IcedGems LOVE-ly Dozen

When Rebecca (my friend at work and guest Crusader) saw that IcedGems was going to do something special for Valentine’s Day, she emailed me right away! Of course I wanted in! Who wouldn’t want to share a little cupcake love on the day we “officially” celebrate love!

In mid January IcedGems announced on their Facebook page, “Start placing your orders for our Valentine’s Day Dozen Special! For $32.50 the box includes 3 strawberries and champagne, 3 chocolate lava, 3 birthday cake and 3 red velvet… all decked out for Vday… The box will be tied with a ribbon and a red rose…”

We called to place our order and counted down the days! As promised, yesterday they were delivered to our office.

(Chocolate Lava)

(Birthday Cake)

(Red Velvet)

(Strawberry and Champagne)

These cupcakes not only looked perfectly decked out for the holiday of Love, but tasted lovely too. Rebecca shared them with her team at work and I took one of each flavor home with me. This was definitely a sweet part of my Valentines Day!

My favorite was the Strawberry Champagne. Did you have cupcakes on Valentine’s day? Which was your favorite?

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

Guest Review: IcedGems Baking

We are happy to share another guest review from a new Guest Crusader! Kim has known two of the Crusaders for a very long time and has been following the blog. After reading some reviews, she decided to visit IcedGems Baking’s storefront located in Reisterstown, MD. I (Stacy) also recently stopped by IcedGems Food Truck in Baltimore City, so I’ve added my review after Kim’s. Read below to see what we though!

Guest Crusader Kim’s Review:

After reading Crusader Elisa’s review of IcedGems Baking, I realized that the shop wasn’t too far away. Actually it is closer to me than Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, and I have made a couple of trips to visit them (after reading some of the other Crusader’s reviews). So on my way home from shopping with my sister in Bowie, I decided to take a slight detour and see just how good IcedGems was for myself.

I walked into their shop – very cute and quaint – and was greeted with the wonderful aroma of the sweet cupcakes, as well as the very friendly young man behind the counter. He was very patient while I and another couple looked over the selection and between him and the young lady baker, any questions we had about the flavors were answered.

I chose two of the French Toast (one of which I shared with my husband that night), a Chocolate/Chocolate, and a Scarlett O’Hara (red velvet with raspberry icing).

We first tried the French Toast, which you could tell was a cinnamon cake with a maple frosting. The combination was perfect and reminded us exactly of French Toast you’d have for breakfast. After trying this, I just wanted to try the others that much more!


(French Toast cupcake from IcedGems Baking)

The night after we tried the French Toast we split the Chocolate/Chocolate and the Scarlett O’Hara. My husband’s evaluation was simple – he really enjoyed both of them just as they were!

I started by trying the cake and frosting from each separately. I have to say, I loved the raspberry icing on the Scarlett O’Hara. It was very light, almost whipped like. Both the cakes were nice and moist, and the chocolate icing from the Chocolate/Chocolate was almost fudgy, exactly how I expected it to be.

After my unusual start to taste testing I went ahead and tried a bite as they were intended. First up, the Chocolate/Chocolate. The fudgy icing and the moist cake went well together. Exactly what a choc-aholic like myself likes.


(Chocolate/Chocolate from IcedGems Baking)

Next up, the Scarlett O’Hara.


(Scarlett O’Hara (red velvet with raspberry icing) from IcedGems Baking)

I can’t say I know red velvet as well as “The Red Velvet Crusader,” but I thought it was pretty good. However I was not a fan of the red velvet cake combined with the raspberry icing. I am also not usually a fan of cream cheese icing either, but here I think it would have been a better choice.

To continue with my unusual ways, I did enjoy mixing and matching. I tried the chocolate cake with raspberry icing (very good), the chocolate icing with the red velvet cake (a little too much), and I even went ahead and tried the raspberry icing with the chocolate icing (pretty good).

I can’t wait to go back and try some new flavors!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Kim (Maryland)

Crusader Stacy’s Review:

Since we were posting Kim’s review on IcedGems Baking, I thought that I would share two cupcakes I got last week. The IcedGems’ Baking Truck drives around Baltimore City posting their location to their Facebook and Twitter pages, so on one of these days – even though the truck wasn’t in walking distance – I decided to pull myself away from the computer and find the truck at their next location. I was only going to get one cupcake (I was trying to be “good”) but before I left I saw on their Facebook page that if you said a secret phrase you could get a 2nd cupcake for free. So, I came back to the office with a Blueberry Chip cupcake and a Birthday Cake cupcake.


(Blueberry Chip from IcedGems Baking – Food Truck)

The Blueberry Chip was a must have for me. When I saw that flavor posted I knew I had to try it. It totally lived up to my expectations. The frosting was sweet and full of fresh blueberry puree. Alone, it was a bit too sweet for my normal liking, but combined with the densely moist cake filled with fresh blueberries and chocolate chips it was a perfect companion. The addition of the big chunks of purple sugar added a nice crunch texture. I savored each bite of this cupcake not wanting it to end.

I had already decided that I would save the Birthday Cake for the next day and it took everything in me not to scarf that down as well.


(Birthday Cake from IcedGems Baking)

Lunch time couldn’t have come fast enough. I didn’t want to eat the cupcake on an empty stomach, for fear I would just inhale it and not take time to enjoy the flavors, so after eating it was FINALLY time to bite in. Elisa had told me that this was a good cupcake but WOW! It screamed “Birthday Party!” I thought the Blueberry Chip was amazing, but this simple vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream dotted with sprinkles might have taken first prize. With every bite I couldn’t believe how good this cupcake really was.

The funfetti cake was dense but moist and the frosting was also dense but creamy. And how can you not like sprinkles inside your cupcake? I’m a big fan of funfetti and this puts my boxed mix to major shame.

I’ve had IcedGems in the past and been a bit on the fence about them, but they are definitely doing something right. Jenn is the only Crusader left who needs to sample IcedGems for herself, so I hope when she finally does, they live up to the hype Elisa and I have built!

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

Iced Gems Red Velvet Surprise!

Surprise cupcakes are always a treat, and gifted cupcakes are an added bonus! Before the holiday, my co-worker (and fellow cupcake lover), Rebecca, visited IcedGems Cupcake Truck with the intention of getting a couple of cupcakes to surprise and share with me. Little did I know she would bring back a dozen cupcakes, plus two just for ME!

While ordering cupcakes Rebecca mentioned that she worked with one of the Cupcake Crusaders and sparked a delightful conversation with the staff. The lovely staff member then gave her two cupcakes for me to review: a Red Velvet cupcake for the “Red Velvet Crusader” (I’m so excited that I have a nickname and that we were recognized!) and a Holiday Birthday cupcake (which was reviewed in our Very Merry Christmas post).

Just the sight of the Red Velvet made my stomach jump and my mouth water…

Then I tasted it… Heaven. Or at least that’s what I imagine heaven would taste like. The cake was moist, light, fluffy, not overly sweet and a true red velvet in color and flavor. The icing was very cream cheesy with its subtle sweetness, which allowed the cream cheese to complement the cake and shine on its own. Together the cake and icing created a lovely texture, taste, and feeling of savory and sweet.

I tasted the icing and cake separately before creating my signature cupcake sandwich, savoring every bite before licking my fingers clean of any icing remnants.

By-far a stand out of all the Red Velvet cupcakes I have ever eaten… and perhaps my new absolute favorite. The next time IcedGems is in my neighborhood, I’ll have to stop by and buy a dozen – of which more than one will have to be Red Velvet.

*Special thanks goes to Rebecca for mentioning the Crusaders and to IcedGems for sharing their fabulous cupcakes with the “Red Velvet Girl.”

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

Winter Cupcakes for the Winter Cold

During our quest for holiday cupcakes, we encountered some that were more winter themed than Christmas themed. So, as the days get colder, we decided to share these cupcakes with you today.

The first two are from Fancy Cakes by Leslie.

Our first experience with Fancy Cakes was back during our 2011 Cupcake Tour. It was an overall crowd pleaser and a favorite to most of us that day. Crusader Elisa was lucky enough to sample their cupcakes again when her cupcake loving co-worker, Rebecca, brought them to her. Here are her thoughts:

Red Velvet with Purple Icing:
Red velvet is a tough cupcake to get right, and while I love Fancy Cakes, this one was not my favorite. The cake was dry and somewhat flavorless. The buttercream icing was the saving grace, with it’s sweet, buttery, savory flavor. Rarely do I eat the fondant toppings – I’m just not a fondant fan – but I do eat them from Fancy Cakes because they are simply scrumptious! So I enjoyed the glittery snowflake and scraped every bit of icing off the plate.

Chocolate with Raspberry Icing:
I love raspberries and so when Rebecca brought me this cupcake I was very excited! The chocolate cake was mild and not too sweet, and while it was a little dry, it really boasted chocolate flavor. The icing, while very sweet, had a true raspberry taste and I would bet that it was made with real raspberries and not some extract flavoring. This cupcake makes my list of cupcakes to order again, next time I am down that way.

The other cupcake we wanted to share is the Hot Chocolate from IcedGems Baking.

Elisa had a great experience with all the Christmas themed cupcakes from IcedGems, and this one was no different (from Elisa):

How can you not love a cupcake with marshmallows on top and a tiny straw for decoration? The cake was swirl cake – a cupcake rarity in my experience! I was so pleasantly surprised by the moist, swirling chocolate/vanilla cake, and then the icing just melded all the flavors together into a cohesive, creamy, yummy, chocolate-y cupcake. I would definitely order this cupcake again!

The Crusaders are excited about all the wintery flavors out there right now. Have you had any winter cupcakes yet? If not, you should definitely get out and see what your local cupcakeries have to offer!

Happy Winter!

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

Very Merry Christmas Cupcakes

Throughout the month of December the Crusaders (and a friend of the Crusaders)  have been gathering Christmas themed cupcakes to share in one big post. We hope you enjoy these reviews as you spend these next couple of days wrapping presents, baking, and spending time with family.

Crumbs Bake Shop – NYC
This year Crumbs had an assortment of cupcakes decorate and flavored for Christmas. Unfortunately, when Crusader Elisa and I stopped by they only had the following two, Vanilla/Vanilla and Vanilla/Chocolate with holiday sprinkles. We decided to go ahead and give them a try, since we haven’t had any of Crumbs classic flavors and we had waited in a long line. We were so glad we did!


(Crumbs Bake Shop’s Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting)

This cupcake blew me away! I’m still often pleasantly surprised by how good a vanilla cupcake can be. The cake was light, moist and very buttery. It brought back memories of the vanilla cake my mom used to make when I was a kid. The vanilla cream cheese frosting was the perfect compliment and it was double perfect because I ate half of this cupcake for breakfast. Vanilla is quickly becoming a favorite flavor of mine, which is still a bit shocking to me.


(Crumbs Bake Shop’s Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting)

The cake on this cupcake was exactly like the cake on the Vanilla/Vanilla cupcake. The frosting was just as light a fluffy as the vanilla cream cheese frosting, but the milk-chocolatiness of it complimented the vanilla cake perfectly.

Magnolia Bakery – NYC
While visiting NYC Elisa and I also stopped by Magnolia Bakery. It’s not typically our favorite place for cupcakes, but we were in the area and figured “why not?” They were out of a lot of options, but they did have these Red Velvet Rockette cupcakes left:


(Magnolia Bakery’s Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting)

Unfortunately this was not a good cupcake. The cake was really dry and dense and there wasn’t much flavor to it at all. The frosting was just okay too. Unfortunately the best part of this cupcake was the edible glitter and the chocolate Rockette on top. One redeeming quality was that even with how busy they were, the staff was incredibly friendly, so we had a great experience while we were there.

IcedGems – Baltimore, MD
IcedGems has a huge assortment of holiday flavors and decorated cupcakes this year. The options are amazing and thanks to one of Elisa’s co-workers – a fellow cupcake lover, Rebecca – Elisa has five to show you below. Thanks Rebecca for hooking us up with such awesome cupcakes!


(IcedGems’ Peppermint Cupcake)

Chocolate, peppermint, Hershey’s Kisses… what more can you ask for?! The perfect blend of sweet and peppermint, this cupcake made me go, “MMmmmmmmmm.” The cake was moist and rich with flavor, while the icing was smooth, creamy, and unfolded a peppermint taste on your tongue. Find their truck and buy one of these asap!


(IcedGems’ “Christmas Tree” holiday cupcake)

This was their “birthday cake” cupcake, which is fun-fetti cake with sweet buttercream icing. With it’s adorable star on top, this cupcake screams Christmas cheer! It was moist, delicious, sweet, savory, and just plain yummy. Simple flavors sometimes get lost in the mix of extravagant, complex, flavors, but this one was a shining star!


(IcedGems “Elf” holiday cupcake)

This adorable cupcake was very moist and sweet. It was a peanut butter swirl cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Elisa said that while it was really good, it wasn’t her favorite, but that there was some pretty steep competition with some of the other flavors.


(IcedGems “Santa Pants” holiday cupcake)

This chocolate cupcake was very good. With Santa’s legs sticking out of it like he’s stuck in a chimney, the flavorful cupcake was a sweet treat – with it’s reese’s peanut butter cup and marshmallow on top, this cupcake wasn’t just fun, it was flavorful too!


(IcedGems’ Egg Nog Cupcake)

Rebecca said that this cupcake was very good. In her own words, “The buttercream frosting was smooth with the right hint of spice and richness. While the cake wasn’t as moist as the others, it was also eaten a couple of days after it was purchased, and was still light with a nice kick of spice in it as well.  With an edible, white chocolate ornament on top, this cupcake all around was great!”

** IcedGems also very kindly gave Rebecca a Red Velvet, knowing that it’s Elisa’s favorite. We will be sharing that review in a separate post in the next week or two. So keep an eye out for that!  🙂

Sprinkles Cupcakes – Georgetown, DC
Another big “THANKS!” must go out to our newest Guest Crusader, Rebecca, for bringing a Red Velvet Sprinkles Cupcake to Elisa and sharing a review of the chocolate peppermint she got for herself.


(Sprinkles Cupcakes’ Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake)

This cupcake is described as a “Belgian dark chocolate cake topped with bittersweet chocolate-peppermint frosting. Sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies, it will get everyone rockin’ around the Christmas tree!” Apparently Rebecca agrees because she said, “Delicious! Moist, yummy, and great flavor.”


(Sprinkles Cupcakes’ Red Velvet Cupcake)

From Elisa: “Having previously reviewed the red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles, I was afraid this one wouldn’t live up to my memories… But it just confirmed my original review of simply scrumptious cake with fabulous cream cheese icing. Anytime I go there, I will have to get their red velvet.”

We hope whether you are baking cupcakes or ordering them from your local bakery, that you and your family have a very “sweet” Christmas.

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

IcedGems Baking: Artisan, Dry, or Just Inconsistent?

Recently there were some big debates on IcedGems Facebook page about whether their cupcakes are good or bad. Specifically, one customer complained saying that she bought 6 cupcakes that were very dry. IcedGems responded by saying that they “bake artisnal cake from scratch packed with flavor and the crumb is different to mass produced cake with enhancers.” Then, they basically went on to suggest that she was use to crappy store-bought cakes so she wouldn’t be able to appreciate their cakes. They did offer to replace them though, which is a nice gesture.

When I first read this I wanted to jump in with my thoughts for a couple reasons. First, NEVER suggest that a paying customer might not have good taste. If you do, you risk loosing a customer and any friends of theirs. Second, my first experience from IcedGems was a cupcake from their truck, and it was dry. There is no question about it. While this blog might be new, I’ve been eating cupcakes for a long time from bake shops and cupcakeries all over the United States, and I know when one is dry. BUT I didn’t respond. Instead, I decided to give them the chance to prove me wrong, I purchased two cupcakes from their store front yesterday.

Before I get into my review of the actual cupcake, I want to critique their packaging methods:

If you aren’t sure what you are looking at, let me describe it for you. The do not use boxes when you purchase one or two (or I’m guessing three) cupcakes. Instead, they treat your beautifully decorated cupcake like it’s a doughnut or bagel and throw it into a bag wrapped in parchment paper. I understand that boxes add cost, but to me this isn’t cool. Someone has taken the time to decorate this little treat, and you are going to possibly mess that up, so the person who spent $2.50 on each little “gem” can’t enjoy the time that went into it? It just makes no sense to me. Single serving boxes aren’t expensive when ordered in bulk and you can raise the price to $3 if need be. I really didn’t want these to be messed up and dry so I was very careful with the bags, and when I got home I immediately stored them in my cupcake containers to insure they stayed as moist (or as dry) as they were when I got them while letting them get to room temperature:

Okay, now on to my review. The first cupcake I tried was the Turtle:

I have to say, I was really bracing myself for the worst, becuase of my last experience, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The cake wasn’t the moistest chocolate cake I have ever had (Georgetown Cupcakes and, surprisingly, Roland Park Bagel are), but it also wasn’t as dry as the chocolate cake from my prior experience with their truck. The frosting was REALLY sweet, but I do understand that some people like overly sweet frosting, and that’s okay. The texture was good and it was full of flavor, and that is important. I have to admit though, while I loved the “caramel balls” and chunks of chocolate in the cake, this cupcake probably wouldn’t keep me coming for more.

So, how about the second cupcake? Was that any better? For my second selection, I chose the Apple Caramel. (I must have been in a caramel mood yesterday…)

The squishy apple things on top were a bit strange, so I pulled those off, but otherwise this cupcake was the standout of the two. The cake was very moist and filled with apples and caramel. The frosting was still really sweet, but it seemed to be balanced out better by the apple flavor. This cupcake, I would get again.

So, what are my final thoughts? Artisan, dry, or inconsistent? I would have to say, inconsistent. I have no doubts that IcedGems is totally capable of baking a decent cupcake. But I do think that they are not consistent. If they produced a quality product more frequently, 25% of the feedback on that one Facebook post would not have been negative. So IcedGems, I think you should work on your quality control. If you do that, then I have no doubts that you could compete with some of my Baltimore favorites.

For more information on IcedGems Baking, visit: www.icedgemsbaking.com.

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

UPDATE: Since this review, the Crusaders have been amazed at how much we have been enjoying IcedGems. Not only have all their cupcakes been great, but their customer service has been stellar!