Some might say that the cupcake is on the way out. True or not the DC Metro area has grabbed onto to this sweet trend wholeheartedly. There are over forty cupcakes shops and bakeries that specialize in cupcakes in the DC area. It can be overwhelming and while the Washington Post has its own favorites I do too. Who doesn’t want a piece of heaven on earth for only $3?
Cupcakes are more than just a bit of cake with a dollop of frosting on top. The proportions have to be correct, the taste has to be there and they must be fresh. It is a bit of a science with a dash of personal preference thrown. There is nothing worse than an overly sweet, no flavored, dry cupcake. It just ruins the total cupcake experience. It might seem easy but only a few of these establishments have truly figured out this oh-so scientific formula and created a truly tasty cupcake.
Red Velvet Cupcakery right in the heart of the city is one such place. A small store front means nothing to these cupcake masters. They create a moist cake that is full of rich ingredients. Everything is of a high quality here because they use European butter (love that 83% butter fat), Valrohna chocolate and even 24K gold leaf for decoration. The icing to cake ratio is spot on. Red Velvet knows how to balance their flavors while being local. They use local dairy’s and farmers as much as possible and donate left over cupcakes to shelters and nonprofit organizations daily.
Of course, the big favorite in the area even has its own television show on TLC. You know who I am talking about, Georgetown Cupcake. I find their Bethesda Row store so charming. Set on a leafy, tree-lined street it has a quietness to it that the Georgetown location lacks. I like going there for an afternoon treat or post-dinner dessert. It has a neighborhood feel while offering up all-star cupcakes. Choices are abundant and their coconut cupcake is one of the few around that isn’t too gooey and overly sweet.
Heading into the Virginia you will find more cupcake stores than anywhere else. Northern Virginia is all about the cupcake. Cake Love misses the mark with dried out cupcakes and a dull frosting. Cupcakes Actually, located in Fairfax and Alexandria Cupcake set in Old Town, Alexandria take the cake, or er, cupcake. Both these locations are masters when it comes to using great, quality ingredients and a whole lot of flavor. The peanut butter cupcake from Alexandria Cupcake is hunk of heaven in your mouth. While Cupcakes Actually frosts their confections and then dips them into ganache creating a melding of sweetness that always keeps me going back for more.
Life is about balance, especially here in the DC Metro area. Creating that balance often means indulging yourself a little. If you are like me then it is with a bit of sweet goodness. Cupcakes offer a perfectly-sized dose of that while putting a smile on my face and a brighter outlook on my day. Let them eat cake, indeed!