Guest Review | Brewed Awakenings at Lynchburg College | Lynchburg, VA

We have another new guest reviewer! Our good friend Ashley recently graduated from Lynchburg College and spent her entire last semester sending us photos of all the cupcakes she encountered while there. Since her classes kept her busy, she wasn’t able to write up a review for us while she was there, but now that summer is in full swing she took some time to share her experiences with us! In this first review she chronicles the cupcakes she tried from one specific location on campus. Thanks Ashley!

I must admit that when Jenn, Stacy, and Elisa started talking about cupcakes all the time I never thought that it would escalate to the creation of this awesome blog that I enjoy following so much. Cupcakes really are the perfect sweet for me because they are generally pretty small so they are the perfect size for someone who wants to limit his or her sweets intake (like me). While I am nowhere near the cupcake “expert” that the Crusaders are, I have since started eating cupcakes more frequently and find myself capturing the moment in a photo each time to share with the Crusaders and give them my own personal thumbs up or down.

I recently graduated from Lynchburg College, a small liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Virginia and during my last semester there I often visited Brewed Awakenings, the coffee shop located in the building where I worked. One day, while I waited in line I noticed some amazingly delicious looking cupcakes. My initial thought was, “Brewed has cupcakes now!?” – this is when I knew the cupcake phenomenon had reached Lynchburg and I couldn’t resist buying one to see if they were as good as they looked.

One of my favorite flavor combinations is peanut butter and chocolate, something I share with Crusader Jenn’s husband, so without hesitation I chose their Peanut Butter and Chocolate cupcake.

I took just enough time to take a picture of it before I rushed to work with my cupcake so that I could dig in. Considering this was the first cupcake I got from Brewed Awakenings I was not quite sure what to expect. After the first bite, however, I was completely sold. This cake was so moist and complemented by the peanut butter frosting and topped off perfectly with a piece of a Reese’s Cup, my favorite candy. The flavors blended well and completely satisfied my peanut butter and chocolate addiction.

I am very much a creature of habit, so on each visit to Brewed Awakenings I was tempted to get the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake again, but as the semester progressed I deviated and ended up trying several other cupcakes:

Key Lime:

This cupcake was just as, if not more, moist than the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake. I was originally not sure what to think about key lime because I have not had much of it in the past, but the woman working behind the counter insisted it was delicious so I took her word for it. She was certainly correct! The cake was moist and had the perfect amount of lime mixed in with it and the frosting was delicious with specks of lime sprinkled on top of it. Yet again I was completely sold! I would definitely recommend that, if you have yet to do so, you try a key lime cupcake next time you see one!

S’mores:

I love s’mores so words cannot express how completely excited I was about this cupcake.

Just looking at this cupcake my mouth started watering. The frosting with the graham cracker sprinkled on top of it with the mini marshmallows looked so delicious.  Maybe it was the mental build up, maybe it was the fact that the past cupcakes were so good, or maybe it was a mixture of the two but I was sadly disappointed by this cupcake. The frosting and everything on it tasted fine and made the cupcake edible but the cake portion of the cupcake was very dry and resembled corn bread texture (which was surprising based on how moist the past cupcakes were). This was very disappointing especially because I am not a big fan of the texture of corn bread. Perhaps if the cake portion of the cupcake was a little better it could be a totally different cupcake, but I definitely need to try a good s’more cupcake sometime to alter my current opinion on them.

Peppermint Patty:

Following my disappointment from the s’more cupcake I was a little nervous but I dug in anyway. I was relieved when the cake was more moist than the s’more cupcake, although not as moist as the peanut butter and key lime cupcakes. This cupcake was exactly like a peppermint patty with the chocolate covering and the peppermint filling frosting. The flavors all blended really well together and made for a very nice redemption cupcake. The only minor complaint that I have about it is that it was extremely sweet; however, in my opinion, peppermint patties are also extremely sweet so I suppose it was very fitting.

Classic Chocolate and Classic Vanilla:

These two are some of the less memorable cupcakes.  They weren’t horrible but they also didn’t stand out to me as fantastic either.

I wish I were able to tell you who brought these cupcakes to Brewed Awakenings; however, every time I asked the workers behind the counter they did not seem to have an answer for me. The closest thing I got to an answer was that they were delivered by a personal baker who only operates from her house and does not have an actual bakery. If I find out any additional information I will be sure to update everyone!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Ashley (Lynchburg, VA)

Rewarding Ourselves with a Cupcake for Baking Cupcakes: Snickerdoodles’ Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

It makes absolutely no sense. Why would anyone in their right mind purchase a cupcake when they are on their way to help bake and decorate 3 dozen cupcakes? Well, ladies and gentleman, I might be a little (or a lot) cupcake crazy. A couple weeks ago my sisters asked me to pick up very special birthday cookies for my niece’s first birthday party from Snickerdoodles Bakery in Hampstead, MD.

While waiting to be helped, I spotted this amazing work of art:

I debated for about half a second before deciding I was buying this cupcake and sharing it with my sisters, even though we would be baking rows upon rows of cupcakes.

Luckily my sisters know me pretty well and they were not shocked at all that I arrived with a cupcake. After getting most of the food and baking done for the party we decided it was time to divide this massive cupcake up between us. In addition to the peanut butter frosting there was a gooey peanut butter filling. I’ve never seen this in a Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcake before and couldn’t wait to dive into my piece! As expected, it was moist, rich, and sweet.

Snickerdoodles Bakery has some seriously amazing cupcakes. They might be a bit out of the way for some (like me), but are definitely worth a visit.

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

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Cupcakes & Camel Races

The Crusaders were fortunate enough to have a friend (and Crusader Jenn’s sister-in-law), Daniela, stumble upon a cupcakery on her recent trip to Doha, Qatar! This is the furthest any of us have traveled (so far) for a cupcake, and we are so grateful that she felt compelled to indulge in cupcakes on her vacation and to give us her thoughts!

Daniela’s Review:

Cupcakes were the last thing I expected to find in the Middle East. Camel races? Sure. Beautiful coastline? Check. Dune bashing on the hot desert sand in an SUV? Mandatory, but you might want to wear a helmet. The great thing about traveling is being pleasantly surprised. Walking home after a fantastic night at the symphony, I thought, all I need is an espresso and a cupcake. Then, much like a desert mirage, a welcoming scent and visual appeared before us: Red Velvet Cupcakery.

Red Velvet Cupcakery is located in Doha, Qatar, at the Katara Cultural Village. This area is also where the annual film festival is held. The decor is whimsical; sleek furniture mimics cupcake foils with a liberal sprinkling of colorful red-toned hues throughout. While the shop is decidedly modern, there is definitely enough cheekiness to make you grin immediately upon entering.

The coffee was hot, strong, fantastic. While sipping we decided to try three flavors including the daily special. It’s also worth noting that Red Velvet Cupcakery offers a selection of vegan/gluten free cupcakes. Being traditionalists we did not sample but they are known for being a tasty option.

Our unanimous favorite was the Devil’s Food. The dark chocolate buttermilk cake was rich and the bittersweet chocolate ganache incredible. They even topped it off with a bit of 24k gold leaf. If you wanted a “death by chocolate” type of dessert, this is definitely the way to go!

Second in line was the Peanut Butter Cup. This cupcake had a nice blend of salty/sweet  with a chocolate chip buttermilk cake base. Being a peanut butter lover I would have rated it almost equal to the Devil’s Food except the chocolate in the cake definitely tasted like milk chocolate and I prefer dark.

The Vanilla Bean Blueberry cupcake was the daily special and also our least favorite. It was extremely airy with an essence of vanilla bean, blueberry, and lemon. There just wasn’t enough flavor for me. I think I would have liked it better had they incorporated some lemon zest or added more blueberry to the filling. If you enjoy a lighter and fluffier cupcake this would fit your preference.

Overall, a stop at Red Velvet Cupcakery was a sweet ending to our day. The coolest part? You don’t need a passport to visit. Their sister shop is located in Washington DC.*

– Review by Guest Crusader, Daniela (New York)

*Unknown to our guest crusader during her recent trip, the Crusaders where able to try Red Velvet’s cupcakes back in 2010 during our DC Cupcake Tour.

In case you ever find yourself in Qatar, Red Velvet’s shop is located at:
West Bay, Doha
Katara – Valley of Cultures
Building 24
Daily: 9:00am – 12:00am Midnight
www.redvelvetcupcakery.com

Everyone Should Have a “Sublime” Experience.

Crusader Elisa has reviewed Sublime Cupcakes before, and she said it the best: “Sublime Cupcakes are just that, Sublime.” I was lucky enough to experience their amazingness myself as we drove home from our girls weekend in PA. It was the perfect halfway stop on our drive home, so there was no question that Elisa and I were going there. After a month of seeing their mouth watering cupcake posts on their Facebook Page, I was ecstatic that I didn’t have to wait anymore.

Sublime Cupcakes, located in Wyomissing, PA, is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and mountains. We couldn’t have chosen a better day to go. The sky was blue, the air was crisp, we had our puppies, and there was outdoor seating. It was the perfect Fall day.

Unfortunately they were already out of their Chocolate Chip Pumpkin, which I had seen being promoted (on a daily basis), but they still had lots of other flavors to choose from.

Elisa and I choose almost the exact same 1/2 dozen with the exception of the Tiramisu (me) and the Oreo (her). The other 5 we each selected were: Coffee Break, Chocolate Covered Banana, Chocolate Dipped Strawberry, Peanut Butter Cup, and Lemon Zinger.

Coffee Break: Mocha Cake with Espresso Buttercream

The only way I know how to describe this cupcake is “OMG Good!” It was a full on coffee experience. For a coffee lover like myself, this cupcake combined 3 of my loves: Coffee, Chocolate, and a Cupcake. After a weekend of little sleep, this sure seemed to give me a boost of energy, just like a strong cup of joe. Loved it.

Oreo: Chocolate Cake with Oreo Buttercream

Elisa decided to get the Oreo becuase she has never had a decent encounter with a cookies and creme cupcake, and that’s just wrong. So FINALLY, she knew what a good cookies and creme cupcake was supposed to taste like. I think she was most surprised by that fact that the cupcake actually tasted like an Oreo cookie.

Chocolate Covered Banana: Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

I have to say, while this cupcake was good, I was a little disappointed by it. After eating the full on coffee packed cupcake, I was expecting this one to have more banana flavor, and it just didn’t. The cake itself contained a good banana flavor but I think the (amazing) chocolate frosting overpowered it. While I thought this cupcake was only “okay,” I still ate the whole thing. And in the world of cupcakes, this one is still way better than a lot I have had.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry: Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

I was also a little disappointed by this one, but I don’t think that Sublime should be at fault for that. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of fruit flavored frostings, but I couldn’t resist getting it since it was the last one there (which also makes me think I might be the only one who feels this way about the cupcake). The strawberry buttercream was definitely made with fresh strawberries, no artificial flavors were present, I just think it wasn’t the cupcake for me.

Peanut Butter Cup: Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

First, I need to say that I’m sure why I photographed this cupcake on a red plate. Seriously, a major photo fail. That said, this cupcake was another “OMG Good” cupcake. I have to say I think this might be the best chocolate peanut butter cupcake I’ve ever had. The frosting was had full on peanut butter flavor, but remained smooth and light, and not heavy and gooey like actual peanut butter. I’m not sure how they did it, but I would drive 2 hours just for this cupcake.

Tiramisu: Espresso Mascarpone filled Vanilla Cake topped with Light Coffee Frosting

This was another cupcake that seemed to work so well for me. I could very easily eat the filling in a bowl with a spoon.

Like the espresso buttercream on the Coffee Break cupcake, the filling was packed with flavor. And the frosting surprisingly stayed true to it’s description of a “Light Coffee Buttercream.” This was definitely one of my favorites of the bunch.

Lemon Zinger: Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream

I finished of my 1/2 dozen (over a 4 day period) with this cupcake. It was a refreshing and perfect way to end my Sublime experience. This cupcake has the sweet and tart combo that it should and the buttery smooth frosting was “the icing on the cake” (for lack of a better phrase). This cupcake was also the only one that didn’t have what appears to be their signature chocolate brown cupcake wrapper, which I thought was fitting and fun.

I’m so glad I finally got to have my “Sublime” experience. They are definitely one of my new favorites so it’s probably a good thing they are 2 hours away.

If you are ever passing through Reading, PA, definitely make a short detour and check out Sublime Cupcakes. I think every cupcake lover would agree that these are cupcakes you don’t want to miss.

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