Convenient and Cheap Cupcake Fix: Giant’s Grocery Store Cupcakes

The Crusaders’ Dad claims that he doesn’t have the same “gourmet tastes buds” as his daughters and swears by cupcakes he found at his local Giant store in Annapolis, MD. They are convenient and (with no better way to say it) CHEAP! Giant sells their custom flavors for only $0.99 each! Most of us are used to the run-of-the-mill grocery store cupcakes that come pre-packed in 6 or 12, with only chocolate and vanilla to choose from, and usually topped with overly sweet frosting, brightly colored and with sprinkles. However it’s becoming more popular for grocery stores to steer away from these and offer more custom confections (whether good or bad), as we’ve seen with Safeway and Fresh & Green.

Our dad has been going into Giant to get, primarily, their Coconut Cream and Boston Cream cupcakes. After going on many, many cupcake crusades with us, he still can’t believe they only cost $0.99. And, after seeing his cupcaking in action, we trust his opinion. So when he told us we had to try them, we said, “Bring ‘em on!” It was decided that he would bring some to our next gathering that didn’t already have cupcakes pre-planned into the mix. That time finally came during a family trip to the Maryland Science Center. It was a beautiful day, so after exploring the Science Center, we found a table outside by the harbor to dig in.

Unfortunately when my dad went into the Giant that morning, they didn’t have a Boston Cream. They did have his other favorite, the Coconut Cream, so he bought that plus 5 others for us to try.

Vanilla Chocolate:

The cake on this cupcake was a little dry, but the ganache frosting was delicious. It was more like what you’d find on a doughnut…gooey and rich! The chocolate ganache redeemed this cupcake, and there was a lot of it!

(As with all of Giant’s filled cupcakes, they use the same frosting on top for the filling and are very generous with it! Frosting lovers can appreciate that!)

We thought starting with a vanilla cupcake was smart, but the richness made me wish I had a glass of milk to go along with it! My dad was a little disappointed that we found the cake dry. After raving about the cupcakes, he could only surmise that these hadn’t been baked fresh that day since he was there so early in the morning.

Coconut Cream:

This cupcake had a vanilla cake, with whipped vanilla frosting, topped with shredded coconut. Crusader Stacy and I felt this cupcake could have used more coconut flavor, but keeping the price in mind, can see why it’s one of our dad’s Giant favorites.

Banana Split:

I was really surprised to see that Giant is offering a Banana Split cupcake. It’s been a popular one to see for the summer season and does show that their baker seems to be in-tuned to what’s going on in cupcake trends. It was a chocolate cake, with banana frosting (and filling), topped with chocolate fudge, walnuts, and a maraschino cherry. Stacy remembers this being one of her favorites of the selection.

Cookies and Cream:

This cupcake had a dark chocolate cake with cookies and cream frosting. The cake was the best of the selection and was my favorite of the group. The frosting alone was worth the 99 cents!


Crusader Stacy and I saved this cupcake for our big sis, who LOVES coffee and chocolate. I did steal a bite, and like some of the other cupcakes, the cake was on the dry side. However, there was a good coffee flavor, and despite how the frosting photographed, it was smooth and flavorful.

Red Velvet:

On this particular day, we let our niece have the Red Velvet cupcake, but luckily our dad brought Crusader Elisa one to try at our recent DC Cupcake Picnic! Here’s what our Red Velvet Connoisseur said:

The cake was bright red and looked beautiful, but was dry and lacked flavor. The icing was smooth, but very bland. The rose decoration on top was very sweet (since it was made with traditional sweet icing) and good, but couldn’t save this cupcake from being just mediocre. Being the “red velvet crusader” probably makes me more critical than most, so while this cupcake doesn’t make my list of great red velvets, it by far is not the worst either.

Can you tell she’s tried a lot of red velvet cupcakes? ;P

Boston Cream:

As I mentioned, this cupcake did not make it into the original taste testing, but luckily Giant had them the day of the Cupcake Picnic, so we were finally able to try it! Here’s what Crusader Stacy thought:

The cake was a bit spongy and lacked flavor, which I would expect from a grocery store cupcake, but the chocolate ganache had really good flavor, even if it was a bit runny, and the filling tasted just like what I would want from a Boston Cream pastry filling. The filling and ganache definitely saved this cupcake, but it was a bit of a mess to eat.

Like my dad, I’m a sucker for Boston Cream and really wish I could have tried this cupcake. From Crusader Stacy’s review, it seems to me that the frosting is very reminiscent of what you’d find on your typical Boston cream cake (or doughnut), and those are always messy to eat!

Over all we feel that if you are in need of a quick, convenient, and not-too-expensive cupcake fix, but want something better then the grocery store cupcakes we usually think of, you can find that at Giant.

Have any of you tried Giant’s cupcakes or any other chain grocery store’s cupcakes? What did you think? Did the lower price make you more lenient on your expectations?

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

Fresh & Green’s is Cheap & Fresh

I’m so predicable. I say this because when it’s anyone’s birthday and I’m put in charge of sweets you can pretty much guarantee that I will get cupcakes. On Wednesday we had an office birthday. One co-worker was getting a card, another some flowers, and I was in charge of dessert. I decided to check out the new local grocery store, Fresh & Green’s. It hasn’t gotten good reviews, but it was convient, so I decided to give it a try. I haven’t had a chance to walk around, but I will say that they had a great selection of pastries and desserts to choose from in the bakery and the woman who was working there was very pleasant. She was eager to help and had a really positive attitude.

My goal was to get something different than my norm. I was determined to not walk into that office with cupcakes. I like being reliable, but not predictable, so I really wanted to surprise everyone by getting something different. I browsed their bakery section looking for something that would provide a nice variety, but I ended up with no choice other than cupcakes.

Their cupcakes are only $1 each, and we only had 4 employees in the office that day, so this offered the best variety for the best price. I decided to get 6: Vanilla/Vanilla with Rainbow Sprinkles, Chocolate Crunch, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate/Chocolate (Halloween version), and Chocolate/Chocolate with a Hershey’s Kiss.

The Birthday Girl decided on the Vanilla/Vanilla with Rainbow Sprinkles and raved about how good it was. I had been eying up the Strawberry Shortcake, so on the first chance I got, I went and grabbed it.

Normally I would say that the frosting to cake ratio on this cupcake was WAY out of control, but this cupcake actually had whipped cream on top, not overly sugary-sweet frosting. I decided to eat some of the frosting with the strawberry, then eat some just off the top becuase it was good, and then I decided to eat the rest with the cake at the same time. The cake was really light and airy. Not dry and dense like most grocery store cupcakes.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed. If I were to change one thing about this cupcake I would have added a strawberry filling, to keep that theme throughout the cupcake. But for only a dollar, I’m not complaining.

The next day I decided to try a little bit of the two that were left: Chocolate Crunch and Chocolate/Chocolate (Halloween version).

Again, I was really nervous about the frosting/cake ratio especially since this one was chocolate and I tend to be a bit picky about my chocolate frosting, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was more of a chocolate mousse than a typical frosting, and it was good. REALLY GOOD. The cake was a bit dry, but I think that is becuase it was a day old and not stored properly. Two co-workers had the Peanut Butter Cup one the day they were purchased and didn’t seem to have any complaints.

We’ve got two birthdays in the middle of October and with the price, convenient location, and quality of these cupcakes I’m hoping I get picked to bring dessert in again.  🙂

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

UPDATE: Fresh & Green’s Hampden location is now closed.