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My queries aren't making the cut on Tom and Todd's respective chats, so I'll pose my question here:

Where in the District can one find a good cupcake?

And by good, you can presume that I don't mean the chilled, dry, overly-pasty-buttercream iced vareity sold up on U Street. I'm looking for bakeries, restaurants, or any other kind of retailer, provided they are in the District or are accessible by Metro.

NYC has Magnolia, Baked, Billy's, Buttercup, Crumbs, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and so many more. Surely we must have a hidden gem somewhere.

Reference:
New York Magazine on the NYC Cupcake Wars
Cupcakes Take The Cake

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[The following posts have been split into separate threads:

Curbside Cupcakes (SeanMike)

Crumbs Bake Shop (DaveO)]

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My queries aren't making the cut on Tom and Todd's respective chats, so I'll pose my question here:

Where in the District can one find a good cupcake? 

And by good, you can presume that I don't mean the chilled, dry, overly-pasty-buttercream iced vareity sold up on U Street.  I'm looking for bakeries, restaurants, or any other kind of retailer, provided they are in the District or are accessible by Metro. 

NYC has Magnolia, Baked, Billy's, Buttercup, Crumbs, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and so many more.  Surely we must have a hidden gem somewhere.

Reference:

New York Magazine on the NYC Cupcake Wars

Cupcakes Take The Cake

They don't exist!

Amernick's used to a have a decent cupcake and there was a place in Arlington called Brennan's that I loved but it went out of business back in 01.

I stock up when I'm in NY....

Jennifer

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My queries aren't making the cut on Tom and Todd's respective chats, so I'll pose my question here:

Where in the District can one find a good cupcake? 

And by good, you can presume that I don't mean the chilled, dry, overly-pasty-buttercream iced vareity sold up on U Street.  I'm looking for bakeries, restaurants, or any other kind of retailer, provided they are in the District or are accessible by Metro. 

NYC has Magnolia, Baked, Billy's, Buttercup, Crumbs, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, and so many more.  Surely we must have a hidden gem somewhere.

Reference:

New York Magazine on the NYC Cupcake Wars

Cupcakes Take The Cake

Make your own! 1 box Duncan Hines cake mix + 2 eggs + 1 cup milk + snarky pink frosting = Voila!

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What exactly makes a cupcake "good"?  To my unsophisticated palate, they all taste the same.

I hope Brian the baker chimes in to respond to your question but I'll give you my take:

A cupcake should be light and airy, have a very rich taste and though it is cake does not exactly have the same mouth feel as a piece of cake from a larger cake.

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While my kids have a passion for Funfetti anything, our favorite cupcakes are at Pastries by Randolph on Lee Highway (4500 block) in Arlington. These are not fancy, but absolutely delicious - light, perfect frosting, and only about $1.00 each. Not metro accessible, but find a friend with a car - you can stock up next door at Arrowine with that perfect wine to accompany your cupcakes, and get dinner at the Crisp and Juicy at the other end of the block.

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I suppose most of us already know this, but Cakelove is definitely not where you will find good cupcakes. Had access to an assortment of Cakelove cupcakes last night, and I was totally underwhelmed. Dry, flavorless cake and icing the consistency of Crisco. Must be nice to fly along on reputation (and completely absurd prices) alone. . .

Oops. Just read LoganCircle's original posting more carefully and realized he already dismissed the "place on U Street."

Edited: to acknowledge other's wisdom.

Edited by hungry prof
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we had a decent enough cupcake from Wheatberry in Cleveland Park (what an awful name).

Not the best I've ever had - that distinction belongs to Two Little Red Hens in NYC but pretty good nonetheless, not dry, nice and chocolately, and the icing was good as well

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Oh, finally a mention of Wheatberry. You have to give me the information. I have heard about it, but didn't know where to look or how to get ahold of it. As for cupcakes, I think that, besides b&w, Balducci's offers some good ones. I was disappointed by those at Jettie's last week.

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Cleveland Park, perhaps?

Well, Ann Amernick couldn't make it work there. BUT, she didn't market the cupcakes ala Magnolia. She had terrible hours and not much selection.

If you were open 7 days a week from 9 until 7 and perhaps later and earlier on Friday/Saturdays and had a welcoming store and good layout.

I'd be there and I'd probably volunteer to work some weekends too. Surely you would need an icing tester!!!!

Jennifer

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Have you tried Reeves?

I bought a dozen cupcakes at Reeve's Bakery during lunch and brought them back to the office to share with my coworkers. The cupcakes, while good, were not of the same ilk as those served by the establishments mentioned in my original post. The cakes were light and airy, more like what you'd find at the Giant than at Magnolia, Buttercup, et al. The buttercream frosting was also light, and was decidedly more buttery than sweet.

I had, ahem, three of the four varieties available today, so that I could fairly report back to you all. Interestingly, my usual preference for yellow or vanilla cake with buttercream frosting was not the combination I liked most from Reeve's.

The Reeve's Cupcake Taste-off Rankings:

1. Yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting

2. Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

3. Yellow cake with buttercream frosting (usually my favorite)

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4. Chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting (did not sample)

When I, in all seriousness, asked the panel of staff what the ingredients were in the cupcakes (or if they had a list that I could look over), they chuckled and provided an "ummm, cake." After a little prodding, they did say they used butter rather than oil. That was the end of that line of inquiry.

The little treats were $1.00 undecorated and $1.35 with Halloween decoration. And while I'll keep looking for something more to my liking, I would eat these over Cakelove's any day of the week.

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Well, Ann Amernick couldn't make it work there.  BUT, she didn't market the cupcakes ala Magnolia.  She had terrible hours and not much selection. 

If you were open 7 days a week from 9 until 7 and perhaps later and earlier on Friday/Saturdays and had a welcoming store and good layout. 

I'd be there and I'd probably volunteer to work some weekends too.  Surely you would need an icing tester!!!!

Jennifer

Ditto what she said. :lol: If Amernick had been a little more cafe-style with good coffee or tea and a small seating area, it would have been great. Add in some friendly staff and a broader product assortment, and I would have killed half my Saturdays there.

I'm willing to speculate that the Riedel's space might be vacant soon...

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I did not like the Wheatberry cupcakes at all.  Reminded me a bit of CakeLove actually.  Dry and sort of tasteless.  Like eating a mouthful of butter...

not the ones we had.....I guess YMMV depending on the day

I didn't realize Wheatberry was a chain - I'm actually surprised the one in CP is still in business - whenever I pass by its empty

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muffins are just bald cupcakes, discuss

Not in my experience. The basic ingredients are the same, but the proportions differ, and the method of combining does, too. Cupcakes = miniature American style (that is, butter) cake. Muffins = cupcake-shaped quick bread.

If there's another dr.com gathering sometime I will bring cupcakes from maison Miller - truly the best that I know of. :lol:

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While my kids have a passion for Funfetti anything, our favorite cupcakes are at Pastries by Randolph on Lee Highway (4500 block) in Arlington.  These are not fancy, but absolutely delicious - light, perfect frosting, and only about $1.00 each.  Not metro accessible, but find a friend with a car - you can stock up next door at Arrowine with that perfect wine to accompany your cupcakes, and get dinner at the Crisp and Juicy at the other end of the block.

Beware though... their decorated ones can run up to $2.50 per cupcake... I was shocked! They are the same size as the plain frosted ones... delicious but not worth $2.50! Especially when Crumb in New York offers a cupcake for about $3.00 that is twice as big, more decorated and even more yummy...

Also, I think DC could use a good bakery in a pedestrian friendly area but the perfect place may very well be either in Clarendon or Courthouse on the Orange line in NoVA... why? because it is easy to access the area by car and metro... there is a ton of foot traffic during the day and in the evening... just my thoughts...

Edited by NCPinDC
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Also, I think DC could use a good bakery in a pedestrian friendly area but the perfect place may very well be either in Clarendon or Courthouse on the Orange line in NoVA... why?  because it is easy to access the area by car and metro... there is a ton of foot traffic during the day and in the evening... just my thoughts...

Courthouse would be good on Saturday morning's post-farmers market...

Hmmn...

Wondering if we can come up with a business model.

Jennifer

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Courthouse would be good on Saturday morning's post-farmers market...

Hmmn...

Wondering if we can come up with a business model.

Jennifer

I have a dear friend who is an incredible baker. We have discussed opening a bakery (in a totally different market) on many occassions. Apparently bakeries are hard businesses to run, low margins and long hours. I, however, love being a patron of good bakeries... so, Jennifer maybe we should come up with a business model, though my vote is Clarendon... Edited by NCPinDC
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... my vote is Clarendon...

I vote for Capitol Hill, not that it would be in my self-interest or anything. :lol: But Capitol Hill does need a good bakery. There's a Firehook, and there's the one inside Eastern Market, neither of which is particularly impressive. Pennsylvania Avenue and/or 8th Street are currently screaming for such an establishment.

(Some Cap Hill locals were holding out hope for a vacant space across 7th Street from Eastern Market, formerly occupied by an antique store. However, it appears that that space will now be occupied by "Port City Java," a coffee shop chain that will find itself positioned a block from Murky Coffee and two blocks from Starbucks. Oh good. More coffee.)

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In the continuing cupcake trials, Sticky Fingers Bakery, a vegan bake house on 18th St (across from Lauriol Plaza, on the ground level) beats out Cakelove and Reeves.

But for the stubborn bit of cake that remained stuck in the cupcake wrapper, no one would ever guess the product was vegan. The cake was substantial and dense without being dry and the icing was sweet and creamy without being overly soft.

At $1.75 it's a bit more expensive than Reeve's and a lot cheaper than Cakelove. I liked supporting a small, conscientious, local business. I will definitely return.

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Beware though... their decorated ones can run up to $2.50 per cupcake... I was shocked!  They are the same size as the plain frosted ones... delicious but not worth $2.50!  Especially when Crumb in New York offers a cupcake for about $3.00 that is twice as big, more decorated and even more yummy...

The Halloween decorated ones with a ghost or a pumpkin were $3. The same sized cupcakes with Halloween colored buttercream frosting and sprinkles were $1.25. I can't vouch for the more expensive ones but the regular ones were delicious.

Their pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing intrigued me. I might have to try to bake a batch this weekend.

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The Halloween decorated ones with a ghost or a pumpkin were $3.  The same sized cupcakes with Halloween colored buttercream frosting and sprinkles were $1.25.  I can't vouch for the more expensive ones but the regular ones were delicious. 

Their pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing intrigued me.  I might have to try to bake a batch this weekend.

Wow I go away for a few days and they increase the prices!

Oh and not only is Port City Java opening in Eastern Market the space formerly home to the pet store is also going to be a coffee place from what I have been told. Um... that is a lot of coffee...

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Taking one for the team, I ventured to Sticky Fingers (1904 18th St. NW in the basement). Somebody had to do it. Other than a terrible location (just hard to find at first and parking is a bear), I am glad I took on the task. I had a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. All of the products are vegan and I have to say I did not feel guilty after I consumed the treat. The chocolate was rich without being too sweet. I am sure they use whole wheat flour or a mix, but the texture was very nice.

For the good of the research, I took a bannana chocolate chip muffin to eat later as a treat. Well, it is later and I was hungry on the way back to Virginia, so... the muffin had a nice taste, it was very heavy though. I liked the top as it was well done, a bit crunchy.

Because I did not feel the guilt I do after a cupcake from Randolph's, I'd probably choose the Sticky Fingers cupcake.

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(Some Cap Hill locals were holding out hope for a vacant space across 7th Street from Eastern Market, formerly occupied by an antique store.  However, it appears that that space will now be occupied by "Port City Java," a coffee shop chain that will find itself positioned a block from Murky Coffee and two blocks from Starbucks.  Oh good.  More coffee.)

Off topic but that spae was almost home to Dino. The building has real issues and it may be a while before anything winds up open there.

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I am so craving a cupcake right now, and was just racking my brain to think if anyone around downtown has them...then I thought to check here, and while I didn't find my answer, I do know that I now want to go to Palena on Wednesday for my Bday to get that vanilla cupcake with peppermint ice cream!

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I noticed Whole Foods had adorable little two-bite cupcakes, choc on choc and white on vanilla, for about $2.50. I think there were about eight in the box. Might try them when I have more space in the bag.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with Billy's in NY last weekend. Great cupcakes, but banana cake with cream cheese frosting was fantastic. If only it weren't a few states away... *sigh*

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I noticed Whole Foods had adorable little two-bite cupcakes, choc on choc and white on vanilla, for about $2.50. I think there were about eight in the box. Might try them when I have more space in the bag.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with Billy's in NY last weekend. Great cupcakes, but banana cake with cream cheese frosting was fantastic. If only it weren't a few states away... *sigh*

They don't make them on premise. They are pretty ok for commercial product but not made with a lotta love! :)

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I am so craving a cupcake right now, and was just racking my brain to think if anyone around downtown has them...then I thought to check here, and while I didn't find my answer, I do know that I now want to go to Palena on Wednesday for my Bday to get that vanilla cupcake with peppermint ice cream!

i second you on the cupcakes at palena. they are perfect in texture and taste and so is the ice cream. sitting alongside rice pudding with cranberry panna cotta (equally delicious and a reaffirmation for those who might have soured on cranberries from trying them at other establishments), the two desserts are a beautiful study in traditional candy cane colors, with an evocation of snow.

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I noticed Whole Foods had adorable little two-bite cupcakes, choc on choc and white on vanilla, for about $2.50. I think there were about eight in the box. Might try them when I have more space in the bag.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with Billy's in NY last weekend. Great cupcakes, but banana cake with cream cheese frosting was fantastic. If only it weren't a few states away... *sigh*

I tend to be glad Billy's and Magnolia are so far away. I'd be in sorry shape if they were closer...

I almost bought the WF's cupcakes yesterday cause I need to provide munchies for a meeting but decided to pass. Maybe next time...

Jennifer

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I noticed Whole Foods had adorable little two-bite cupcakes, choc on choc and white on vanilla, for about $2.50. I think there were about eight in the box. Might try them when I have more space in the bag.

Meanwhile, I fell in love with Billy's in NY last weekend. Great cupcakes, but banana cake with cream cheese frosting was fantastic. If only it weren't a few states away... *sigh*

With Magnolia, Billy's, Cupcake Cafe and Buttercup Bake Shop (my personal favorite), New York is a veritable cupcake wonderland. Los Angeles does its fair share of cupcake vending with Toast, Joan's on Third, Clementine and Sprinkles. Now, if only we could entice just one of those places to set up shop here in town... (Insert some pun about being frosted that there aren't better options.)

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This week one of my co-workers informed me that Starbucks is now carrying cupcakes! I haven't checked it out yet, but has anyone seen these, or better yet, tasted them? I'm not expecting gourmet here, but wondering if they'll be a place to grab one to satisfy a craving..

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This week one of my co-workers informed me that Starbucks is now carrying cupcakes! I haven't checked it out yet, but has anyone seen these, or better yet, tasted them? I'm not expecting gourmet here, but wondering if they'll be a place to grab one to satisfy a craving..

How is one supposed to answer this?

Will it satisfy a sugar craving? Yes. There will be sugar, and lots of it. Along with bleached, processed flour, tons of lard, and a chemist's lab full of artificial colors and flavors. Count on a meal's-worth of empty calories in a single cupcake.

Enjoy.

Rocks

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How is one supposed to answer this?

Will it satisfy a sugar craving?  Yes.  There will be sugar, and lots of it.  Along with bleached, processed flour, tons of lard, and a chemist's lab full of artificial colors and flavors.  Count on a meal's-worth of empty calories in a single cupcake.

Enjoy.

Rocks

HA! Don't be such a sourpuss, just because they are who they are...and I should expect there to be sugar in a cupcake! (and, alas, empty calories---must you bring down a dream with a few short sentences?!) As far as the rest, most flours whether used in baked goods or not, are processed. And what's so bad about lard? :lol: For moi, it is much better than soybean oil, which is prevalent in almost everything these days.

Seriously, though, they actually have binders of ingredients for baked items, that I have consulted on occasion. And there is this, from their own website...

"To bring you the freshest-tasting food possible, many of our markets purchase fresh bakery products from local suppliers."

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