Mount Vernon’s New “Bun” Shop

Life in the city is always changing. Sometimes you have to say goodbye to places you love, like Sweet Bakery. That same change causes new places to be born and on April 8th, 2013 The Bun Shop opened at Sweet Bakery’s old address in Mount Vernon.

I happened to walk down Read Street one day last March and found signs on the doors for The Bun Shop. After finding them on facebook, I followed their renovation process and was excited to see they opened a month later. The entire space was completely re-vamped and renovated. It is eclectic and gilded, while fun, new wave, and inviting. It makes you feel like you are at home, and your home is clean, organized, and impeccably designed. The long family style tables, tables for two, and comfy couches give you a lot of sitting options. They even have events at the shop, including a recent Buns & Beer event with live music!

TheBunShop-Montage
(Their simple and beautiful display, a cool gold leafed sign, and the amazing window graphic.)

Okay, okay, I know, buns are not cupcakes, but we Crusaders agreed, a new place this cool, with sweet and savory bun options, was a must try! Being the indecisive person I am, I chose three buns to try, two savory and one sweet. (And yes, I ate them all at one time.)

Spinach & Feta Twist
TheBunShop-SpinachFeta

The employee behind the counter told me this was her favorite, and thank goodness she recommended it! The “bun” part was so light and fluffy, but had such fantastic flavor. The spinach and feta baked in created a wonderful earthy and green flavor. It really was light and didn’t feel heavy. While I love spanakopita, it has nothing on this savory bun treat.

Curry Puff
TheBunShop-CurryPuff

Sweet potatoes, carrots, pulled chicken, curry spices and turmeric all fold together into one delicious triangle of dough. If you don’t like a curry kick, this might not be for you, but I loved it. The dough used on this savory “bun” was totally different than the dough used on the Spinach & Feta bun, it was a bit heavier and more substantial. It never overpowered the filling though, and there was just the right amount of both.

Rotiboy
TheBunShop-Rotiboy

A traditional Mexican Coffee Bun, a Rotiboy is a sweet butter bun baked with a crisp, coffee-flavored topping. (When I did a little research I also found this Rotiboy brand which also mentions its Mexican origins, but is based out of Malaysia.) I saved this for last and was pleasantly surprised at its doughy flavor and donut texture. While the topping didn’t scream coffee, the faint flavor was there. And since I love butter, the savory and just-sweet-enough butter flavor of this bun made me smile. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it was so good I savored every bite.

The Bun Shop has 10 buns to choose from right now, including a new vegan Curry Puff made with chick peas. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Andrew, on my visit and he was as warm and welcoming as the shop itself. On top of the lovely staff and fantastic buns, the shop also specializes in Vietnamese coffee, which is a double shot of espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee. You can get this and other coffee and tea options iced or hot, and if you’re not into that, they have an eclectic variety of natural sodas to choose from as well.

Okay, so no, they don’t sell cupcakes, and it isn’t Sweet Bakery, but this place has been reborn as something different. A new gem in Mount Vernon, and definitely worth a stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner or chilling! And for me, conveniently located right around the corner from work! I’d call that a win/win situation!

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

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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)

Farewell, My “Sweet” Cupcake Love

When Stacy recently texted me to tell me that Sweet Bakery was closing I was devastated. I almost feel like it still isn’t real…My first experience with Sweet was in the fall of 2010 when they were on Main Street in Ellicott City – I was there with the other Crusaders for some Oktoberfest beer tasting – and the cupcakes were delicious from the get-go. When they moved to the Mount Vernon area, conveniently located 4 blocks from my office, I was so excited and went in to get a cupcake treat on a regular basis, and was NEVER disappointed.

You may recall Stacy’s and my post “Cupcaked Out?” this past August. I went to pick up cupcakes and was greeted by the friendly staff; picking 4 cupcakes to eat that evening with Stacy. The standout was by far the Red Velvet. With it’s moist, fluffy cake and superb cream cheese frosting this Red Velvet cupcake has been, and will always be my all-time favorite Red Velvet. The other flavors were great too and I thus began my addiction to visiting Sweet on my lunch break.


(The Cereal Cupcake from Sweet Bakery)

My cupcake lunch break on November 17 included a very special cupcake created by Allison that morning – The Cereal Cupcake. I never posted a review about this particular cupcake back in November, but here goes: The Fun-fetti cake had amazing colors in it, while the cake was moist, sweet, and vanilla-y. I’m a huge fan of Fun-fetti and the fact that it was homemade with vibrant colors and scrumptious taste made this perfect! The icing was superb as well, with a really great Fruit Loop flavor with freshly placed and crunchy Fruit Loops on top! Next to the Red Velvet, this cupcake stands as my favorite, and definitely makes the list of the the top 10 cupcakes I have ever eaten.


(Look at all that homemade Fun-fetti inside the cake!)

Another stand-out for me would be the Strawberry with Key Lime filling. The perfect strawberry cake with sweet buttercream icing and tangy key lime filling. The Crusaders and I tried this one while on our Girls Weekend Getaway in October and we all really seemed to like it. Sharing Sweet cupcakes with my favorite girls was very special to me, and we had a blast cutting them up and taking about the different flavors!


(Key Lime cupcake from Sweet Bakery)

Sweet didn’t just make amazing cupcakes, they featured organic coffee, pastries, cannolis, tarts, and local art. You could order a cake for a special occasion, or even go in on a whim and have cupcakes decorated while you wait. The prices were more than fair and they came highly recommended by many wedding venues/planners for their wedding cakes.

Mount Vernon is a little less bright without this very “Sweet” bakery, and my cupcake lunch breaks are no more. I will always wish I could order just one more Red Velvet and enjoy the smiling faces of the staff.

Sweet Bakery, the Crusaders and I will miss you and we will miss sharing your amazing cupcakes with the special people in our lives. Thank you for the cupcakes, memories, and love that you put into your craft.

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

Cupcaked Out?

Friday night my friend, Elisa (also a cupcake lover), and I went up against 8 cupcakes. We thought we had this in the bag. Our goal was to try 8 different cupcakes from 3 different locations around Baltimore. We devised a game plan that included only eating a quarter of 4 of the larger cupcakes and half of the smaller ones then splitting the leftovers. I had a small dinner. I thought we were prepared…

But by the end of the night I thought I never wanted to see another cupcake again. I know this feeling won’t last long, but it’s a good thing I have a lot of past experience with cupcakes to post about for a little while. Here is our review of our Cupcake Night:


We didn’t eat the cupcakes in the order that I’ll review them in, we kinda jumped all over the place. But for your sanity, I’ll group them by bakery. First up, Sweet Bakery now located in Midtown Baltimore. My first experience with Sweet Bakery was when they were located on Main Street in Ellicott City and it was a good experience so I was excited to try more of their cupcakes.
Chocolate w/ Vanilla Frosting: Their vanilla frosting is really good. Buttery and not too sweet, just sweet enough. The chocolate cake though? Meh. Not great. Elisa and I both agreed that Betty Crocker makes a better chocolate cake.
Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese Frosting: This was easily probably the best red velvet cake Elisa or I ever had. It was soft, moist, fluffy, wonderful. The cream cheese frosting was amazing too. Sweet, but like the vanilla frosting, not too sweet. It was a perfect compliment to the red velvet cake.
Vanilla w/ Vanilla Frosting: I typically don’t get Vanilla on Vanilla. With all the unique options out there I usually go for something different, but this was actually really good. Especially with all the other bold flavors we were trying, it was a nice “break” from the others. I would definitely get this one again, and I never thought I’d ever order a vanilla cupcake on my own. Elisa loves vanilla and said she thinks it’s the best vanilla cake she’s ever had.
Carrot Cake w/ Vanilla Frosting: Well… this one was such a disappointment. I’m so sad to say that because we saved this one for last because I LOVE carrot cake. The first big problem for me 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 super dry. While I like a lot of “stuff” in my carrot cake, this was just extreme. This cupcake was definitely the loser of the evening.

Next up:

You are probably questioning my cupcake tasting experience at this point, right? Well, shocked as you may be, Roland Park Bagel Co. was on Baltimore Magazine’s top ten best cupcakes in Baltimore, so we had to try them. We were pleasantly surprised by the fluffy softness and flavor of these cupcakes.
Cookies N Creme: Okay, first and foremost, I need to state that in my opinion, THIS IS NOT A COOKIES N CREME CUPCAKE! That said, it was still delicious. The frosting was cream cheese, which while it’s not appropriate for Cookies N Creme, it was light, fluffy, and very tasty. The chocolate cake was the same. No complaints other than, this is totally not a Cookies N Creme Cupcake. Elisa, however, liked it better than her recent experience with a Cookies N Creme cupcake she tried in Atlantic City (she will be giving me a review to post about that at a later date).
Chocolate w/ Salted Caramel Frosting: The person behind the counter told me this was a black bottom cake with a caramel frosting. What he didn’t say was that it as SALTED caramel and that the cake was really just chocolate cake with a speck of possible “black bottom-ness.” Either way, this was a favorite of the night. Like the “Cookies N Creme” the cake was light and fluffy. The frosting was the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Elisa and I are both really digging the recent salted caramel trend. We never seem to grow tired of it.

Last on our list:

Hamilton Bakery was listed as #2 in Baltimore Magazine’s Best Cupcake. I really don’t agree with that, but that’s just my opinion. They aren’t bad. They are decent, but they aren’t #2 good. Not compared to what’s out there. It might be a readers choice, so maybe they just have tons of supporters? Who knows, but that’s not important, what is important is our review:
Peanut Butter Chocolate: I think the most important thing to mention about this cupcake is that the cake is more like a muffin than a cupcake. It’s very dense, not too sweet and a little on the dry side. However, the peanut butter frosting on this is unbelievably amazing. And to top it off they actually spread a layer of crunchy peanut butter under the frosting. So, even if it is more muffin like, it’s really really good.
Coconut: Really, there isn’t much to say about this one other than: unmemorable. I had totally forgotten what I thought of it and had to look back at my notes (yes, we took notes…). That night we said, “more muffin like” and “more like a breakfast cupcake.” If those things sound appealing to you, then this is your cupcake. Otherwise, don’t bother.

I actually “cheated” on Elisa’s and my “Cupcake Night” by getting a cupcake from Hamilton Bakery a few days before. I figured I could wrap that up into this post. I went by their location and saw that they had a Boston Creme cupcake and knew that it probably wouldn’t be there the next day, so I decided to get it.

The cake was the same as above, very muffin like, and the frosting was just kinda blah. Not my favorite. I might try more cupcakes from them, but I’m more excited to try their breads and other pastries. Those look amazing.

If you have tried cupcakes from any of these locations I’d love to know your thoughts!

EDIT: Sweet Bakery is now, sadly, closed.

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