Update: I've been advised about an ENTIRE BLOG devoted to DC area cupcakeries. It's here: http://delleicious.blogspot.com/
Back to your normally scheduled programming:
It's my understanding that the Cupcake Situation (as I call it) is a trend, like sushi on every block, Frappuccinos, burgers, and tangy yogurt. And while I like fattening coffee-blended drinks and frozen topping-heavy items as much as the next girl, I do not want the cupcake trend to end. Ever.
1209 Potomac St NW
[*Update, 1 year later. I am in love with GC. I love how the cakes, while tiny, are the perfect balance of moist, buttery cake and frosting. I love how every day there are 100 free cupcakes at each location, announced via Twitter. I love how no flavor has disappointed me, at least not yet.]
Uh oh. I haven't been. And isn't this the original? Not that it was the first place to sell cupcakes in DC, but it symbolizes the beginning of the DC strain of cupcakemania. I think that's why I haven't been. There's always a line. I'm not so into lines. I do notice from the web site (if it's truthful) that GC seems to have the most interesting looking cupcakes; other shops are pretty standard cake + frosting/icing, not so much with the various sprinklings/flowers on top. What do you think about GC?
I do have some info--the extremely talented bakestress over at Inkpad Chocolate likes GC so much that she recreated their signature dish, as seen on Martha Stewart.
Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Baked & Wired is a cozy little establishment. You can get coffee and a wrap from its adjoining little non-cupcake area, and take a seat at one of the few tables hanging around the back. The cake part of the cupcake is LARGE, perhaps the largest of the choices we discuss today. Many cupcakes are tiny little cakes that are stacked with an equally-sized helping of icing. B&W has a more manageable ratio, and I'm happy about the size of the cupcake considering the $3-4 all these (GC, B&W, HC, RV) will set you back. I really like B&W, but it's somewhat inconsistent. Some flavors are really good, like the pumpkin with cream cheese frosting, and others are eh. And the cake differs a lot based on the flavor--not necessarily that one is GREAT and one is BAD, but one will be soft, fluffy and buttery, and the next more dense. If you are a strictly dense-cake person, I can't accurately recommend B&W for you because the consistency of the cake varies greatly by flavor (although if I remember correctly, coconut had dense cake). But I'm generally a fan.
Red Velvet Cupcakery*
675 E St NW
"When I walk around with a cupcake I feel the opposite of important."
"This cupcake tastes like my childhood."
E was obviously a huge fan of the red velvet (Southern Belle) cupcake she got from Red Velvet (those quotes are from her). My cupcake (on the right) was a crazy chocolate chocolate chocolate situation, with a little gold leaf on top. The "icing" was more thick and fudge-y than icing-like, which was AMAZING.
RVC wins most convenient not only for its downtown location (anything near Metro Center and Gallery Place is a stone's throw from the city's best restaurants), but for best hours. 11am to 11pm every day. Elsewhere, there maybe be one or two nights a week open until 9 but generally they close at 6 or 7. Bummaroo, but not for RVC!!!
RVC doesn't put up a front with you--they know my deal. They take one look at me and say, "would you like that on a napkin?" YOU BET I WOULD! I DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BOX! This cupcake won't last 5 minutes. K thx bye.
Also, RVC is related to Tangysweet, so if one cupcake just won't do it for you or your party, head next door for some yogurt. I like to top mine with honey, nuts, and cereal.
*It's not your imagination. Both the RVC and Tangysweet web sites take a while to load, and at first it seems like the link is broken.
1351 Connecticut Ave NW
HC is pretty good. I've liked all the cupcakes I've tried, as have my companions, but the lack of choices is discouraging. I gather the flavors change every day. I really loved a peanut butter/chocolate cupcake I had there--it was topped with a Hershey kiss! Yum! Also, the cakes are a touch tiny for my liking. Itty bitty.
My friend made these happy chocolate and vanilla with vanilla frosting and red sparkles cupcakes for a party recently, and they were delightful. Thanks, C!
What's your favorite cupcake place around here? Please leave your comments and be as detailed as possible (place AND flavor!!!). Thank you!