Apple, Maple, Pumpkin, Spice – The Flavors of Fall

This time of year we can’t seem to resist anything with a fall seasonal flavor, which means we have tried many random cupcakes from several locations that we want to share with you. What better way to do that then one big post?! The cupcakes below are from: AngelCakes in Frederick, MD; Sweet Sin Bakery and Cafe in Baltimore, MD; Caffe Latte’da in Baltimore, MD; Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon, VA; Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda, MD; Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse in Westminster, MD; and Snickerdoodles Bakery in Coffee House in Hampstead, MD.

AngelCakes – Frederick, MD
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake

Last time I reviewed AngelCakes it was a bit of a mixed review. I tried two cupakes, but only really enjoyed one. Well, this Pumpkin Spice cupcake work out in my favor with its super moist cake and great pumpkin spice flavor. The frosting was sweet, but not overly so. This cupcake actually reminded me a lot of a Dunkin Donut’s pumpkin doughnut, which isn’t a bad thing (I could eat those doughnuts all day, every day if my waistline would let me).

Sweet Sin Bakery and Cafe (AKA: Sweet 27 – Gluten Free) – Baltimore, MD
Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Apple Caramel Cupcakes

Sweet Sin can often be a hit or miss, but their Chocolate Raspberry cupcake is completely decadent and just that alone has me thinking about their cupcakes often—its close proximity to my day job doesn’t hurt either. Plus, they are gluten free, so kind of healthy too, right? (Don’t burst my bubble on this…) Recently, I found myself with a fierce cupcake craving, so decided to stop in and see what fall cupcakes were on the menu. They actually had about four seasonal flavors that day, so I selected Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Apple Caramel. Unfortunately only one really worked for me. The Pumpkin Apple Caramel had large chunks of baked apples, but also contained a weird spice flavor that just didn’t win me over. Luckily the Pumpkin Spice saved the day and ended up having a great flavor and smooth frosting. The cake on both was a bit dense and the texture wasn’t totally like “normal” cake, but since I convince myself that I was eating a healthy cupcake I decided to overlook that.

Cafe Latte’da – Baltimore, MD
Pumpkin Cupcake

This cupcake is a bit like a muffin pretending to be a cupcake. The cake’s texture screams, “I’m a muffin!” but, the flavor of the “cake” is really nice and the cream cheese frosting on top is smooth with just the right amount of sweetness. This cupcake is also HUGE which means you can share it or eat half immediately and save the rest for later (or just eat the whole thing in one sitting, we won’t judge).

Crumbs Bakery – Clarendon, VA

Pumpkin

Pumpkin… sadly this cupcake did not live up to its namesake. The cake was moist and delicious, but didn’t taste like pumpkin at all, the icing was the same…both had a lovely vanilla flavor—which after a bit of searching on their website I discovered that Crumbs has two cupcakes that reference pumpkin: one that is just vanilla and one that is actually pumpkin flavored. As a Vanilla cupcake, this cupcake did NOT disappoint. Simple in flavor, but decorated for the season!

Apple Cobbler

Streusel Crumbs = Heaven. Filled with apple pie preserves, covered in delicious vanilla buttercream and topped with streusel crumbs, this cupcake flavor is amazing and complex. It didn’t just taste like apple cobbler, it embodied and elevated the flavors of its namesake dessert.

Georgetown Cupcake – Bethesda, MD
Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Cupcakes

For November Georgetown Cupcake has some fantastic fall flavor offerings; including the two pictured above: Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple. The Pumpkin Spice cupcake was just as I remembered it from our 2011 Cupcake Tour—a little dense, but the flavors were amazing. The cake was full of spices while the cream cheese icing had a subtle maple flavor. Caramel Apple, whoa! The apple cake was moist and the dolce de leche filling adds a whole new level of flavor to this cupcake. Both cupcakes are fall-tastic!

Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD
Amaretto Chai Spice Cupcake

Starry Night released this new flavor after I went in this year to pick their other 2012 Fall Seasonal cupcakes. Luckily they had them on my most recent visit! This cupcake was moist and light, full of flavor. It seemed more like a spice cake to me, but I’m not a big chai tea drinker (unlike Crusader Elisa). The chai buttercream was smooth and I think I picked up notes of cinnamon. Another winning cupcake from Starry Night!

Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffee House – Hampstead, MD
Apple Cinnamon Cupcake

This Apple Cinnamon cupcake was amazing, to say the least. Snickerdoodles tends to always fill their large gourmet cupcakes, even if just with a whipped frosting, but this cupcake was filled with an apple cinnamon compote and topped with cinnamon buttercream. The crumb around the edge added a nice texture and gave it the feeling of an apple crisp.

We hope that you were able to get out this fall and taste some seasonal cupcakes. Fall flavors are some of our favorites, but now with Thanksgiving bringing the season to a close, we are ready for the cupcakes that winter has to offer!

– Reviews by the Cupcake Crusaders

A Waste of $10.50 | Guest Review | City Cakes | New York, New York

We are excited to have another guest review from our NYC dweller, Jen. She’s been on many cupcake adventures with us and has taken the time to write today’s review on a new shop she visited, City Cakes. Thanks Jen!

Over the summer, I got an internship in the design department of Abrams Books. It’s been a cool experience, especially for a bookworm and craft queen like me, and it’s close enough to my apartment that I’ve been able to walk to work every day. During the hot and humid summer days, I was all about the frozen yogurt places on the way home, but once it started to cool down, I noticed the teeny tiny City Cakes bakery. Normally, I avoid anything food-related that is in a basement because NYC is a pretty grungy place, but when I saw that they have an A (it’s NYC law that all places that serve food have health code letter grades displayed in their front windows) I decided that one day I’d give it a go.

As the Crusaders have mentioned about a hundred times already, pumpkin + cupcakes = awesome… usually. When I saw this sign outside of City Cakes in early October, I decided that the time had come to venture inside. So today I did.

I walked down the metal stairs and into the awkward tiny hallway, and was surprised at exactly how small this place is. It would be cramped with three customers inside, though surprisingly they had about ten different cupcake flavors displayed in and on top of the case. They also have cookies, and the sample I tried, which I believe was chocolate with white chocolate chips, was very yummy. (In hindsight, I should have skipped the cupcakes and gotten some cookies…) There were two or three employees talking behind the counter, in an area not much bigger than the front and I couldn’t help but notice how spacious my studio apartment seemed compared to this place.  I was worried initially that they wouldn’t accept credit cards, as I rarely carry cash, but they do with a $10 minimum, which was perfect because I wanted to get four cupcakes.

I chose two of the pumpkin spice cupcakes, as those were the reason I came in, (and I didn’t want to have to share), then one red velvet, and one salted caramel, for my hubby and I to split. The total came to $10.50, which I thought was pretty reasonable considering the usual NYC cupcake prices are a bit higher.

I was very excited to try all of the cupcakes, but especially the pumpkin spice, so we dug into those first.

When cupcakes have a lot of frosting, as all of these did, I start licking off some of the frosting before I take a bite of the cake, so that the frosting doesn’t completely overwhelm the flavor of the cake (I’m strange, I know). So anyway, I noticed that the cream cheese frosting had a sort of strange tanginess to it, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. It made the roof of my mouth tingle, and not in a good way, but I’m not always the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting, so I figured I’d just move on to the cake.

My hubby’s first comment was, “Well this is dense.” Huge understatement. The cake was denser than pumpkin bread, and nowhere near as tasty. I managed to make it halfway through, but had to stop. It just wasn’t good. My hubby only made it about ¾ of the way through, and he can usually finish anything! I felt bad for throwing half of the cupcake away, but I had hope for the next ones.

Next up was the red velvet cupcake. We split this one and boy am I glad I didn’t buy two of them. I hate to say it, but this cupcake could very well be the very worst cupcake I have ever eaten. Ever.

It looked good and smelled good (as they all did) but the cream cheese frosting was just okay. The cake was just as dense as the pumpkin, but it was seriously like eating sawdust. I honestly don’t know how a cupcake can be that dry. We both threw our halves away after only one small bite. So disappointing, but I know from experience that it is hit or miss with red velvet, and usually it’s more of a miss.

Finally was the salted caramel. Even after the other two cupcakes, I had hope for this one – how can you possibly screw up salted caramel?

Cutting it in half was a huge mess, as caramel was everywhere, but licking my fingers was delicious at least. This frosting was buttercream, and it tasted alright, but was a bit crunchy as if it had been sitting out for a day already. The caramel drizzle was the only thing that saved it. I could taste a bit of the saltiness in the frosting, but I didn’t eat too much of it as it was nothing special and kind of stale. Moving on to the cake, which I believe was caramel flavored. It wasn’t horrible, but it was still pretty dry. I thought it was the best of all three, until I noticed little chunks in both bites I took, which suggested that they didn’t stir the batter enough before baking it. That kind of grossed me out and it was nothing special, so that one went in the trash too. The hubby threw his away about halfway through, but he said if he absolutely had to choose, that would be his favorite of the night too.

I am very disappointed that the cupcakes from City Cakes were so lackluster, but more than that I’m disappointed that I didn’t have any ice cream or yummy desserts in my apartment that could take the bad taste out of my mouth! Blech.

– Review by Guest Crusader, Jen (New York, New York)

Guest Review | Cheesecake Factory’s Pumpkin Cupcake | Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Inner Harbor | Baltimore, MD

Last week a reader and fellow cupcake enthusiast, Keely, contacted us after purchasing a Pumpkin cupcake from the Barnes & Noble Starbucks, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The cupcakes at this location are provided by The Cheesecake Factory. Keely said we could share her review on our blog, and we are happy to do so! We LOVE all things pumpkin and are looking forward to reviewing many more fall related cupcakes. Keely runs her own blog, Between a Breath and a Blink, and has challenged herself with tasting anything and everything she encounters in Baltimore City that is pumpkin flavored and this cupcake was the first item she conquered.

Keely thought that the cake tasted more like a ginger or spice cake, and not the pumpkin flavor that had been promised. She said that while it wasn’t bad, she was, “looking for more of a stand out pumpkin flavor,” and that “the cake itself was kind of dense, whereas I prefer my cupcakes to be light and moist.” She said that the subtle cinnamon cream cheese frosting was the highlight of the cupcake, but that she would have liked there to have been more of it. Her final thoughts were, “I’d give this 2 out of 5 stars (or pumpkins!).”

Thanks for sharing your review with us, Keely! We looking forward to following (and joining) you on your pumpkin adventure.

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

Guest Review | First Annual Cupcake-A-Palooza | DC Area

When we found out our graphic design colleague, Kristina, was in a cupcake club and had organized their first ever Cupcake-A-Palooza, we had to find out more. Luckily she agreed to be a Guest Crusader and share her story and reviews with everyone! Thanks Kristina!

What’s Cupcake-A-Palooza you ask?

Well, it all started about a year ago, with me, two of my friends and our mutual love for cupcakes. We decided we needed a cupcake club. Better yet, a SECRET cupcake club, just because that’s more fun, complete with a secret handshake and secret knock! We started meeting once a month, and on members’ birthdays, just to eat and critique those delicious mini cakes. Little by little we started inviting more friends (and cupcake lovers) until we completed the group at 6 (it’s worth mentioning, we are coed). This way, when we bought a dozen cupcakes, everyone could have 2.

And then Cupcake-A-Palooza came to life. We realized there were so many cupcake shops we were missing out on because either they didn’t deliver, or they were not feasible to get to during a workday.  So we picked a day – August 10th – where we would take the day off of work and go on what is now dubbed “a cupcake crawl.” We decided to hold our first annual event in DC.

We chose 10 bakeries/cupcakeries to try and one of the club members graciously mapped out our plan of attack. But what is Cupcake-A-Palooza without an event T-Shirt? I’m not only a cupcake lover, I’m a graphic designer, and so, our t-shirts were born.


(Our official Cupcake-A-Palooza t-shirts, complete with a concert tour inspired list of stops!)

Decked out in our matching tees, we headed into DC and began Cupcake-A-Palooza. After four hours of eating cupcakes, here’s how I think the shops rate (with the help of some of my club members)…

1. Baked & Wired (Georgetown)
This happened to be our first stop. So not only did I need a cupcake, I needed some caffeine! I decided on the Dirty Chai cupcake. And just to stick with the theme, a Chai Latte. Both were outstanding!


(The staff at Baked & Wired was just as fun as their hand drawn flavor signs)

The cupcake was bigger than usual, but the cake was perfectly moist throughout. The espresso buttercream melted in my mouth and was just strong enough to complement the spice of the cake. As an extra treat, it was topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean. Yum! This cupcake and latte left me longing for fall…

2. The Sweet Lobby (Capitol Hill)
This was our final stop of the day. There were so many interesting flavor choices, that I went a little cupcake crazy here. I decided on Chocolate Raspberry, Green Tea Pistachio, Caramel Apple, Bananas Foster, Butterscotch Crunch, and Pineapple Inside Out. I gave a couple of them to another club member and gifted a couple. Ultimately, I only tried two.


(Top row, from left to right: Chocolate Raspberry, Butterscotch Crunch, and Green Tea Pistachio. Bottom row, from left to right: Caramel Apple, Pineapple Inside Out, and Bananas Foster)

The Butterscotch Crunch won me over in two bites. As soon as I hit the butterscotch center, I was sold. The vanilla cake and buttercream were an excellent balance so that the butterscotch flavor was not overpowering. Topping it off, were some Butterfinger crumbles.

As an avid Green Tea drinker, the Green Tea Pistachio cupcake was an obvious choice. Although, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. This cupcake is a Cupcake Wars Winner and one of The Sweet Lobby’s signature “MacTops,” meaning it had a Green Tea macaroon on top.  At first I thought, this is different…then, half way through, I thought, this is good! I enjoyed the cake with the bits of pistachio and macaroon most. I wasn’t crazy about the green tea buttercream; I would have liked it to be a little sweeter.

3. Georgetown Cupcake (Georgetown)
With all the hype and long lines…I really didn’t want to love Georgetown Cupcake, but it was inevitable. I was excited to try one of their seasonal cupcakes, Banana Split. Complete with sprinkles, hazelnut bits, fudge drizzle and a cherry on top, I felt like I was indulging in the real dessert. The vanilla cream cheese frosting was so smooth and acted as the ice cream, while the fudge center mixed perfectly with the banana cake.

Another club member tried Georgetown Cupcake’s other season flavor, Blueberry Cheesecake. The fresh blueberry cheesecake was just as advertised. The cupcake had the graham cracker bottom, adding to the authenticity of a cheesecake. While there was no icing, the top had a soft cheese texture and a blue fondant flower.

4. Hello Cupcake (Dupont Circle)
This shop prides itself on its use of fresh and all natural ingredients. Well, it’s working. It was a no brainer as soon as I saw the selection; I went for the flavor of the month, Root Beer Float.

I imagined sipping the real thing while I enjoyed this spicy/sweet cupcake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting (my absolute favorite) and a fun chocolate straw. This cupcake was rather refreshing.

5. Sweet Themez Cake & Cupcake (Adams Morgan)
The employee in this shop won brownie points with his enthusiasm over our Cupcake-A-Palooza tees. He even offered me a dozen free cupcakes if I send him one!


(Sweet Themez isn’t as glitzy as some of the other shops from the outside, but it’s worth the stop)

I can’t vouch for myself on this one, but one of the club members had the Cookies ‘n’ Cream cupcake. The scent of the cupcake was amazing – it made you want to dig right in! While the rich chocolate cake was moist, it crumbled. The icing and the mini Oreo on top made the cupcake.

6. Red Velvet Cupcakery (Penn Quarter)
This shop is teeny, tiny. So if you pay them a visit, don’t plan on staying to enjoy your cupcake inside. As a coffee lover, I chose the Hazelnut Café cupcake.


(Hazelnut Café on the left, another club member’s Carrot Cake cupcake on the right.)

However, I was disappointed. The cake was pretty dry and was only saved by the bits of crunchy hazelnuts throughout. I wasn’t a fan of the whipped icing, as I always prefer something creamier, but the pinch of espresso on top was a nice touch.

7. Sprinkles Cupcakes (Georgetown)
I was really looking forward to trying Sprinkles, as I had heard mixed reviews. I’m a sucker for pumpkin anything, so I went for their Pumpkin cupcake.

I was really hoping to taste pumpkin, but the flavor was barely there. It was overpowered by the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, which was the only part of the cupcake that I enjoyed. On top was one of Sprinkles signature modern dots, which added no flavor value.

8. Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats (Columbia Heights)
This shop is 100% vegan. While I am not, I recommended we add this shop to our list of stops 1) Because I liked the name 2) They were two time Cupcake War Winners and 3) My mom went dairy free in the past year for health reasons, so I wanted to taste things from her perspective.

I had not had a red velvet cupcake all day, so I tried theirs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even finish it, and neither could my fellow club member. I found the cake to be plastic-y and lacking in flavor, but as the shops name suggests, it actually was also sticky! I thought the icing was grainy, and was not up to par with the other cream cheese icings of the day. Lesson learned: I need my dairy.

However, another club member saw it differently. She tried the Lavender Lemon. Although she found the cake to be denser than non-vegan cupcakes, she thought it was moist and quite delicious. The lavender flavor was very present, without being overwhelming. Lesson learned: try it for yourself!

Out of the 10 stops we planned to make on Cupcake-A-Palooza, we only made it to 8.

When we got to Cupcake Felicity, or at least, what used to be Cupcake Felicity, it was no longer there. Instead there was a café called Bread & Brew. We found out that Felicity, who also makes 100% vegan cupcakes, now sells her cupcakes to the café. Unfortunately, they did not have any available that day. Chatman’s D’Vine Bakery & Café was supposed to be our last stop, but by 2PM we were stuffed and coming down off our sugar high. The shop didn’t open until 3PM, so we decided to save it for another time.

Our first annual Cupcake-A-Palooza was a fun, sweet filled day! Up Next: Cupcake-A-Palooza 2013, Northern VA…

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

National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challange: Taste of the Seasons

This past Saturday, Crusader Jenn and I braved the nasty rain soaked roads and headed to the National Capital Area Cake Show‘s Cupcake Challenge in Annandale, VA. This year’s theme was ‘Taste of the Seasons’ which was well represented with approximately 75 entries. With this many entries and about 700 attendees, we knew we needed a plan of attack, so prior to the show we decided on the flavors we most wanted to sample.

Between the two of us, we only had about 3 duplicate flavors, so we sampled 15 flavors in total. Before I proceed, I should clarify that they were mini cupcakes, so it was easy to taste every flavor in one sitting.

After sampling them all, we decided that it would be slightly overwhelming for our readers to have a full description and critique of 15 flavors, so we have picked our very own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and then provided you with a peek at the remaining 12. (These selections are not reflective of the competition’s decisions and are solely those of the Crusaders and the 15 flavors we tried).

1st Place: French Vanilla Coffee Creme Brûlée (Season: Winter)

Baker: Inayah Zaman

This was our clear favorite of the night. Amazingly, you could taste all the flavors, and there was an added element of strawberry which was unexpected, but worked incredibly well. The edible gold glitter and the chocolate “handle” added the perfect finishing touches. We both voted for this as our favorite on the People’s Choice ballot.

2nd Place: Cherry Blossom Sake (Season: Unknown)

Baker: Wanda Cushing

The delicate gum paste cherry blossom on top of this mini cupcake matched the mild sake and cherry flavors. Both flavors complemented each other nicely creating a really enjoyable and totally unique cupcake.

3rd Place: Chocolate Covered Coconut Robin’s Egg (Season: Spring)

BAKER: Monica Pearson of Monica’s Sugar Studio
(This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Spring’ category, voted by the competition judges. This baker was also last year’s ‘Best Professional Cupcake’ winner)

This adorable mini cupcake had really good coconut flavor throughout. The coconut blended well with the chocolate which somehow managed not to be overpowering. There was even a coconut filling in this tiny little treat!

As you can see, the competition was fierce! Here is a glimpse at the other flavors we tried, with a special “Honorable Mention” for a cupcake we thought was great, but didn’t make it into our final 3:

Honorable Mention: Root Beer Float (Season: Summer)
Baker: Deanna Rybak
(This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Amateur Summer’ category, voted by the competition judges.)

1: Gluten Free Eggnog Coco (Season: Winter) – BAKER: Caroline Litt
2: Gingerbread with Lemon Curd (Season: Winter)
– BAKER: Trevor Burroughs, “The Cake Guy” featured on Food Network’s Sweet Genius
3: Carrot with Orange Marmalade (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Linda McLean
4: Orange Creamsicle (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Sandy Schmuff, Dessertabilities
5: German Chocolate Easter Egg Nests Cake Ball (Season: Spring)
– BAKER: Emily Baird, Alexandria Cake Pop Company (They won this year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Winter’ category for their Peppermint Chocolate Cake Pop, voted by the competition judges.)
6: Piñajito (Pineapple Mojito) (Season: Summer)
– BAKER: Catherine Baroang
7: Peach cobbler (Season: Summer)
– BAKER: Lora Gookin, Gâteau (This year’s 1st place winner in the ‘Professional Summer’ category, voted by the competition judges.)
8: Maple & Rum Flavored Pumpkin (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Juanita Holloway
9: Chocolate Bacon Chipotle (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Kyle Downes (Tied for 6th Place People’s Choice)
10: Red wine poached pear (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Tracy Fuller, Simply Desserts
11: Gluten Free Chai Brown Butter Meringue (Season: Fall)
– BAKER: Becky Rink

After sampling all of these bite sized treats, we headed to the auditorium for a live demonstration by Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery. Sticky Fingers is a vegan bakery that has competed three times on the Food Network’s show, Cupcake Wars. They have won twice and are the first vegan bakery to ever win on an All-Stars show.

Doron’s demonstration was entertaining and full of great advice for upcoming bakers like, “Take business classes, the rest is easy. You like to eat, you taste it, if you like the way it tastes, it’s good.” That evening she was showing us all how she makes her Chocolate Bananas Foster cupcake. Even with all the sampling we had done, by the end of the demo, our mouths were watering hoping to one day try that cupcake.

Following the live demo was a book signing where we got to meet Doron. She couldn’t have been nicer and even posed for a quick picture with us!

We promised her we would be visiting her shop in DC this summer, when the weather got better, and we can’t wait! You will probably also see some of the recipes from her book posted on our blog as I dabble into the vegan baking world!

Overall it was a great night that couldn’t have ended on a better note!

To see a full list of the official National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challenge winners click here.

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

Southern Maryland Cupcake Pavilion

While away from home I can’t avoid thinking about (or eating) cupcakes! So, on a recent trip to visit my parents and twin brother in Southern Maryland, I knew I’d be sharing my cupcake love with them! Stacy had even researched cupcake places in Waldorf, so I had one place on my list to go to right away: Cupcake Pavilion! My Mom and I love to shop, so the fact that Cupcake Pavilion was in the mall made it very easy for us to access! We easily stopped by and bought four cupcakes to eat later in the evening, but first, more about the shop…

This quaint cupcake shop recently moved into the St. Charles Town Center Mall and is adorable. Decorated in blue and brown (as is their website), with very friendly staff, it is a diamond in a mall full of brand name stores and chain restaurants. The cupcakes are displayed in large cake pedestals with covers. The flavors change regularly and there are always specials going on. Prices are fair at $2.75 per cupcake with a dozen costing an even $30.

Now for the cupcakes!

Red Velvet:

Being the “Red Velvet Girl” I had to take one of these home! The cake was a little dry, but a lot of red velvet tends to be, so I wasn’t shocked. The icing was supposed to be cream cheese icing, but tasted much more like sweet vanilla icing – with a dash of cream cheese. Over all, it ended up being a very sweet cupcake, but not a very great red velvet. One of the reasons I love a good red velvet cupcake is because they aren’t too sweet, and this one fell short of that.

Pumpkin:

This beautiful cupcake had a lovely orange/yellow color with cinnamon swirling through the icing. The cake wasn’t the most moist, but with the icing, created a perfect autumn taste, texture, and feel. My mom – who is not a huge sweets eater – said, “It’s really good” and ate more than one bite, which is saying a lot for a little cupcake. I agreed with her and would definitely order this cupcake again!

French Toast:

Topped with a piece of a breakfast french toast stick, this cupcake really looked and tasted like breakfast! With a sweet butter cream icing that had just the right touch of maple. The cake was spicy and savory! I love french toast cupcakes, and while I think they are all better with bacon on top (because everything is better with bacon), this one is one french toast cupcake that can stand without it!

Hot Chocolate:

This cupcake was the standout of the for for me. While I am not a huge chocolate cake fan, this cake was dense, but moist and very flavorful! The “hot chocolate” butter cream icing was very creamy and smooth – NOT gritty the way that some icings with hot chocolate mixed in can be. Together they created one yummy cupcake that would like to eat again!

My visit home with family was – and is always – the best part of going to Waldorf, but finding and sharing great cupcakes is a close second. So, if you’re ever in Waldorf or find yourself in Southern Maryland, stop by the mall and grab some cupcakes from Cupcake Pavilion. You won’t be disappointed. 😉

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

Can “Skinny” Taste Good? Oh Yes It Can.

I hope everyone had a very tasty and happy Thanksgiving! I wanted to take a few moments to share a fantastic recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes that I made for Thanksgiving. They even claim to be “skinny,” so it was an added bonus to this minimal ingredients and easy-to-make recipe.

To make the cake, you start with four simple ingredients:

  • Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes.

See? Super easy.

I decided to make mini pumpkin cupcakes. I find that a small scoop like this one here, works really well to make the perfect size mini cupcakes that are all about the same size. After baking for about 15 to 20 minutes (25 seemed to be a bit too long in my oven), out came these beautiful little gems:

I even decided to add some fall fun with these cute mini cakes:

Next up, the deliciously simple pumpkin cream cheese frosting. That actually required a few more ingredients, but was still easy to make:

  • 8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tbsp packed brown sugar

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. I had to use my hand mixer (since I don’t have a standing mixer) to get a smooth consistency on this. If you don’t have one, you may have to make sure the cream cheese is extra soft at room temperate and blend for a while. Good luck. I hope you succeed though, because the results were fantastic:

A army of mini cupcakes that pack a big pumpkin punch. Yum.

Click here to read the full recipe from SkinnyTaste.com.

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