Baking Adventure: Tea Party Cupcakes

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Our friend was putting together a tea party for her daughter’s 10th birthday, so when Crusader Stacy and I were asked if we wanted to help make cupcakes we immediately began brainstorming. We’ve been wanting to host an adult tea party of our own, but this event would have elegantly dressed tables, fun stations for nails, hair and dress-ups, and a photo booth, so we knew these cupcakes couldn’t be ordinary.

Stacy&Jenn
(Crusader Stacy and I also got to have a good time with the dress-ups and photo booth. Photo by Kenneth Adam, who donated his services for the day.)

Stacy suggested an idea she found, using chocolate or royal icing to create a “handle” on the cupcakes. After having experimented with royal icing in the past (and knowing how temperamental white chocolate can be), I choose that option. The birthday girl had one request, she wanted the cupcakes to have filling. Since she loved the Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes we’ve made before, I made those using a different raspberry filling and also made Vanilla Marshmallow cupcakes, a new flavor for me.

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The Vanilla Marshmallow cupcakes were very simple. I used yellow cake box mix, added in a packet of vanilla pudding mix, and then filled them with marshmallow fluff. For the frosting, I started with store-bought frosting and added in some extra butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract, until the taste and texture was where I wanted it. Then I divided the vanilla frosting into two parts, so that I could match the color to the party theme.

TeaPartyCupcakes_GreenMarshmallow

I was really pleased with how the colors turned out. They matched perfectly! The cupcakes were very sweet, but for a bunch of 10-year-old girls, that was good. It turned out to be a very chic party and all the girls had a terrific time!

TeaPartyCupcakes_PeachMarshmallow

I’ve never been to a better tea party. Even if I was there as “the staff” I had a great time and picked up some ideas for when Stacy and I do finally have our own party.

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

Quaint Little Bakery in a Quaint Little Town | Roy’s Bakery, Williamsport, PA

Crusader Jenn shared the details of our most recent annual girls’ camping weekend trip, in her post for Campfire Cupcakes, and like her, it’s something I look forward to every year. I mean, good friends, tons of food, a decent amount of wine, and lots of laughter. What’s not to love? Due to some last minute changes (hurricane damages to the cabin we initially rented), we happily found ourselves in the same town, and the same cabin, as two years ago in Williamsport, PA. One difference was that this year I came prepared with some research on where we could get cupcakes (I’m sure this shocks you. No?).

RoysWilliamsportStorefront

Roy’s Bakery is a “mom and pop” bakery that was highly recommended by one Yelp reviewer. It has been around for over 60 years, so they must be doing something right. Right? Well they are, but unfortunately it wasn’t their cupcakes that impressed us.

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(The newest members to our girls’ trip, Freya and Leah, ogling the goodies at Roy’s.)

With so many treats available it was impossible for us to just try their cupcakes. Collectively the three of us ended up leaving with the following bounty: three cupcake-shaped sugar cookies, a chocolate and peanut butter cookie cup, two peanut butter cookie sandwiches, two whoopie pies (red velvet and pumpkin), and three cupcakes (chocolate/chocolate, vanilla/vanilla, and a jumbo-sized red velvet).

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With a small town bakery I was hoping to get cupcakes that had a nice homemade quality, but these just didn’t live up to my expectations. Overall the flavors where bland and Crusader Elisa said the cake on the red velvet cupcake was really dry. They were a big disappointment, but with that disappointment came delight over all the other treats we selected.

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Crusader Jenn said the chocolate peanut butter cup and peanut butter cookie sandwich were both really good (still not as good as La Casa de Sweet‘s or Kupcakes & Co.‘s, but good nonetheless); however, Elisa really loved the sugar cookies and her peanut butter cookie sandwich, and she and I couldn’t believe how good the whoopie pies were. They were the complete opposite from the dry lackluster cupcakes. The moist flavorful cake seemed to add more dimension to the sweet frosting which appeared to be the same used on their cupcakes. How the two products, made of the same components, could be so vastly different is beyond me, but I’m glad they were because they redeemed this sweet family owned bakery located in a pleasant little town along the Susquehanna River.

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

Firehouse Coffee & Cupcakes

Firehouse Coffee Co. is located on the square in Canton, and I frequently stop in for a coffee or my favorite chai latte. Recently, I popped into the shop for some lunch and a latte when I noticed cupcakes in the bakery case. Never able to resist the call of a cupcake, I asked the barista if they were made in house. Not only are they made in house, the owner of the shop makes them himself! The friendly staff member then offered me one—free of charge—just for asking about them. I let him know that I write for a cupcake blog and he was excited to have me try one.

Firehouse White Cupcake

This friendly little cupcake was an anomaly of flavors! The moist cake looked like normal “run of the mill” vanilla, but tasted like a mixture of angel food cake and pound cake—both of which are some of my favorite cakes. The top of the cake had a great little crunch to it, adding a nice texture. The frosting was really smooth but super sweet, which I do not normally like, but paired well with the subtly sweet cake.

You really can’t find better local coffee or friendlier staff… and now you can add yummy homemade cupcakes to that list. I hope the next time I stop in for coffee they have cupcakes in the case too.

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

MmmmMmm Delicious! – That’s So Morie Cupcakes

We met Lamorea, of That’s So Morie Cupcakes, at our first Cupcake Picnic in Washington DC. She came fully prepared with many summer flavors, each wrapped up individually and ready to take home to enjoy after recovering from an intense cupcake coma. Since then, we tried several times to meet up again to indulge in cupcake goodness, but for one reason or another it never worked out, until recently.

She graciously gave us a dozen cupcakes to sample in a variety of flavors: The Usual (Vanilla), Strawberry Cheesecake, Naptown (Coconut Almond—named after our mutual hometown, Annapolis), and Caramel Butter-Pecan Chocolate Deluxe.

It just happened to be my mom’s birthday the same day I picked up cupcakes from Lamorea, so after delivering one of each flavor to Crusader Elisa’s house, there were eight left for my family to all enjoy together (with the disclaimer that Crusader Jenn and I each had to have at least one bite of every flavor).

The Usual

I knew, on looks alone, this vanilla cupcake would be the favorite of my nieces (ages three and under). They were all instantly drawn to the vibrant blue frosting and happily split one cupcake among the three of them. This classic cupcake almost had a sugar cookie like quality to it. The frosting wasn’t overly sweet and it reminded us of those frosted sugar cookies you find at the store (which we actually really love). Typically I would prefer a vanilla cupcake to have more vanilla flavor, but because it was reminiscent of a sugar cookie, it didn’t bother me at all.

Strawberry Cheesecake

This cupcake consists of a fresh strawberry cake infused with cheesecake, a vanilla wafer crust on the bottom, and topped with a cream cheese frosting. We all agreed it was wonderful. My mom felt like it tasted like a strawberry danish, while Jenn thought it was more like a strawberry shortcake. With its true cream cheese frosting (not too sweet) I personally agree with my mom (sorry Jenn!).

The Naptown

This cupcake starts with an almond cake, is topped with Lamorea’s savory cream cheese frosting and is then dipped in toasted coconut. When done right, almond cake is one of my favorites and the combination of flavors in this cupcake work much better than I thought they would. In fact, this was both Jenn’s and my favorite.

Caramel Butter-Pecan Chocolate Deluxe

When Lamorea told me about this cupcake I was immediately intrigued. I like butter-pecan, I like chocolate, I like caramel, but how would they all taste together? Well, as it turns out, they work really well. Of all the cupcakes, this one was the sweetest of the bunch, which we think was due to the caramel drizzle. I’m not sure if it would be too much, but I LOVE salted caramel and wonder if it would work on this cupcake, or just add too many flavors?

Going into this cupcake tasting, I already knew I would love these cupcakes, since we tried several other flavors at the cupcake picnic, but it was nice to try Lamorea’s creations without being somewhat overdosed on cake and frosting.

That’s So Morie Cupcakes will be offering Treat Yourself Fridays starting in late November.  She’ll be testing this out by posting select cupcake flavors every other Tuesday to be picked up as a six pack that following Friday. Also, according to her Facebook page, she’ll be coming to Odenton, MD soon (currently located in Millersville, MD) and will be selling her cupcakes and cake pops individually. We are very excited for Lamorea and her growing business! For more information on That’s So Morie Cupcakes, visit their website or Facebook page (trust me, you won’t be disappointed!).

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

Battle of the Cupcakeries: Sweet Angela’s and AngelCakes in Frederick, MD

I’ve only found myself in Frederick, MD a few times in my life (I can literally count the amount of times on one hand), but it’s a great little city, with a fabulous Downtown/Main Street area that is quaint and stylish at the same time. I haven’t had a lot of time to fully enjoy the shops and restaurants, but if you are looking for a short day trip from Baltimore or DC, it’s a good choice, with plenty to keep you entertained (including a short drive to Linganore Winecellars).

On a recent work related visit, I decided to check out their “cupcake scene.” After doing some Google research, I was shocked to see that there were actually several options. I selected two shops that appeared to be fairly close together: Sweet Angela’s Cupcakery and AngelCakes.

The cinder-block exterior of AngeCakeswas a little less than welcoming (and very different than the norm in Frederick), but they did their best by painting it a bright white and adding nice touches like the awning, sign, and light fixtures. After seeing this, I wasn’t sure what to expect on the inside but was pleasantly surprised by the trendy, modern appearance and cool blue and gray tones. I was immediate greeted and quickly placed my order (Key Lime and Salted Caramel) as the selection wasn’t overwhelmingly large.

Crossing the street to place the cupcakes in my car, I was stunned to see my next cupcake stop visible just about a block away. I knew they were close, but not that close! Happy that I wouldn’t have to walk far, I practically skipped down the sidewalk to my next destination.

If you think that AngelCakes signage is enough to catch your eye, there is no way you can miss Sweet Angela’s Cupcakery. In appearance, Sweet Angela’s is the exact opposite of AngelCakes. While AngelCakes is blue and trendy, Sweet Angela’s is very pink and cutesy, complete with cupcake illustrations on the walls. Despite the differences in decor, their flavor selection was actually quite similar. So similar in fact, that I ended up getting a Key Lime at Sweet Angela’s and thought a Key Lime Challenge would be in order. They didn’t have Salted Caramel though, so I stuck with a classic: Vanilla.

As soon as I got home the Key Lime Challenge was on. Visually, each had aspects I liked: Sweet Angela’s had a nice light colored cake, while AngelCakes’ was dark and looked to be a bit over-baked. Then, AngelCakes’ Key Lime cupcake had fresh lime zest on top, but Sweet Angela’s just had a gummy candy I knew I wouldn’t eat. But the true test would be the first bite.

Sweet Angela’s Key Lime:
The description stated that this cupcake was a fresh key lime cake with fresh squeezed lime juice, topped with buttercream frosting with a hint of lime and garnished with lime zest, but my cupcake was obviously not garnished with lime zest.

I could feel how soft and moist the cake was when pulling back the cupcake liner. It was also dense and a little sticky too, almost like a combination between pound cake and angel food cake. There was only a slight tartness with the cake, but the frosting was very tart; however, it was more of a generic tartness (not specifically key lime) and was artificial tasting.

AngelCakes’ Key Lime:

At first I thought this cupcake might be dry after seeing that the top of the cake was a dark brown, but it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t as moist as Sweet Angela’s but it definitely was not overly dry either. Although you can see the fresh lime zest in the cake (unlike Sweet Angela’s), you couldn’t taste it, which was a bit disappointing. Even the frosting, while light and fluffy, only had just a hint of lime. Overall the key lime flavor just wasn’t present enough in either cupcake, but AngelCakes tasted a bit more authentic and more like a homemade cupcake, so wins my vote in the Key Lime Challenge.

After the Key Lime challenge it was on to the other cupcakes.

Sweet Angela’s Classic Vanilla:

I’ve come to really enjoy vanilla cupcakes, but this was a letdown for me because the vanilla flavor was really not present at all. The cake lacked flavor of any kind and the frosting tasted like a straight buttercream with maybe a touch of inexpensive vanilla extract.

AngelCakes’ Salted Caramel:

My initial reaction was, “This is a good cupcake!” I only planned on eating half (and saving the other half for later), but after my first bite I knew that wouldn’t happen. The cake was  more moist than their Key Lime cupcake (even the next day) and it had a really nice caramel flavor. The frosting also had a great caramel flavor and the saltiness was well represented.

Even though Sweet Angela’s cupcakes were a bit cheaper than AngelCakes’ ($2.50 versus $2.75), I don’t think I would go back there, especially with AngelCakes just a block away. AngelCakes doesn’t make my favorites lists, but there was something nice about their homemade quality.

If you are ever in the Downtown Frederick area, maybe you could visit both shops and have a little “Battle of the Cupcakeries” too?

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

Best of Baltimore Party, with cupcakes!

When my co-worker, Alyssa, asked me if I would be her date for the Best of Baltimore 2012 Party I jumped at the chance to go to this exclusive party dedicated to all the best things in Baltimore. It was at the Hippodrome this year, which is a favorite venue of the Crusaders, and boasts tons of food, drinks, dancing, Baltimore fun… and cupcakes!

(Photo from Best of Baltimore website, no harm intended)

Luckily I mentioned to Crusader Stacy that I was going, because her immediate reaction was, “I bet there will be cupcake places there!” Surely enough there were – two in fact – and Alyssa and I hunted them down to try the confections of the night.

We started with Dirty Carrots, a new vegan bakery. They had two mini vegan cupcakes:

Chocolate with Salted Caramel Frosting (on the left)

This mini cupcake, which Crusader Jenn and Stacy have tried before, was really good! The cake was moist and had good texture – not like a normal cake, but not like some other vegan cakes I have had that tend to be dry, with an almost grainy texture. The frosting was also good, very flavorful and I loved the hint of salt. It did have a little bit of an odd texture, but not off-putting enough to bother me. I really enjoyed that mini and would like to try it in a full-size cupcake sometime.

Vanilla cake dipped in Chocolate Ganache with Vanilla Frosting (on the right)

This mini wasn’t as good as the first one. It was on the drier side and the chocolate ganache just didn’t taste like chocolate. The icing was very good though, especially since I know there isn’t any butter in it.

Next we went to Midnite Confections, a favorite of the Crusaders. They also had two mini cupcakes in flavors we haven’t tried before:

Strawberry (on the left)

Having recently fallen head over heels for strawberry cake, this cupcake had a lot to live up to… and it DID! The cake was the perfect strawberry, moist, mini treat and the frosting was sweet, smooth, and paired perfectly with the cake. I did not know that Midnite Confections made a strawberry cake cupcake, and it is now a necessity for me to stop by the shop and pick up a full size version.

Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream (on the right)

Moist and exploding with vanilla flavor, this mini really packed a flavor punch. I’m not always a fan of vanilla/vanilla cupcakes, but I enjoyed this mini and know I would love their full size cupcake.

The Best of Baltimore party was fantastic, I cannot thank Alyssa enough for taking me as her date, and I thank Crusader Stacy for suggesting I write a post about the cupcakes featured there. An awesome party, with cupcakes, and a post?! Count me in anytime!

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

Review for Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe Cupcakes: Raising the Bar for Store Bought Cupcakes

Well, I did it again. I bought cupcakes from Walmart. As I was browsing the aisles, I walked past and said, “I haven’t seen those before!” Typically my local store only has the mini cupcakes we reviewed for you before. The minis were decent enough, but these new ones are full-size (actually maybe even a little larger than the average cupcake) and look good. My husband had just commented the night before that he wished we had some cupcakes, so when I saw these I had to get some (I choose the Lemon Ice). It’s a great price, at $3.98 for four.

The new cupcakes are under a different label than the minis. I did some research on Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe and it seems like only Walmart carries them. There are four flavors, three of which we’ve tried (if I see the Red Velvet, I’ll have to pick that one up for Crusader Elisa). All of the cupcakes have light moist cake, smooth frosting, and a complementing filling and really are surprisingly tasty.


(Lemon Ice: Lemon cake filled with lemon crème and topped with lemon frosting and lemon crumbs. This cupcake is tangy and not too sweet.)

After tasting the Lemon Ice at home, I bought that plus the Triple Chocolate and Vanilla Bean for the Westminster Cupcake Picnic. I decided to take them out of the store packaging and perform a taste test before divulging where they came from.


(Triple Chocolate cupcakes: Chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge and topped with chocolate frosting and Belgian chocolate pieces. Very rich and chocolaty!)

Everyone confirmed my thoughts and they were shocked by the price and where the cupcakes came from. There were even volunteers to take some home, so I didn’t have any leftover!


(Vanilla Bean: Vanilla cake with a sweet vanilla cream filling and topped with a Madagascar vanilla bean frosting. Great vanilla bean flavor!)

So if you are in your local Walmart, take a detour to the baked goods aisle and check out the Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe cupcakes. We are curious to see if others are also pleasingly surprised with these store-bought cupcakes.

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

UPDATE: We edited the title of this entry after hearing about all the other locations, besides Walmart, that readers have been finding Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe cupcakes. We still have not found a website that lists the locations where these can be purchased, but see the comments below for some locations and please let us know if you found them somewhere not listed. Thank you!

***We are not affiliated with Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe. They are a product of the Give and Go Foods Corporation. For more information on the Give and Go Foods Corporation, please visit their website here.***

Baltimore Cupcake Trucks: IcedGems Baking & Cupcake Runners

Most Baltimore City residents are familiar with the food truck rally, called The Gathering, which takes place just about every Friday night at various spots throughout the city. This gathering gives those who aren’t able to visit each truck during the middle of the week a chance to come out and eat some great food from any vendor they choose. Some of the most popular food trucks, like Miss Shirley’s, the Gypsy Queen, and Kooper’s Chowound Burger Wagon are often (if not always) present at these frequent meet ups. Of course they wouldn’t be complete without our city’s cupcake trucks, IcedGems Baking and Cupcake Runners.

We have reviewed IcedGems Baking many times before. Every week they are out and about stopping at the city’s various neighborhoods, so everyone gets a chance to indulge in a special treat at least once a week should they choose to do so. Even with their busy schedule and a storefront in Reisterstown, you can always count on them to be at the Gathering.

Cupcake Runners are a bit more difficult to track down and they aren’t able to make it out to every Gathering, but finally, on one very rainy night, I found myself standing at the side of their truck ready to place my order. Their selection was fairly limited, not at all like the list of fifteen or more flavors that IcedGems typically has, but they were incredible friendly and I happily walked away with a Classic Vanilla cupcake and a Lemon cupcake.

Unfortunately both cupcakes didn’t make it home in perfect condition… I think the combination of the bag, the soft frosting, and trying to manage an umbrella in the pouring rain was just too much working against the little sweet treats.

The first of the two, the Vanilla, actually made it out okay:

This was an old school cupcake with no frills or bells and whistles. It was moist and light, with a subtle, but present, vanilla flavor.

The Lemon was very much the same (minus the tragic looking frosting):

It had really great lemon flavor, but was also just a simple classic cupcake. While I really enjoy all the interesting and unique flavor combinations bakers are creating with cupcakes, it is nice to just get back to basics sometimes. Cupcake Runners has proven that they can make a good cupcake. I recently saw that they also have some new “happy hour” cupcakes they are selling, but the last Gathering they attended was rained out. Hopefully I’ll be able to track them down again and sample their more elaborate flavors as well.

That same night, I also decided to stop by the IcedGems truck to try a new flavor I saw them post to their Facebook page: Neapolitan.

Like the traditional ice cream flavor, this Neapolitan cupcake is a blend of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. As a kid I would always opt for just the vanilla and chocolate portion of this mixture, but have grown to love the combination of all three flavors as an adult. This cupcake did not disappoint. Each flavor presented itself well, from the marbled vanilla and chocolate cake, to the sweet strawberry frosting.

That night I only chose that one flavor from IcedGems Baking, but a little while later my co-workers and I were surprised with half a dozen IcedGems cupcakes from our boss!

There was a great variety of flavors like Lemon Raspberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, Peaches N Cream, Victoria (vanilla with strawberry jam), French Toast, and Chocolate Raspberry. Luckily my co-workers share my same thoughts on sharing (you get to try more flavors that way), so we started cutting cupcakes up and every one could take pieces of which ever they wanted to try. That day I finally tried the Strawberry Cheesecake (it had been on my “must try” list for quite some time…), the Lemon Raspberry, the Peaches N Cream, and the French Toast.

The Strawberry Cheesecake was exactly what I was hoping it would be. The rich “cheese cake” frosting was smooth and wonderful, and the strawberry filling complemented the savoriness of the frosting to create a well balanced treat.

The French Toast was another stand out to me. This is one of Crusader Elisa’s favorites, which she reviewed here, and now I know why. She best described it as “maple/cinnamon/cake heaven.” I’m so glad I could finally experience it for myself.

IcedGems also included a Chocolate Salted Caramel cake truffle which contained the perfect salty and sweet balance to create a to-die-for bite-sized morsel.

The food truck craze  seems to be making its way slowly to all the major cities in the US, and I am very happy to say that we have two great cupcake trucks that are a part of this growing industry.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit one, or both, of these cupcake trucks, you can look them up on their Facebook pages (here and here) to find out where their next stop will be.

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

Guest Review | Brewed Awakenings at Lynchburg College | Lynchburg, VA

We have another new guest reviewer! Our good friend Ashley recently graduated from Lynchburg College and spent her entire last semester sending us photos of all the cupcakes she encountered while there. Since her classes kept her busy, she wasn’t able to write up a review for us while she was there, but now that summer is in full swing she took some time to share her experiences with us! In this first review she chronicles the cupcakes she tried from one specific location on campus. Thanks Ashley!

I must admit that when Jenn, Stacy, and Elisa started talking about cupcakes all the time I never thought that it would escalate to the creation of this awesome blog that I enjoy following so much. Cupcakes really are the perfect sweet for me because they are generally pretty small so they are the perfect size for someone who wants to limit his or her sweets intake (like me). While I am nowhere near the cupcake “expert” that the Crusaders are, I have since started eating cupcakes more frequently and find myself capturing the moment in a photo each time to share with the Crusaders and give them my own personal thumbs up or down.

I recently graduated from Lynchburg College, a small liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Virginia and during my last semester there I often visited Brewed Awakenings, the coffee shop located in the building where I worked. One day, while I waited in line I noticed some amazingly delicious looking cupcakes. My initial thought was, “Brewed has cupcakes now!?” – this is when I knew the cupcake phenomenon had reached Lynchburg and I couldn’t resist buying one to see if they were as good as they looked.

One of my favorite flavor combinations is peanut butter and chocolate, something I share with Crusader Jenn’s husband, so without hesitation I chose their Peanut Butter and Chocolate cupcake.

I took just enough time to take a picture of it before I rushed to work with my cupcake so that I could dig in. Considering this was the first cupcake I got from Brewed Awakenings I was not quite sure what to expect. After the first bite, however, I was completely sold. This cake was so moist and complemented by the peanut butter frosting and topped off perfectly with a piece of a Reese’s Cup, my favorite candy. The flavors blended well and completely satisfied my peanut butter and chocolate addiction.

I am very much a creature of habit, so on each visit to Brewed Awakenings I was tempted to get the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake again, but as the semester progressed I deviated and ended up trying several other cupcakes:

Key Lime:

This cupcake was just as, if not more, moist than the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake. I was originally not sure what to think about key lime because I have not had much of it in the past, but the woman working behind the counter insisted it was delicious so I took her word for it. She was certainly correct! The cake was moist and had the perfect amount of lime mixed in with it and the frosting was delicious with specks of lime sprinkled on top of it. Yet again I was completely sold! I would definitely recommend that, if you have yet to do so, you try a key lime cupcake next time you see one!

S’mores:

I love s’mores so words cannot express how completely excited I was about this cupcake.

Just looking at this cupcake my mouth started watering. The frosting with the graham cracker sprinkled on top of it with the mini marshmallows looked so delicious.  Maybe it was the mental build up, maybe it was the fact that the past cupcakes were so good, or maybe it was a mixture of the two but I was sadly disappointed by this cupcake. The frosting and everything on it tasted fine and made the cupcake edible but the cake portion of the cupcake was very dry and resembled corn bread texture (which was surprising based on how moist the past cupcakes were). This was very disappointing especially because I am not a big fan of the texture of corn bread. Perhaps if the cake portion of the cupcake was a little better it could be a totally different cupcake, but I definitely need to try a good s’more cupcake sometime to alter my current opinion on them.

Peppermint Patty:

Following my disappointment from the s’more cupcake I was a little nervous but I dug in anyway. I was relieved when the cake was more moist than the s’more cupcake, although not as moist as the peanut butter and key lime cupcakes. This cupcake was exactly like a peppermint patty with the chocolate covering and the peppermint filling frosting. The flavors all blended really well together and made for a very nice redemption cupcake. The only minor complaint that I have about it is that it was extremely sweet; however, in my opinion, peppermint patties are also extremely sweet so I suppose it was very fitting.

Classic Chocolate and Classic Vanilla:

These two are some of the less memorable cupcakes.  They weren’t horrible but they also didn’t stand out to me as fantastic either.

I wish I were able to tell you who brought these cupcakes to Brewed Awakenings; however, every time I asked the workers behind the counter they did not seem to have an answer for me. The closest thing I got to an answer was that they were delivered by a personal baker who only operates from her house and does not have an actual bakery. If I find out any additional information I will be sure to update everyone!

– Review by Guest Crusader, Ashley (Lynchburg, VA)

Convenient and Cheap Cupcake Fix: Giant’s Grocery Store Cupcakes

The Crusaders’ Dad claims that he doesn’t have the same “gourmet tastes buds” as his daughters and swears by cupcakes he found at his local Giant store in Annapolis, MD. They are convenient and (with no better way to say it) CHEAP! Giant sells their custom flavors for only $0.99 each! Most of us are used to the run-of-the-mill grocery store cupcakes that come pre-packed in 6 or 12, with only chocolate and vanilla to choose from, and usually topped with overly sweet frosting, brightly colored and with sprinkles. However it’s becoming more popular for grocery stores to steer away from these and offer more custom confections (whether good or bad), as we’ve seen with Safeway and Fresh & Green.

Our dad has been going into Giant to get, primarily, their Coconut Cream and Boston Cream cupcakes. After going on many, many cupcake crusades with us, he still can’t believe they only cost $0.99. And, after seeing his cupcaking in action, we trust his opinion. So when he told us we had to try them, we said, “Bring ‘em on!” It was decided that he would bring some to our next gathering that didn’t already have cupcakes pre-planned into the mix. That time finally came during a family trip to the Maryland Science Center. It was a beautiful day, so after exploring the Science Center, we found a table outside by the harbor to dig in.

Unfortunately when my dad went into the Giant that morning, they didn’t have a Boston Cream. They did have his other favorite, the Coconut Cream, so he bought that plus 5 others for us to try.

Vanilla Chocolate:

The cake on this cupcake was a little dry, but the ganache frosting was delicious. It was more like what you’d find on a doughnut…gooey and rich! The chocolate ganache redeemed this cupcake, and there was a lot of it!


(As with all of Giant’s filled cupcakes, they use the same frosting on top for the filling and are very generous with it! Frosting lovers can appreciate that!)

We thought starting with a vanilla cupcake was smart, but the richness made me wish I had a glass of milk to go along with it! My dad was a little disappointed that we found the cake dry. After raving about the cupcakes, he could only surmise that these hadn’t been baked fresh that day since he was there so early in the morning.

Coconut Cream:

This cupcake had a vanilla cake, with whipped vanilla frosting, topped with shredded coconut. Crusader Stacy and I felt this cupcake could have used more coconut flavor, but keeping the price in mind, can see why it’s one of our dad’s Giant favorites.

Banana Split:

I was really surprised to see that Giant is offering a Banana Split cupcake. It’s been a popular one to see for the summer season and does show that their baker seems to be in-tuned to what’s going on in cupcake trends. It was a chocolate cake, with banana frosting (and filling), topped with chocolate fudge, walnuts, and a maraschino cherry. Stacy remembers this being one of her favorites of the selection.

Cookies and Cream:

This cupcake had a dark chocolate cake with cookies and cream frosting. The cake was the best of the selection and was my favorite of the group. The frosting alone was worth the 99 cents!

Mocha:

Crusader Stacy and I saved this cupcake for our big sis, who LOVES coffee and chocolate. I did steal a bite, and like some of the other cupcakes, the cake was on the dry side. However, there was a good coffee flavor, and despite how the frosting photographed, it was smooth and flavorful.

Red Velvet:

On this particular day, we let our niece have the Red Velvet cupcake, but luckily our dad brought Crusader Elisa one to try at our recent DC Cupcake Picnic! Here’s what our Red Velvet Connoisseur said:

The cake was bright red and looked beautiful, but was dry and lacked flavor. The icing was smooth, but very bland. The rose decoration on top was very sweet (since it was made with traditional sweet icing) and good, but couldn’t save this cupcake from being just mediocre. Being the “red velvet crusader” probably makes me more critical than most, so while this cupcake doesn’t make my list of great red velvets, it by far is not the worst either.

Can you tell she’s tried a lot of red velvet cupcakes? ;P

Boston Cream:

As I mentioned, this cupcake did not make it into the original taste testing, but luckily Giant had them the day of the Cupcake Picnic, so we were finally able to try it! Here’s what Crusader Stacy thought:

The cake was a bit spongy and lacked flavor, which I would expect from a grocery store cupcake, but the chocolate ganache had really good flavor, even if it was a bit runny, and the filling tasted just like what I would want from a Boston Cream pastry filling. The filling and ganache definitely saved this cupcake, but it was a bit of a mess to eat.

Like my dad, I’m a sucker for Boston Cream and really wish I could have tried this cupcake. From Crusader Stacy’s review, it seems to me that the frosting is very reminiscent of what you’d find on your typical Boston cream cake (or doughnut), and those are always messy to eat!

Over all we feel that if you are in need of a quick, convenient, and not-too-expensive cupcake fix, but want something better then the grocery store cupcakes we usually think of, you can find that at Giant.

Have any of you tried Giant’s cupcakes or any other chain grocery store’s cupcakes? What did you think? Did the lower price make you more lenient on your expectations?

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