Celebrating an Amazing Night with Georgetown Cupcakes!

I’m just going to jump into today’s post by saying that back in March, Crusader Jenn and I got to meet Demi Lovato!

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(Eek! Seriously, how adorably is she? Gotta love the pink hair.)

Okay, “meet” may not be the correct word. It was more like: ran into a room and snapped a quick photo with Demi after standing in line for what seemed like hours (and very well could have been), but it was totally worth it!

I should start from the beginning (I promise I’ll get to the cupcakes soon). Back in October I convinced Jenn and Elisa to go with me to see Demi Lovato on her Neon Lights Tour. After buying our tickets, it didn’t take long until they were fans too, so leading up to the concert Jenn and I entered a few contests only to find out a couple weeks before the concert that we (well really Jenn…) won two tickets for floor seats along with passes to the sound check and a “meet and greet.” We couldn’t believe it! But this left us in a bit of a scramble because we ended up with two spare tickets and we didn’t want Elisa sitting alone. Luckily my sister, Alissa, and Elisa’s good friend (and major cupcake enthusiast), Laura, joined us, so no tickets went to waste. Everything worked out perfectly. Elisa, Laura, and Alissa when to dinner, while Jenn and I attended the sound check and “meet and greet.”

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(Our concert-going group from left to right: Jenn, Alissa, me, Elisa, and Laura. So glad I got to spend such an awesome night with some fab ladies!)

It was amazing to hear Demi sing to such a small audience during the sound check (if you don’t already know this, her voice is really incredible) and she KILLED IT during her concert, which at moments had the auditorium feeling like it was a gigantic night club. The energy before, during, and after the concert was palpable, so when we walked out of the venue to discover pouring rain, it didn’t ruin the mood at all. We happily walked/danced/skipped on the long journey back to the car where we discovered that Laura brought us Georgetown Cupcakes. She knows us well!

Laura really is the greatest friend a cupcake lover could ask for and she almost always shows up with Georgetown Cupcakes in tow.

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There was a great variety to choose from so we divided the cupcakes up. I selected Carrot Cake and Cherry Blossom to enjoy over the next couple of days.

Carrot Cake

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Somehow, I had never tried Georgetown’s Carrot Cake before, even though I really like this classic flavor. Unlike most carrot cake, Georgetown’s was very dense and much lighter in color and it wasn’t as chunky either. Even though there were no raisins or nuts (just carrot pieces), it still managed to taste like true carrot cake with a great spice flavor. The frosting was a little gritty in texture, but not too bad. It was also sweet, but the cream cheese flavor blended nicely with the cake. Overall this was a really satisfying cupcake. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but definitely worth trying if you can.

Cherry Blossom

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By the time I got around to eating this cupcake I thought that it would be a little dry, but I was surprised to find out that it was still moist after three days! The cake was also dense like the carrot cake and it had a very subtle cherry flavor. I don’t typically like things that are cherry flavored (except for Cherry Coke… I love that), however this time it was fine with me. Due to the lightness of the flavor it wasn’t overpowering or “fake” tasting.

Jenn and I are excited that we are going to see Demi Lovato preform again in October on her World Tour, which starts this fall. We’ll be in Hershey, PA for that concert, so I’m sure there will be cupcakes! Last time we were in Hershey, all of the cupcakes seemed to be a chocolate/peanut butter combo, so this time I hope to expand outside of that and try some new flavors!

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

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Baked with Love: Tweet’s Sweets

Last month we shared an interview with Tweet’s Sweets discussing both her charity event to raise money for cancer patients and why cancer awareness is so important to her. Tweety has seen many close friends and family battle cancer, so she has dedicated her company and her baking skills to fighting back. Her most recent event, Cancer Bites: We’ll Bite Harder, raised $1,500 which was divided between three charities. Tweety told us that two of those charities had people waiting to receive the funds to help with the expenses for fighting cancer. At the event, Tweety made a shocking announcement: she’s now battling cancer herself. Instead of letting this discourage her, Tweety is pressing forward and is determined to overcome cancer while growing her business. To watch videos of the event, click here and here.

After her fundraising event, Tweety found time in her busy schedule to hand-deliver cupcakes to us for a tasting. She provided three flavors: Suga Mama (Sweet Potato), Red Velvet, and Licia’s Puddin (Banana Pudding).

Suga Mama (Sweet Potato):

Our initial reaction? This woman can BAKE! The sweet potato cake was incredibly moist. So moist in fact that Crusader Jenn said, “Maybe almost too moist?” I’m not sure how that is possible, except that it was a little difficult to pick up and eat, but being a cupcake warrior, I seemed to manage just fine.

Red Velvet:

I think this was my favorite out of all three. Normally Red Velvet isn’t my thing (I reserve this flavor for our Red Velvet Crusader, Elisa), but Tweety had just the right blend of flavors and moist cake—which seems to be a rarity when it comes to Red Velvet. While the frosting to cake ratio might not seem to be enough for some, it was surprisingly perfect.

Licia’s Puddin (Banana Pudding):

This cupcake ended up being Crusader Jenn’s favorite. The moist cake was a bit denser than the Red Velvet, but that’s to be expected since it was packed with real bananas. Because of all the fresh ingredients used, Tweety told us to keep this cupcake refrigerated. Normally this wreaks havoc on cake, causing it to dry out, but not Tweety’s cupcakes! It was just as moist and wonderful as if it was fresh from the oven.

Tweet’s Sweets’ cupcakes are a rare find in today’s world of over-the-top cupcakes. They are simple with a homemade quality that doesn’t come around very often. With each bite you feel like you are sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen, listening to the stories of the “good ole days,” while snacking on fresh baked goods. She says she learned to bake from her “Nan” back when she was just a young girl and her love of baking is evident with each cupcake.

Tweet’s Sweets recently celebrated their 5th anniversary by giving goodies away to their fans while raising money for the homeless (Tweety is a super-hero when it comes to giving back!). When asked where she sees herself in the next year, she replied, “Next year I am anticipating having another fundraiser where I announce that I have bitten cancer into remission.” We believe that with her drive and determination, Tweety can do anything!

To read our full interview with Tweet’s Sweets, click here.

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

Tweet’s Sweets Charity Event: Cancer Bites, We’ll Bite Harder

Tweet’s Sweets, an up and coming sweets baker in the DC area, was recently introduced to us via email from Baltimore Eats. The owner and head baker, Ros (AKA: Tweety), is passionate about raising awareness and eradicating cancer, so she is using her business to make a difference.

Her most recent event, Cancer Bites: We’ll Bite Harder, located in Washington DC on October 19th, 2012, will raise money to allow patients to seek holistic treatment, pay for medicine, and anything else that often comes up when a person is fighting cancer.

Tweety graciously agreed to answer some questions about herself, baking, and her commitment to ending cancer, for us to share with our readers:

Do you mind sharing with us how you got the nickname “Tweety?”
I was given this nickname my first week at Howard University because my suite mates couldn’t remember what my name was and my entire dorm room was covered with Michael Jordan and Tweety stuff.  So they decided they were going to call me Mikey or Tweety  and I wasn’t going to answer to Mikey. ; )

What is your favorite cupcake to eat and what is your favorite cupcake to bake?
My favorite cupcake to bake is probably the Suga Mama (Sweet Potato) cupcake because it gives off the yummiest smells when it is baking….smells just like my Nan’s kitchen when she used to bake her sweet potato pies.  My favorite cupcake to eat is tied between Tweet’s Heart (Chocolate on Chocolate) and MSC (pineapple upside right cake)  because I love love love love – did I say love? – me some milk chocolate and (as quiet as it is kept), my favorite dessert is pineapple upside down cake.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you are so dedicated to eradicating cancer and helping those who are fighting it?
Cancer has come for some people that have helped shaped my life:  my grandfather, my favorite uncle, some of my cousins and aunts and now it’s coming for one of my best friends.  I hate cancer because it’s one of those diseases that you really can’t protect against.  It doesn’t discriminate.  It affects the young, the old, the rich the poor, black, white, healthy eaters, and non-healthy eaters.  Many lose their battle with cancer because they can’t afford to fight or because they don’t know how to fight.  I want to change this….I have to change this.

We saw there will be live music and cupcakes at your event, Cancer Bites, We’ll Bite Harder. Can you give us a sneak peek of what cupcake flavors attendees will be indulging in that evening?
Lol, I can tell you that the Licia’s Puddin and the Suga Mama will definitely be on site but as far as which other yummy goodness I am going to whip up, readers will have to come out and see and taste for themselves.

Do you have any advice to those hoping to raise money or organize an event for cancer awareness and research?
I will tell them to follow their heart and to never give up even when it appears like the event isn’t taking shape because organizing a fundraiser is a lot of hard work but the end result is so humbling and so worth it.  The fact that folks are even talking about my event that I haven’t even met already makes my event a success in my book.

Do you hope to one day own a storefront or would you like to keep your focus on baking and hosting charitable events? Or do you see yourself one day doing both?
I am going to open a non-profit that will ultimately host my charitable events but I will continue using my bakery to raise money and awareness for causes that are near and dear to my heart.

We want to thank Tweety for taking the time to answer our questions! Her goal is to raise $10,000 and we are hoping that we can all help make that happen! Here are the details for her event:

For more information on Tweet’s Sweets, visit their website or Facebook page. You can also watch a video about Tweet’s Sweets and this event from Washington Eats, here. To donate or purchase tickets, CLICK HERE. We hope you can make it out to Tweety’s event and support her cause!

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

The Sweet Lobby: Getting out the Vote


(Boston cream cupcakes displaying each candidate and a lemon cream telling us to vote.)

It’s impossible to ignore that the presidential election is right around the corner and The Sweet Lobby, located in DC’s Capital Hill and winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, has started campaign polls and debates of their own. They are selling cupcakes and macarons with presidential candidate and party logos at their shop and tracking the sales to see which is more popular. You can also visit The Sweet Lobby’s Facebook page or Twitter page to track the results and join in the debate, “Which best represents your favorite candidate: a cupcake or a macaron?”


(Signage outside of the store promoting their election debate.)

The location of The Sweet Lobby makes it the perfect business to promote voting, while engaging our sweet tooth. We love that they are doing something to get people excited about the election. They also offer generic “Vote 2012” confections and are participating in Get Out The Vote initiatives, including providing voter registration information.


(Not only does The Sweet Lobby specialize in cupcakes they’ve also become well known for their macarons.)

Crusaders Stacy, Elisa, and myself decided spend the afternoon in DC together after The Sweet Lobby invited us to sample some of their campaign cupcakes and macarons. Although one of our friends, Guest Crusader Kristina, has visited the shop and had a lot of good things to say in her review, it was our first time there and our inner design geeks were in heaven. The branding features clean design, with a look that is consistent throughout the packaging, storefront signage, and interior design. Not to mention their creative custom boxes, which fit the products perfectly and allow for easy and safe travel.


(Storefront and packaging. The macarons fit perfectly into the long box and we love the handle on the cupcake carrier.)


(Just a sampling of the selection.)


(Making a decision is not easy, but the girls working that day were very helpful in making suggestions.)

Once we started eying up the selection, we couldn’t help but take more home with us than planned. In addition to Boston Cream and Lemon Cream election cupcakes and presidential macaroons gifted to us, we also took home a seasonal Caramel Apple cupcake, a Chocolate Raspberry MacTop, and a few extra macarons. If the selection of cupcakes and macarons isn’t enough (and it is!), they also offer their own line of shortcakes and tea.

Boston Cream
The Boston Cream cupcake seen in the photos above is a vanilla cake filled with pastry cream, dipped in chocolate ganache and topped with whipped vanilla frosting. This is one of the best Boston Cream cupcakes I’ve had. The cake is on the denser side, but since the frosting is light it’s the perfect balance. Not too sweet, not too buttery, not too savory…my mouth was happy.

Lemon Cream
The cupcake had the perfect amount of tartness mixed with sweet. Just like the Boston Cream, the vanilla cake was on the denser side, but moist, then filled with lemon cream  and topped with whipped lemon frosting.

Caramel Apple


(Compared with some of the other cupcakes the Caramel Apple has an understated look, but the caramel swirl and autumn flavor spoke to me.)

This cupcake had a caramel apple cake with cream cheese frosting, drizzled with caramel. The cake was dense but very moist and contained fresh apples with a subtle caramel flavor (which I liked because otherwise it can make the cupcake too sweet). I felt like the cream cheese frosting overpowered the cake, however since it was so tasty I’d still go back for more.

Chocolate Raspberry MacTop


(Yes, that IS a mini raspberry macaron on top of a decadent chocolate raspberry cupcake.)

The Sweet Lobby originally created the first MacTop on their episode of Cupcake Wars. Since then, they’ve created an entire line of flavor combinations, including the Chocolate Raspberry. Here’s what Crusader Stacy had to say about it:

Wow. Chocolate Raspberry is one of my all time favorite combinations and this was no exception. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect because the frosting appeared to be milk chocolate, which I’m not really a fan of, but it surprisingly complemented the dark chocolate ganache and moist, fudgy cake very well. The mini macaron on top was, of course, perfect. Nice and tart, the way raspberry anything should be. The cupcake portion seemed to have some kind of subtle raspberry flavor, but there was no filling so I’m not entirely sure if the chocolate cake was flavored with raspberries or if it was the lingering aftertaste of the macaron. The cupcake and macaron combined resulted in a wonderfully decadent treat.

Macarons

(Assorted selection includes Olive Oil Walnut Pecorino, Sweet Potato Pecan, Orange Ginger, Coffee, and Strawberry Basil.)

There’s no denying that when it comes to macarons, The Sweet Lobby knows what they are doing. Their election macarons are named the Obamamac and Romneymac. They appear to be plain, however they consist of almond meringue shells filled with premium Belgian white chocolate ganache infused with vanilla beans from Madagascar and Tahiti. The only way to describe it is delicious. We all really loved the selections we picked, which ranged from simple to complex in flavor combinations. Crusader Stacy said she couldn’t put her Sweet Potato Pecan down and Elisa was very enthusiastic about the Strawberry Basil. I tried the Olive Oil Walnut Pecorino, which came recommended. Although it sounds strange, the olive oil complemented the walnut well.

When you stop by The Sweet Lobby you’ll have a lot to think about. Obamamac or Romneymac? Cupcake, macaron, or MacTop? And that’s before you even decide on a flavor. But whatever sweet treat you choose, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. We’ll have an interview with The Sweet Lobby for you soon, so keep a lookout for it!

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

*We were lucky to be gifted some of our treats, but, as ever, this review reflects our honest opinion. We will gladly patronize The Sweet Lobby in the future and we are happy that we purchased some additional treats to share our thoughts on as well.

Part 2: Cupcakes + Wolf Trap + Idina Menzel = Perfect Night Out with Cupcakes from Sticky Fingers Bakery

Since you’ve most likely already read Crusader Jenn’s review from yesterday, you don’t need me to go on and on about how much we adore this woman:


(In case you don’t know or haven’t guessed, this is the wonderful Idina Menzel.)

I will say though that the concert was fantastic, as always. She sang amazing songs, told some great antidotes, and even encouraged lots of audience participation. But, you probably want to hear more about the cupcakes now, right?

Crusader Elisa and I decided to stop at two locations since they were both almost on our way to Wolf Trap. Our first stop was at Sticky Fingers Bakery located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC. Back in March, Crusader Jenn and I were fortunate enough to meet the owner of Sticky Fingers, Doron Petersan, at the National Capital Area Cake Show’s Cupcake Challenge. Whether or not she remembers, we promised her that we would stop into her shop this summer, and we always like to keep our promises.

Upon arriving we instantly fell in love with the decor. With high ceilings and a concrete floor, the space is filled with nods to the 50s and can be best described as retro industrial. From the old fashion refrigerator that serves as a product display and an neat old stove that creates a makeshift coffee area, Elisa and I weren’t quite ready to leave after receiving our coffee and cupcake orders from the attentive staff. Unfortunately we had another stop to visit before meeting Crusader Jenn and Guest Crusader Ashley, so we had to leave after spending just a few minutes there.

Once we arrived at Wolf Trap and spread our blankets out, we revealed our cupcake selections to Jenn and Ashley:

Elisa and I decided that trying the Orange Creamsicle and the Lavender Lemon were absolutely necessary. The bakery, which sells all 100% vegan goods, was serving many cupcake flavors that day, but Elisa and I like to be adventurous so the Lavender Lemon was an easy choice.

The lemon flavor wasn’t very strong in this cupcake, but was present enough to balance out the lavender flavor and keep it from tasting like soap. That is often a reaction we hear from people when they encounter lavender in their food, but for the Crusaders, we didn’t think this tasted like soap at all. The cake was a bit crumbly though. It wasn’t really dry, but the texture isn’t what we would normally expect in a cupcake. Maybe this has something to do with vegan products? We’ve only tried vegan baked goods a couple times, so we really aren’t experts on what to expect from the texture.

Next, after taking in all the flavor options, we finally chose the Creamsicle, knowing it would be the perfect addition to a summer pre-show picnic.

Our first reaction from this cupcake was, “OMG. THE FROSTING IS AMAZING!” I think I could have easily eating an entire gallon of it. Elisa called it “dreamy” and I couldn’t agree with her more. The cake was also crumbly, similar to the Lavender Lemon, but that frosting easily saved this cupcake and left me wanting a whole one for myself.

Even though the cake texture wasn’t our favorite on each of these cupcakes, I would love to go back, sit in one of their shiny pink vinyl chairs, and enjoy another cupcake and delicious cup of coffee. The flavors made these cupcakes ones I think anyone would keep going back for.

Tomorrow we’ll share our last review from our Wolf Trap cupcake tailgating tasting, so stay posted!

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

Josie’s “Creative & Delicious” Confections

What do fried chicken, waffles, and cupcakes have in common? Josie’s Confections. But that isn’t the only amazing cupcake creation up “The Cupcake King’s” sleeve! After the Westminster cupcake picnic this past weekend, we Crusaders realized that we hadn’t actually reviewed Joel’s creations?! So here goes:

For our Washington DC Cupcake Picnic, Joel brought 4 flavors:

Fried Chicken & Waffle

All three Crusaders loved this cupcake. The fried chicken alone was amazing, in fact Crusader Jenn said she wouldn’t mind eating a bucket of the chicken and I agree. The maple cake was moist and very flavorful, with the light maple frosting pairing nicely with the perfectly fried chicken and sweet waffle. Crusader Stacy says it is in her top 5 cupcakes of ALL the cupcakes she has ever had, and ate 3 in one day, the perfect testament to just how delicious this cupcake is. (Wow, just writing about it makes my mouth water and my stomach grumble for fried chicken, waffles, and this cupcake.)

Maple Bacon

(Photo courtesy of Josie’s Confections)

If I were a cupcake, I would be THIS cupcake. My love of bacon is no secret, and this cupcake had perfectly cooked, crispy bacon on top AND in the cake. The maple frosting was again smooth, flavorful and paired perfectly with the bacon. Sweet, savory, salty, bacon-y perfection in cupcake form. I ate 3 at the picnic and took 3 home – and yes, I ate every one of them.

Strawberry Lemonade

I didn’t try this cupcake (I was too busy eating the Maple Bacon), but Stacy shared her thoughts: “This cupcake was a perfectly light and refreshing summer cupcake. It’s no wonder how Joel won 4th place for People’s Choice at the National Capital Area Cake Show’s (NCACS) Cupcake Challenge with this cupcake.”

Salted Caramel(Photo courtesy of Josie’s Confections)

This mini cupcake packed a caramel punch, with a hint of salt. Moist and flavorful, this mini had more caramel flavor than some full-sized caramel cupcakes I have encountered. The caramel drizzle on top added to the light, creamy, smooth texture. In a sea of regular sized cupcakes, this little mini stood out.

For our Westminster, MD Cupcake Picnic Joel brought 4 new flavors to share:

Red Berry Ciroc

Perfect summer boozie cupcake. Even better, you could still taste the Red Berry Ciroc vodka! While this is not a cupcake for a kid, it would be perfect for a bacholerette party or grown-up party. Love the fun bright frosting too – how Joel achieved that amazing red/pink hue without it tasting like food coloring is a mystery.

Tiramisu

This cupcake had all the right flavors, which worked together in unison to create the perfect Tiramisu dessert in cupcake form! The moist cake, tasty mascarpone and Kahlua filling and smooth frosting was one of the favorites of the day. This is one of my favorite desserts, and I was very impressed with just how much it tasted like the traditional dessert.

Capt. Morgan Rum and Coke  &  Mango Passion Fruit

Capt. Morgan Rum and Coke: At first sight you might think this cupcake looks like it has chocolate frosting, but the frosting tastes exactly like Coke – which amazed everyone at the picnic! And the cake tastes exactly like Capt. Morgan and was very moist. Like the Red Berry Ciroc, this is another 21+ only treat, but a treat that the Crusaders wouldn’t mind eating again.

Mango Passion Fruit: Another great summer cupcake! Light and sweet and full of mango and passion fruit flavor. The cake and frosting were an amazingly bright and refreshing orange color, how does Joel do it?! It reminded Crusader Jenn of tropical fruit candy; and while it was a bit sweet for me, it isn’t a cupcake I would ever turn down.

Overall Joel’s unique confections have intrigued and amazed us at each turn. Consistently moist and flavorful cake, smooth and creamy frosting, and inspired flavors are apparent in each cupcake Joel creates. Each inspired flavor has been meticulously paired together to create a delicious confection that anyone would be lucky to eat. He’ll be the first person I call the next time I need to order cupcakes for an event, party, or just when I need a Maple Bacon cupcake “fix.”

For information on ordering Josie’s Confections, call Joel at 301-541-7046, email him at joelegill@gmail.com or visit Josie’s Confections Facebook page.

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

Summer Cupcake Picnic Series!

Hey Cupcake Lovers! We are excited to announce that we are planning 3 cupcake picnics this summer. This is the first year we have done this, but thought it would be a good way to get to know some of you and share something we all love… CUPCAKES!

We want this to be a fun, casual and relaxing summer gathering so the only request we have is that everyone brings cupcakes and is ready to share! You can bake them or buy them, that is totally your choice.

We are still working out some details, but we thought it would be nice to send out a save the date so you mark your calendar and hopefully join us for one (or all) of the picnics. Here are the details we have so far:

Saturday, June 23rd, 2pm
Washington DC

Sunday, July 29th, 2pm
Westminster, MD

Saturday, August 25th, 2pm
Baltimore, MD

We’ll be setting up in a local park for each city above and might even have some fun events planned in conjunction with Josie’s Confections.

Stay tuned for more details and in the meantime, start brainstorming what you want to share! We hope to meet you all soon!

– The Cupcake Crusaders