Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cupcake Love . . . Not War

Over here at Engaging Affairs, we love cupcakes. And not just because D.C. has finally followed the trend in LA and New York with a new cupcake shop opening every weekend (or so it seems). And not only because a cupcake is just big enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without having to break out the "fat" pants. As one of our grooms put it so eloquently, "Who doesn't love a cupcake?"

Cupcakes are nothing new in the wedding world. We've been doing cupcake towers in lieu of wedding cakes for years but now we can feed our cupcake habits at a moment's notice. Our only beef with the cupcakeries is that they close too early! Cupcake cravings don't stop at 7pm, you know.

We've taken note of The Washington Post's recent "Cupcake Wars" and thought we should add our own kinder, gentler words. As true aficionados (and self-proclaimed experts on cake after eating more than our fair share of wedding cake over the years), we've come up with our own reviews of the area's cupcakeries. Please note that these are completely personal and totally unscientific. Some cupcakes are from bakers without retail shops but they all take orders. We'd love to hear other reviews and opinions (or tips on flavors to try)! And if we have left out a cupcake shop, please forgive us (and for heaven's sake, let us know where it is)!

Baked and Wired (http://www.bakedandwired.com/): Every time we've tried, they are sold out! But one of our brides swears by the red velvet.

Baltimore Cupcake Company (http://www.baltimorecupcakecompany.com/): Really fun, creative flavors. Lots of icing (which can be a plus or a yuck, depending on your fondness for frosting). One of our testers loved the chocolate chip.

Cakelove (http://www.cakelove.com/): We think being given a cupcake cold and told to wait for it to warm up for fifteen minutes isn't all that realistic. Our unscientific polling has found cupcake buyers not to be known for their self control. And cold cupcakes? Yuck.

Charm City Cupcakes (http://www.charmcitycupcakes.com/): Not to be confused with Charm City Cakes from The Food Network lore. They are seriously yummy cupcakes. The cake is moist, the icing is delicious and there is the perfect balance of both. We loved the lemon and the orange! One of our favorite couples chose these for their wedding after sampling just about every cupcake in town.

Couture Cupcakes (http://www.couture-cupcakes.com/): These cupcakes are gorgeous. We tried a good chocolate cupcake.

Fancy Cakes by Leslie (http://www.fancycakesbyleslie.com/): One of our favorite wedding cake sources for years, Leslie has just opened a retail shop in Bethesda. We recently had her excellent chocolate cupcakes with a praline icing--yum!

Georgetown Cupcake (http://www.georgetowncupcake.com/): We love the Vanilla2 cupcake and the chocolate hazelnut. The cream cheese frosting on the vanilla is fab!

Hello Cupcake (http://www.hellocupcakeonline.com/): One of our Engaging Affairs testers lauds the Black & White as the perfect cupcake! She also loves the 24 Carrot and Vegan Peanut Butter Blossom. She also has been known to eat an entire 6-pack of these cupcakes in one sitting. We are very proud.

K.Rose (http://www.krosecakes.com/): We could have eaten a dozen of the pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We didn't, but we could have. Seriously delicious.

Kendall's Cakes (http://www.kendallscakes.com/): One of our favorite wedding cake bakers also makes kick-ass cupcakes. We could die happy surrounded by her lemon curd cupcakes.

Lavender Moon Cupcakery (116 S. Royal St., Alexandria--no website): Get them fast! When we dropped by in the afternoon, they only had a handful left. The coconut cupcake that one of our unnamed tasters ate in her car before she got home was seriously fabulous, though. And, no, it wasn't the same person who can eat six cupcakes at a time. Another plus: they try to use organic, local ingredients.

Patty Cakes (703.354.0677--no website or storefront): We swooned over the carrot cupcake. So did our three-year-old. Carrot cupcakes count as a vegetable, right?

So let us know what you think!