Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Cupcakes of DC

So two weeks ago I went to Washington, DC for the weekend to visit friends from Brown and Cambridge. It was marvelous to see them, but obviously the most important task any time one is in a new city is to check out the local cupcake scene. My friend Lara said she would take me to the famous Georgetown Cupcake, while my friend Rocio took me to Baked and Wired (so called because there's a coffee shop attached), which is also located in Georgetown. Here are my thoughts:

Baked and Wired ($3.50 each) got immediate points for its funky vibe and decor, which verged on the weird. Not that I think funky vibes and weird decor are automatically an asset; it's just that cupcake shops are usually so twee and precious that it was nice to step into one that didn't look like it was decorated by a six-year-old girl with a fetish for pink stuff. (Mind you, it's not really a cupcake shop but more of a general bakery, so maybe that explains it.) I had a hard time picking a flavor because they had a really wide and inventively-named selection, but eventually I went with Texas Sheet Cake, which is a chocolate-cinnamon cupcake with a chocolate-pecan praline frosting. It was large and very delicious! The cake was moist and more cinnamon-y than I had expected, but the kick of the spice was a good contrast with the maybe-a-touch-too-sweet frosting. (That didn't stop me from splitting half the cupcake with Rocio, who ate the cake while I ate the frosting. Then I had a stomach ache, but the good kind.)

Lara and I ordered from the famous Georgetown Cupcake ($2.75 each) so as to avoid the equally famous line. I highly recommend taking this route. Georgetown Cupcake definitely suffers from the whole pink-fetishist issue - why are so many cupcake shops specifically designed to make any male who walks into them feel gay? Straight guys can like cupcakes! - and the flavors aren't as original as the ones at Baked and Wired. With some trepidation, I ordered a red velvet and a peanut butter fudge (a Sunday special), knowing that neither was my favorite flavor.

I was anxious, with only the anxiety that cupcakes can inspire - what if it turned out to be a case of over-hype, as with Sprinkles in LA? Turns out I needn't have worried. These were some of the best cupcakes I've ever had! Although Baked and Wired was a very strong contender, these were even better; they might have even been better than my beloved Crumbs! For one thing, they were a perfect size; Lara and I cut both of them in half and shared them, and it was just right. The red velvet in particular might just make me into a red velvet convert - it was totally luscious, with the perfect frosting-to-cake ratio. And just look at this picture of the peanut butter fudge and tell me that it doesn't make you hungry.

So all in all, a very successful trip. I'll have to go back soon and try other cupcake places, like Hello Cupcake and the Red Velvet Cupcakery, which we passed on our way home (and where I can test my new opinion of red velvet!)

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