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Baltimore Cupcake Tour (Cakelove & BCC)

My sister was in town and we decided to do a mini cupcake tour around Baltimore on Saturday visiting Cakelove the day after it opened in Canton and the Baltimore Cupcake Company in Locust Point.

Baltimore Cupcake Company - Had two different cupcakes here, the Red Velvet and the Chocolate Peanut Butter. The latter had an interesting twist with a dollup of peanut butter on top of the cake, with frosting on top of that and then yet another bit of peanut butter on the very top. The Red Velvet's cake was not extremely moist but the peanut butter one was much moister. The frosting-cake ratio was about 1:1, and the frosting on both was rich and sweet. Yummy -- but too bad you can't enjoy your cupcake in the shop (there's no seating).

Cakelove - We had high hopes for Cakelove, being fans of Warren Brown's shows and knowing people who are customers of his U Street shop in D.C. In fact, Warren was in the new B'more shop when we went in and he waited on us. We had chocolate cupcake with strawberry icing, a chocolate cupcake with orange icing, and (on Warren's recommendation) a vanilla cupcake with peanut butter frosting; the frosting-cake ratio on each was much lower. The frostings were each delicious (although the real p.b. on the Baltimore Cupcake Company's pb cupcakes really brought home the peanut-iness)... and the strawberry icing was a real standout. Unfortunately, the cake itself was uninspired and wholly dry. Maybe Cakelove has some wrinkles to work out in the B'more location's bakery, or maybe Warren just prefers a drier, less flavorful cake.... But for our $3, we'll take Baltimore Cupcake Company any day.

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  1. the cupcakes I've had from the Silver Spring Cakelove have been equally "uninspired and wholly dry." I would guess it's the recipe rather than the location.

    1. There was a thread here about cupcakes in Bmore a while back. I'm glad you had a good experience at BCC, but many of us have had quite the opposite experience. And 1:1 ratio is way too much as far as I'm concerned. Most people end up leaving most of the frosting. If you don't care for the extravagant flavors, better cupcakes can be had at Lexington Market. BCC must be doing something right, though, cause they have a lot of customers. Maybe it's their decor...

      Thanks for the reviews.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bmorecupcake

        Dry cupcakes are a consistent complaint about Cakelove. Warren says it's because they are refrigerated and you just have to let them come to room temperature, but they still don't work for me at all. I love the flavors and texture at BCC but you're right, wayyyyyy too much frosting, most of which I dump in the trash. I'm a sucker for their snowballs (think pink Hostess coconut goodness, not shaved ice).

        1. re: sweetpotater

          The frosting is the best part! Perhaps why I'm partial to BCC. They didn't have any snowballs when we were there but I'll have to give those a try next time.

      2. I love BCC! And have always liked how much frosting they use on their cupcakes! I had a really good pumpkin cupcake there back in the fall. It was to die for!

        I haven't tried Cake Love yet, but i'm sure i'll get there! Thanks for the review

        3 Replies
        1. re: laura d

          I was so let down by cakelove - maybe I went on a bad day, but I've heard similar things from others. Maybe I'll try it again though sometime.

          1. re: beauxgoris

            Wow how does he get to open another Cakelove? consistently poor products.

            1. re: beauxgoris

              A bad day at Cakelove is any day ending with a "y." I had no idea there was such a market for expensive, dry cakes.

          2. Seems that dry cake is a hallmark of the "known" cupcake places.

            Ever had cupcakes from Magnolia in NYC? Dry, dry, dry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: onocoffee

              onocoffee, for a good cupcake in nyc try sugarsweet sunshine on clinton street in the bowery - moist, flavorful cake, just the right amount of not-too-sweet frosting!

            2. You left Charm Ciry Cupcakes on N. Charles St. off your tour. Excellent cupcakes, pleasant staff. Definitely worth a try.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ko1

                That was on the list but there are only so many hours and cupcakes that one can have in a day. However, next time she's down we'll hit Charm City Cupcakes and Lexington Market. Thank you for the alternate suggestions.

                1. re: cpsbmore

                  I really like CCC, but they have really weird hours, and usually sell out pretty early in the day. Enjoy Baltimore cupcake tour #2!

                  1. re: pmody

                    So I discovered. I went by Charm City Cupcakes on Friday at 3pm, and they were closed. If their hours are that weird, then they may as well not exist for me.

              2. I think the moistest cupcakes can be found at Soup's On at Rose's Cookies in Hampden. The carrot cake with cream cheese frosting never disappoint. High frosting ratio for you snowball fans :) Food there is an added bonus. Each day they feature around 3-4 soups and salads. Also make a killer chicken pot pie.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rudmansjmu

                  from the 5 or so times i got cupcakes from there (yellow/chocolate and chocolate/chocolate), the cupcakes were only moist once. I didn't like the cookies, either, to be honest with you. (i think better cookies can be had at the berger's stand in lex market) The soup there, however, is really good. It's worth the price, imo.

                2. I have been to cakelove many of times and all i have to say is "i guess they like dry cupcakes" A cupcake should be moist and delicate not dry. Maybe one day i'll have a better experience with cakelove.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: argentino

                    If you hate their cupcakes, why have you gone there "many of times"?

                    1. re: Hal Laurent

                      i didnt say 'i hate their cupcakes".

                  2. I was recently in DC and happily preordered two cakes from CakeLove. I first read about CakeLove in 2003 but never had an occasion to be in the DC area. Once there the cupcakes and other pastries were tempting so I ended up spending $118.00 on "goodies". Ate about 1/4, shared 1/4 and trashed 1/2. I did not like the icing. While its texture is beautiful; it's buttery rather than a sweet fluffy icing. The cake was OK but must be at room temperature otherwise too dry. The lemon on the coconut cake was soooo yummy !!! The toasted coconut flakes were good quality and delicious. I just couldn't get past a mouthful of butter icing. I'm happy Warren Brown's found his niche--people who like pastries and cakes that aren't sweet. It's not my palette.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jerzeegyrl

                      This weekend we tried 3 cakes slices from CakeLove in Canton. German Chocolate, Carrot Cake, and Strawberry Shortcake. The only other buttercream I have had lately to compare to is Sugarbakers, and I thought CakeLoves buttercream was much better in the sense that it tasted less like butter. I really enjoyed all 3 of the cakes. I purposefully did not try the cupcakes there because of this board :) haha. I'll be back for the cakes, but not for a while because of the prices.

                      I didn't find any of them dry- but I was reminded 3 times to make sure to eat them at room temperature, which we did. No complaints in that department.

                      1. re: enginerd

                        I have a theory. I think so many of us are used to shortening-based "buttercreams" that when we have buttercream with, well, butter, the butter stands out more. Back in the day when all I ever had was my mother's buttercream, I loved it, but recently I have started noticing the butter flavor in buttercreams. I must say that I still think Sugarbakers buttercream tastes good, but their service could improve, IMHO. I would never have bought my first cake from them if it wasn't a day all the other local bakeries were closed (maybe Monday.) Sorry, getting off-topic. Never been to CakeLove, though. Just couldn't go back to sleep and wanted to post something. :P

                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                          Seems as if the consensus is in--Cake Love under-delivers. The flavor of the icing is there (esp. with the orange--very nice), but the consistency of the icing and cupcake, too, are all wrong. The best thing at Cake Love was the caramel brownie. Very good. Reminded me of the same type of brownie I can get at Cake Witch in NYC's Chelsea Market, w/o the drive!

                          Hands down, THE best cupcakes in Baltimore are at Charm City Cupcakes. Call ahead to make sure they are open, but they are truly the best I've ever had--esp. the chocolate buttercream. I'm not much of a chocolate fan, but this is perfection. Go. You'll be glad you did.

                          1. re: bragger211

                            Do you ever get a lemon taste in CCC's yellow cake?

                    2. I knew it wasn't just us! We stopped by Cakelove yesterday, and were mostly disappointed. My mom had a cookie, which she liked, but the two cupcakes were bland and dry at best. My dad had chocolate with white frosting, which he said was very dry, even after letting it rest like we were told. I had a vanilla cupcake with strawberry buttercream. The cupcake was very dry, and the frosting was tasteless and had a slimy or oily, rather than creamy, texture. The only thing indicating that it had strawberry in it was the color. I tossed mine rather than waste the calories... for the money, I'd much rather bake at home!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: imgould

                        You've hit on a disturbing trend. Strawberry frosting that is pink, but otherwise you can't even tell if it tastes like strawberry or not. The Donut Delight stand in the extreme northeast corner of Lexington market has strawberry frosted cupcakes for 45 cents that often have real bits of strawberry that you can see in the frosting. Most days they have cupcakes, but the cupcakes go fast, so get there early. The Berger's stand in the same market has decent cupcakes, too, but I've had some of the aforementioned "questionable" strawberry frosted cupcakes (although, their $1.50 strawberry cake slices are good) from them so I only trust the Donut Delight stand for strawberry cupcakes. I wouldn't get cupcakes from anyone else at the market (I've sampled the rest multiple times), but if you are willing to put up with the same ol boring cupcakes, these two stands are worth it. Even if you catch them on an off day, it doesn't hurt as much.