Hamilton Bakery’s New Summer Flavors

Hey Cupcake Lovers! We are so sorry we’ve been gone for so long! We haven’t stopped eating cupcakes, so we are going to do our best (at least this summer) to catch up on all the reviews we’ve been wanting to share with you. Today we are reviewing two new summer flavors that Hamilton Bakery is serving this month: Key Lime and Neapolitan.

I have to admit, while I love Hamilton Bakery (they make the best scones) their cupcakes have never quite lived up to my expectations in the past. I really want to like them, but I often end up slightly disappointed, until now. I hoped that I would eventually be pleasantly surprised, so when I saw that they were giving one free cupcake to each customer during First Friday in the Baltimore neighborhood of Hamilton, and introducing special June flavors (Butter Pecan, Neapolitan, Key Lime, and Cookies and Cream), I thought it would be a great time to give them another try.

Key Lime

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At first, I was worried that this cupcake wouldn’t have a filling (I think Key Lime cupcake should always have a filling), but to my surprise, it did! I would have liked more, but it was very tasty. The frosting had subtle lime flavor and the cake was dense but very moist. Altogether, it was a really solid cupcake and was one of my favorites from Hamilton Bakery so far.

Neapolitan

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Hamilton Bakery offered two versions of this cupcake: one with vanilla cake and one with chocolate cake. I selected the cupcake with chocolate cake because the other option was topped with a large portion of milk chocolate frosting, which isn’t my favorite. However, all three frosting flavors ended up being very good. The strawberry was my favorite though, so I wish there was more of that. The last time I had a chocolate cake cupcake from Hamilton Bakery it was super dry, but not this time!

These were easily some of the best cupcakes I’ve eaten from Hamilton Bakery. Finally!

If you would like to try the new flavors, hurry! They’ll only be available for another week or so. If you would rather enjoy a FREE cupcake, stop by Hamilton Bakery during their next First Friday event (check their Facebook Page for more information). Just a little heads up, you can’t take the cupcake in a to-go box, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, and stay a little while.

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

Cupcake Facelift: Hamilton Bakery Debuts All NEW Cupcakes

When you love your neighborhood, and love your neighborhood bakery, it’s such a disappointment when their cupcakes are nothing to rave about. Ever since I moved to the Hamilton neighborhood of Baltimore, Hamilton Bakery has been my go-to for anything BUT cupcakes. Their croissants are buttery, their scones are flavorful, and their muffins are the perfect pairing with a cup of coffee. Even their cake truffles are wonderful!

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(Original cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery)

I guess they realized that their cupcakes just weren’t up to par with all their other baked goods because on Friday, February 1st, they debuted their brand new line of cupcakes and gave out free ones to the first 500 customers from 4pm to 9pm. I was already planning to stop in for my free cupcake when Hamilton Bakery contacted us. They wanted to give us a chance to try a variety of flavors, confident in their new recipes.

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(New cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery)

They were not at all stingy with the cupcakes they put aside for us. With 10 new and revitalized flavors, I was excited to get started. I was most excited to try what appeared to be a Lemon Meringue cupcake, so began my tasting with that.

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Unfortunately this cupcake was a bit of a let down. The cake was moist and the meringue “frosting” had a nice toasted crunch, but I was really hoping for a lemon curd filling. The cake also had a bit of an artificial taste, reminding me of Lemon Drop candies.
After trying all the cupcakes, there were only a couple more disappointments, like the Peanut Butter Chocolate (not enough peanut butter flavor) and two cupcakes which appeared to be gluten free or vegan (dry crumbly cake and frosting that had separated), so the majority were still vastly improved upon. Since I tasted so many, I think it’s best just to focus on a few of the highlights which were the Vanilla, Creamsicle, and Carrot Cake.

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If tasked with naming Hamilton Bakery’s Vanilla cupcake I would call it “Birthday Cake,” because that is exactly what it reminded me of. This cupcake had moist buttery vanilla cake with frosting that was sweet without tasting like confectioners sugar. There was a little bit of a crunch to the outside of the frosting, like it had dried out just a tad, but that just gave it even more of a birthday cake like quality.

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The next cupcake that I really enjoyed was somewhat of a mystery cupcake until I bit into it. The orange flavor was so present that there was no question that this was a Creamsicle cupcake. The cake was a little over-baked on top, but luckily the inside hadn’t dried out. The orange-cream frosting was the best part though, and really made this cupcake standout from the rest.

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Carrot Cake is a classic that can be done really well, or not. Hamilton Bakery has their recipe for this mastered! The cake was super moist and chock-full of nuts and wonderful spices. The cream cheese frosting was sweet, without taking away from the flavor and really worked well with the cake. This is a cupcake I would go back for again and again. Having tried their carrot cake cupcakes in the past though, I believe that this recipe is something they’ve been doing right for a while now, and I really hope they don’t change it!

Overall, I think Hamilton Bakery has definitely improved their recipes, but I do think they still have a little work to do on some of their flavors. I look forward to tracking their progress and now won’t be scared to buy a cupcake when I stop in for a breakfast pastry and some coffee. Looks like our little neighborhood bakery just might be able to compete with the big dogs in the cupcake market after all!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Sometimes You Just Need a Bite

Pint-sized cupcakes are already hard to turn away, so when you take an already small treat and make it even smaller it’s next to impossible to say “no!” Today, we are sharing a collection of small bite treats we’ve sampled, from Smith Island Cake Company’s miniscule “cake-its” to a new Starbucks cake-pop flavor.

Smith Island Cake-Its

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While in the bakery section of the Giant grocery store, I spotted a wide variety of Smith Island Cake treats. I’ve never actually tried Smith Island Cake (you don’t have to say it… I know… it’s practically a sin among Maryland-based cake lovers), so was excited to see such an assortment. They had mini cakes (which I might have to get one day), slices of their famous layered cake, cake pops, and these teeny tiny little cake bites, which they call “Cake-Its.” I haven’t seen anything like them before, so snatched them up without a second thought. The flavors included were: Original (yellow cake/chocolate icing), Red Velvet (red velvet cake/cream cheese icing), and Coconut (white cake/coconut buttercream). Even though Crusader’s Elisa’s review of their cupcakes didn’t have tons of positive things to say, she’s always said great things about their layered cake, so I was hopeful that these treats would be moist and delightful, and lucky for me, they were. I didn’t really have a favorite because each time I ate a new flavor, I would decide it was the best. Much smaller than a typical cake pop or cake truffle, each was like a little explosion of flavor. The Red Velvet had a good cocoa flavor, the Classic had a rich deep dark chocolate flavor from their signature frosting, and I thought coconut was perfect for any coconut lover.

Godiva Cake Truffles

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Being a long-time Godiva lover (let’s face it, who isn’t?), I couldn’t wait to try their new line of cake truffles, which were created with the cake master himself, Chef Duff from Charm City Cakes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was able to pick up three flavors on my visit: Birthday Cake, Butterscotch Walnut Brownie, and Pineapple Hummingbird. To my (slight) disappointment, there was no cake involved, but these still had the wonderful creaminess and richness you would expect from a Godiva truffle. The Birthday Cake had a white (pink) chocolate outer layer, then a milk chocolate layer, and a “funfetti cake” center. This didn’t really have the “cake batter” like flavor I was hoping for and, for the most part, just tasted like a white and milk chocolate truffle. The Butterscotch Walnut Brownie ended up being my favorite, and was reminiscent of “brownie batter” with all the other flavors being very present as well. The final truffle, Pineapple Hummingbird, also had a good mixture of flavors, but was still missing that cake-like quality. If you’ve ever had a cake batter ice cream flavor, you know what I’m talking about. I still love Godiva, but I think I’ll be sticking to my favorite, the dark chocolate raspberry truffle, on future visits.

Hamilton Bakery Carrot Cake Cake Truffle

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With Hamilton Bakery located a hop, skip, and jump from my front door, it’s a shame that their cupcakes don’t rank higher on my list. Despite that, their other baked goods and friendly customer service always have me stopping in for something. During a breakfast visit for a scone and a cup of Zeke’s I spotted this Carrot Cake cake truffle. It was the first time I had seen cake truffles at Hamilton Bakery, so I quickly added that to my order. The texture was perfect: not too dry and not too mushy. The spicy carrot cake flavor was also perfect and the thin coating of white chocolate didn’t overpower this bite-sized treat.

Starbucks Chocolate Raspberry Cake Pop

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We are no strangers to Starbucks‘ cake pops. From the classic Birthday Cake to the seasonal Peppermint Brownie (also pictured above) we grab these sweet additions to our coffee break when a caffeine high isn’t enough. Recently we spotted a flavor we hadn’t seen before: Chocolate Raspberry. Crusader Jenn said this cake pop was good with rich moist chocolate cake and raspberry flavor. Although the raspberry tasted a bit artificial.

How do you feel about cake pops, truffles, and other similar items? Do you think there is room in the dessert world for them and cupcakes, or will cupcakes always outshine these tiny treats?

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Green, Green, and More Green! Gotta Love St. Patty’s Day!

What could possibly make St. Patrick’s Day any better when you already get to wear green, act a bit crazy, drink lots of beer, and eat your weight in corned beef, cabbage and potatoes? You guessed it! Cupcakes!

Local bakeries and cupcakeries seemed to have a ton of fun this year with St. Patty’s Day offering everything from Chocolate Mint, Green Velvet, Irish Cream, Guinness, and even Corned Beef and Cabbage cupcakes. Below is a sampling of some that the Crusaders were fortunate to try!

“Car Bomb” Cupcake from Hamilton Bakery – Baltimore, MD

This cupcake screamed “GUINNESS” and “BAILEYS!” The cake was moist and rich, and the frosting was not sweet, but instead, it was buttery and very booze-infused. I’ve had several cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery, and this is my favorite so far!

Irish Cream Cupcake from Kupcakes & Co. – Elkridge, MD

Kupcake & Co. paired their amazing chocolate cake with a sweet and smooth Irish Cream frosting. The frosting was so flavorful that there’s no need to sit down with an after dinner Baileys on the rocks when you have this cupcake.

Green Velvet Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Crusader Jenn said that while the green cake on this Starry Night cupcake was really fun and festive, unfortunately it didn’t have much flavor that she could pinpoint. But her exact words about the frosting: “The chocolate ganache…oh the ganache! So good!” I’d say that she enjoyed it.  😉

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Some may argue that this is not a real cupcake due to its savory nature, but as always Starry Night stepped outside of the box and offered up something different. This Smithwicks cupcake was topped with corned beef in a Guinness glaze and finished with whipped potatoes & cabbage. Crusader Jenn said that it was the perfect pre-dinner appetizer!

We hope that you were able to enjoy some fun green-themed cupcakes this St. Patty’s Day! If so, share them with us!

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

Creep Crawly Cupcakes!

Halloween is everywhere today. Kids (and adults) are all dressed up, either waiting to receive loads of candy tonight, or just hoping to put a smile on someone’s face. Houses are decked out, candy bowls are waiting by the front door, pumpkins are carved, and even the cupcakes are celebrating.

Today’s post will showcase cupcakes from 6 different locations ranging from the most popular (like Georgetown Cupcake) to the simple neighborhood grocery store, and everything in between.

The idea for this post came about becuase I heard my local bakery not only had Halloween themed cupcakes, but they also had special Halloween boxes to put them in. I had to go check this out and we decided the other crusaders should see what they could find. We hope you enjoy our collection of spooky sweets!

Hamilton Bakery: Baltimore City
Review by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy

As I mentioned above, I found out my neighborhood bakery, Hamilton Bakery, created themed cupcakes and were placing them in colorful Halloween boxes. I decided had to have one for myself. They only had the classic Vanilla/Chocolate flavors adorned with creepy fun, so I choose a Vanilla Vanilla with the Bat.

I have to say, for amazing as Hamilton Bakery is at creating pastries, I’m still not a huge fan of their cupcakes. I know the other crusaders might not agree with me, but like before, I think that their cake is a little too muffin like, and their frosting is way to buttery for my liking. But, it was a really fun treat to have for “Halloween Weekend.”

Fresh & Green’s: Baltimore City
Review by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy

Today was my boss’s birthday, and she loves having a Halloween birthday, so today we surprised her with cupcakes (of course), flowers, balloons, candy, the works. I was so glad that Fresh & Green’s decided to join in the Halloween fun and dress their cupcakes up for the occasion. I heard from my co-worker that the Chocolate Chocolate with the Trick or Treat Bag was delicious. I opted for the Vanilla Vanilla with the Green Frosting and Jack-o-lantern.

Doesn’t he look so happy? And it wouldn’t be Halloween without some Candy Corn and Chocolate Eyeballs to wash it all down with. The cupcake was decorated with a plastic, confetti-like, edible sprinkle. I’ve had edible glitter and edible gold, but I’ve never had edible plastic before, so I was a bit skeptical. After biting into it, the edible green stuff seemed to stick to my teeth, but it quickly dissolved. I’m not sure if this would be okay on a normal day, but for Halloween, it was just fine by me. The cake was the typical fluffy cake they had before and the frosting was the same wiped cream that I tend to enjoy. I was a little disappointed to see that their price has increased from $.99 to $1.50 per cupcake, but I’m going to assume that is becuase of all of the added decorations. And still, at $1.50 for these cupcakes, it puts them at half the price of most cupcakeries and bakeries.

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

Pirate Cupcakes: Baltimore City
Review by Guest Crusader, Beth Lacey

The moment I bought these six hilarious cupcakes from Pirate Cupcakes in Baltimore, Md., (sold exclusively through Captain Larry’s in Locust Point) I thought to myself, “Did I just spent $28 on a gimmick? Oh crap!”

I had bought two seeing eyes, two exposed brains and two vampire bites. They were out of mummies and spiders. The bartender at Captain Larry’s handed them to me unceremoniously in a plain styrofoam container (slightly squishing the brains and bites). I brought these crazy cool cupcakes home for further investigation and, you know, tasting. I selected the brain to sample first.

Mmm. It was a great surprise. Frankly, I started to think zombies might be on to something! It was huge, moist and flavorful. The madagascar vanilla bourbon spice frosting doesn’t just look killer. It was in good proportion to the cake and not so sweet that I didn’t want more. Inside, the cupcake was vanilla spice pumpkin with a pumpkin cream filling. Every bite of this delicious brain was good. Almost worth an arm and a leg, even!

Though Pirate Cupcakes loses a few points from me for presentation that doesn’t reflect the awesomeness of its super icing design, it absolutely gets this crusader’s thumbs up. Somebody bring me more body parts!

Starry Night Bakery and Coffee House: Westminster, MD
Review by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn

Hearing that one of my favorite local bakeries, Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, had cupcakes decorated for Halloween, I decided that I should head over there and check them out. There wasn’t a big selection of varying decoration, but I did manage to get a seasonal favorite, the Orange Cranberry , with a spider web and also ventured into their standards section for a chocolate cupcake with a chocolate ganche frosting and gummy eyeball.


(Note: Prior to photographing the cupcake I accidentally dropped the box on it’s side, so the cupcakes sustained minor damage to the decorations.)

The Orange Cranberry appeared in our original review of Starry Night and this is the third time I’ve ordered it. I think that speaks for itself!

The chocolate cupcake was the first time I’ve ordered something from their standards and I have to say…YUM! While the cake was your standard chocolate cake, the icing was something between what you would find on a Berger cookie, a Baltimore favorite, and a chocolate frosted donut.

Although the decorations were on the minimalistic side, I fully enjoyed the taste of both of my selections and still had fun picking out which Halloween themed cupcakes I should get!

Georgetown Cupcake: Washington DC
Review by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa

Both of these cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake were Vanilla cake with Vanilla butter-cream icing (with some food coloring for the Ghost, orange icing!)

While they are on the more simple side, and not something I would normally order, they where simply tasty! The cake was moist, the icing was just what I expect from Georgetown, and they are the perfect size and price (in my Crusader opinion). I was very lucky that I got the LAST one with a ghost decoration and the orange icing – Lucky me!!

Sprinkles Cupcakes: Washington DC
Review by Cupcake Crusader, Elisa

The cupcake decorated with the Ghost is Caramel Apple and it was YUM! Apple-y delicious moist cake with a smooth dreamy caramel frosting. This is one for the cupcake record books!

The one with the signature Sprinkles Cupcakes‘ circle done in orange and black is Red Velvet. It was super moist cake with subtle cream cheese icing. This has easily moved in as my second favorite Red Velvet. I’d go back for them again!

Over all, the decorations were simple, but were on anything-but-simple cupcakes!

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We hope everyone enjoyed our collection of tricky treats. It’s not too late to go out and find some of your own!

Happy Halloween!

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

Cupcaked Out?

Friday night my friend, Elisa (also a cupcake lover), and I went up against 8 cupcakes. We thought we had this in the bag. Our goal was to try 8 different cupcakes from 3 different locations around Baltimore. We devised a game plan that included only eating a quarter of 4 of the larger cupcakes and half of the smaller ones then splitting the leftovers. I had a small dinner. I thought we were prepared…

But by the end of the night I thought I never wanted to see another cupcake again. I know this feeling won’t last long, but it’s a good thing I have a lot of past experience with cupcakes to post about for a little while. Here is our review of our Cupcake Night:


We didn’t eat the cupcakes in the order that I’ll review them in, we kinda jumped all over the place. But for your sanity, I’ll group them by bakery. First up, Sweet Bakery now located in Midtown Baltimore. My first experience with Sweet Bakery was when they were located on Main Street in Ellicott City and it was a good experience so I was excited to try more of their cupcakes.
Chocolate w/ Vanilla Frosting: Their vanilla frosting is really good. Buttery and not too sweet, just sweet enough. The chocolate cake though? Meh. Not great. Elisa and I both agreed that Betty Crocker makes a better chocolate cake.
Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese Frosting: This was easily probably the best red velvet cake Elisa or I ever had. It was soft, moist, fluffy, wonderful. The cream cheese frosting was amazing too. Sweet, but like the vanilla frosting, not too sweet. It was a perfect compliment to the red velvet cake.
Vanilla w/ Vanilla Frosting: I typically don’t get Vanilla on Vanilla. With all the unique options out there I usually go for something different, but this was actually really good. Especially with all the other bold flavors we were trying, it was a nice “break” from the others. I would definitely get this one again, and I never thought I’d ever order a vanilla cupcake on my own. Elisa loves vanilla and said she thinks it’s the best vanilla cake she’s ever had.
Carrot Cake w/ Vanilla Frosting: Well… this one was such a disappointment. I’m so sad to say that because we saved this one for last because I LOVE carrot cake. The first big problem for me was the frosting. I’m a fan of cream cheese frosting with my carrot cake. And their cream cheese frosting was so good that it was a shame they didn’t put it on this one. Another big problem was that the cake was super chunky and super dry. While I like a lot of “stuff” in my carrot cake, this was just extreme. This cupcake was definitely the loser of the evening.

Next up:

You are probably questioning my cupcake tasting experience at this point, right? Well, shocked as you may be, Roland Park Bagel Co. was on Baltimore Magazine’s top ten best cupcakes in Baltimore, so we had to try them. We were pleasantly surprised by the fluffy softness and flavor of these cupcakes.
Cookies N Creme: Okay, first and foremost, I need to state that in my opinion, THIS IS NOT A COOKIES N CREME CUPCAKE! That said, it was still delicious. The frosting was cream cheese, which while it’s not appropriate for Cookies N Creme, it was light, fluffy, and very tasty. The chocolate cake was the same. No complaints other than, this is totally not a Cookies N Creme Cupcake. Elisa, however, liked it better than her recent experience with a Cookies N Creme cupcake she tried in Atlantic City (she will be giving me a review to post about that at a later date).
Chocolate w/ Salted Caramel Frosting: The person behind the counter told me this was a black bottom cake with a caramel frosting. What he didn’t say was that it as SALTED caramel and that the cake was really just chocolate cake with a speck of possible “black bottom-ness.” Either way, this was a favorite of the night. Like the “Cookies N Creme” the cake was light and fluffy. The frosting was the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Elisa and I are both really digging the recent salted caramel trend. We never seem to grow tired of it.

Last on our list:

Hamilton Bakery was listed as #2 in Baltimore Magazine’s Best Cupcake. I really don’t agree with that, but that’s just my opinion. They aren’t bad. They are decent, but they aren’t #2 good. Not compared to what’s out there. It might be a readers choice, so maybe they just have tons of supporters? Who knows, but that’s not important, what is important is our review:
Peanut Butter Chocolate: I think the most important thing to mention about this cupcake is that the cake is more like a muffin than a cupcake. It’s very dense, not too sweet and a little on the dry side. However, the peanut butter frosting on this is unbelievably amazing. And to top it off they actually spread a layer of crunchy peanut butter under the frosting. So, even if it is more muffin like, it’s really really good.
Coconut: Really, there isn’t much to say about this one other than: unmemorable. I had totally forgotten what I thought of it and had to look back at my notes (yes, we took notes…). That night we said, “more muffin like” and “more like a breakfast cupcake.” If those things sound appealing to you, then this is your cupcake. Otherwise, don’t bother.

I actually “cheated” on Elisa’s and my “Cupcake Night” by getting a cupcake from Hamilton Bakery a few days before. I figured I could wrap that up into this post. I went by their location and saw that they had a Boston Creme cupcake and knew that it probably wouldn’t be there the next day, so I decided to get it.

The cake was the same as above, very muffin like, and the frosting was just kinda blah. Not my favorite. I might try more cupcakes from them, but I’m more excited to try their breads and other pastries. Those look amazing.

If you have tried cupcakes from any of these locations I’d love to know your thoughts!

EDIT: Sweet Bakery is now, sadly, closed.

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