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Sweet Themez, Maurice and Adrienne Holmes' Bakery on 18th Street and Belmont Road in Adams Morgan - Closed

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I don't post much on cupcakes since they're not really my thing. I'll laugh at even lame jokes about the cupcake explosion here and elsewhere.  I'll nod appreciatively when people who know much more than I do about baking share why they appreciate cake, bread and the like more than cupcakes. All that aside though, I do have a passing interest in cupcake places for two main reasons aside from enjoying one very infrequently.

1. As small businesses with generally low overhead, I like that they offer opportunity for impassioned new food entrepreneurs to start a business and maybe succeed with it.  That's always a very good thing since hard to do.

2.  In theory, a place serious about cupcakes might also be serious about coffee.  So I'll sometimes stop into a cupcake shop for that reason. The best example of this in town is Baked & Wired in Georgetown, who make great cakes and have a wonderful coffee program.

Coffee aside though, I confess (perhaps earning some scorn from hardcore cupcake types?) thinking the Georgetown sisters make a good version.

Passing through Adams Morgan today, I noticed a small, lower-than-street-level bakery on the west side of Connecticut Avenue.  It had a big sign proclaiming itself "Sweet Themez Cake and Cupcake" and a red neon "Open" sign.  I had a few minutes so headed in perking up my nose for the smell of coffee.

No coffee was available today. They do sell it normally (maybe not on Sundays or maybe something happened today-not sure) but the friendly young woman staffing the counter couldn't tell me what it normally was.

There's very limited seating. Just one very round, hightop table by the window looking out onto Connecticut Avenue and a few seats along the south wall of the small shop.

Evidently, they do all kinds of custom cakes and have popular "cake pops."  I can't speak to any of those.

I did get a single lemon cupcake though.  It was very good.  I'd go as far as saying on a lemon-to-lemon basis, it was better than Georgetown's version.  The cake was moist, coherent, and with a good sweetness.  The element that puts it ahead of Georgetown for me was the frosting.  I think it was a denser-than-normal butter cream or maybe cream cheese frosting?  Whatever it was, it was excellent with a consistency almost like a tangy custard. It was about the same (smaller) size as Georgetown's cupcakes which I find optimal.

The shop is owned by a married couple with Maurice running the business and often staffing the front and his wife, Adrienne, the baker. I was told they bake early every morning as any good shop will.  I learned Adrienne has been baking since childhood and was taught by her grandmother.  Though my sample is very limited (just the one cupcake), I'd say Adrienne pretty clearly knows what she's doing.

This is a lovely small local business. I'd normally be a bit concerned about them given the narrow product focus and limited marketing. But they're already into their second year so the location, nice products, reasonable pricing and some word-of-mouth are probably helping.  If you're a cupcake person, give this shop a try. They're nice and serious about quality products as best I can tell.

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