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Best Cupcakes DC/NoVa

ChocoHound Oct 30, 2006 02:21 PM

Am looking for some bakeries where I can stop in and buy some delicious cupcakes- anything goes- but I do love chocolate and red velvet. I tried Cakelove and found it uninspiring.

  1. d
    dcn8v Aug 18, 2012 04:35 PM

    I love Red Velvet Cupcakery on 7th Street, NW (Penn Quarter) near F Street. Their carrot cake cupcakes are yummy-licious.

    1. discojing Aug 18, 2012 09:22 AM

      I consider myself pretty well versed in cupcakes. I chronicled my own mini-cupcake wars and have participated in "cupcake crawls" and tasting (that's a sure-fire way to slip in to a diabetes coma)

      Here are more detailed reviews w/ photos: http://hapatite.com/tag/cupcake-wars/
      Here are ranked reviews with a few extra on yelp: http://www.yelp.com/list/cupcake-wars-dc-metro-area-arlington

      In summary, here's my ranking:
      1. Baked & Wired (Georgetown DC
      )2. Best Buns (Shirlington)
      3. Lavender Moon (Old Town Alexandria)
      4. Georgetown Cupcake
      5. Bakeshop (Clarendon)
      6. Buzz Bakery (Ballston/Alexandria)
      7. The Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe (Arlington)
      8. Cupcakes Actually (Fairfax)
      9. Pastries by Randolph (Arlington)
      10. Something Sweet (Georgetown)
      11. Hello Cupcake (Dupont Circle)
      12. Cupcake Heaven & Cafe (Haymarket)
      13. CakeLove (Tysons/Fair Oaks/U-Street)
      14. Crumbs (Clarendon, DC)
      15. Red Velvet Cupcakery (Clarendon, Penn Quarter)

      I haven't reviewed Fluffy Thoughts Cakes yet, but it's just average. I also haven't reviewed YoCakes (from Rockville Mall), they were also just average, though if I remember correctly, a little cheaper that other cupcake places. I haven't yet visited Dulce's Bakery and Empanada (Fairfax) though it's on my list to try. I've eaten the chinese-style sweets at Cakes by Happy Eatery (Centreville/Manassas) and they're great, but haven't tried the cupcakes.

      If you want to try tons of cupcakes, I'm organizing a charity cupcake tasting event September 8th in Arlington! Here's the link w/ information: http://dc-cupcakecamp.blogspot.com/

      Ok, so maybe I should amend that first sentence to say I'm slightly obsessed with cupcakes ^_^

      3 Replies
      1. re: discojing
        Steve Aug 18, 2012 03:59 PM

        I think there's a reason nobody paid much attention to cupcakes before Georgetown. They raised the bar so high. Places which you mention that existed before never inspired much love. Most of them are heavy and dull. Newcomer franchises like Crumbs are just plain silly.

        I put Bakeshop as number one and Georgetown as second. No third place.

        1. re: discojing
          chowser Aug 18, 2012 05:34 PM

          Have you tried Bayou Bakery's cupcakes? I really like them--the frosting isn't too sweet; cake a little denser which I like. I especially like the chocolate frosting which has a nice tang to it. I wonder if it's a sour cream fudge frosting.

          There is a sweets truck in DC called Sweetbites that has gotten good cupcake reviews lately, too.

          1. re: discojing
            mscoffee1 Sep 15, 2012 07:25 PM

            Just had Buzz cupcake 930 and it was good, but they keep it too cold (even though she said it was warm). The coffee was solid, too. I agree though that Georgetown is better at least the chocolate (I cannot remember which one, but at both places I asked for the most Chocolate one). CakeLove (U St) I had years ago and it was bad. Nice list.

          2. f
            ForFoodsSake Oct 6, 2011 04:11 PM

            I really like Hello Cupcake in DuPont Circle and Cupcakes Actually in Fairfax Corner :)

            Hello Cupcake
            1351 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

            1. Hungrierthanever Sep 13, 2011 02:22 PM

              I recently tried Crumbs and it was great!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Hungrierthanever
                alkapal Aug 12, 2012 03:52 AM

                i didn't care for crumbs in arlington. cake was dry, and frosting was way too sweet.

              2. red dragon Sep 13, 2011 12:54 PM

                Does anyone know if the frosting at Georgetown cupcakes is a regular butter cream (butter, icing sugar) or do they sell cupcakes with swiss meringue butter cream?

                5 Replies
                1. re: red dragon
                  ktmoomau Sep 13, 2011 01:34 PM

                  They have a variety of icings. But I know their standard icing is not a normal buttercream.

                  1. re: red dragon
                    Steve Sep 13, 2011 02:23 PM

                    The ones I've had are not stiff and sugary like a birthday cake. They are creamy and only lightly sweet. Closer in texture to whipped cream than frosting.

                    1. re: Steve
                      ktmoomau Oct 4, 2011 08:52 PM

                      But not whipped cream based, which is distinctly different and if you like that you should go to Bakeshop VA. But you are right the texture is much lighter than a normal frosting.

                      And some don't have that icing, like the chocolate hazelnut which has ganache with tasted hazelnuts, and some other cupcakes have the ganache.

                    2. re: red dragon
                      discojing Aug 18, 2012 09:23 AM

                      They are all either ganache, buttercream, or cream cheese. There are no swiss meringues. For them, I think it'd be too time intensive.

                      Bakeshop does use whipped toppings, ktmoomau is correct. But they also have other toppings. I find that the whipped topping paired with the smaller size of the cupcake doesn't leave me feeling satisfied with some of their flavors. The peanut butter cup one is good, but the coconut one, for example, is just air. It needs a topping, filling, or crust to make it memorable. If you want a plain cake with plain frosting for a craving, they're good! I personally like their cookies MUCH better at bakeshop.

                      1. re: discojing
                        Steve Aug 18, 2012 03:45 PM

                        One year later, and Bakeshop cupcakes still wowwed me. Incredible stuff, and for me the ideal of a cupcake. Unbelievably light and buttery.

                    3. Hungrierthanever Mar 24, 2011 03:55 PM

                      Not from D.C. but whenever I'm there (which is a lot) I desire Georgetown Cupcake.

                      Georgetown Cupcake
                      1209 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Hungrierthanever
                        agarnett100 Mar 24, 2011 05:01 PM

                        Also try the Muffin Man in Lanham

                      2. s
                        SimonF Mar 24, 2011 08:17 AM

                        I like Georgetown cupcakes, in spite of the hype. You can skip the lines by pre-ordering the night before by 8pm.

                        Has anyone stried

                        1. Smiles2008 Mar 23, 2011 02:52 PM

                          Best Buns! and Buzz!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Smiles2008
                            chicken kabob Mar 23, 2011 03:09 PM

                            I love Crumbs, too. Esp. the LARGE vanilla cake/vanilla icing.

                            1. re: chicken kabob
                              mjhals Mar 24, 2011 08:24 AM

                              Just tried Crumbs last night with hubby, and I was impressed. Large cookie dough cupcake was more than enough to split between the two of us. Great, moist cake and lots of frosting!- really sweet but not "fake" or oily tasting.

                          2. g
                            Greenman Mar 22, 2011 05:07 PM

                            Crumbs Bake Shop....by far the best cupcake I've had in the area.

                            Honestly, you can get a better cupcake from Safeway or Giant in comparison to Cakelove...YUCK.

                            1. b
                              BEAD Mar 22, 2011 03:06 PM

                              Cupcakes Actually: This bakery is in Fairfax, VA and they beat every other bakery mentioned here, HANDS DOWN!!!! They actually offer a product you can not get from any other I have tried and both their cake and frosting are unique. The cake is light and delicious and the frosting is as light as air. They also offer cupcakes with frosting on top that is then dipped in chocolate (and other flavors) which creates a shell over the frosting. The dipped cupcakes are amazing!!!! The coconut and key lime are awesome as is red velvet. My fave is the Italian Stallion which has an almond cake and a cannoli cream frosting. Another plus of this bakery is that their product ages well; it does not go stale right away and actually gets better the next day! They are innovative and I have not been able to duplicate these at home. Awesome and worth the money!!!!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: BEAD
                                lalajane Mar 24, 2011 03:24 PM

                                Ok, so i havent been here, and havent heard of it beyond this posting. But looking at their website, they look great! My favorite cupcakes place is a place in Denver, Happy Cakes. B/c not only are their cupcakes good, but they also have all kinds of crazy and "exotic" flavors. It seems like a lot fo the places around here have only "standard" and nothing really out there (G'town Cupcakes, for example). So i am very excited to try this place out. I hope they are as good as they look!

                                1. re: lalajane
                                  chowser Mar 24, 2011 04:53 PM

                                  I've talked to quite a few people who haven't liked it and no one who has. They've said the cupcakes are dry and overpriced.

                                  1. re: chowser
                                    lalajane Mar 24, 2011 08:05 PM

                                    The Cakes Actually cupcakes? that is disappointing. Well, if i am down that way, i will have to try at least one and judge.

                                2. re: BEAD
                                  rHairing Aug 12, 2012 05:42 PM

                                  I have to disagree. I went there after they first opened so maybe it's improved. I can't even remember what I ordered because nothing about it stood out. I just remember thinking dry, overpriced. I remember thinking they could lower the price if they skipped the glitzy carryout container.

                                3. biscuit Nov 30, 2008 08:24 AM

                                  Buzz Bakery, without a doubt. It's in Alexandria on Slater's Lane. Try the caramel apple. Amazing.



                                  1. h
                                    hilly202 Nov 30, 2008 06:53 AM

                                    The most wonderful red velvet cupcake, and such friendly staff! It's not a yuppie cupcake place, and the homemade taste is unmistakable.

                                    1. h
                                      howmanycupsinaquart Nov 19, 2008 07:16 PM

                                      Cakelove is repulsive. All other cupcakeries are different shades of delightful. I just wonder, with cupcake stores proliferating like cupcakes, are we living in a cupcake bubble ready to burst? Everywhere you look, there are "gourmet cupcakes." Even Whole Foods is now devoting shelves of their baked goods section to a new selection of stylized upscale cupcakes. Is it that people are striving to recapture their childhood treat all dressed up as an adult indulgence, do cupcakes appeal to our appetite for eating an entire thing at once, not just a slice, or are they really that good?

                                      1. c
                                        chicken kabob Nov 19, 2008 03:22 AM

                                        Georgetown Cupcake is awesome!

                                        1. pleen Nov 8, 2006 01:59 PM

                                          Ahhh...cupcakes....one of my favorite foods!
                                          It depends on what flavor you are looking for....
                                          Carrot cupcake - Baked & Wired (especially their carrot cupcake!).
                                          Chocolate cupcake - Bittersweet's in Old Town Alexandria, sans frosting
                                          Vanilla cupcake - Le Cupcake, sans frosting (call Stacey's in advance as they tend to go quickly)
                                          I have yet to find the perfect combo of cake and frosting for choco and vanilla cupcakes!
                                          I'm not a fan of Cakelove cupcakes either. I have also tried several cupcake establishments in NYC (Billie's, Magnolia, Cupcake Cafe) and find them vastly overrated.

                                          1. h
                                            HoCo Gal Nov 8, 2006 01:36 AM

                                            Head up 95 for the Baltimore Cupcake Co! Best I've had. Personal favs are fruit flavors - strawberry, passionfruit & key lime. Plus they are adorable.

                                            1. b
                                              browneyz99 Nov 6, 2006 08:24 PM

                                              check out this link - here they ranked and wrote reviews on 3 cupcake places in the dc area http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.c...

                                              1. m
                                                MsCongeniality Nov 6, 2006 07:52 PM

                                                I'm a little late to this topic, but you might want to try the cakes by 'Le Cupcake' sold at Stacy's Coffee on Rte. 7 in Falls Church. I believe they have yellow, chocolate, carrot and red velvet cupcakes, though which are actually in stock varies on pretty much a daily basis.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MsCongeniality
                                                  browneyz99 Nov 6, 2006 08:22 PM

                                                  The 'le Cupcake' cupcakes are yummy and I too did not understand the rave reviews that Cakelove gets - great flavor combinations but I dont like the frosting or the cake

                                                  - the following link contains info on ordering the "le cupcake" cupcakes by the dozen http://www.dailycandy.com/article.jsp...

                                                2. a
                                                  AlliantK Oct 31, 2006 05:43 PM

                                                  I would try Pastries by Randolph (Lee Heights shopping center in Arlington at the corner of Lorcom Lane & Lee Hwy)...they have amazing cakes and desserts. Also look into Heidelberg Bakery in Arlington on Lee Hwy. http://www.heidelbergbakery.com

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: AlliantK
                                                    Martha Nov 19, 2008 07:05 AM

                                                    I recently bought a birthday cake at Heidelberg Bakery and was very disappointed. Their cupcakes didn't do well in the Washington Post's recent tasting of area cupcakes.

                                                  2. d
                                                    DC Gal Oct 31, 2006 05:16 PM

                                                    Honestly - the Harris Teeter supermarket chain makes really good cakes and cupcakes. Certainly, its not the same as the great cupcake bakeryies and cafes up in NYC, but for now, it's what we have in DC. We've had threads on this topic before - DC truly lacks a good cupcake bakery. So sad.

                                                    1. Bonz Oct 30, 2006 03:48 PM

                                                      Baked & Wired in Georgetown, on Thomas Jefferson Street (just off the C&O Canal). Best in the area, IMHO.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bonz
                                                        carolott Nov 8, 2006 10:46 PM

                                                        Another vote for Baked & Wired. I can't tell you how much weight I gained when I worked next door to them. Yikes. And their cafe mochas are the best -- rich with excellent-quality chocolate, and not too sweet.

                                                        1. re: carolott
                                                          travelnurse74 Aug 23, 2012 11:06 PM

                                                          My top 3 are:

                                                          Cake Dreams
                                                          Bake & Wired

                                                          I love Georgetown's icing but I am not a fan of their cake. Cake Dreams has the best cake hands down and their selection is much better than most places. Their Smores and Banana cupcakes are TO DIE FOR!!

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