Favorite Cupcakes on the Outskirts of Baltimore City | Starry Night Bakery and Coffee House | Westminster, 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!

I’ve been enjoying Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse’s cupcakes for quite a while now, located in Westminster, MD. They made it to the final round on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars due to their creative flavors and fun designs. Aside from cupcakes, they also have a full coffee shop of inventive beverages, cakes, cookies, and other pastries. When we decided to do a Top 5 of the Baltimore suburbs, I knew I wanted them to be on the list. That was my cue to make sure that the other Crusaders had a taste of what makes Starry Night so exceptional!

One of the fun things about Starry Night is their quirky side…hence the name for their specialty cupcakes, or “Quirky Cupcakes.” This quirkiness starts with the cupcakes and cakes, but then spreads throughout the shop, with fun décor, including hand-painted murals on the wall. I love a place where I can grab a cup of coffee and sweet treat with a friend, and just sit and feel “cool.” And, Starry Night is that sort of place.

Another great thing about Starry Night is their social media activity. New flavors are posted on their Facebook page, along with photos, and special offers for their Facebook followers. Although their website can be hard to navigate, they’ve used Facebook to its fullest and I often find myself going to pick up a new flavor or take advantage of a special offer they’ve posted about.

We’ve reviewed Starry Night cupcakes many times. A couple of our favorites have been the seasonal Cinnamon Chip, which is unfortunately no longer available for the spring, and the Mahoo Wahoo, which you can usually find and was one of their Cupcake Wars creation.

From our Cinnamon Chip Review:
This cupcake was so moist and packed a great cinnamon sugar punch. I don’t know how they created a cinnamon chip…maybe some sort of streusel…but I can’t stress enough how amazing this cupcake was. While having the cinnamon flavor you’d expect from a cinnamon roll or muffin, it still maintained a cupcake quality, which I loved about it.

From our Mahoo Wahoo Review:
This cupcake uses Kona Coffee and is a chocolate cake with coffee drizzle glaze and coffee buttercream. If you like coffee and you like it strong, as I do, then this is the cupcake for you! Paired with the chocolate it’s a match made in heaven.

With the friendly staff, specialty desserts, coffee, wedding cake tastings, and of course THE CUPCAKES, Starry Night has become a favorite place for the Crusaders to visit. For these reasons they have taken our #2 spot on our Top 5 list! With all the competition and all the cupcakes we’ve tasted to compile the Top 5, Starry Night has proven to be a front-runner in the industry with their creativity and enthusiasm. Although their standard cupcake flavors are not the stars, their “Quirky Cupcakes” are well worth the visit. If you are in the Westminster area, or just a fan of Cupcake Wars, please take some time to grab a cupcake and a specialty drink from Starry Night!

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

Green, Green, and More Green! Gotta Love St. Patty’s Day!

What could possibly make St. Patrick’s Day any better when you already get to wear green, act a bit crazy, drink lots of beer, and eat your weight in corned beef, cabbage and potatoes? You guessed it! Cupcakes!

Local bakeries and cupcakeries seemed to have a ton of fun this year with St. Patty’s Day offering everything from Chocolate Mint, Green Velvet, Irish Cream, Guinness, and even Corned Beef and Cabbage cupcakes. Below is a sampling of some that the Crusaders were fortunate to try!

“Car Bomb” Cupcake from Hamilton Bakery – Baltimore, MD

This cupcake screamed “GUINNESS” and “BAILEYS!” The cake was moist and rich, and the frosting was not sweet, but instead, it was buttery and very booze-infused. I’ve had several cupcakes from Hamilton Bakery, and this is my favorite so far!

Irish Cream Cupcake from Kupcakes & Co. – Elkridge, MD

Kupcake & Co. paired their amazing chocolate cake with a sweet and smooth Irish Cream frosting. The frosting was so flavorful that there’s no need to sit down with an after dinner Baileys on the rocks when you have this cupcake.

Green Velvet Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Crusader Jenn said that while the green cake on this Starry Night cupcake was really fun and festive, unfortunately it didn’t have much flavor that she could pinpoint. But her exact words about the frosting: “The chocolate ganache…oh the ganache! So good!” I’d say that she enjoyed it.  😉

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cupcake from Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse – Westminster, MD

Some may argue that this is not a real cupcake due to its savory nature, but as always Starry Night stepped outside of the box and offered up something different. This Smithwicks cupcake was topped with corned beef in a Guinness glaze and finished with whipped potatoes & cabbage. Crusader Jenn said that it was the perfect pre-dinner appetizer!

We hope that you were able to enjoy some fun green-themed cupcakes this St. Patty’s Day! If so, share them with us!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, 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?

Super Cupcakes for the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl yesterday, it was a big weekend for parties. And we know what that means…CUPCAKES! This was no exception for the Crusaders. Many places were offering Super Bowl themed cupcakes, so we got out to make sure we had a few ourselves.

Starry Night Bakery and Coffee House not only had their cupcakes decorated with hand-drawn candy footballs and XLVIs, they were also offering a new flavor…Hot Chocolate!


(The decorated cupcakes are Starry Night’s amazing Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes)

After having a few hot chocolate cupcakes from other bakeries this season, I was very excited to try this flavor from one of my favorites. And it didn’t disappoint. The moist chocolate cake was complemented with a marshmallow filling and what I believe was a marshmallow buttercream frosting. I hope they keep it on the menu through winter, because I’ll be needing another one!

When Crusaders Stacy and Elisa heard that Pirate Cupcakes created a spicy chocolate cupcake specifically for a Super Bowl chili cook-off that was taking place at Captain Larry’s in South Baltimore, they knew they had to try it.

According to Stacy, “The rich chocolate cake was moist but WOW there was a ton of heat after the first bite!” This cupcake was also filled with pepper jam and topped with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting was sweet and delicious, but unfortunately did nothing to cool the burning left behind. This cupcake definitely requires a cold beer immediately after sampling. Elisa and Stacy just couldn’t handle the spiciness and decided that they will return to try some of Pirate Cupcake’s other, non-spicy, cupcakes.

Did you have any cupcakes during the Super Bowl? Were any more on the savory side? Do you like savory cupcakes, or do you prefer them to stick to their roots as a sweet treat?

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

Starry Night: We just can’t get enough!

When I found out that one of my favorite local bakeries, Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, was introducing a new flavor, Cinnamon Chip, I just HAD to get down there and check it out! The other crusaders couldn’t resist either, so with a great “buy 1 get 1 free” deal, I stocked up for all of us. And I’m so glad I did!

This cupcake was so moist and packed a great cinnamon sugar punch. I don’t know how they created a cinnamon chip…maybe some sort of streusel…but I can’t stress enough how amazing this cupcake was. While having the cinnamon flavor you’d expect from a cinnamon roll or muffin, it still maintained a cupcake quality, which I loved about it.

Throughout many trips to Starry Night, I’ve been able to try some of their other cupcakes as well. One of these tasty treats included a cupcake they call Voodoo.

The Voodoo is an espresso cake with caramel buttercream, what I think is a chocolate filling, and topped with shaved chocolate covered espresso beans. As usual for Starry Night, this cupcake has moist cake and bold flavors. I highly recommend it for coffee enthusiasts.

On another visit, I decided that I should to venture out of their “Quirky Cupcakes” and into their standard cupcakes, so I picked up a toasted coconut.

This cupcake was good and I appreciated the sprinkling of regular and toasted coconut shavings on top. However, it wasn’t quite up to the standards I place on Starry Night because it wasn’t packed full of coconut flavor, like I expect from a cupcake. So I guess I’ll just have to stick with the “Quirky Cupcakes,” because WOW, they are good!

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

Ringing in the New Year with Cupcakes!

As I’m sure you all know, there is no way the Cupcake Crusaders could have celebrated the New Year without cupcakes. Below are reviews from two of our local favorites that offered New Year’s Eve specific cupcakes.

Kupcakes & Co., Elkridge, MD

When I heard of all the cupcake shops making Champagne cupcakes, I knew I had to get my hands on at least one. Lucky for me, Kupcakes & Co. did not disappoint. They announced that they would have Champagne, Strawberry Champagne, and Mimosa cupcakes for two days only, so of course I was there on day one.

Elisa and Jenn couldn’t go with me to pick out cupcakes, but they placed their orders with me and we ended up with at least one of each. Here are our thoughts:

Champagne

Elisa did an amazing job describing this cupcake: “Bravo for a spectacular champagne cupcake! With light moist cake that gave you a hint of brut and smooth creamy icing that did the same, this cupcake really embodied a toast to the new year! I loved the chunky sugar on top too, just a small sprinkle went a long way to add another texture to this cupcake. I’d love to eat more of these and can’t wait to try more drink inspired cupcakes from Kupcakes and Co.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m slightly obsessed with their Egg Nog cupcake at the moment (I’ll be so sad to see it go) and this Champagne cupcake was on par with that. Their Hot Chocolate cupcake is also amazing, so they really seem to have a good grasp on how to turn a beverage into a cupcake.

Strawberry Champagne

This moist strawberry filled cake was topped with the same creamy frosting as the basic Champagne cupcake, and the pairing was amazing! There were actual chunks of strawberry in this cake which made the experience that much better. The sweet cake combined with the dryness of the frosting was a perfect balance.

Mimosa

This was Jenn’s selection and after personally tasting the Strawberry Champagne and reading her review, I was a little jealous that I didn’t get one of these as well. Here is her description: “This orange citrus cupcake with champagne buttercream has made it on my list of favorites! The orange cake was light and not overpowering and champagne really came through in the frosting, giving this cupcake the true taste of a mimosa!”

Our second review is from Crusader Jenn. She stopped by Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse knowing they wouldn’t let her down.

Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse, Westminster, MD

When I found out Starry Night was offering New Year’s Eve inspired cupcakes, I knew that I had to head over there and pick up something special for the night. I’m so glad I did! Their cupcakes were decorated beautifully and made our night-in feel like something worth celebrating.

2012!  – Winter Spice with Maple Buttercream

Already knowing how amazing Starry Night’s maple buttercream is from their fall seasonal Pumpkin Maple cupcake, I was really excited about this cupcake. The spice cake was perfect and the handmade candy “2012” so exciting!

Chocolate Whiskey Cocktail

This cupcake was very similar to Starry Night’s Mahoo Wahoo, which we reviewed during Thanksgiving. The Mahoo Wahoo has been a favorite of mine due to its coffee punch with moist chocolate cake. Their Chocolate Whiskey topped with coffee buttercream was no exception. Although you can’t really taste the whiskey in the cake, it made the cake a little richer and moister. The hand drawn candy martini glass added to the top was so festive for the night!

Energy Drink Ginger Poppyseed

This cupcake was another Cupcake Wars contender, minus the guava frosting. Since our original review it’s been a favorite of mine, but hasn’t been on the menu for the fall. However, with the theme for the night being high energy, Starry Night brought it back! I missed the guava buttercream, however since the cake is amazing I was happy to at least get another taste of it!

Raspberry Champagne

It being the New Year and all, you can’t celebrate without some Champagne! Starry Night opted to keep the champagne in the cake and not the buttercream frosting, so the champagne flavor didn’t really come through but did make the cake super moist! The raspberry jam was in just the right proportion, so it didn’t overpower the cupcake and the champagne colored sprinkles added elegance to the cupcake that one associates with drinking champagne.

We hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve, with or without cupcakes! If you did have some cupcakes that are worth mentioning, please let us know, we would love to hear about them!

Happy New Year!

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

What will you be dishing up this Thanksgiving?

The Cupcake Crusaders knew that we had to celebrate Thanksgiving in “Cupcake Style,” so when we saw what Starry Night Bakery and Coffeehouse had up their sleeve for this holiday the temptation was too much to bare.

I couldn’t wait to get these masterpieces out of the box to more closely admire them. While I was most excited about the cupcakes that looked like Thanksgiving staples, I also appreciated the festiveness of the turkey character and the simple leaf on top of chocolate icing.

Starry Night chose to take one of their special Cupcake Wars’ cupcakes, Mahoo Wahoo, and dress it up for the holiday with a cartoon turkey. This centerpiece for the collection is a good place to start.

While the flavors are not your typical for the season, the coffee taste for me represents the warmth that you expect this time of year. This cupcake uses Kona Coffee and is a chocolate cake with coffee drizzle glaze and coffee buttercream. If you like coffee and you like it strong, as I do, then this is the cupcake for you! Paired with the chocolate and it’s a match made in heaven.

Next in my selection was the Turkey Leg, which is their seasonal Pumpkin Maple cupcake (read a past review here).

While the decoration is seemingly simple, using crumbs and a candy bone sticking out of the frosting, it really looks like a turkey leg! And, what Thanksgiving would be complete without it? As for flavor, this is probably the 5th or 6th time I’ve had this cupcake this season. The maple flavor paired with pumpkin is a new favorite of mine and I just can’t get enough.

Moving around the dinner plate brings us to the Mashed Potatoes, or in this case chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, topped with a dollop of caramel.

This cupcake flavor falls into Starry Nights “Standards” and while it was tasty, with a buttercream icing that is just right, the cake wasn’t as chocolaty rich and moist as I would have liked. I wouldn’t say that it was dry, but I do prefer a decadently moist chocolate cake and this was not it. However, the caramel “gravy” did take the flavor to the next level and really makes me wish they plopped caramel on more frequently.

As with any dinner plate, there’s always a veggie. In this case it was Peas and Carrots, or a Red Velvet cupcake with buttercream frosting.

The detail in the decoration impressed me, right down to the sugar mimicking salt and pepper specks. I’m not usually a fan of peas and carrots, or Red Velvet, but was hoping for this cupcake to change my mind. Red Velvet is just so difficult to do correctly so I feel like most places should just skip it. While the flavor of this cake was good, better than most actually, the cake was dry so I wouldn’t recommend this for Crusader Elisa who knows her Red Velvet cupcakes. Also, while the butter cream icing was very good, I do prefer a cream cheese frosting on Red Velvet.

Continuing around the plate, takes us to dessert! In this case what looks like a sweet potato pie, but what is really an apple cake with buttercream frosting.

I’m assuming this cake is the same used in their Salted Caramel Apple seasonal cupcake (read a past review here). I was concerned that it wouldn’t be as good without the caramel buttercream, but this cupcake proved me wrong. The cake is just so good! Moist, flavorful, chunks of apple, need I continue? Topped with their perfect, not too sweet, buttercream really worked and it lets the cake be the star flavor, which I really appreciated.

Last on our plate is the Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Ganache frosting, adorned with some festive sprinkles and a fondant leaf.

As with the chocolate cake, this cupcake could have been more moist. Not that it was what I would call dry, because I’ve had some very dry cupcakes, but it just could have been better. However, this is the same chocolate ganache frosting that was on their Halloween cupcake (see here) and I could eat tubs of it.

Like with any meal, some things stand out as the stars and others not so much. Over all I was pleased with what Starry Night brought to the table this Thanksgiving and I’m very thankful to have such a tasty bakery just minutes away! If you have a chance to stop in, their “Quirky” cupcakes are the way to go!

What will you bring to the table this Thanksgiving?

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