Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Field Trip - Georgetown Cupcake

I didn't have time to cook or bake this week because we spent the week in Washington D.C.. What a great place. So, so, so much to see. We could have stayed another week or two and still not seen or done all there was to see and do. We'll go back, that's for sure. One thing I had to see was "Georgetown Cupcake", the crazy little cupcake shop form the TLC show "DC Cupcake". It was a bit off track for us but I was so close that I had to go. Here is how it went. . .
(And please don't judge me by my picture above. It was about 95 degrees and super humid. And we'd spent ALL DAY walking from monument to monument, museum to museum, and this is what I look like after 10 plus hours in the heat. WOW, please forgive. Oh and it's OK to hate my daughter because she seems to have survived the day and weather still looking adorable. Ah, youth!)

Here is what the line looked like at 7p.m. on a Thursday night. It starts on the right. . .

. . . and keeps going. . .

. . . until you get to the door. Believe it or not, there was a security guard making sure everyone stayed on the sidewalk and made room for people trying to walk by. They also only let a few people in at a time. Wow, a lot of crowd control for a cupcake shop.

We stood in line for about 30 minutes before we got inside, where we waited in another line for just about 5 minutes. Really not long considering. They do a great job of getting you in and out pretty quick. This is the very patient nice guy working the register. See the cute logo on the back wall. Love it!

Here is the menu board with flavors for the day.

Here are all the super cute, bakery pink, cupcake boxes, waiting to be filled.

And here is what we walked away with. Super cute pink boxes, with super cute logo stickers and a handled shopping bag. I love the "less is more" approach to their logo and packaging. (Please excuse the photos. It was pretty dark in our hotel room and all I had was the camera on my iPhone.)

These are the cupcakes we decided on (clockwise starting top left): Coconut, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate 3, Vanilla & Chocolate, Red Velvet and Milk Chocolate Birthday. (See full descriptions here.) I was really impressed that they still looked so good after a 40 minute trip back to our hotel. A trip that included a crowded city bus and an even more crowded Metro train car, in 90 degree plus, super humid weather. I was sure I'd get back to the hotel with a box of buttercream soup. I was impressed.

Just though I'd show you how my son eats a cupcake. After removing the liner, he tears off the bottom half of the cake and puts it on top of the icing creating a "sandwich" of cake and buttercream. That way he ensures and equal ratio of cake to icing in every bite. Seriously, the kids a genius!

Now for the review: 
I give them lots of points for presentation. The store, merchandising, logo, packaging, friendly staff, crowd control; all A+ work. Even at past 7 p.m., there was still a good variety of flavors. They were out of Strawberry and Key Lime which I had really wanted to try but we were there less than 2 hours from closing so it's understandable. 

As for the cupcakes they were really good. The Red Velvet was nice and moist, comparable to the Blue Velvet cupcakes I made a few posts back. The coconut was moist with lots of flavor and a good ratio of shredded coconut in the cake. The chocolate was super moist with a deep rich chocolate flavor. With most cupcake shops that I've sampled, the cake part is always kind of dry but that wasn't the case here, again A+. 

Now for the icings, this is where I'm the pickiest. At Georgetown Cupcake, as with almost all cupcakes that I've tried, at all the various cupcake shops I've been to, the icings (usually buttercream) are too sweet and too rich. I'd always assumed it was to mask the lack of flavor and moisture in the cake, which isn't necessary here. I did think that their buttercreams were much more flavorful than most. The milk chocolate buttercream tasted virtually like a Hershey bar, I liked it. The Red Velvet had the standard (vanilla) cream cheese buttercream. It had good flavor and complimented the cake well. So again the flavors were good, they just seemed too sweet for my taste. (I'll just never find anything as good as a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, it's my one true confectionary love.) I also would have preferred a bit less buttercream on each cupcake; as they were, they were really rich. I really did like the simple ganache on the Chocolate 3, it was wonderful as is.

As for the decorations, I loved them. The simple fondant hearts and flowers are elegant and understated. Again, a "less is more" approach, and it works. The rainbow sprinkles on the Birthday cupcakes where larger than typical nonpareils and added some whimsy. 

My conclusion is that Georgetown Cupcake has lived up to its reputation and hype. I wouldn't think twice about giving these as a gift if I didn't have the time to make cupcakes. Mostly what I've learned is that cupcakes are cupcakes, the success lies in the presentation. If you find yourself up D.C. way, head over to Georgetown and get yourself a cupcake.

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