Sprinkles has opened their first East Coast location in Washington, DC, less than two blocks from Georgetown Cupcakes and Baked & Wired. If DC is the cupcake capitol of the East, Georgetown must be the executive residence.
Location: 3015 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
Transit: The nearest metro station is Foggy Bottom, though the walk from Rosslyn across the Key Bridge is probably not much longer. The Dupont-Georgetown-Rosslyn circulator brings you nearby, as do many other buses on K and M street routes.
Seating: With two tables, Sprinkles is primarily a take-out joint.
Sweets: Nothing but cupcakes, which are of typical size and priced at $3.50. Find the weekly flavor schedule on their website.
Drinks: Coffee, tea, bottled soda, and Sprinkles branded bottled water.
Otherwise Notable: Sprinkles sells cardboard and ribbon cupcake display kits, Sprinkles t-shirts, Sprinkles cupcake mixes, Sprinkles cupcake ziploc baggies…
Kat: Kendra and I visited the day after their grand opening. We wanted to try a chocolate flavor and a lighter flavor so we ordered the Strawberry and the seasonal Irish Chocolate. The cupcakes are the typical mushroom-ish shape, baked in crinkly paper wrappers. They all have a brightly colored decoration on top. From the photos I imagined these cute little garnishes might be fondant, but when we opened our cupcake box I found myself staring dubiously at my pink disc suspecting it was made of plastic. With a good chomp, it shattered between my teeth releasing a faintly sugary and overwhelmingly unpleasant alkaline flavor. Recommendation: do not attempt to eat.
The Strawberry cupcake is pink-flecked strawberry cake with pink strawberry icing. The icing was very light, more like a cream filling than a frosting. Both cake and icing were very sweet, with sugar as the overwhelming flavor component. The flavor all hit just one spot of tongue. B
Irish Chocolate is a special that will be running until Saint Patrick’s Day. Sprinkles describes it as ‘belgian dark chocolate cake topped with a Baileys irish cream cheese frosting.’ The cake did not taste very good. The frosting was creamy and custardy and sweet, though I could not taste Baileys and I definitely couldn’t taste any cream cheese. I did like the texture contrast of the crunchy parts around the rim of the cupcake, where it was unprotected by paper, with the main body. C
Kendra: Wow, they sure do love their branding! Perhaps they ought to spend more time on their cupcakes…or at least make the cupcake decorations more edible! Like Kat mentioned, the decorations are completely wretched–I assume they’re sugarpaste, but they were like biting into a rock–and not even a delicious rock. Putting nigh-inedible things on something meant to be consumed is just a bad idea.
Strawberry was a pleasantly sweet deal, though the strawberry itself was fairly subtle. I tasted the strawberry faintly in the cake, but the frosting seemed more like straight-up buttercream to me. It was somewhat reminiscent of drinking NesQuik strawberry milk, and overall it was enjoyable enough, though not very memorable. C+
The Irish Chocolate was a big disappointment–the Bailey’s was undetectable, and the actual chocolate cake was completely underwhelming–tasted like box mix, which isn’t too surprising considering a.) Sprinkles is a chain and b.) they sell box mixes of their cupcake flavors. You do the math. The cupcake itself just didn’t taste like much of anything.
…also, the top of my cupcake fell off. 😦 D
Kat: I returned to Sprinkles on my own for an Orange Cupcake, which is only offered on Tuesdays. Sprinkles bills this as ‘fragrant orange cake with orange-vanilla frosting flecked with zest.’ The cake tasted like poundcake to me, but I did spot some orange flecks. The sweet frosting was also flecked with zest, and tasted lightly citrusy with floral notes. The frosting is very soft and giving.
This time I was eating a the whole cupcake by myself. Sprinkles cupcakes are more-or-less flat on top with a dome of frosting over half an inch thick. I liked it a lot at first but about half-way through the cupcake I found myself eating around the frosting as it became unpleasantly greasy (not unlike the texture experience of Cupcake Pebbles). The ratio of frosting to cake is much too high for me and I discarded the final gobs of it. I can imagine that some people would really enjoy it, though, the way I can really enjoy Cadbury Creme Eggs. C+
This time I asked the clerk about the colored circles that adorn the cupcakes. She said “they are for telling the flavors apart” and confirmed that they are sugar paste. Sprinkles provides flavor cards that index the cupcakes by their circle colors, and the circles also show up a lot in their branding, but I think the cupcakes would be much improved by making the decorations out of something that tasted good–and ideally something chewable.