Winter Cupcake Craze: The Cupcakes You Haven’t Seen

You may have noticed, but we’ve been eating a lot of cupcakes this winter. Okay, we eat a lot of cupcakes all the time…but there is something about the winter and wanting rich comfort foods, versus light and refreshing flavors in the spring and summer. We’ve already reviewed a lot of winter flavors for you, like Chocolate Peppermint from La Cakerie and Sweet Hearts Patisserie, Eggnog from Vanilla Pastry Studio and PamCakes, Apple Cinnamon from Dessert Affairs, and we can’t forget the seasonal minis Crusader Stacy tried from Disney’s Epcot.

Aside from all these cupcakes we’ve consumed throughout winter, we’ve neglected to share with you some of the other new flavors we’ve tried from the bakeries we visit (very) frequently. Some are more seasonal flavors, others are flavors to satisfy you on a cold night. All were delicious.

Kupcakes & Co.: Cinnabon Cupcake and Reindeer Cake Pop

Kupcakes&Co_WinterCinnabon

This year, Kupcakes & Co. had the same seasonal flavors as last winter. While we had our share of those again this year, I was also able to try a new flavor: Cinnabon. With their rotating menu and huge flavor selection, you might see flavors you haven’t tried before depending on the day you stop in. I really loved the Cinnabon cupcake, but I’m a sucker for a good spiced cake. Kupcakes & Co.’s cream cheese frosting can be too sweet for me sometimes (not that it stops me), but the cinnamon from the cake and the crumble topping balanced it perfectly.

Kupcakes&Co_WinterReindeerCakepop

While I was in there one day, the owner Michelle succumbed to Leah’s cuteness and gave her one of their reindeer cake pops. It was so well done that I had to snap photos before Leah devoured it. Kupcakes & Co. has added custom cake pops to their menu, so for each holiday you can stop in and find something creative and cute. They also had Santa hat cake pops, and now for Valentine’s Day, they have roses.

Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffee House: Sugar Cookie, Eggnog, Nutella, and Éclair Cupcake

Snickerdoodles_FourUp
(Top left to right: Sugar Cookie and Eggnog cupcakes. Bottom left to right: Nutella and Éclair cupcakes.)

Snickerdoodles has been added to the list of bakeries that are household names. My husband will randomly say (on the few cupcake-less nights we have), “I wish we had some Snickerdoodles.” I also now have my big sister hooked. The Sugar Cookie and Eggnog cupcakes were special holiday flavors, and they totally lived up to their name. The cake in the Sugar Cookie cupcake had actual bits of sugar cookie in it and everything about it really tasted like a sugar cookie. I was very surprised, having expected it to just taste like a vanilla cupcake. The Éclair and Nutella cupcakes are regulars that are rotated. Yes, that’s a mini éclair on top (like the mini cannoli on their Cannoli cupcake). The Éclair cupcake could have used more pastry filling for my taste, but I’m addicted to that stuff. The Nutella cupcake was lacking in hazelnut flavor, but was still a decadent, delightful treat.

Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse: German Chocolate, Peanut Butter Lovers, and Sunday Morning Breakfast Cupcakes

StarryNight_FourUp
(Top left: Starry Night’s new logo. Top right: German Chocolate Cake cupcake. Bottom left to right: Peanut Butter Lovers and Sunday Morning Breakfast cupcakes.)

You all already know how much we like Starry Night’s Quirky Cupcakes, and with all the love they receive from their customers, they keep adding to the line of flavors. I really like German Chocolate cake, mostly because of that coconut topping stuff, so I’m also a fan of it in cupcake form. Paired with Starry Night’s rich chocolate ganache frosting, it was heaven. The Sunday Morning Breakfast cupcake had maple frosting, topped with a caramel drizzle and chocolate chips. My notes for this and the Peanut Butter Lovers cupcake was, “Mmmmmm,” and that’s it.  There may have been wine involved in this cupcake tasting…

IcedGems: Winter Wonderland Cupcake

IcedGemsWinterWonderland

Crusader Elisa picked this IcedGems seasonal cupcake up to try, while the rest of us drooled with envy. Here’s what she had to say about it:

This cupcake was just as its title described, a winter wonderland treat! The vanilla cake had white chocolate chips and dried cranberries in it and was perfectly moist and not too dense, which can be hard to achieve when dried fruit is added to cake. The frosting was a delicious orange buttercream that paired well with the cake flavors. Honestly, I was a little skeptical about how “Winter Wonderland” this cupcake would taste, but there was something about the way the cranberry and orange flavors mixed with the vanilla cake and white chocolate chips that made the flavors come together and create a very wintertime/really good fruit cake flavor. The adorable little white chocolate topper and dried cranberries were great decorations, and added to the wintertime feel. It was a really great cupcake for anyone who likes fruit flavors paired together and I hope to see it again next winter.

We hope that you’ve consumed some great cupcakes this winter, like we have. If you haven’t, it’s still not too late to get out there and make us Crusaders proud!

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

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

Family Date to Snickerdoodles Bakery

What would a family date night be without cupcakes? Probably still fun, but cupcakes make everything better, right? When my husband and I heard that the shopping center where Snickerdoodles Bakery is located would be celebrating their anniversary and offering special deals from the tenants, including free cupcakes between 5pm and 7pm, we decided that it was time for a family date. It had been almost 8 months since we’d taken our daughter, Leah, out to dinner with us. We were still scarred by an attempt to have dinner out when she was 2 months old, which ended with my husband and I eating separately while we tried consoling our screaming baby in the kids’ play area of Chick-Fil-A. But, with her eating more “grown-up” foods and being on a solid sleep schedule, we thought a family date night was long overdue.

Baby in tow, we headed to Hampstead, MD. During dinner Leah behaved brilliantly. She smiled at the staff and other patrons, ate her food and ours, and chatted everyone up like she owned the place. We left with smiles on our faces because we were so proud of our daughter (and maybe, just a little, because it was cupcake time).

Prior to leaving for our family date, I saw on Facebook that Snickerdoodles had a margarita cupcake (for Cinco de Mayo) and Java Chip, a flavor I hadn’t tried before (which is hard to believe after the 12 or so flavors we’d already sampled). We picked up those two flavors, as well as our free Vanilla-Vanilla cupcakes.


(I couldn’t resist taking a peak at our selection on the way home. The free cupcakes were normal size, but one of the things we love about Snickerdoodles is their super-sized cupcakes!)

Vanilla-Vanilla
Snickerdoodle’s vanilla cupcake with vanilla American buttercream frosting is the perfect birthday cake cupcake. The sweet frosting took me back to birthdays growing up, and the moist cake packed ample vanilla flavor. I rarely purchase the classics because I’m so intrigued by fancy flavors, but this is one I’d go back for!


(Don’t be fooled by its unassuming looks. This cupcake was anything but ordinary!)

Margarita
Since this was a margarita cupcake, I was really hoping to taste the flavor of tequila…and I got it! There was plenty of tequila in the lime filling. It complemented the lime cake and whipped frosting, giving the true taste of a well mixed margarita (minus the salt). The green cake was also very festive for the occasion. My husband and I really wish this cupcake was a summer offering, but it was just for a limited time. However, Snickerdoodles does have a key lime flavor for the summer, which I was told is pretty much the same, without tequila in the filling.


(I wasn’t sure if they rimmed the cupcake in salt, but it was actually sugar.)


(Tequila lime filling…yum!)

Java Chip
Margaritas may be one of my favorite cocktails, but I love anything that is coffee flavored. Add chocolate and it’s a winning pair! However, the java was a little lost amidst the chocolate in this cupcake. While I did miss the coffee flavor I’d been looking forward to, it was easy to forget once you were submerged in decadent chocolate. The java chocolate chip cake was filled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate covered espresso beans.


(My husband told me I should have eaten the chocolate covered espresso beans with the cupcake, but I opted not to, otherwise I’d be up all night!)


(I’m speechless. All I can think is, I want another one.)

Leah has been on many, many cupcake excursions with me, but this was the first one that occurred after 5pm, and it was a success. I have no doubt that she’ll become used to all family date nights ending with cupcakes!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, 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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Spotlight: Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, Part 2

We are so excited to bring you our final thoughts for the remaining six cupcakes we tried from Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, since we couldn’t fit them all into one review! If Part 1 wasn’t enough to make you crave a cupcake, I think this will do it!

Death by Chocolate:
This cupcake wasn’t ready when I first stopped in, but the owner insisted that I must try it. I was planning on grabbing lunch next door, so I told her I would be back. I’m so glad I returned!

After hearing and seeing all that goes into this cupcake, it’s understandable why it takes them all morning to bake it fresh. The chocolate cake is rich and moist, the chocolate buttercream is perfection, and if those aren’t enough, it is then hand dipped in chocolate ganache! A chocolate lover couldn’t ask for anything more out of a cupcake!

Strawberry White Chocolate:
Another gorgeous cupcake that puts others to shame, this cupcake is a strawberry cake, with whipped filling, strawberry frosting, and then topped with white chocolate shavings AND a white chocolate covered strawberry!

Us Crusaders are typically concerned with berry cupcakes being overly sweet, however the whipped filling tones down the sweetness and just like the others, the cake is perfectly moist. Also, eating a cupcake with a white chocolate covered strawberry just makes a girl feel special!

Blackbottom:
Considering this next treat a cupcake might be a little controversial, since there is no frosting on top. However, as soon as I saw it I couldn’t wait to try it!

All those chocolate chips mixed in with cheesecake had my mouth watering from the start. I was so pleased by this blackbottom that if they have it on future visits, there’s no way I could leave without one.

Carrot:
As I’ve mentioned before, carrot cake is one of my favorites. It’s a classic and, even though it’s more of a spice cake, you can find it year round.

This carrot cake could possibly be one of my all-time favorites. The cake has real carrot pieces and nuts, which add a nice texture, then a cream cheese filling, with American buttercream frosting. The mixture of spice and sweet is perfect. As large as these cupcakes are, I wish I had a whole one to myself and hadn’t shared! And I usually like sharing!

Boston Cream:
I love anything Boston cream. Pie, cake, doughnuts…and cupcakes are no exception. As soon as I heard this was a Boston cream, I became giddy.

This cupcake is a vanilla cake, filled with Boston cream, and topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache. While speaking with the owner, she told me that after they put the chocolate buttercream on the cupcakes, they chill them, so that the chocolate ganache sets up properly. Normally I would only want chocolate ganache on a Boston cream treat, however their chocolate buttercream is so rich that it holds up well to the overall flavor. I secretly would have enjoyed more pastry cream, but that’s only because I could have eaten bowls of it alone!

Party Cupcake:
I don’t know what else to call this cupcake, but it is so much fun!

This cupcake is priced at only $2.00, which I couldn’t believe. The moist vanilla cake and sweet American buttercream are reminiscent of a traditional birthday cake. Although it is an average size, unlike their other super-sized cupcakes, its decoration makes me feel like I attended a chic party.

I recently stopped by Snickerdoodles, after having been impressed by their cupcakes, and tried their coffee and sugar cookies. Just like with their cupcakes, everything was perfectly tasty! Like I said in Part 1 of our review, if you have a chance to visit Snickerdoodles, please do!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, 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)