Notorius P.I.G. Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alrighty, and we're back to Crumbs!  This return to Crumbs was after a debate at a party with a couple of friends which included my friend Davy that told me that my choice of lurving Georgetown Cupcake was whack and that Crumbs was better IHO.

In the past, my experience with Crumbs was pretty neutral but leaning towards the good rating, since to me personally - these cupcakes are bigger than the others and does not allow me to further "sample" other flavors in the same sitting....I know, I know.  But as a person that is really interested in cupcakes and enjoys having the opps to try others, it is hard with this mammoth of a cupcake.  And this takes a toll on my optimal freshness non-biased nommings!

Since Davy was in a super hurry and let the lady behind the counter choose, I ended up getting gifted the Cosmo Cupcake and some unknown choco, vanilla, caramel concoction that is not currently listed on their website.  Buttscratchers.
So let's start with the Choco-vanilla-caramel cupcake.  Pretty decent, although this cupcake is rather pedestrian as in I can totally make this with box mix (hmm...good idea there!) The cake was a marble choco-yellow cake, similar to one that you would find in sliced loaf form at Starbucks, the cake was topped with a Duncan Hines-esque rich choco frosting and topped with somethat that looked like a slice of a candy bar that had caramel in it.  My brain is having a hard time to figure out which candy bar it really was!  Overall as the elements together were really good, IMO I think it was just average since I feel like it is something that could be easily duped from my local grocery aisle and some Better Crocker mixing and baking.
The other cupcake is a mos def different story.  So the Cosmo is green and pink "FAHHHHHBEWLISSSS."  Taking a cue from my fave show 30 Rock, Intern Kenneth's 'everyone is my best friend in the whole world' theory combined with categorization similar to award shows.  I would like to officially dub, that this cupcake is "The tastiest cupcake, gay looking cupcake category."  As the cupcake colors are what adds the excitement to this cupcake, my problem with it was whether I did or did not know that this is a "Cosmo" flavor - personally I wouldn't know what the heck it was supposed to be taste wise on a blind sitting.  Although I hafta say that this is a pretty good cupcake as I did enjoy the cake texture and the frosting, the sanding sugar cupcake rim, and the surprise frosting squirt of whatever frosting in the middle of the cupcake.

 But as I research the real undertones of the cupcake   - on the website the Cosmo is really vanilla cake tinted pink filled with strawberry buttercream frosting and topped with a lime cream cheese frosting edged in pink sugar. Okay so from what I can taste - vanilla cake tinted pink(check), pink sanding sugar(check), but that is it.  For all I knew that the strawberry buttercream and lime cream cheese frosting were just colored frostings, and I came away disappointed that it was not more Cosmo-y, as if I know what a Cosmo cupcake should taste like!  Anyways, again a tasty cupcake- cake was a good texture and presentation was fun, but I would give a thumbs down on overall execution since this was not the flavor as presented.  Don't get me wrong this won't deter me from returning, this will be my go to when I just want a good regular cupcake.

Anyways, thanks to Davy for his donation to my nomming philanthropy!!!  I owe you some cupcakes the next time I see you yo!  (Insert Cupcake Salute!)

Notorius P.I.G.

Now on to Lavender Moon Cupcakery in Alexandria, VA!  This was a cupcake spot that my friend Deanna discovered in Old Town Alexandria, which is not obvi as one of my main hang out spots.  Seeing that we were in a cupcake kinda mood and in the area we decided to go off the beaten path of our usual delicious cupcakes.  So off to Lavender Moon!

The flavors offered were a bit limited but were plenty different than most.  Aside from the regular choco and vanilla varieties, it seemed that Lavender Moon incorporated some different flavors that incorporated fruit.  And thinking back most of the cupcakes that did have fruit were cream cheese based, which make me wonder if all of their frostings are cream cheese. (boring)  Since we ate this last month and they don't have a website (WTH, I can't website stalk their flavors!  How odd).  I'm going to guess-remember what we had.

Deanna's clear choice was the Peanut Butter Choco - Choco cake, peanut butter cream cheese frosting and a magic shell like choco topping, as not a PB whore like Sean I was sorta out of my element.  I ended up really liking it! (WHAAA?) The PB mixed with the cream cheese really kept the pb to the side, but gave it a tang that was complemented by the likes of the choco magic shell! It wasn't overly choco and PB, it was a good balance!

 My clear choice after the presentation from the sales girl was the Blackberry Lemon - a lemon bottom with a blackberry cream cheese buttercream.  I really enjoyed the natural blackberry taste in the frosting and the lemon cake wasn't dry or crumbly!  Although, I remember thinking the blackberry frosting overtook the lemon cake.  After ordering our two, we sorta though we needed to have a cupcake trifecta and also ordered a blood orange dreamsicle cupcake as our palette cleanser- which I can't remember if it had orange cake,  but I do remember that the cream cheese frosting was hella awesome!  =)

Overall, cupcakes were pretty tasty and if I am ever back in the area, I would go again and order more to take home!  =)  And obvi order my Red Velvet control, which I totally neglected!

Notorius P.I.G. Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bacon revolution has arrived - well okay this is a national past time since the concept of adding bacon to anything usually sounds like a fantastic idea.  Hence, the creations of (lemme get my Forrest Gump on here) choco covered bacon, bacon jam, squeeze bacon, bacon dental floss, bacon ice cream, bacon gum, AND BACON CUPCAKES!

Eager to get my hands on one, I found (like a couple months ago and since I have a lazy b.. b=blogger....WTH what were you thinking? I'm super behind) bacon cupcakes as the monthly special at Hello Cupcake in Dupont Circle.  Seeing that I have had a pretty good track record of enjoying Hello Cupcake's Cupcake du jour, I jumped at the chance to try it.  Was it as good as it sounded or looked on the Food Network?  Let me do some 'splainin. (These are based in my handy dandy cupcake ratings diary..yes I have one!  Don't you?)

First, Hello Cupcake's bacon cupcake was paired with maple and pecan, so formally it was a Maple Bacon Pecan cupcake and further described as "moist maple cake made with pure, real maple syrup topped with browned butter frosting, candied pecans and bacon."

Second, wording problemo: "moist" - my cake was not very moist as the description inferred, in fact my cupcake was a bit crusty the clown on the outside, which I think suited the cupcake better since you can pretend it was wafflely (that's totally a word...Imma going to try it on my next opp on Words with out for that Sean...WAFFLELY...right in the dangeah zonage) or even french toasty - something needed to be crispy in the cupcake...since the bacon was not crispy (refer my fif point below).

Turd, toppings problemo: "canded pecans and bacon".  HEY!  I thought this was the bacon show, not the pecan and bacon show!  While I do enjoy my candied pecans, the mixture sorta felt like filler.

Fourth, missing in action problemo: while I think maple syrup pairs well with bacon and the brown butter frosting was quite tasty, I feel like the bb frosting should have been choco.  I mean choco bacon is yerms!

Fif, type of bacon problemo:  The texture was really odd, and not yo momma's breakfast bacon (or shall I say my dad since my mom would never fry us up some bacon...EVAR) It was neither hearty or crunchy, it was just loose and stringy and had a weird bacon dust and film on it.  I want to say that the bacon used was one from a know like the ones that you could buy on the salad aisle. And no not uber red Bacos, but like the more "natty" bacon in a jar.  EEP!  I get it, bacon is a pain in the culo to fry up and crumble in the ktichen, BUT if you are gonna do a bacon cupcake justice you have to fry some oinky for reals!

Overall a bit of disappointment.  I'm super bummed.  But the light at the end of the tunnel was that I can now say, I Kissed Bacon Cupcake and I didn't like it.

Notorius P.I.G. Monday, August 22, 2011

So yes, I have been slacking on my cupcake reviews and yes, my blog is super behind.  And this particular one post is REALLY behind!!! So to make like I'm not behind, please ignore the posting date (doo-dee-doo).  So in this review I am now om nom nomming another famous cupcakery has come to DC!  And what is often quoted as the "first" cupcake shop on infamous Cupcake Wars show I have to obviously pay homage to the grand puba of cupcaking, Sprinkles Cupcakes!  (*bows and screams I'm NOT worthy!  I'm NOT worthy*)

Sprinkles-mobile!  YEAH!

So after hearing that Sprinkles Cupcakes was opening up shop on the other end of Georgetown from GTC, I was excited to try Sprinkles without have to move coasts.  (I have no budgeted for airfare for this blog yet) So in my usual fashion, I basically stalked the crap out of the opening of Sprinkles on their facebook page and signed up to attend the opening "sneak peek" of the DC store.  So on a chilly day in February, my guests and I attended the opening, the line was short but still overlapping on the sidewalk to the dismay of the neighbors, but we all were able to go go inside in an orderly fashion since we were the Sprinkles DC cupcake chosen ones (nah nanny nah nah!)

He looks ready to take my cupcake order!!!

Asian bowl haircut frosted cupcakes
 Upon entering the store, I can see where many other cupcakeries that I have patronize stole their displays from, the infamous Sprinkles' shelves of cupcakes with a "salad bar" sneeze guard in the front.  What I think is unique to Sprinkles is the fact that most of the cupcakes there look pretty natural, no bright colored frostings or fancy decorations.  In fact, beside any extra food topping on top of the cupcakes the just have fondant circles indicating their flavor through their "cupcake flavor legend."  

Another characteristics of Sprinkles is that the frosting has sharp edges of frosting.  It sorta has the same esthetic  where my brother's hair was cut from under a bowl on top of his head - you know the nice Asian kid bowl haircut.  Aside from that I want to say that Sprinkles is big on cake with their more sugary frosting-nage than the other places IMHO since most seem to lean towards using more whipped and fluffy cream cheesey frostings.  Kudos to Sprinkles!
Behind the sneezeguard and droolguard
After ordering, we turned around to see why this lady was talking in a really high pitched voice and noiced that she was gushing over the owner Candace Nelson, which I know from watching Cupcake Wars religiously.  She greeted us and was super nice (insert gratuitous picture here...Deanna took it for me and I guess this would be my cue to ask her for the picture). But then again if you made millions of dollars on cupcakes I would be super happy too!!!  So as this was a sneak peek opening, Sprinkles limited us to two cupcakes - bummer!  But they were free!  And after studying my list I ended up getting my control usual - Red Velvet and my palette cleanser - Lemon.  And as Deanna was my guest we made sure to be able to share the love and she ended up getting Peanut Butter Chip and Cinnamon Sugar!  Overall, a very traditional selection of flavors, but still very exciting!  =)  
Menu with their Teethbreaking fondant Flavor Legend
Sticker on the side - rockin' like a rad "side-pony"
Insert Gratuitous Food Styling Photo Here

So time for some cupcake nomming!  Of course everyone's favorite part.....I hope...well obviously AT LEAST my fave part!

Upon inspection of the cupcakes I think your first instinct is to pick up the fondant flavor indicator disc and eat that...word of advice friends...DON'T DO IT!  If  you are confident in the strength or your teeth, have dentures and use polygrip every night, or have a dentist on call - you have my permission to TRY it.  As pretty as the decorations are on these cupcakes, it is dry fondant which seems to be just for looks.  It doesn't taste like anything and you could risk your molar or k-9, so eat at your own risk (insert I'm not responsible for your broken tooth sublanguage here).

Overall, upon opening our cupcakes we were pretty stoked!  And upon cutting them to split them up, the cake seems pretty dense and soft without too many spongy holes inside (spongey holes are only appropriate with SpongeBob thank you very much!  Overall, the cake held up to the slicing, but it was a bit top heavy by the frosting as they just tumbled to their respective sides of the napkin just like when Tony and Angela split the room in half in Who's the Boss - did you feel the sexual tension during that epi too? 

Anyways, the red velvet was a bit different than what I am used to, the red velvet was more of a chocolatey red velvet...still good, but I think I miss getting in that bright red in, the cream cheese frosting was pretty good too, but more stiff than what I was anticipating.  I would probably say the same about the lemon (fragrant lemon cupcake with lemon-vanilla frosting flecked with zest) and the peanut butter chip (as well.  The fun touch to the peanut butter chip (chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter frosting) was the choco chips that was in the cake and I really appreciate the extra touch more punch more choco into my palette!  
What I think was the best of our quad sampler was the Cinnamon Sugar Cupcake (lightly spiced buttermilk cupcake dusted with cinnamon sugar).  I guess you could say it was a churro cupcake.  Basically the cake part was the simple and right texture as the exterior could be considered a bit touch crispy, but it is complemented by just a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.  Could it be?  I actually like a cupcake that doesn't have frosting?  UNPOSSIBLE - the Great Ralphie Wiggum would scream.  But yes, it is so.

Anyways off to the good stuff the ratings....

All done and I have all my teeth since I didn't eat the fondant deco


The Seangie (MINUS/SANS the Sean) Om Nom Nom Rating Chronicles (one a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the nommy-est!)

RED VELVET: southern style light chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting 
TADA Factor:  2.5
Flavah Flav Creativity: 2.0
Frosting: 3.0
Cake: 3.0
NOTES: I think since I'm used to eating red velvets that have more of a whipped consistency frostings, I think the whipped cream cheesey frosting seem to add a complementary textural element to the cupcakes.  With the frosting feeling more crystalized and the redness more subdued I was not as enthused.  Still a pretty solid cupcake.

LEMON: fragrant lemon cupcake with lemon-vanilla frosting flecked with zest
TADA Factor:  3.0
Flavah Flav Creativity: 2.0
Frosting: 3.75
Cake: 3.5
NOTES: The designated palette cleanser cupcake was surprisingly refreshing.  I think the added zest in the frosting adds a great punch and was super stoked that it actually tasted like lemon as advertised.

PEANUT BUTTER CHIP: chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter frosting
TADA Factor:  3.0
Flavah Flav Creativity: 2.0
Frosting: 3.0
Cake: 3.75
NOTES:  Awesome cake!  I'm a sucker for any choco chipped cake!  And since there was no Sean to judge I think the score is much lower than it prob would have been. Oh well!  

CINNAMON SUGAR: lightly spiced buttermilk cupcake dusted with cinnamon sugar AKA CHURRO CUPCAKE!

TADA Factor:  3.5
Flavah Flav Creativity: 3.5
Frosting: N/A no frosting? Whaaaaaaaa?
Cake: 4.25
NOTES: Surprisingly amazeballs!  Texture and taste = nommy!

OVERALL, a good experience with Sprinkles.  I think I can go here often, but since the locay is not convenient I'm afraid Sprinkles will be a go to in Georgetown if I am walking distance to it!


AND NOW FOR A PHOTO MONTAGE OF DEANNA AND I WITH SPRINKLE CUPAKES as  OMG ROGER RABBIT EYES!  (Okay I know lame, only two pics, but still a montage bitches!)  

Deanna has a lazy eye!

Photo of me by Deanna in her cool iPhone App that keeps crashing my iPhone

Notorius P.I.G. Sunday, March 6, 2011

So another cupcakery has entered my neighborhood, mind you I always stalk out cupcakeries that enter my neighborhood immediately, but as you can see I have been so lazy to post!  Lilly Magilly is located in the RIO Washingtonian center in Gaithersburg, MD.

For the record,  I have no idea who or what is a Lilly Magilly. First it sounds like a cartoon or book character, but I'm just guessing it is a name that has meaning and then it was punctuated with a catchy last name to sound cute.  Upon doing any research, I cannot find any information on the name, but I just I'll just have to not wonder and move on to eating some cupcakes!

Aside from the really girly interior and their very fun pink, black and white theme inside it is quite the cheery place to be.  My traveling cupcake companion, Deanna and I decided to partake in sharing two cupcakes AND THEN complimenting them with some awesome Shirley Temples!  Super fun!  =)  We decided on a Snickerdoodle (the one with the Hershey Kiss on top pictured above) and the Strawberry (the cupcake with the Strawberry on top pictured below...and DUH).  Overall, they were both pretty tasty.  The flavors that they offer are quite ordinary, but they were executed well.  The cake was very fluffy and moist and the frosting was just a touch sweet for my palette, but I think what just made me happy was the fact that we both got to sip on Shirley Temples as we's just hard not to be happy when you are sipping on a Shirley Temple!!!  Overall the, Om Nom Nom ratings chronicle would put Lilly Magilly's at an overall ranking of 3.5 down the board for cake and frosting, a 2.5 for Flavah Flav Creativity, but get a 4.0 on TADA Factor based on letting me have a Shirley Temple with our cupcake nomming!

Notorius P.I.G.

And now it is time for the invasion of non-DC cupcake stores!  Crumbs Bake Shop comes from New York City and decided to plop themselves in hungry cupcake luvin' DC  with two locations in DC (Union Station and 11th and F Street) and 1 in Arlington, VA (in Clarendon).  As I was in the area in Arlington hanging with friends we ended up in the Clarendon location during their first week of being open.  There was a long, long line inside - and it was good to see as it was probably taking business from the crappy other bakery that my friend Deanna and I went to previously that sucked big time (I mean when do we NOT finish cupcakes?  That means it was REALLY bad!

The cool thing about Crumbs that these are some massive cupcakes!  They have 4 different sizes, from mini, to your average size cupcakes, to one that is the size of your fist, and then a colossal size which pretty much doubles as a regular cake.  Most of the cupcakes in the case were about the size of a clenched fist and pretty filling.  You basically can't go too crazy here or else you will be stuck with a lot of cupcakes, but if you want try a little something of a lot of flavors you can also get a mini cupcake pack, pictured below.  I like this concept as they look cute, fancy, flavors I wanted to sample, and I got to try a little bit of everything!

All in all, I was able to take this to work and have some Seangie cupcake nomming time, but I must say it took awhile to tread through them, since it was overwhelming to eat them all in one or two sittings.  (I know WTF is wrong with us)

So how do they rate on the OM NOM NOM ratings scale you ask?  They are pretty up there, my two cupcakes I chose were the Cotton Candy and the Elvis.  The Cotton Candy cupcake was a standout in Crumbs' display case as I think every 4 year old girl wanted the big pink cupcake.  This is probably why Deanna and I both got the Cotton Candy cupcake!

It can be spotted in kid eye level in the case, as you can see in the picture to the left of this text.  How can you NOT miss it?  So anyways, the cotton candy cupcake was a vanilla cake with a sweet cream filling and then topped with a sugary pink frosting and had itty bitty cotton candy bits on the side.  This is where I think cotton candy manufacturers hit the jackpot...I mean what the heck do you do with cotton candy bits?  All in all, the cupcake was awesome!  The cake was moist, frosting wasn't too sweet as I feared and the cotton candy bit were nommy! Overall, a 4 rating down two of my nomming rating categories of cake, frosting, and a 4.5 rating down two of my nomming rating categories based on Flavah Flav Creativity and TADA factor....and it is all because of the itty bitty Cotton Candy bits!  Take note other cupcakeries!

Next up was my Elvis cupcake, banana cake, with cream filling, a white butter cream with a smudgy of peanut butter on top and then a peanut butter chip rim.  OMG!  It was AMAZEBALLS! Granted that this cupcake has been replicated often in cupcakeries around town, but none have executed as well as Crumbs!  The cake was super moist and tasty and it just had the right ratio of peanut butter and sweetness that is didn't overwhelm my palette.  Over all I would give it a 4.5 rating in the cake, frosting, and TADA Factor in the nom nom rating chronicles.  And as for Flavah Flav creativity I would have to give it a 3.5, cause you know.....this was Elvis' flavor combo!

Overall, I am pretty happy with Crumbs, all they have to do is open one closer to me....or maybe I should just move closer to one!  =)

Crumbs, I'll be seeing you and one of your Colossal Cupcakes around soon!!!!!!

Notorius P.I.G. Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cake Dreams of Rockville, MD - An OM NOM NOM Review

So I drive around a lot, and I know little shortcuts here and there.  And as I was passing through one of my fave shortcuts away from Rockville Town Center, I saw out of the corner of my eye the word.....Cake....then I whipped my head back around and saw that Rockville had gotten its first Cupcakery!  (Mind you this was months ago...sometime in August or September....yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I've been a lazy bum.)  Since it was closed I'd figure I would end up there sometime soon.  So I ended up hopping in on the next Saturday to try some cupcakes.  Overall the shop follows the simple formula, kitchen in the back and little display in the front.  They probably had about a dozen flavors to choose from and I ended up determining that I would get 4 cupcakes (I GUESS I was being good.)

So here it is......time for the ratings!
The Om Nom Nom Rating Chronicles (on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the nommy-est!)

CARAMEL VANILLA: Vanilla cake, with caramel frosting and a caramel drizzle. (Please note since this was quite some time ago, I'm working on cupcake memory from months ago, so the flavor description might not be as for the rating, these are accurate as I wrote them in my cupcake diary...and yes, I have a cupcake jealous!)
TADA Factor: 3.5
Flavah Flav Creativity: 3
Frosting: 4
Cake: 3.5
NOTES:  YUMMO!  Caramel drizzle!  I liked the brulee taste, but I wonder if that was intentional?  Cake was vanilla and moist.  But I think the cake was a bit too airy and a touch crumbly.

BANANA FUDGE: Banana cake, with fudge frosting
TADA Factor: 4
Flavah Flav Creativity: 3.5
Frosting: 4
Cake: 4.5
NOTES: Tasty, I'm always a big fan of fruit bread turned cupcake bottom,  the fudge was similar to the texture of can frosting but the combo is a sure winner!  I might try to make this at home!

RED VELVET: (you know the dealio)
TADA Factor: 3
Flavah Flav Creativity: 3
Frosting: 3
Cake: 3
NOTES:  MEH. The cake wasn't super red, which was a new sight for me and the cupcake left oily cupcake footprints everywhere I placed it down.  As my control, the cake was almost there - just needed more red and some more velvety-ness!  The cream cheese frosting was a bit too whipped and had an odd after taste!

RASPBERRY VANILLA:  Vanilla cake with raspberry frosting.
TADA Factor: 3
Flavah Flav Creativity: 2.5
Cake: 3
Frosting: 3.5
NOTES:  The raspberry in the frosting tasted really natural and was not overly sugary.

Overall, Cake Dreams was not horrible and not amazeballs.  I found the cupcakes to be a touch on the oily side and frosting sometimes a little overwhipped.  I don't think I'll be craving these cupcakes in particular, but I think these would be a good alternative if I was dying for cupcakes!

Notorius P.I.G. Wednesday, January 19, 2011

So I've been neglecting my DC Cupcakery Reviews for quite some time! But please don't think I've neglecting eating cupcakes! Um...because in all reality that part never stops!

Reviews to be posted soon!