After tasting the cupcakes at Hello Cupcake and CakeLove, I am currently on a mission to find the best cupcake in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
In one corner is CakeLove. For years I have been hearing about CakeLove. I have seen Warren Brown, the founder and owner of CakeLove, on the Food Network several times; and being a native of Washington, D.C., I was happy to see that Mr. Brown is active in the D.C. community by being on the board of Kid Power-DC.
Warren Brown left his career practicing law to start CakeLove in 2001. CakeLove has several locations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. I visited the Silver Spring location, which is located in the heart of downtown Silver Spring. The address is 935 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.
In the other corner is Hello Cupcake. Hello Cupcake is owned by executive pastry chef Penny Karas. I stumbled upon Hello Cupcake after getting off the Dupont Circle metro and spotted the welcoming sign. Hello Cupcake it is located diagonally across the street from the station. The address is 1361 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Penny Karas learned to bake from her Greek mother, aunts and cousins. Her passion and love for baking treats for family, friends and more led to the creation of Hello Cupcake.
It was a wet and dreary day outside and I was drawn to the bright cheery sign of Hello Cupcake as I exited the Dupont Circle metro station. Upon entering the Hello Cupcake I felt as though I was whisked away into a fairytale land. Hello Cupcake has an art deco feel and the walls are covered in soothing earthtone hues. The first thing I saw was rows and rows of huge cupcakes.
It was a mild overcast day with a slight breeze when I arrived at Silver Spring location of CakeLove. At first I thought CakeLove was closed because it was very dark inside, then I saw movement, tugged on the door and entered the establishment. I do not remember the colors of the walls because all I can remember is how dark it was inside. The display cases were nicely lit and the kitchen in the distance was nicely lit, however the waiting area for customers was dim.
This round goes to Hello Cupcake.
The staff at Hello Cupcake let me peruse their selection of cupcakes and I was acknowledged when I spoke to the staff. The staff was very knowledgeable about the cupcakes and their ingredients.
I was immediately greeted by a very cheerful staff member of CakeLove. He was so nice that I wanted to immediately give the establishment 5 out of 5 stars on customer service alone; and then I looked into the glass cupcake display case and I was deflated. The cupcakes were so small compared to the cupcakes at Hello Cupcake and a tad bit smaller than the cupcakes I make at home.
This round goes to CakeLove.
After pondering over the vast assortment of cupcakes at Hello Cupcake, I finally ordered the “Pink Lemonade” cupcake (lemon cupcake topped with strawberry buttercream), the “Heart of Darkness” cupcake (devil’s food cupcake topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate chip sprinkles), the “24 Carrot” cupcake (carrot cake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting) and the “Peanut Butter Blossom” cupcake (chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter frosting and a chocolate kiss).
The cupcakes at Hello Cupcake were a tad on the dry side. I am chalking this up to the cupcakes being in the open air. There is a plastic divider that separates the cupcakes from the customers; however the cupcakes were not in a case allowing air to surround the cupcakes every time a customer opened the door to enter the establishment. Overall the cupcakes were quite tasty and the frosting on every cupcake was delicious. The cupcakes were $3 each and I would gladly pay the price again for the icing alone.
At CakeLove I ordered the “Lime on the Coconut” cupcake (vanilla cupcake with buttercream, topped with shredded coconut and lime zest) and “Cynthia’s Sin” cupcake (chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache, topped with peanut butter buttercream, caramel sprinkles and candied peanuts).
The cupcakes at CakeLove are kept refrigerated. They said it is the law; and to wait at least 5-15 minutes for the cupcake to thaw for the best taste. I waited 5 minutes and dug in. Because of refrigeration the cupcakes were not as moist as I would have liked for them to be, however I could taste the potential if they were freshly cooled from the oven and frosted. The cupcakes looked and tasted like cupcakes I could make at home. With the hefty $3.25 price tag I was expecting more taste for my buck.
This round goes to Hello Cupcake.
I will try another location of CakeLove to see if the results will be the same. In the meantime, I highly recommend taking a subway ride or car ride to Hello Cupcake.
For more information about Hello Cupcake: www.hellocupcakeonline.com
For more information about CakeLove: www.cakelove.com