Santoni’s Marketplace “Gourmet” Cupcakes

I used to pass Santoni’s Marketplace & Catering (Glyndon, MD) every day on my way to and from work and think, “I should stop and pick up something for dinner or dessert.” They have a great deli and homemade dessert selection, but since I was often eager to get home I rarely went in. Now I still pass by once or twice a month, on my way to a playgroup meet-up, so when Crusader Stacy reminded me that they have cupcakes I thought, “Now I really need to stop in!”

The selection of mini cheesecakes, mousses, pastries, and other baked goods made it difficult to concentrate on the cupcakes (yes even for me!), but I redirected my focus to the selection. I was originally just going to pick up a couple, but the cupcakes looked impressive, so I ended up choosing 4 of the 6 flavor options.

Peanut Butter Chocolate:
If you don’t already know, the Crusaders’ husbands are big fans of this combination, which is one of the reasons we frequently review peanut butter chocolate cupcakes.


(In the display case the candies looked like they were coated with sugar, however upon closer inspection, they were just old. Eww. I didn’t eat them.)

While the chocolate ganache frosting on this cupcake was really good, I was extremely turned off by the condition of the peanut butter candies on top. My only thought as to why they looked the way they did is that maybe the cupcakes had been refrigerated at some point and then condensation built up on the candies when they were being brought back down to room temperature, causing the cracked-crystallized effect. The cake was also dense and dry and didn’t have much peanut butter flavor.

Cookies ‘N Cream:
All the cookie pieces in the frosting made me believe this cupcake would pack a big cookies ‘n cream flavor, unfortunately it did not.


(Looks tasty, right?)

The frosting was very sweet and just tasted like your standard American buttercream and the cake was dry and crumbly. I really wanted to like this cupcake, but sadly it just didn’t impress me.

Key Lime:
Key lime cupcakes are another favorite for my husband and me, so while I was a little worried by the bright green color, I decided we should give Santoni’s a try.


(The bright frosting definitely makes a statement!)

This cupcake was probably one of the best from the selection. Although the bright green frosting proved to be a warning for artificial lime flavor, it was tangy and had a nice creamy texture and the cake was very moist and fluffy.

Cookie Dough:
Any cupcake with half a cookie on top (and one dipped in chocolate, no less) is a strong contender in my book.


(It’s like two treats in one!)

Like the Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcake, I believe this cupcake was a little old. After biting into it, I noticed that the outside of the frosting was darker than the inside (and had that hard coating that frosting gets after awhile) and didn’t have much flavor. The chocolate cake was also dry and crumbly. Although I didn’t finish the cupcake, I did try the cookie center, which was tasty and could have been the redeeming quality, had the rest of the cupcake been good.

After sampling these cupcakes, I won’t be getting any in the future from Santoni’s. I suspect that some weren’t baked fresh that day, which could have led to the poor quality. While I think their other market selections are good, the cupcakes just didn’t live up to the gourmet name, despite their appearance.

I also think I’m becoming a little bit of a cupcake snob. 😉

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

Due to comments, we thought we should offer a close-up example of the old candies on the Peanut Butter Chocolate cupcake. I’m not even entirely sure how this could happen, go unnoticed, and still be put out for sale:

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Sunday visit to CakeLove at the National Harbor

Growing up, I spent many Saturdays going to work with my dad in Oxon Hill, MD. This meant that Crusader Jenn and I either spent the morning with our Grandmother (who only lived a few minutes away) having tea parties, swimming, and playing rummy cub, or we would relax in our dad’s office reading the hours away. No matter which we did during those mornings, one thing was certain, we would spend the afternoons exploring Washington DC. I have countless memories from our frequent excursions to the museums, parks, and art galleries throughout the DC area.

Despite my vast history with the DC area, I don’t go there nearly enough anymore, which means I don’t visit with my grandparents as much as should either. But I’m working on that and after a recent Sunday afternoon visit with them, I decided to stop by the National Harbor where CakeLove has a location.

To my surprise I realized that I hadn’t been to the National Harbor since it underwent its major redevelopment. I couldn’t believe all the restaurants and shops that formed a little city along the waterfront. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I wished I had more time to wander up and down the docks, browse through shops, and maybe even sit with a coffee or ice cream cone. But I was on a mission. Cupcakes.


(Look at that blue sky and those pretty fluffy clouds! The day couldn’t have been nicer!)

After wandering around the harbor for a little bit, I headed into CakeLove’s shop and was greeted by a less than enthusiastic woman. They had a good variety of flavors though, so I took a few minutes to make my final selection of a Strawberry Cheesecake cupcake and a Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake.


(Strawberry Cheesecake cupcake from CakeLove.)

When I first sampled the frosting on the Strawberry Cheesecake I was surprised to find that it actually tasted just like cheesecake. The strawberries added a nice sweetness, just as they do on a typical strawberry cheesecake dessert, but there was something off putting about the cake. It was very dense, dry, and spongy, but not in a light and fluffy way. While the top of the cupcake was full of flavor, the cake itself was seriously lacking.


(Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake from CakeLove.)

The Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Caramel cupcake had this same problem. The chocolate ganache on top was decadent, the peanut butter frosting was light but had great peanut butter flavor, and the caramel added an overall richness, but the chocolate cake was bland, dense, and dry. In the end, I decided to just eat the tops off both cupcakes and discarded the cake portion.

CakeLove is celebrating 10 years of being in business, they have many locations, and the founder, Warren Brown, has hosted a show on the Food Network, written cook books and even been featured on shows like Oprah Winfrey. With all of this hype, I was really expecting more out of these cupcakes, and unfortunately they just didn’t do it for me. Maybe the consistency of the cake was due to the lack of quality control with having so many locations, or maybe it was because they refrigerate their cupcakes? (They say they do this because of health code regulations and so that the cake flavors have time to “marry overnight”, but refrigeration can cause cake to dry out quickly.)

That said, I still really enjoyed my time at the National Harbor. I look forward to returning and spending more time there, and maybe even giving CakeLove another shot. Everyone is allowed a second chance, right? 🙂

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

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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Found: True “Cup Love” in Canton

I often run down Linwood Ave and pass by Canton Square at least a few times a week and so I was delighted when Stacy told me about a new exciting cupcake and frozen yogurt place moving onto the square! Frozen yogurt, like anything else sweet and delicious, is just one more thing that this Crusader loves, so last week I stopped by the new little “frozen yogurt, cupcakes & more” shop called Cup Love.

It was busy when I got there (the photo above was taken as they were about to close and the shop had emptied out), so I took a minute to look around and discovered it is a “serve yourself” style frozen yogurt bar, with 8 different types of frozen yogurt to choose from and every “fixin” you could ever imagine wanting! And of course, there were cupcakes in adorable little cake stands on the counter near the register. While I was taking it all in, one of the owners stopped and asked me if I needed any help or wanted to try any of the yogurt flavors. I introduced myself and was then introduced to the other owner, artist, sign maker, and cupcake baker! They were very gracious and welcoming, as they were with every customer.

After talking about how it all worked, and trying a couple of flavors, I decided upon Dolce de Leche for my frozen yogurt with pieces of banana toffee cupcake on top and just a bit of peanut butter frozen yogurt on the side. It’s paid for by weight, so the more yogurt you want and the more toppings you add, the more it will cost, but my yogurt concoction was just over 3 bucks, making it very reasonably priced! And the taste – OH MY! The yogurt was creamy, flavorful, and delicious! The cupcake pieces on top really added a nice texture and flavor as well.

But that wasn’t even the best part, because that night, I took 5 cupcakes home with me! (Thank you so much to Cup Love for sending me home with them free of charge!) Below are the flavors and reviews:

Lime Whipped Frosting on Vanilla cake

While I thought the cake was slightly oily, it was also spongy and had a sweet, subtle flavor. The icing was amazingly citrusy and tart – the perfect complement to the more subdued cake. Together they created a very nice and refreshing cupcake that I look forward to eating in the hot summer months ahead.

Peanut Butter on Devil’s Food cake

First of all, this cupcake was HUGE – so large that I split it up to share with some of my co-workers! The cake alone was a bit plain, but it needed to be so that when eaten with the icing and ganache together it all isn’t too sweet. Yes, I said icing AND ganache. The peanut butter icing was smooth and sweet, and the chocolate ganache melted in your mouth. The chopped peanuts on top added the most fantastic texture (just like when you add them to a frozen yogurt sundae, hint hint) and I loved the hint of salt I tasted too. Definitely a cupcake to be eaten again, but it will have to be shared as it is so large.

Vanilla Marshmallow Frosting on Vanilla cake

Moist and simple, the cake alone was very classic… then I tasted the icing. Immediately, I was whisked away to long ago summers at my Nona’s house and being in her kitchen, stealing a spoonful of her buttercream icing out of the fridge. While not exactly the same – Nona’s buttercream doesn’t have any marshmallow in the recipe – it is so very close and so very delicious. When writing my notes on this cupcake I wrote, “Fluffy, smooth, sweet, & buttery, don’t really taste any marshmallow, but I don’t care about that one bit.” That just about says it all.

Red Velvet

As you all know, I am partial to red velvet and enjoyed Cup Love’s take on this classic cupcake. The cake was on the drier side, but that’s almost expected with red velvet. The cream cheese frosting was smooth and creamy, sweet and savory… it didn’t taste like traditional cream cheese icing, and I kinda love that!

Banana Toffee with Cream Cheese frosting

FANTASTIC. It’s the only word I can use to describe this cupcake. The banana flavor was superb without making it taste like a muffin, which I have found is an issue with banana flavored cake. The toffee was a sweet addition that didn’t overpower the moist banana cake. The not-too-sweet cream cheese icing was perfection and the toffee bits on top added a whole other texture to love! My favorite of the cupcakes, I will be ordering this one again and again.

My first experience with Cup Love was phenomenal to say the least. The owners have to be some of the sweetest and most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and their vision for a “fix-your-own” frozen yogurt shop is the perfect “icing” on Canton Square. They are always working on tweaking the cupcake recipes to perfection, and thinking of new and interesting toppings for the frozen yogurt. I highly recommend going, creating your own frozen yogurt concoction, and taking a cupcake home for breakfast the next day. I already decided I’ll have to start carrying a couple of dollars with me when I run so that I can stop by on my way home and reward my running with some refreshing frozen yogurt, topped with cupcake of course!

Have you been to Cup Love? What did you order? AND what should I try next?!

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

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Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Kupcakes & Co. | Elkridge, MD

Every Tuesday through the month of March we began counting down our Top 5 favorite cupcake places outside of Baltimore City and today, we are finally at #1! In order to make sure we did the proper research and included places that would “qualify” we decided that any place that was within a 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 our Top 5 let us know! We do our best to research where the cupcakes are, but there is no better way to find out than a recommendation!

We can’t say enough great things about Kupcakes & Co., located off Meadowridge Road in Elkridge, MD. Their little shop (which you can find around the back of a small shopping center) is stylishly decorated in their signature pink and black and features a custom built cupcake display case.


(Love the black and pink colors with the polka dots!)


(I’ve never seen a cupcake display quite like this!)

We instantly fell in love with Kupcakes & Co. during our first visit to their shop for Kupcakes with Santa. Not only did they “wow” us with their amazing cupcakes, but their hospitality was, and has always been, top-notch. It’s no wonder you often find a line going the entire length of the store, or even out the front door. But don’t let that deter you. They’ve got a great system down and you won’t have to wait long!

While none of us have ever tasted a cupcake we didn’t like, we want to share with you just a few of our favorite flavors:

Fluffernutter

This cupcake represents the classic fluffernutter sandwich that combines marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. You can actually see each of those components swirled in the frosting. It is also topped with a marshmallow dipped in peanut butter, which is a cleaver addition. Trying to slowly savor this cupcake was no small feat because it was so good it had me rushing to get to the next bite.

Blueberry Danish

Breakfast flavored cupcakes may not be a new concept in the cupcake world (Anyone familiar with the maple-bacon craze? Kupcakes & Co. has that too!) but this twist on a standard breakfast favorite has me wishing it was okay to eat cupcakes everyday for breakfast. The blueberry cake blends with their amazing cream cheese frosting to perfectly represent an actual blueberry danish.

The Elvis

I haven’t had the opportunity to try this peanut butter banana cupcake, but Crusader Jenn recommends this one and says that it is, “So moist and delicious.” I’ll definitely be getting it on my next visit!

Lemon Meringue

This cupcake has a lemon curd filling with a meringue topping and tastes just like a slice of lemon meringue pie, but with the added bonus of deliciously moist cake. My husband loves lemon meringue pie, so I’ll have to pick one of these up for him on my next visit too!

In addition to their stellar customer service and incredible cupcakes, there is one thing that truly seals the deal on Kupcakes & Co. taking our number one spot for favorite cupcakery on the outskirts of Baltimore City and that is their commitment to giving back to the community. Whether they are hosting events to raise money for pediatric units or creating special cupcakes that support cancer research and awareness, Kupcakes & Co. is always helping out with a great cause. So, if you haven’t already been to their shop, make sure to stop by and be blown away by their cupcakes and their service. And tell them the Crusaders say “hi!” 🙂

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

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Guest Review | Sweet Carolina Cupcakes | Hilton Head, SC

We are excited to have a new Guest Crusader, Erin! She is a friend of the Crusaders who LOVES cupcakes. She is sharing a review with us today on Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, a cupcakery she stumbled across on a recent trip to South Carolina. Thanks for sharing this with us Erin!

Recently I drove to South Carolina to visit my friend who lives on Hilton Head Island. Now if you’ve ever been to Hilton Head, you know there’s not much to do on the island except go to the beach and other ocean related activities (such as surfing). As my luck had it, it rained for the majority of my visit, so for lack of something better to do, my friend suggested that we walk around the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center.

Sweet Carolina Cupcakes is located in the middle of the maze of shop that is Coligny Plaza, but if you do make the effort to find it, you’ll find it’s well worth the hunt. On their website, they claim to be “The Lowcountry’s Premiere Cupcakery” and they apparently offer different flavors on different days of the week.

The shop itself has a blindingly bright lime green and hot pink color scheme and is pretty small. The common area only had two 2-person tables and a back wall bar to sit at.

The day we were there, they had ten flavors to choose from (pictured below).


(Top Row: Peanut Butter Cup, Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Coconut Snowball, Chocoholic
Bottom Row: Wedding Cake, Raspberry Zinger, Sweet Carolina, Classic Vanilla with Chocolate or Vanilla Icing and Classic Chocolate with Chocolate or Vanilla Icing.)

They also had a small selection of muffins and whoopee pies for non-cupcake people. The cupcakes themselves are larger than what I would consider an average-sized cupcake. They were closer to the size of a large muffin, but were priced averagely at 3.50 each.

While I was trying to choose my flavor, I asked what the Sweet Carolina (a bright pink cupcake with vanilla icing and pink sprinkles) was and was told that is was Sweet Carolina Cupcakes’ take on a “pink red-velvet” cupcake. I didn’t end up buying this one because I am not a huge fan of red velvet, but I wondered what Red Velvet Cupcake Crusader Elisa would think of a pink-velvet cupcake.

After quite a long deliberation I settled on the following cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Cup

My boyfriend actually chose peanut better cup because he doesn’t really like desserts or sweets EXCEPT for anything that is peanut butter flavored (I know, I think he’s crazy for not liking sweets). He did let me have a bite though. The chocolate cake was moist and full of dark chocolaty goodness. The cake was also very light and fluffy. The icing was smooth and VERY peanut buttery. My boyfriend who loves peanut butter thought the icing was great. I thought that the dark chocolate was a little overpowered by the peanut butter flavor, but I am also not a huge peanut butter fan, so I probably would never order this flavor for myself.

Carrot Cake

I ended up choosing a Carrot Cake cupcake for myself and was not disappointed by my choice. The cake, again, was light and fluffy, especially for carrot cake. I think the lightness of the cake was a great feature since the cupcakes were larger than average. If the cake had been too dense and “meaty,” I don’t think I would have wanted/been able to eat a whole cupcake (which I did easily). The flavor of the cake was not very spiced, but it did have a great texture of nuts, carrots and coconut. The icing tasted like a combination of buttercream and cream cheese and was pretty smooth and thick. Overall, I enjoyed this cupcake, although I did end up left with a mound of icing on my plate that I didn’t eat (I like my cupcake to icing ration about 2-1 cupcake to icing).

The friends I was with also got Red Velvet, Chocoholic and Classic Chocolate with Vanilla Icing cupcakes. (Sadly I didn’t manage to get photos of them before they were devoured.) My friend who bought the Red Velvet said it was better than the Peanut Butter Cup (which she also tried) and my friend who bought the Chocoholic cupcake couldn’t stop talking about how good it was and asking when he could go back and get another.

Overall, Sweet Carolina Cupcakes gets a big stamp of approval. Their cupcakes are larger than average, reasonably priced and full of flavor. If you’re ever on Hilton Head Island, make sure you stop by and try one!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Erin (Baltimore, MD)

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A Baking Adventure: Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And I’ve had some REALLY good PB&J cupcakes from wonderful bakeries. So when I heard about Project PB&J, a blogger cooking contest celebrating National PB&J Day, I thought, “I can do that!” In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been so confident…

After reading the contest guidelines, I knew I couldn’t come up with my own recipe for the cake, and I wasn’t sure that just adding a couple of ingredients would be changing someone else’s recipe enough. The longer I thought about it, the more I ran out of time. So in the end this is what my cake recipe turned out to be:

Cake Ingredients:
– 1 Box of Betty Crocker Yellow Cake mix
– 3 eggs (as per the box instructions)
– 1 ¼ cups of oil (as per the box instructions)
– ¼ cup of water (as per the box instructions)
– About 1 cup of chopped peanuts
– About 1 cup of diced strawberries (Fresh or frozen: If using frozen, thaw and drain as much water as possible)


(I always like to rally my ingredients to make sure I’m not missing anything.)


(Diced strawberries and chopped peanuts: I used the food processor to chop the peanuts. They came out  finer than I planned, but still worked to create a nice texture.)

I decided that my big modification was adding the chopped peanuts and strawberries to the batter. I really wanted that crunchy texture from the peanuts because I’m a big fan of crunchy peanut butter. I decided that the strawberries would help balance it (and fruit in cake usually works).

Cake Instructions:
Pre-heat your oven according to the instructions on the box. Mix the batter according to  the instructions on the box. Mix desired amount of peanuts and strawberries into the batter. Bake according to the instructions on the box. Easy enough, right?


(Batter with the chopped peanuts.)


(Batter with strawberries. Also my first time using silicone cupcake liners.)


(Baked cupcakes. The silicone liners have a “fill” line, however I think I could have gone above that to create a higher top on the cupcakes.)

Once the cupcakes cooled, it was time for the filling!

Filling Ingredients:
– Your favorite jam or preserves (in this recipe, that means strawberry preserves). If you want to get fancy, you can make your own!

Filling Instructions:
Take the cooled cupcakes and cut holes in the center, like a bowl, to hold the jam. Spoon the jam into the center.


(I decided to remove the cupcakes from the silicone liners prior to filling and topping. I don’t recommend doing this if there will be a filling!)


(Baby spoons work REALLY well for getting filling into those tiny holes!)

Now on to the frosting! A couple of years ago I created a peanut butter frosting on a whim, mixing together peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. I remember it turned out really well, but just in case, I also purchased Cool Whip for this experiment. And, I’m glad I did! The peanut butter and marshmallow fluff did not come together the way I had hoped, so the Cool Whip saved the day.

Frosting Ingredients:
– Creamy peanut butter
– Marshmallow fluff
– Cool Whip

Frosting Instructions:
Mix together a couple dollops of peanut butter with a couple dollops of marshmallow fluff. Then add in a couple dollops of Cool Whip. Don’t worry about folding the ingredients into the Cool Whip to maintain that airy texture. The marshmallow is too sticky, so just stir it all up until it’s mixed well. Then add in a couple more dollops of peanut butter and stir. I tried to keep it so it had a swirl texture. I failed. But it still tastes good! So if you fail too, don’t worry. As you can see, this is all experimental anyway!

Now time to top the cupcakes with the frosting! This is where I had more issues. I couldn’t decide what to do. I did a couple of cupcakes with the frosting piped on, but didn’t like the results. Then I just tried spreading the frosting on top, but also didn’t like that. I think it was because the frosting and cake looked monotone and I really wanted a pop of color from the jam, which would hint to what was inside. In the end I settled with swirling the frosting to expose the filling and bring some to the top.


(Luckily I made some of the cupcakes in these foil liners, which really helped keep them together!)


(Some of the options I worked on for the cupcakes taken out of the silicone liners.)

When it comes to this recipe, I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself. The cupcakes actually were tasty, especially since I’m not a baker by any means. The texture of the cake was great with the chopped peanuts. It was exactly what I’d hoped for! And the ratio of strawberry preserves, peanut butter flavor, and yellow cake are perfect. I still can’t help but to think that there’s nothing “special” about the results. No more so than if I’d just made a plain peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s exactly like a traditional PB&J, but in cupcake form. However, sometimes that’s okay, right?! I’ll let you be the judge.

Let us know if you decide to try this recipe or have your own PB&J Cupcake recipe! And visit Once Upon a Loaf for more information on Project PB&J!

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

The Cupcakes You Didn’t See | Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse | Westminster, MD

Even with all of our Starry Night reviews, there are still cupcakes that haven’t been seen by our followers! Around Oreo’s 100 year anniversary, Starry Night went crazy creating Oreo-stuffed cupcakes. Being a cupcake lover AND an Oreo lover, how could I resist? I initially went in for what I thought would be a few cupcakes, and left with a dozen! Starry Night seems to always do this to me, but thankfully I have people to share with! While I was picking up my Oreo stuffed cupcakes, they also had a couple of candy themed cupcakes that made it into my dessert box.

One of my favorites from the cookies and candy themed collection was the Nutter Butter:

Starry Night’s chocolate ganache frosting is a perfect match for the peanut buttery goodness of the cupcake. This cupcake should be a permanent offering, it is THAT good!

Every other cupcake in the collection was also perfectly moist and delicious:

1: Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with American buttercream
2: Oreo stuffed red velvet cake with American buttercream
3: Oreo stuffed yellow cake with peanut butter frosting
4: Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
5: Berry ‘licious – Berry Oreo stuffed yellow cake with berry buttercream
6: Choco Mint – Mint Oreo stuffed chocolate cake with chocolate mint buttercream
7: Junior Mint – Junior Mint stuffed yellow cake with chocolate mint butter cream
8: Twix – Twix stuffed yellow cake with caramel buttercream

Of course with stuffed cupcakes, we also have to show you the inside. The cookies held up well during baking and added a nice crunchy texture:

1: Example of the regular Oreo stuffed cake
2: Example of the Mint Oreo stuffed cake (you can see hints of the green Oreo cream)
3: Example of the Berry Oreo stuffed cake (you can see hints of the pink Oreo cream)
4: Twix stuffed cake
5: Junior Mint stuffed cake (this didn’t hold up as well as the cookies)

Starry Night’s Oreo and candy stuffed creations give you a great idea of the fun flavor combinations you will find in their bakery. More recently they also added a Samoa cupcake to the menu, fashioned after the popular Girl Scout’s cookie!

This cupcake has a caramel cake, frosted with chocolate ganache and topped with plenty of toasted coconut and half of a Samoa cookie! It’s the perfect execution of a Samoa in cupcake form.

There have been a few other new additions to the spring cupcake collection at Starry Night, so they will be seeing the Crusaders again soon!

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

Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Touché Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shop | Columbia, MD

Every Tuesday for the month of March (and the first week in April) we will be counting down 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 decided 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 is no better way to find out than a recommendation!

During our research to find our Top 5 places outside of Baltimore City, we came across Touché Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shop located in Columbia, MD. Touché Touchet creates beautiful cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies and even makes savory pastries and delicious coffee for those who might be looking for something to go with their sweet treat of choice. Since it isn’t located in the shopping/restaurant hub of Columbia, we had never been there before.

On the day we visited Touché Touchet, we had the pleasure to be accompanied by my sister and her two adorable daughters. Our niece, Lylah, is 2 years old and already showing signs of being a little cupcake connoisseur.


(Lylah enjoying a basic vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. Her technique is still a bit questionable, but her enthusiasm makes up for it).

As you can see in the above photo, Touché Touchet has a great little seating area complete with table lamps and adorable cupcake table clothes. Seating areas are a great bonus to any bakery or cupcakery, especially when you’ve got the little ones with you.

While you probably don’t mind reading about the shop itself, I’m sure what you are really interested in is the cupcakes? Well, the ones we tried were great! Here are our reviews:

Peanut Butter and Jelly

I’m a big fan of PB&J cupcakes, but before trying this one at Touché Touchet I had only found one other that I really loved. To me, there is something special about taking two nostalgic foods and combining them together. The peanut butter frosting was rich, light, creamy, and not too sweet. Then, the dollop of tart raspberry jam you see on top was only the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve never seen so much filling inside of a cupcake before! Normally it’s just enough to give a little surprise, but the filling in this cupcake ensures you get the full PB&J experience with every bite.

Chocolate Raspberry

Like the Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate Raspberry is another favorite flavor of mine. So much so, that I rarely encounter anything with this mixture that I’m not a fan of, but this cupcake makes others look insignificant. It may be a contender for my ultimate favorite Chocolate Raspberry cupcake. The filling was the same featured in the Peanut Butter and Jelly, but instead paired with decadent, moist, and chocolatey cake and frosting.

Peanut Butter Chocolate

Jenn ordered this cupcake and said that it uses the same great cake from the Chocolate Raspberry and the smooth, creamy peanut butter frosting from the Peanut Butter and Jelly to create a deliciously classic cupcake.

Key Lime

This Key Lime cupcake was one of Elisa’s two selections. She said that it was moist and sweet, with a subtle key lime flavor. Elisa typically prefers a citrus flavored cupcake which has the flavoring in the cake or the icing (or both) and not just in a filling, like this cupcake. However, once she got to the filling, it all came together for her and she thought the key lime flavor was very nice and worked well with the vanilla cake and the light, sweet, icing.

Black and White Marble

This was Elisa’s second selection and she really enjoyed it. She said, “the mixture of icings was playful and a delight, and the cake was a traditional marble cake, which I rarely see and absolutely love. The chocolate icing was really very good and stands out as the signature component of this cupcake.”

Overall we really enjoyed our time at Touché Touchet. The atmosphere and the cupcakes were both great and are the reason why this “new-to-us” shop has taken the #4 spot on our Top 5 list. While it might not be in a super convenient location for any of the Crusaders, I hope to return and enjoy more cupcakes with a cup of coffee in their quaint seating area. And who knows, after more visits, maybe they will move up our Top 5 list?

If you are in the Columbia area, we would highly recommend stopping by Touché Touchet the next time you are on the hunt for some tasty, large, gourmet cupcakes!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, 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)