Sometimes You Just Need a Bite

Pint-sized cupcakes are already hard to turn away, so when you take an already small treat and make it even smaller it’s next to impossible to say “no!” Today, we are sharing a collection of small bite treats we’ve sampled, from Smith Island Cake Company’s miniscule “cake-its” to a new Starbucks cake-pop flavor.

Smith Island Cake-Its

SmithIslandCakeIts

While in the bakery section of the Giant grocery store, I spotted a wide variety of Smith Island Cake treats. I’ve never actually tried Smith Island Cake (you don’t have to say it… I know… it’s practically a sin among Maryland-based cake lovers), so was excited to see such an assortment. They had mini cakes (which I might have to get one day), slices of their famous layered cake, cake pops, and these teeny tiny little cake bites, which they call “Cake-Its.” I haven’t seen anything like them before, so snatched them up without a second thought. The flavors included were: Original (yellow cake/chocolate icing), Red Velvet (red velvet cake/cream cheese icing), and Coconut (white cake/coconut buttercream). Even though Crusader’s Elisa’s review of their cupcakes didn’t have tons of positive things to say, she’s always said great things about their layered cake, so I was hopeful that these treats would be moist and delightful, and lucky for me, they were. I didn’t really have a favorite because each time I ate a new flavor, I would decide it was the best. Much smaller than a typical cake pop or cake truffle, each was like a little explosion of flavor. The Red Velvet had a good cocoa flavor, the Classic had a rich deep dark chocolate flavor from their signature frosting, and I thought coconut was perfect for any coconut lover.

Godiva Cake Truffles

GodivaCakeTruffles

Being a long-time Godiva lover (let’s face it, who isn’t?), I couldn’t wait to try their new line of cake truffles, which were created with the cake master himself, Chef Duff from Charm City Cakes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was able to pick up three flavors on my visit: Birthday Cake, Butterscotch Walnut Brownie, and Pineapple Hummingbird. To my (slight) disappointment, there was no cake involved, but these still had the wonderful creaminess and richness you would expect from a Godiva truffle. The Birthday Cake had a white (pink) chocolate outer layer, then a milk chocolate layer, and a “funfetti cake” center. This didn’t really have the “cake batter” like flavor I was hoping for and, for the most part, just tasted like a white and milk chocolate truffle. The Butterscotch Walnut Brownie ended up being my favorite, and was reminiscent of “brownie batter” with all the other flavors being very present as well. The final truffle, Pineapple Hummingbird, also had a good mixture of flavors, but was still missing that cake-like quality. If you’ve ever had a cake batter ice cream flavor, you know what I’m talking about. I still love Godiva, but I think I’ll be sticking to my favorite, the dark chocolate raspberry truffle, on future visits.

Hamilton Bakery Carrot Cake Cake Truffle

HamiltonBakeryCakeTruffle

With Hamilton Bakery located a hop, skip, and jump from my front door, it’s a shame that their cupcakes don’t rank higher on my list. Despite that, their other baked goods and friendly customer service always have me stopping in for something. During a breakfast visit for a scone and a cup of Zeke’s I spotted this Carrot Cake cake truffle. It was the first time I had seen cake truffles at Hamilton Bakery, so I quickly added that to my order. The texture was perfect: not too dry and not too mushy. The spicy carrot cake flavor was also perfect and the thin coating of white chocolate didn’t overpower this bite-sized treat.

Starbucks Chocolate Raspberry Cake Pop

Starbucks_Cakepop

We are no strangers to Starbucks‘ cake pops. From the classic Birthday Cake to the seasonal Peppermint Brownie (also pictured above) we grab these sweet additions to our coffee break when a caffeine high isn’t enough. Recently we spotted a flavor we hadn’t seen before: Chocolate Raspberry. Crusader Jenn said this cake pop was good with rich moist chocolate cake and raspberry flavor. Although the raspberry tasted a bit artificial.

How do you feel about cake pops, truffles, and other similar items? Do you think there is room in the dessert world for them and cupcakes, or will cupcakes always outshine these tiny treats?

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

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)

National Carrot Cake Day – February 3rd

There seem to be a lot of strange daily food holidays out there, but we don’t mind, they just make life a little more interesting. Several websites claim that tomorrow, February 3rd, is National Carrot Cake Day, so we wanted to share several of our past Carrot Cake experiences. Don’t forget to indulge in celebration!

Woodlea Bakery – Bel Air, MD (Crusader Elisa)

Spicy and sweet, this little mini cupcake packed a punch. The cake was too dry for my liking, and the icing was creamy and a great consistency, but sweeter than I like my cream cheese icing. Overall, being a carrot cake fan, this wasn’t my favorite and wouldn’t be one I would order again. It just seemed like it was missing something. Was it nutmeg? Was it allspice? Was it carrot pieces? Sadly, I just can’t put my finger on that missing ingredient.

(Read full Woodlea Bakery review here.)

Starbucks – Annapolis, MD (Crusader Jenn)

Carrot cake is usually one of my favorite cake flavors. I love a spiced cake that you can get all year round. However there was nothing memorable about this cupcake. Despite my lack of enthusiasm over these mini cupcakes, I still love Starbucks. They specialize in coffee and don’t pretend to be a bakery. I appreciate that they offer fun sweet options, including bite-size minis, to accompany their beverages, should their guest like to indulge a bit more.

(Read full Starbucks Cupcake review here.)

Sweet Sixteen Cafe – Lockport, NY (Guest Crusader Alli & Crusader Stacy)

This cake pop was unlike any we have seen. Rather than being ball-shaped it was rectangular as if it had been cubed from a whole cake and then dipped in chocolate. Inside, the cake pop had two layers of frosting sandwiched in between three layers of cake. It was stunning! This classic carrot cake, with rich cream cheese icing dipped in white chocolate, was moist and flavorful. It was delicious!

(Read full Sweet Sixteen Cafe review here.)

Sweet Bakery (Now Closed) – Baltimore, MD (Crusader Stacy and Crusader Elisa)

Unfortunately this cupcake was a bit of a disappointment. This is shocking because Sweet Bakery was one of our favorite places to get cupcakes. The first big problem was the frosting. I’m a fan of cream cheese frosting with my carrot cake. And their cream cheese frosting was so good that it was a shame they didn’t put it on this one. Another big problem was that the cake was super chunky and really dry. While I like a lot of “stuff” in my carrot cake, this was just extreme. Luckily Sweet Bakery had so many other amazing cupcakes that they will always be one of our favorite bakeries.

(Read full Sweet Bakery review from “Cupcaked Out” here.)

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

Cake Pops: Cousin to the cupcake

Recently I “ran into” three cake pops that I couldn’t pass up. The first two were from Whole Foods in Mt. Washington. I was going in hoping for cupcakes because I’ve read before that they are decent. Unfortunately, there were no cupcakes but they did have cake pops (so not a total waste of a time).

They had three flavor options: white chocolate, dark chocolate, and pistachio. Neither my hubby or I are huge white chocolate fans, so I left with a dark chocolate and a pistachio for about $2 each (I think).

We started with the pistachio. Lately, my hubby and I have been snacking on pistachios so we were both really excited, only be be let down. The pistachios on the outside were soft and chewy, and there really wasn’t much flavor present. Bummer. But we moved on to the next one.

The dark chocolate was melt in your mouth amazing. It was super rich and chocolatey, so much so I grabbed a glass of milk. We were both wishing we didn’t have to share this tiny morsel of a treat. Even though my local Whole Foods doesn’t seem to carry cupcakes, I’ll definitely be going back for their dark chocolate cake pops.

Shorty after that, I strolled into Starbucks for my expensive coffee fix (it’s a special treat for me). I’ve tried their standard cake pops before (see here and here), but on this particular visit, they had a seasonal flavor: peppermint brownie. I figured, why not?

With my holiday red cup in one hand and my cake pop in the other, I headed home. I love the look of this cake pop. White with red flecks scream “winter holiday” and it stays true to Starbuck’s red and white holiday branding.

I have to admit though, I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure exactly why, but overall it just didn’t excite me. I did enjoy the combination of textures though, with the soft cake, fudgey coating, and crunchy sugar crystals. I think that was definitely the best thing this cake pop had to offer. Guess I’ll have to stick with their tiramisu and rocky road flavors.

Even if I’ve had some recent hit or miss experiences with cake pops, I think they are a fabulous addition to the “tiny treat” family. I’m visiting a cupcake shop this weekend that often carries cake pops, so I’m really hoping they’ll have them. I know that the quality of a grocery store and a coffee chain won’t come close to that of a family run cupcakery. I can’t wait!

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

Starbucks…Who doesn’t want cupcakes with their coffee?

On a recent trip to Starbucks, I finally broke down and got a couple of their mini cupcakes to go along with my decaf Americano (cream and sugar, please!).  They had two options, chocolate peanut butter and carrot cake. I was a little disappointed when the employee couldn’t confirm for me that the carrot cake was carrot cake, but this particular location also got my drink order wrong…twice…which is always a disappointment when going into a place that is suppose to be the most popular coffeehouse for a reason. However, I still left happy to have sweets in one hand and a grande hot coffee in the other on a cold rainy day.

As you can see from the photo, the peanut butter frosting on the chocolate cupcake had an almost translucent appearance. My only thought for this was, butter! The frosting tasted like straight peanut butter, which was very pleasing, however the texture wasn’t what I prefer on a cupcake. The cake had good chocolate favor, but wasn’t very moist. My guess is that this is because their treats are trucked in.

Carrot cake is usually one of my favorite cake flavors.  I love a spiced cake that you can get all year round. However there was nothing memorable about this cupcake…maybe that’s why the employee couldn’t tell me what it was?

Despite my lack of enthusiasm over these mini cupcakes, I still love Starbucks. They specialize in coffee and don’t pretend to be a bakery. I appreciate that they offer fun sweet options, including bite-size minis, to accompany their beverages, should their guest like to indulge a bit more. I still think their Rocky Road Cake Pop is amazing and I’m looking forward to trying their seasonal treats, such as their Chocolate Crème Whoopie Pie and the Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop (Crusader Stacy will be posting her review on this, and other cake pops, tomorrow)!

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

My Starbucks Birthday Cake Cakepop Quest is Over!!!

Happy Monday Cupcake Lovers! So, you may or may not have read in an earlier blog post that I was on a mini quest to taste the Birthday Cake flavored Cakepop at Starbucks. As I mentioned in that post, there are several things I believe are in the “cupcake family,” like cakepops, cakeballs, doughnuts, muffins, etc., so to me this is an okay topic for this blog. When my quest began, I had already tried the Tiramisu flavor, but had heard that the Birthday Cake one was amazing and this weekend I FINALLY got to try it for myself!

During my search, I was able to try both the Birthday Cake flavored doughnut and the Rocky Road Cakepop. As a reminder, The Rocky Road was really good, but the doughnut? Not so much.

So what are my thoughts on the Birthday Cake Cakepop? It was good. I really did enjoy it, but I think that I like the Tiramisu the best. I guess it would depend on what mood I was in, but I think I would get the Rocky Road or Tiramisu before getting this one again.

Now, that my Starbucks Cakepop quest is over, I will be moving on to try their cupcakes. (Shockingly, I’ve yet to try them). I’ve heard that the chocolate peanut butter one is pretty decent. They also have a red velvet whoopi pie that I want to try. So many sweets… so little time…

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

Sorta related to Cupcakes.

In my opinion, there are several things in the “cupcake family.” Included in this list are cakepops, cakeballs, donuts, muffins, you get my point…If it is sweet and a single serving, then I think it can be discussed on this blog. Well, I guess since it’s my blog I can discuss anything I want, but back to my story:

So, this weekend I started a small, casual search for Starbucks’ Birthday Cake Cakepop. I heard that it was amazing from a friend, and after trying the Tiramisu flavor a while back, I decided that I had to try this one also. My search began on Friday night when I decided to stop into a local Starbucks while picking up dinner. Well, to my suprise, not only did they not have any of the Birthday Cake Cakepops left, they didn’t have any cakepops left at all. So, instead I got:

You may have guessed, it’s the Birthday Cake Mini Doughnut. I have to admit, I love doughnuts, so I was fairly excited about this, but to my disappointment it was bland and didn’t have much flavor at all. Of course that didn’t stop me from finishing it.

So, my search continued… On Sunday, during the trip home from visiting my Grandmother who recently had her hip replaced, my big sister and I decided that a Starbucks trip was necessary. We were about an hour from home and I was convinced that Sunday would be the day I could try the Birthday Cake Cakepop. But no. They had the Tiramisu and the Rocky Road:

So, since I had already tried the Tiramisu I went with the Rocky Road. Thankfully the Rocky Road was actually very delicious. I still think I liked the Tiramisu better, but at least it was much better than the mini doughnut. I can only imagine how good this Birthday Cake Cakepop must be since it’s been sold out the past two times I’ve been to Starbucks. So, the search continues…

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