Category Archives: Bakery Profile

Factsheet & Review: Buzz Bakery

Buzz Bakery has always been on our to-review list, since they’re the ones behind the delicious 9:30 Club cupcake (a cupcake while watching the Dismemberment Plan? score!). They recently opened up a new location right across from the Ballston mall, which is way more metro-accessible than the original Slater’s Lane location.

nice display

Location:

For Alexandria: 901 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314

For Arlington:818 N. Quincy Street

Arlington, Virginia, 22217


Transit:

Alexandria– about a mile from the Braddock Road station on the Blue line.

Arlington– a few blocks from either the Ballston or Braddock Road stations on the Orange line.

Seating: Quite a few tables, chairs, benches, couches…pretty nice set-up in either location!

Sweets: Since it’s a bakery, it runs the gamut–brownies, pies, cookies, cupcakes, homemade pop-tarts…there’s also homemade granola bars, homemade ice cream, and savory things like paninis and waffles (well, waffles are still pretty sweet).

We split…

…a lemon-meringue pie with white chocolate shavings and poppyseed whipped cream, a homemade pop-tart…

…a 9:30 Club cupcake…

…and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake.

We’ll stick to reviewing just the cupcakes (though the pie and pop-tart were definitely worth trying).

Kendra:

9:30 Club Cupcake–This cupcake is the reason why I make sure I get to concerts early, since the club always inevitably runs out within thirty minutes of opening the doors. It’s basically an adult Hostess cupcake, complete with squiggle frosting (not evident from our photo–alas, these two cupcakes spent thirty minutes outside in 90-degree heat). Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache on top, and cream inside–an most excellent combination! The chocolate cake is moist, the ganache adds a nice bit of richness, and the cream filling takes you back to the days where you shoved any number of Hostess cupcakes/Twinkies/Ding Dongs/etc. down your maw. Drawback? It’s a bit expensive for the size, especially compared to Baked & Wired’s whoppers ($3.50).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough–I have mixed feelings on this one. The filling is delicious (actual raw cookie dough, yessss!), and the mini oatmeal-cream sandwich cookie on top even more so, but the cake and frosting? Eh. The cake mimicks a chocolate chip cookie with the chips speckled throughout, but it was somewhat dry and bland; the frosting is an empty promise, as it looks like cookies n’ cream yet tastes like nothing. A disappointment, especially for the most expensive cupcake at $4.00(!!!).

Kat:

9:30 Club Cupcake–I have had dreams about this cupcake. I think it’s a great flavor. Chocolate, chocolate, and cream! Much as I love it, I get taste overload from chocolate-chocolate-chocolate flavors (such as Baked & Wired’s Chocolate Doom). I like flavor variety within my desserts, so this a a good mixup of the usual chocolate cupcake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough–Hm. Nice, but the cookie dough cupcake at Frostings (in Richmond, VA) was so perfect that this Buzz version seems to fall short. Nothing remarkable. As Kendra says, not a good deal, value for dollar. I wouldn’t order it again.

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Factsheet & Review: Lavender Moon

lavender cupcakes more like, amirite?

Lavender Moon Cupcakery is slightly off the beaten path, since it’s not in D.C. proper (but it is near a metro!) and not even on the main street (King) in Old Town–but it’s definitely worth checking out. And hey, the owner used to be Donald Trump’s personal chef!

Location: 116 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Neighborhood: Old Town Alexandria

Transit: Closest Metro stop is King Street on the Blue Line; head east on King Street, down towards the Potomac. It’s a little less than a mile from the Metro.

part of the setup

Seating: It’s located in one of the old brick rowhouses, and has a few tables and chairs inside if you feel like hanging out. Otherwise, you could go next door to the Grape & Bean to get some coffee/wine with your cupcake.

Sweets: Since it’s just a cupcakery, all you get are cupcakes, $3.00 each.

Over two visits (6 cupcakes at once is a bit much, even for us!), we tried:

blackberry thyme

Blackberry Thyme!

Flourless Chocolate!

irish coffee cake!

Irish Coffee Cake!

lemon curd

Lemon Curd!

Green tea+Lavender!

…and ‘Butterscotch’, but I don’t think the cashier knew what she was talking about (it tasted like…nothing topped with a frosting that tasted slightly like peanut butter?).

Kendra: Lavender Moon opened a few years ago near my work, and initially it was a bit of a let down–a lack of consistent hours (half the time they were closed!) coupled with hit-or-miss flavors led to a shaky start. Since then, they’ve definitely improved–to the point where they are close to the top of my “Best DC-area Cupcakes” list. They’re willing to take chances with the flavors–roasted fig & basil, chestnut, and pomegranate have all made appearances. I appreciate this creativity, and the fact that the flavors are always rotating and different (coupled with a few tried n’ true mainstays) means that there’s always something new to try.

If there is anything to critique, it’s that an overwhelming majority of their flavors have cream cheese frosting–at least, from what my tastebuds can discern. While their cream cheese frosting isn’t bad at all (unlike Baked & Wired’s), it tends to overwhelm some of the more subtle flavors of the cake (like in the Green Tea Lavender). Also, as is the case with being creative–sometimes their flavors work (the blackberry thyme was refreshing and tasty tasty), and sometimes they don’t (their Tiramisu cake, while not bad, doesn’t really taste like tiramisu). Additionally, they don’t have a website, so you can’t check on what flavor will be available on any given day.

Kat: Lavender Moon is a top-tier cupcakery. They offer a lot of filled cupcakes and unusual flavors. The cupcakes are smaller than Baked & Wired’s, and the price is appropriate for the size. The cakes themselves are less sweet, with more emphasis on frosting and filling. The cream cheese frostings are light and delicious, though if you try several flavors in a row that use cream cheese they can be a bit samey. As Kendra mentioned, some flavors are more successful that others. The flourless chocolate cake and lemon curd are quite tasty, and I believe they are regulars. I have been seduced by the tiramisu twice, only to be a little disappointed that it tastes more like buttermilk pancakes (which is still a good taste of course!). If you are in Alexandria, you should definitely try Lavender Moon.

WE ARE SOOOO COOL

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Outside the District–Song Que

I can’t exactly justify driving two hours down I-95 to Richmond whenever I’m in the mood for bubble tea, so I’ve had to find DMV alternatives.

ENTER THE DRAGON

Song Que

6769 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044

While it isn’t the most accessible bubble tea joint in the DC-area (on top of needing a car, you need to have the desire to brave the hell that is 7 Corners), it’s certainly one of the tastier options. And it has really good/cheap banh mi! WIN-WIN SITUATION HERE.

ooo yeah banh mi!

Eden Center is Northern Virginia’s big Vietnamese hotspot. As part of this shopping center, Song Que sells a bunch of prepackaged snacks, meals, dried squid, and the occasional Asian fruit (mangosteen!).

not quite as extensive as TT lounge

You can’t really make it out from this photo, but those are the bubble tea options. Yeah, not as extensive as TT Lounge. But as bubble tea isn’t their main focus, it’s forgivable.

Pictured–the Eden Center gate, taro bubble tea, and the interior of Marymary’s luxurious Subaru Outback.

Kendra: These are more like milkshakes or smoothies–very thick, and depending on the flavor it may actually be made with that particular ingredient (i.e. avocado). The flavors lean towards Asian–jackfruit, red bean, taro, and durian (!!!) all make appearances. I’ve had their bubble tea on multiple occasions, and sometimes the tapioca balls have been frozen 😛 but when they aren’t they’re perfect. B+

Kat: I’ve only been here twice. The first time I ordered Thai Iced Tea with boba, the second time I got the taro flavor. I’ll go back to Thai Tea next time, because it seems to be one of the few flavors that does not come as a slushy. Both times the bubbles had good, chewy texture. B+

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RICHMOND-Frostings cupcakery

next to a steakhouse and Trader Joe's

Frostings

Suite 137

11331 West Broad Street

Glen Allen, VA 23060

ghost hand!

It took a while, but Richmond now has a burgeoning cupcake scene. We’ll see if they end up having any sort of ‘cupcake war’, but I’m placing my bets on Frostings.

Okay, technically it isn’t in Richmond, but Richmond’s one of those cities where almost everyone has a car anyway (and if you don’t, my sister’s friend* used to bike to downtown Short Pump every now and then, so IT IS POSSIBLE), so I’m considering it close enough. It’s next to a Trader Joe’s (♥♥♥), which means you can get the makings for an awesome party (cheap wine+delicious cupcakes).

Frosting’s definitely lives up to it’s name. Each standard-sized cupcake ($2.75, I love Richmond!) is topped with an almost equally-sized mountain of frosting on the top, almost like soft serve ice cream.

cupcake orgy!

They’re impeccably decorated (not that I’m biased**), and unlike some other cupcakeries (::coughSPRINKLEScough::) the decorations are all EDIBLE! The large decorations (that is to say, not the sprinkles or cookies) are made from white chocolate.

Kat and I ended up trying the Milk & Cookies, Mint Cookies & Cream, The Classic (vanilla cake+chocolate buttercream), and Peanut Butter Pretzel.

We’ll start with the order we ate them in…

cho-co-late chiiiips

Milk & Cookies

unhinge jaw like a SNAKE!

Kendra: This is the type of cupcake that you need to eat with your hands, so that you can taste all the components at the same time. Together, the chocolate-chip vanilla cake base+cream cheese frosting+chocolate chip cookie on top really shine–the flavors are nicely balanced, and the texture of the crunchy cookie adds contrast to the soft cake. Separately, the cream cheese icing is too much on its own. Overall, I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did! B+

Kat: Milk & Cookies was great. The presentation is genius, and also quite charming. And the flavor/texture experience follows through. Perfect balance of cupcake, frosting, and cookie. I have complained about too much frosting on cupcakes before, but I love it when it’s a really tasty frosting like this. The way the frosting sits on top of the cupcakes in a huge swirl, leaving the cake base partly exposed, is very appealing to the visuals as well. A

swirly frosting

Peanut Butter Pretzel

Kendra: Hrm, this one was more of a ‘miss’ for me, in spite of it being filled! It was mostly the icing that threw me off–the chocolate cake portion was decent, and the peanut butter pretzel filling was tasty (though I’m always in favor of having even more filling, heh), but the frosting…I guess I’m just not a fan of their cream-cheese icing. Didn’t really go along with the peanut butter. The pretzel on top was a nice touch. C

Kat: I love peanut butter bonbons, I love peanut butter cookies, but I never seem to like peanut butter cupcakes as much as I think I will. This was almost too salty. Does anyone make a peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting? C

frosting so fudgey...

The Classic

Kendra: We tried this one for breakfast the next day, so it spent a night in the fridge. It held up quite well! We wanted to try out a regular cupcake just to gauge how Frostings does the basics, and while the vanilla cake is a lot more subdued than the vanilla cake from Baked & Wired, it is still moist and pairs really well with the delicious chocolate buttercream–seriously, this frosting is DELICIOUS. I’m not sure if it was the fridge (though we ate this at room temperature), but this frosting was so thick and fudgey and perfectly chocolatey. So much better than the cream cheese frosting! B+

Kat: Mmmmmm… I don’t know if the refrigeration had anything to do with the texture, but the frosting was so good. Dense, fudgelike, chocolatey goodness. Frosting’s cupcakes stand out on two points: really good frosting (though I wasn’t crazy about the peanut butter one), and really good presentation. A

unf so good

Mint Cookies & Cream

Kendra: Oh my. “Chocolate cake, vanilla cream filling, crushed Oreo & mint buttercream frosting”? Delicious. Though I think the ‘vanilla cream filling’ is off–at least, the one we had was an intensely minty filling, and it was TASTYTASTY. While the chocolate cookie on top seemed a little bit extraneous (especially compared to the cookie topping on the Milk & Cookies cupcake), the rest of this was a wonderful pairing of mint and chocolate. It was pretty rich, almost like a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ve had it once again since then, and it was still perfect. A+

Kat: Yes, this one was fantastic. Everything Kendra said. If you like mint and chocolate at all, you must get this cupcake. A+

*not only was he biking this distance,  he was doing so on a FIXED-GEAR. HARDCORE.

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Factsheet & Review: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Georgetown's got some cool old buildings

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

Neighborhood: Georgetown

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.

well, we do cast reflections, maybe we aren't vamps...

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…

::insert WTF Picard gif::

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 looks like a boob! whuwha

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

SEE THE TOP FELL OFF FAIL

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.

TAPTAP

This time I was eating a the whole cupcake by myself.

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Bayou Bakery – Beignets

unassuming

Bayou Bakery

Location: 1515 N Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA, 22201

Transit: Close to the Courthouse metro station

Seating: Clean, bright, and theme-y interior with full seating area

more exciting inside!

Sweets: A case of cookies, muffins, croissants, and so on, but the beignets are the star attraction at $3 for three and made fresh to order

Savories: Sandwiches and Louisiana fare, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus

Drinks: Coffee, tea, soda, beer & wine

Otherwise Notable: Bayou Bakery will be making King Cakes until Mardi Gras. They seem to sell out fast!

SUGARY PILLOWS

Kat: Before our first visit to Bayou Bakery, I had neither eaten nor even heard of beignets. I had no idea these sugar-dusted pillows of deep fried dough could bring so much gustatory pleasure. Simple flavors, perfect textures, eat them while they’re warm! A+

Kendra: Bayou Bakery is a fairly new establishment, but it’s already adding some flavor (hoho) to the otherwise staid Courthouse area. The name is a wee bit misleading, as it’s really more of a sandwich shop, and their signature item isn’t even baked–it’s fried. I may quibble about their name, but I won’t quibble about the deliciousness of their beignets. They’re so light and airy when you bite into one that you immediately forget that they’re basically donuts without the hole. The only downside is that people may confuse you for a coke addict when your face is covered with the powdered sugar that dusts the beignets, though this is a far cheaper addiction. A


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Bakery Factsheet: Baked & Wired

 

Baked & Wired, Fabulous DC bakery best known for its generously-sized $3.75 cupcakes

Location: 1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Neighborhood: Georgetown

Transit: The nearest metro station is Foggy Bottom, though the walk from Rosslyn across the Key Bridge and down the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal path is more fun. The Dupont-Georgetown-Rosslyn circulator brings you nearby, as do many other buses on K and M street routes.

Seating: Is often full, but you can walk twenty feet to benches by Lock 2 of the canal or go down the street the Potomac River Park and Washington Harbor complex.

Kat’s Must-Have: “Razmanian Devil” Cupcake – Lemon Cake with lemon buttercream frosting and raspberry filling

Kendra’s Must-Have: “Chocolate Cupcake of DOOM” – Chocolate cake with a dark chocolate satin frosting

Super-COMBO: Go with a friend, get one Chocolate Doom and one Razmanian Devil, cut in halves and redistribute to make two superflavor cupcakes

Sweets: Cupcakes, cookies, cookies bars & brownies, coffee cakes, hand-pies, muffins, dog treats, granola, and, on Tuesday & Friday mornings, donut-muffins (“When a muffin and a donut fall in love…”)

Savories: Quiche

Drinks: Coffee & Tea

Otherwise Notable: Baked & Wired is a full-service café as well as a bakery

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