Designer cupcakes are the IT trend. How can you tell? Well, these sweet treats have exploded on the Hollywood scene, with Katie Holmes treating the cast and crews on her movie sets to cupcakes parties, and TV shows focused only on cupcakes, like the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and TLC’s Cupcake Sisters which follows the owners of D.C.’s Georgetown Cupcakes, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis.
Washington D.C. has been actively involved in this dessert revolution, with several designer cupcake shops opening up in the past two years in the area. Wildly popular, these stores focus on creating delicious, homemade treats while using high end ingredients and unusual, modern flavor combinations. Read on for a guide of top 5 best places in the city to score one of these scrumptious mini cakes!
1. Georgetown Cupcake: Hands down the best cupcakes in the city. Moist bread. Frosting that is sweet but not too sweet. A delicious variety of flavors. Their website says “True bliss baked daily” and honestly after you have one, you will want to jump up and down and say it IS true bliss! Georgetown Cupcake has two locations, one in Georgetown and a new one in Bethesda. Both have a complicated cupcake schedule, with different types of cupcakes made each day of the week and some special cupcakes made for various holidays. The unique flavors and their availability can be seen on the Georgetown Cupcake website. Favorite flavors include the Chocolate & Vanilla, a Valronha chocolate cupcake smothered in the most lush, creamy vanilla frosting, topped with chocolate sprinkles. A traditional cupcake flavor combination, but the quality of ingredients makes this childhood favorite a real dessert experience. Another fabulous choice is the Mint Cookies & Creme, a Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with Oreo cookie crumbles, drowned in mint Oreo crumble-infused buttercream frosting. Finally, don’t miss the Salted Caramel, a caramel cupcake with salted caramel buttercream icing, decorated with a rich caramel drizzle. Cupcakes are $2.75 each.
2. 9:30 Club Cupcakes: Who knew that you could get some of the best cupcakes in town at a rock club? Created by the pastry chef at Alexandria’s Buzz Bakery, these cupcakes are moist and decadent, covered in chocolate and filled with buttercream. Forget the concerts, go for the cupcakes! Located in the U Street Corridor.
3. Curbside Cupcake: The newest food industry craze, food trucks, has arrived in D.C. There are food trucks serving Mexican food, Indian cuisine, Korean BBQ, and even French crepes, so it is only natural that there is a cupcake truck! Serving different types of cupcakes every day, this food truck is so popular the line often stretches for blocks. A major highlight is the Red Velvet cupcake. Often times kind of bland, the ideal red velvet cupcake should taste of chocolate, a flavor which should be added in abundance to the batter. Curbside cupcake’s red velvet has a rich cocoa essence enhanced by the tower of sweet, tangy cream cheese frosting on top. A sprinkling of mini chocolate chips makes the cupcake even prettier and enhances the chocolate flavor even more. Cupcakes are $3 each. Find out where the truck is today by going to their website!
4. Hello Cupcake: Dupont Circle’s popular cupcake venue offers cupcake classes, cupcake challenges, and of course, gourmet cupcakes. Following the trend of serving different flavors on different days, Hello Cupcake has a huge variety, including a vegan cupcake, a gluten-free cupcake, and a number of specialty cupcakes such as the Root beer Float cupcake. Root beer flavored cake is topped with vanilla cream cheese icing and a chocolate straw. For a more traditional choice try the Heart of Darkness. A dark chocolate cupcake covered in chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles, it is the ultimate chocolate lovers dessert! $3 each.
5. Red Velvet Cupcakery: The signature cupcake spot in Penn Quarter, Red Velvet is frequented by all the diners wandering around after having a decadent meal at the high end restaurants in Gallery Place/Chinatown. Favorites are the Peanut Butter Cup, a chocolate cake with chocolate chips and a perfect peanut butter frosting. A crystallized peanut and a sprinkling of sea salt finish it off. The Morning Call is a great twist on the traditional mocha cupcake; it is made with chocolate cake infused with espresso, crowned with a coffee Swiss buttercream, and garnished with a chocolate covered espresso bean and dusted with espresso powder. This cupcakery also has a vegan/gluten-free cupcake option. $3.25 per cupcake.