A Baking Adventure: Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

I’ve never really participated in a bake sale before. I’m sure that’s hard to believe since I’m such a sweets lover. My participation is limited to purchasing bake sale items for my own enjoyment. I have no idea about what the “rules” are. But when we Crusaders decided to host our own bake sale to raise money for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, I thought, “How hard can it be?” Then I happened to watch the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It. Sarah Jessica Parker’s character has to take something to her daughter’s school bake sale and, for fear of looking like a failure to the highly domestic moms, she doctors up (or destroys, depending on how you look at it) a store bought pie, hoping to pass it off as homemade. This put fear in me. Do bake sale items HAVE to be homemade? And if so, what qualifies as homemade? Does it have to be from scratch? And what if it turns into a TOTAL disaster?!

Deciding that as a stay at home mom I should have the time to do a recipe from scratch, I searched the internet for the perfect bake sale cupcakes. Stacy would be doing chocolate, so I wanted to something that would be more of an opposite, but still fun and seasonal. With these thoughts in mind, I came up with Lemon Raspberry cupcakes with a raspberry filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting. The problem with being a new baker and at the mercy of the internet for recipes is that if you haven’t tried it, you don’t really know if it’s going to be good. So, when I found LemonCupcakes.net, claiming that the recipe on The Little Red House blog was the best, I decided to trust them. The recipe is for Lemon Coconut, but the cake is purely lemon.

Lemon Cupcakes:
As soon as I saw that the recipe included using more than one bowl, I panicked. Anything using more than one bowl for a cake is bound to be complicated and I only had 40 minutes, if I was lucky! My goal was to get the cake batter done and in the oven before my daughter woke up from her morning nap. Well, that didn’t happen.


(Prep time included zesting 2 lemons, squeezing fresh lemon juice, and separating eggs.)


(One of the more unique steps: rub the sugar and lemon zest together in a bowl until the sugar takes on a yellow hue and becomes fragrant.)

At some point during my process of measuring dry ingredients and whisking the eggs and buttermilk, Leah woke up from her nap, only adding to my level of stress. How was I going to finish this complicated recipe (okay, complicated for ME) with a curious, mobile, and awake 9 month old? I prepped an area in the family room next to me, removing the dog’s water bowl, so that Leah could freely, and safely, roam around while I finished up the batter and kept an eye on her. Of course this would be the day that she learned how to turn the tv on and off…but the batter was much more important than the tv at this point!

After combining all the ingredients with a hand mixer, and having the spatula shoot straight through the mixing attachments twice, it was finally done and ready to go into the cupcake pans! A couple of adjustments I made to the recipe: I choose to use real lemon juice instead of lemon extract. Knowing that extract is more concentrated, I used at least 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Also, I didn’t realize the recipe called for cake flour, not all-purpose flour. Instead of going to the store, I looked up how to use all-purpose flour as a substitute (who knew there was a specific cake flour?!). After baking, I was surprised by how little the cupcakes rose. I thought, “Oh no! Something went wrong! I should have just followed the recipe exactly!”


(I filled the liners 2/3 full, like you are usually suppose to do, but it hardly rose while baking.)


(I did like that you could see flecks of yellow from the lemon zest.)

I cut out a part of the cupcake center, since I’d be filling them later anyway, to taste it. The cake was dense, but so moist! Relief set in. Only two more items left to make!

Raspberry Filling:
I found a recipe for raspberry cake filling on Food.com. It looked so simple and it was! I think it also helped that I waited until the next day, when someone else was home to keep an eye on Leah, so that I could put all my focus on making the perfect filling.


(Only 4 ingredients needed for this recipe! So easy!)


(The filling had an amazing color!)

Just as I’ve done before, I cut out the centers of the cupcakes so they’d be ready to spoon in the filling. One day I’ll experiment with my filling injector, but now was not the time to risk failure, especially after making it this far.


(I used a grapefruit knife this time, and it worked perfectly!)


(As I mentioned in my last baking experiment, baby spoons work perfectly for dropping in the filling. My favorite is The First Years’ Take and Toss spoons.)

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
When it came time for the frosting, I decided not to go with the option on The Red House’s recipe. I was worried that it wouldn’t be lemony enough. Instead I used a recipe from Annie’s Eats for their Blueberry Lemon cupcakes, which uses lemon juice and zest.


(Always be sure to have extra confectioners’ sugar, in case you need to stiffen up the frosting to get the texture you are looking for.)

After using the 3 cups of sugar the recipe calls for, I thought the frosting was the consistency that I wanted. However, when I got around to piping, it was very runny. So, I dumped the frosting out of my stainless steel piper and added another 1-2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. That seemed to help a little, but it still wasn’t the exact consistency I wanted. I went with it anyway, knowing that since it was warm in the house getting the consistency just right would be difficult and that the frosting would set up better as soon as I moved them to a cooler location.


(I added some yellow sprinkles, but felt it was still missing the splash of red to represent the raspberry.)


(I went to the store later that night for fresh raspberries. I think it really helped the look!)


(I like how the filling soaked into the cake.)

The lemon and raspberry came together in a perfect balance. I was worried that the filling wouldn’t bring enough raspberry flavor, but it was perfect. Despite all the hard work, I will definitely make these again! They were a huge hit at the bake sale and that’s what really matters!

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

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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)

Spotlight: Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, Part 1

Named after the common cookie, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse (Hampstead, MD). Would it just be a take-out bakery that you stop in on your way to work for a quick cup of coffee and a muffin? When I finally went to their shop, I was surprised and pleased to find a sophisticated bakery and high-end coffeehouse, with plenty of room to bring friends and gather around one of their many tables, or just to come yourself and relax in their cozy surroundings. The mom in me loved seeing that they even have a miniature table with chairs, inviting guests to bring their kids with them.

After taking in the great atmosphere, I began investigating the goodies. My first thought? “WOW! Those cupcakes are HUGE!” My second thought? “How much are they?” With their size and the decoration and toppings on most of the cupcakes, I thought they would be pricey. However, they aren’t! At $3.00-4.00 for the large cupcakes, they are very reasonably priced. And the best part is that they are large enough to share (or to have more than one helping for yourself)!

On this day I was fortunate enough to leave with one of each flavor in the shop, making 12 cupcakes in total. Due to the grandness of these cupcakes, and the number we have to show you, we’ve decided to break our review into two parts, featuring 6 of the cupcakes in each post. Here are the first ones we’ve selected to show you:

Irish Car Bomb:
During the St. Patrick’s Day season, we see a lot of these cupcakes based on the popular drink (Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream) pop up. I’ve had a few takes on the idea, and this one is a clear stand out for me!

I usually see these cupcakes done with a chocolate cake, however Snickerdoodles has choosen to make this a true Guinness stout cake. None of the smooth Guinness flavor is lost and, just like an Irish Car Bomb, the Bailey’s Irish Cream filling and frosting complement the cake perfectly. It is so moist and flavorful!

Cannoli:
I think the best way to describe this next cupcake is with a photo.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that IS a whole (mini) cannoli on top! This cupcake has a chocolate chip cake that is moist and delicious, with a cannoli filling that I think even the toughest critic would appreciate, and is topped with a chocolate ganache frosting, American buttercream, and more chocolate chips.

Almond Raspberry:
For the Crusaders, this has become a classic combination. We love the pairing of almond and raspberry.

This cupcake has an almond cake, whipped raspberry filling and American buttercream frosting. I think the whipped raspberry filling is a nice change from the usual jam filling and also helps keep the cupcake light.

Red Velvet:
This Red Velvet cupcake has been taken to the next level.

I was really happy with the moistness of the cake! I’m always disappointed with red velvet cake, however this one is not only moist, but also has a great flavor. It’s paired with a cream cheese filling, American buttercream frosting, and topped with a chocolate shaving and toasted red velvet cake crumbs. The frosting makes this cupcake really sweet, but I enjoyed every bite!

Toasted Coconut:
This is another classic flavor. With the decoration, this cupcake needs no label.

All together the cupcake works, however it isn’t as “coconut-y” as I prefer. That being said, the moist poundcake-like cake, whipped filling, buttercream frosting, and generous toasted coconut shavings on top are still really tasty!

The Rainbow Cupcake:
This cupcake is a new one Snickerdoodles is working on and there’s only one way to describe it: Fun! Based on their “famous” Rainbow Cake, the Rainbow Cupcake is a miniature version.

I think it’s necessary to also show a photo of the inside of this cupcake, to really get a good idea.

As you can see, this cupcake has a rainbow cake, raspberry puree filling, chocolate buttercream frosting, dipped in chocolate, then piped with more chocolate buttercream, and topped with sprinkles. The cake is moist and the jam and chocolate combination is delicious!

If you have a chance to visit Snickerdoodles, please do! Whether you are looking for a special treat, a great beverage, or a place to just hang out, Snickerdoodles has it all! They also have beautiful full-size cakes, pastries, and cookies. I can’t wait to return! And, keep a look-out for Part 2 where we’ll be reviewing Strawberry White Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Boston Cream, Black Bottom, a fun, fancy, party cupcake and Death by Chocolate!

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

Edible Valentines: Starry Night’s Chocolate Raspberry Hearts

Despite all the cupcakes I’ve been surrounding myself with in preparation for Valentine’s Day, when I heard Starry Night was offering their “famous” chocolate raspberry ganache hearts, I wanted one. Try as I might to resist, I quickly gave in to Crusader Stacy’s peer pressure and pleas for me to bring her one. I caved.

Of course I couldn’t get just one! I decided to get the large heart for my sweetie and I to share. Then, since I was getting one for Stacy, I decided that my big sister, Alissa, and other “sister,” Crusader Elisa, also deserved a special, edible valentine.

And I’m so glad I gave into the temptation. These hearts are decadent, delicious, and make the perfect gift to say, “I love you!”

What do you like to give for Valentine’s Day? Are edible treats in your holiday plans?

Guest Post: Kim’s 30th Birthday Cupcakes

Today we are sharing our 2nd guest review from our friend Kim! Last weekend she celebrated her 30th birthday and took on the task of baking and decorating 4 different flavors of cupcakes. Below she talks about her experience. Happy Birthday Kim!

For my 30th birthday my husband, Jesse, threw me a party. He asked me if I wanted a cake or cupcakes. I just looked at him, waited and minute and said, “Really?” with a little smirk. He replied, “Yea, that’s what I thought.” So the next step was to figure out where would we get the cupcakes?

After discussing places like Caroline’s Cupcakes (prior to hearing they were closing), IcedGems, and a couple of others, I suggested that I could make them. For Christmas, Jesse had gotten me a wonderful cupcake cook book – Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes – and I thought this may be a more cost effective alternative. This way I could also choose flavors I wanted and make as many or few as I wanted, with no ordering restrictions. Besides, I used to love baking.

What I really like about this book is that it gives you recipes to make the basic cupcake flavors from scratch, or on most pages they give you the option to “use a cake mix”. I spent an evening looking through the book and choosing a few different flavors. I settled on four different ones: The Snickerdoodle (page 60), Banana-Chocolate Chip (page 72), Mini Candy Bar (the non-name brand for Butterfinger) (page 106), and the one I was most looking forward to, Mini Raspberry-Filled Chocolate cupcakes (page 110). However with the last two, I decided I was going to make them regular sized instead of minis.

So the day before the party I set most of the day aside just to bake. I decided to ask my brother to come and help because I was making so many (and sadly, unlike on Cupcake Wars, Betty doesn’t provide four assistants!) I would use the boxed cake batters, as well as some pre-made icings.

The first batter we made was the Snickerdoodle. It was easy enough, and just required a couple additions to a white cake box batter, like adding cinnamon and adjusting the ingredients. Then we made the Candy Bar batter, which was simply adding in some crushed up Butterfinger candy bar pieces to a white batter mix. Next up was the Banana-Chocolate Chip, again merely adding chocolate chips and smooshed ripened bananas. And finally the Raspberry Chocolate. For this I guess I didn’t read the “use a cake mix” box properly. It said I needed a chocolate batter with pudding. However I got a Devil’s Food batter and a box of pudding. Luckily my brother was here, and he finagled it so it worked out. After almost a full day of baking I decided to hold off and do the frosting the next morning.

The next morning, before the party, I got a jump on making a couple of the frostings and decorating all the finished cupcakes – we made about two dozen of each flavor.

The first one was the Snicker doodle. This was pretty simple – the recipe was almost exactly like icing I make on my own, except with different measurements and the addition of cinnamon. They turned out great. The decorating was simply the combination of cinnamon and sugar.

Next I made the chocolate icing for the Candy Bar cupcakes. This was just like my normal icing recipe, except adjusting some measurements. The only thing the decorations called for were more crushed Butterfinger pieces.

For the Banana-chocolate Chip I used a can of Chocolate icing, and decorated them with Banana Runts candies and a couple of chocolate chips.

Finally the Raspberry-filled Chocolate cupcakes: These were a bit more work. I scooped the centers out, filled them with some raspberry jam that I made sure wasn’t lumpy. Then pureed some thawed, frozen raspberries, and mixed it with some Whipped Vanilla icing. It was a little runnier that I had expected, but it still turned out nice. For the decorations, I placed a raspberry gummy candy on top.

All in all, they turned out great, and were a HUGE hit at the party.  I even got a few people telling me they were going to pay me to make some for their own parties!

Since I did all this hard work for my party, on my actual birthday (which was Superbowl Sunday), I was treated to a Chocolate Raspberry cupcake from IcedGems Baking. Yummy!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Kim (Maryland)

Cooks ‘N Cakes: Home of The Two-Touch Cupcake

Over the past month the Crusaders have been working hard to prepare for another series which was supposed to be featured on another blog. Unfortunately, this fell through, so instead, we will be featuring this series on our own blog next month. This series will highlight our Top 5 favorite places outside of Baltimore City (but still within a short driving distance). This means we have eaten A LOT of cupcakes. So, for February, we decided to share some of the new spots we’ve visit, but you’ll have to wait until March to see our final Top 5 picks. 🙂

One of the places we visited for the first time was Cooks ‘N Cakes located off the Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City, MD. This new cupcake spot opened their doors in December 2011. Their tagline, “Home of the Two-Touch Cupcake” means that they have made a commitment that no more than two hands will create a cupcake from batter to frosting. They believe that this allows them to make each cupcake spectacular and not just “a dime a dozen” like some critiques believe.

After seeing all their posts on Facebook, we couldn’t wait to test this latest addition to Maryland’s cupcakeries, so Crusader Elisa and I finally made it there about a month after their grand opening.

We were visiting a couple other places that day (cupcake research is a tough job…), so we limited our selection to 4 cupcakes: Butter Me Up, Childhood Friend, Spiked Punch, and Coffee Craze. They placed the cupcakes in an upside down cup, which is a recent packaging idea that I’ve seen and LOVE. The cupcakes don’t move around and they arrive at your destination with the frosting and decorations still in place.

Elisa and I took our cupcakes over to Crusader Jenn’s house later that night. We also had cupcakes from other locations that we stopped at earlier that day, so we were happy to have help eating them all!

We started with the cupcakes from Cooks ‘N Cakes. Here are our thoughts:

Butter Me Up:
(Vanilla Butter Cake with Butterscotch Buttercream and Chopped Pecans
)

The cake on this cupcake was very dense, similar to a pound cake in texture and flavor. The sweet butterscotch frosting worked really well with this mild cake and overall the flavor was nice, nutty and sweet. The one thing about this cupcake that is worth mentioning though, is the unevenness of the cake and frosting (as you can see in the picture above). It wouldn’t have been a big deal, except we were cutting it into several pieces and some taste testers didn’t get as much of the delicious frosting.

Childhood Friend:
(Vanilla Butter Cake with Strawberry Jelly Filling and Peanut Butter Buttercream)

Unfortunately, I think I was the only one who liked this flavor. The others thought it left behind a strange aftertaste that made this a cupcake they would not get again. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice it, but I actually enjoyed this cupcake. The frosting was smooth and sweet and PB&J cupcakes tend to be a favorite of mine.

Coffee Crazy:
(Devil’s Food Cupcake with Cinnamon Coffee Buttercream)

The first thing I want to mention is that the cake on this cupcake was very short, like it didn’t rise while baking. Also, from the description it didn’t seem to be a devil’s food cake to us. I’m not sure if they were trying something different that day, but the cake wasn’t very chocolaty and it actually had a burnt coffee taste to it. The aroma of this cupcake was amazing though, and the frosting was equal to that. I also didn’t taste any hints of cinnamon in the frosting and I’m wondering if the coffee flavor in the frosting overpowered everything? The upside of this was that when eating the cake and the frosting together, the burnt coffee taste in the cake was eliminated. Two of the four of us would have gotten this cupcake again, even if it didn’t seem to match its description.

Spiked Punch (Saturday Special):
(Vanilla Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream and Raspberry Grand Marnier Filling)

This last one was definitely the overall crowd pleaser. The chocolate frosting was considered perfect by everyone and the raspberry filling was amazing. (Like, unbelievably amazing.) We really can’t say enough good things about this cupcake!

All in all, I would definitely visit this cupcakery again. They have so many flavor options and while we were there, they had samples left out to try. Elisa and I each thought the vanilla buttercream from one of the samples was amazing and the chocolate cake from another sample was very moist and light. Next time, we would definitely like to try some full-size cupcakes including those flavors.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (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)