plans to pick up Mother’s Day cupcakes from Fresh Bakery with a LivingSocial voucher I had to redeem. Cupcakes always make any day better and I looked forward to them making my first Mother’s Day extra special!

The day started at…(insert drum roll)…5:30am! My “little” bundle of joy decided she just couldn’t wait until her usual 6:30-7am wake-up time to celebrate Mommy’s special day. Luckily, after an hour of boisterous chatting with her “stuffy,” my husband and I decided she wasn’t going back to sleep and he went and took care of her so I could get another glorious half hour of rest.


(Special day means a special drink! This one is a tasty Moscato Aperol Spritz, with Leah in the background making faces.)

Throughout the day there were more ups and downs, but the cupcakes were constantly in the back of my mind. After a nice church service with many well wishes and Mother’s Day hugs, and a somewhat exhausting lunch with a very hungry and tired baby, I was finally able to pick up my cupcakes! I had hoped to enjoy my treats while relaxing, but since Leah fell asleep in the car (and woke up as soon as we arrived home), I knew I’d have to wait until after she went to bed.


(Before dinner I decided to take some photos of my special Mother’s Day cupcakes. I asked for a mixed assortment, so I wasn’t exactly sure what we would get.)


(It was so tempting to dig in!)


(This was the only one that I was certain was a Red Velvet, and it was probably the best Red Velvet I’ve ever had!)

I had been teasing my husband all day that I was not going to share MY cupcakes, but being the awesome wife I am, I decided that he could have some. We shared four of the six, and not one of them disappointed us! The flavors included vanilla-vanilla, red velvet, something with a strawberry frosting, and something cinnamon-y. We’ve tried most of Fresh Bakery’s flavors and they are always so moist and delicious! I can’t wait to finish up the remaining two tonight!

What did you do for Mother’s Day this year? Where cupcakes a part of the day? Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory? I know certain holidays can be difficult for some, but I hope you all were able to find something special on this day, whether it was spending time with your mom, your children, siblings, friends or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. Even though my day was a little exhausting, Leah gave me a special gift…she walked around pushing her activity walker for the first time! As time passes I’m sure I’ll forget the fussy-baby-moments, but I will always remember my first Mother’s Day as being very special!

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

The Cupcakes You Didn’t See | Fresh Bakery | Owings Mills, MD

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Top 5 post on Fresh Bakery, over the past couple of years we’ve eaten a lot of their cupcakes. Even though those cupcakes may not have made the “highly recommended” list, they are all still great, so we wanted to share some of them with you:

Red Velvet


(Not being the Red Velvet pro like Crusader Elisa, Jenn and I thought this cupcake, topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting, was pretty good. But her expert taste buds on this flavor disagreed with us. She said it was good, but not her favorite.)

Banana’s Foster


(Years ago this was one of my favorites, but now having tried so many other great flavors, this cupcake has moved down that list, but doesn’t stop it from being a tasty option.)

Sweet Potato Cheesecake


(This cupcake contains a sweet potato cake blended with soft cheese cake and topped with a sweet frosting. While it doesn’t scream “sweet potato” the cheesecake blends with the spices to create a balanced and delicious cupcake.)

Chocolate Chocolate


(This rich dark chocolate cake has just the right amount of sweetness to make it decadent and wonderful.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter


(Chocolate cake combined with creamy peanut butter frosting form this savory classic cupcake.)

Chocolate Strawberry


(This cupcake has the same chocolate cake that is found in the chocolate peanut butter but instead it’s topped with a sweet strawberry frosting.)

Cookies and Cream


(The cake and frosting on this cupcake are each filled with an abundance of crushed cookie pieces resulting in a wonderfully strong “Oreo” cookie flavor.)

Pecan


(This is a great cupcake complete with large and small chunks of yummy pecans. It would be perfect for a Thanksgiving Day spread.)

Have you been to Fresh Bakery? What are your favorite flavors? We’d love to hear!

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

Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Fresh Bakery | Owings Mills, MD

We are excited to introduce our next series! Every Tuesday for the next 5 weeks we will countdown 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 decide 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’s no better way to find out than a recommendation!

Our 5th favorite cupcakery located outside of Baltimore City is Fresh Bakery. Fresh Bakery is currently stationed in the food court at the Owings Mills mall, but they used to have several kiosks spread out in malls around the outskirts of Baltimore City. My first experience with them, almost 2 years ago, was at one of those kiosks located in Towson Town Center. I randomly stumbled upon it on a shopping trip and ended up going home with four of their deliciously square (yep, they are square!) cupcakes.


(My first four cupcakes from Fresh Bakery were: Key Lime, Bananas Foster, Strawberry Chocolate, and Red Velvet)

After my first taste of these cupcakes, I was amazed at how moist and full of flavor they were. Each one of them was unique, yet wonderful.

Fresh Bakery’s only downside is their location. While they used to be housed in several shopping centers (Arundel Mills, Columbia, and Towson Town Center), they are now only located in the Owings Mills mall. For anyone who has been there recently, you know that this mall doesn’t have a lot to offer. It seems to be slowly closing down so there are very few stores and food options remaining. This means that you will most likely have to make a separate trip there just for these cupcakes. When they were placed throughout several great malls, their cupcakes were the perfect end to a successful (or not-so-successful) shopping excursion.

Over time, the Crusaders and I have had many encounters with Fresh Bakery’s cupcakes and I have never had a bad experience with any. We do have our favorites though, so for now we are going to focus on just a few that we would highly recommend to anyone.

Vanilla

By now most of you probably know about my growing fascination with vanilla cupcakes. Some may find them boring, but I think they are a great classic when done well and Fresh Bakery knows how to make this classic a standout. There is an intense vanilla flavor that creates a total birthday party in your mouth. The cake is also very airy and moist which is a great contrast to the thick creamy frosting.

Apple Pie

You can’t really go wrong when apples and caramel are paired together, and this cupcake is no exception. The sweet caramel melded into the moist cake which was brimming with perfectly cooked apples. I’d rather have this cupcake than actual apple pie any day.

Cookie Dough

I’m a big fan of cookie dough straight from the bowl (or a store bought container…), so this cupcake combines two of my favorite things. The cookie dough isn’t just a light sprinkling throughout the cake or frosting, instead there is a big ball of it baked right in the center.

Look at all that wonderful cookie goodness! You might think that the frosting would play second fiddle to the awesomeness of the cookie dough in the cake, but that’s not the case at all. The frosting itself manages to taste exactly like cookie dough too! I don’t know how they do it, but if you get a chance, you must experience this cupcake for yourself.

Snickerdoodle

I’ve had some really tasty snickerdoodle cupcakes recently, and this is one of them. Sweet, moist and packed with cinnamon flavor. You really can’t ask for more from this tiny treat. It is a definite must try.

Despite the less than perfect location, Fresh Bakery provides creative and mouth watering square cupcakes. If the shape isn’t already unique enough, their flavor combinations always make me want to return to try something I haven’t already tried. But they have also proven that even though they can go over the top, they can also keep it simple and cater to those who prefer the more classic flavors. So whether you are looking for something different or an old fashioned standard, Fresh Bakery delivers.

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