Category Archives: Reviews

Sea-FAT-tle Eatenings

OH SNAPPPPPP So when Kat and I travel, our meals go like so:

If you don’t have a seasoned sweet-tooth, I can’t exactly recommend a diet that consists primarily of sugary goods. It was almost too much for us, but the pastries were just DEMANDING that we eat them. So, thanks to the magic of Yelp and Cakespy’s ‘Seattle’ tag, we managed to hit up…

Twede’s Cafe–CONSUMED: Cherry Pie, Coffee

Kendra: As a Twin Peak’s fan, I couldn’t pass this up; the diner (and it’s ubiquitous coffee and pie) feature prominently in the series. The original place burned down, and the remodeled interior looked quite different (no more wood paneling, the red booths were now blue) but the central serving area remains. The woman who originally made the pie while the show was shooting (about oh, around twenty years ago) is also gone, but hey, when in Rome…

Kat: Worth it for the beautiful North Bend countryside. A rewarding stop after our hiking. Quite upfront about being a tourist trap.

 

Mon Hei Chinese Bakery–CONSUMED: Egg Custard, Coconut Bun

Kendra: Yelper’s liked it, we tried it–the egg custard was too eggy, but the coconut bun was sweet and satisfying.

Kat: The coconut bun was a meal unto itself, although not really my thing. Egg custard was definitely on the hearty side rather than the sweet side.

Fuji Bakery–CONSUMED: Orange Chocolate Brioche, Twinings Brioche, Pear Tart

Kendra: I initially mourned the passing of Unicorn Crepes (mochi in a crepe? yes!), but at least Fuji Bakery is a worthy replacement. A French-style Japanese bakery with immaculate presentation–everything just looks PERFECT. It tasted good too–everything was great, but the pear tart was flaky, creamy, and delectable.

Kat: Everything was presented impeccably, and the designs were sometimes quite unexpected. I was quite taken with the perfect cylinders of whole wheat bread. They have mainly dough-based offerings, covering savory through sweet. The Twinings Brioche, with quite detectable bergamot flavor, straddled the line between the two. With the cream cheese, although this pastry is lightly-sweet, it almost seems like an appropriate lunch item. Chunks of candied orange peel embedded in the dough of the chocolate brioche elevated it to above-ordinary. And the pear tart was outstanding, definitely A-plus material. I should also mention that the staff behind the counter were quite friendly.

 

 

 

The Confectional–CONSUMED: White Chocolate Lemon Mini-Cheesecake

Kendra: Usually cheesecake is too much for me, but these mini-cakes (almost like cupcakes, in a way) were the perfect size and ratio of cheesecake to topping. This lemon-based flavor was pretty refreshing!

Kat: Really, really good, and the individually-formed and garnished presentation was quite appealing.

 

Piroshky Piroshky!–CONSUMED: Oscar’s Star

Kendra: The line was so  long, and I was so caught up in wanting to get a marzipan piroshky that when I was informed they were out, I stupidly ordered something that WASN’T a piroshky. Whatever fried-dough pastry I got wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t worth finishing (!!!). Kat: Not quite as exciting as it appeared from a distance. Messy.

 

 

Cupcake Royale–CONSUMED! mini vanilla/vanilla, white chocolate blackberry chocolate chip, triple threat (chocolate^3)

Kendra: Pretty solid cupcakes here! The mini vanilla/vanilla turned out to be the dark horse, and I was kicking myself that we didn’t get a normal sized version. The chocolate blackberry and triple threat were still pretty tasty; I can see why this is Seattle’s  #1 cupcakery. NO FILLED CUPCAKES THOUGH ;_;

Kat: Dense, spongy cakes with airy frosting. I agree, the vanilla was the most satisfying.

 

strawberrrrry

Honoré Artisan Bakery–CONSUMED: Strawberry Danish

Kendra: This was quite off the beaten path, and doesn’t even have much signage to help you out–but the danish we split proved why it’s fun to explore.

Kat: The flaky crust of the danish was top notch. A good pick-me-up on the way between the Ballard Farmer’s Market and Larsen’s Bakery.

Larsen’s Danish Bakery–CONSUMED: Smorkage, Mazzarine, “Potato”

Kendra: SMORKAGE. Just say it out loud. SMORKAGE. An amazing name for what amounted to a breakfast sweet roll that was stuffed with almond paste. DELICIOUS. I have to say, this place was by far my favorite sweet-spot on the trip. This is due in part to the fact that ‘Swedish’ is shorthand for ‘stuff/cover everything with almond paste or marzipan. I LOVE MARZIPAN. The ‘potato’ was amazing–it’s basically an eclair that also has apricot jam, which is then wrapped in marzipan, coated in cocoa powder, and decorated to look like a potato. We ate it for breakfast, paired with ‘cupcake-flavored coffee’ from Caffe Lieto. The mazzarine was almond paste, chocolate, raspberry jam, pastry….need I say more?

Kat: So many baked goods. Cases after cases. And nothing has name cards, which makes for extra adventure. Toss-up between whether I miss this or Fuji Bakery more. The raspberry mazzarine thing was everything I want in a pastry, and extra-satisfying after 6 mile walk around Ballard. Definitely an A+. Smorkage is a big, ring-shaped coffee/breakfast-like thing. Tasty, but more snacky than satisfying. The Potato was a behemoth of a dessert. Quite nice, in that ‘will this kill me’ way. A heavy-hitter of the pastry league. Potatoes from Larsen's

The Crumpet Shop–CONSUMED: Crumpet with Maple Butter

Kendra: After three previous attempts to buy a crumpet from here ended in failure, we had a SUCCESS. Was it worth all the trips? Hey, cross an english muffin with a pancake, cover it in maple butter, and try to resist it! YOU CAN’T. It was delicious.

Kat: Quite nice, but not necessarily worth going early for.

Yellow Leaf Cupcakery–CONSUMED: Lavender cupcake, what was the other one…Dulce de Leche?

Kendra: This place reminded me of Lavender Moon back home; creative flavors, light cake base, cream cheese-esque frosting, tiny shop. Pleasant.

Kat: I actually can’t remember these cupcakes at all, but I did appreciate the range of flavors available.

 

In CONCLUSION… Miles walked: Many Calories consumed: countless Seattle: Only partially conquered!

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Baked & Wired – Smurfette, Strawberry, Raspberry Cloud

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

Well, it’s that time again, kiddos! We finally managed to find some time to make our pilgrimage to one of our favorite DC cupcakeries for a review threesome! Here’s what the website says about this week’s contestants:

l-r: Smurfette/Raspberry Dream/Strawberry

From left to right, we have…

the Smurfette: “Fresh blueberries are baked into vanilla cake, topped with lemon buttercream”

the Raspberry Cloud: “Lemon cake with a raspberry cream cheese frosting”

and Strawberry: “The bestseller! Vanilla cake with fresh strawberries folded in the batter and finished with a swirl of pink buttercream”

Kat:

Smurfette: I am a big fan of lemon and I quite enjoyed this one. Lemon buttercream frosting, sweet vanilla cake, with blueberries in the batter. The inclusion of whole berries made this one feel a lot lighter and healthier than it’s near cousin, the raspberry-preserve-filled lemony Rasmanian Devil. Still sweet, but you won’t feel so guilty. The berries had sunk to the lower half of the cake, so you have to make an effort to get all three tastes in one bite. A-

Raspberry Cloud: The lemon cake was as good as usual, but the flavor of the raspberry icing did not quite work for me. Tasted more like candy than fruit. C

Strawberry: The cake was unflavored but had strawberry bits mixed throughout. Also not as moist as most of the B&W cakes. Taken on it’s own, it was much more muffin-y than cake-y. The frosting was strawberry-flavored and supersweet. Together they made a pretty good cupcake. C+


Kendra:

Smurfette: I love blueberries in my baked goods–it’s hard to resist a freshly-baked blueberry muffin for breakfast. I was pretty excited to try out the Smurfette, since not only did it feature blueberries, it had a vanilla cake and lemon frosting (which makes it the delicious Rasmanian Devil’s bosom buddy). It’s a nice, fresh taste, though the blueberries end up being a bit  overwhelmed by the intensity of the lemon icing. B+

Raspberry Cloud: One of the cashiers told us that this was better than the Razzmanian Devil. UM, NOT SO MUCH. It was okay–can’t go wrong with the lemon cake here, nice an’ tart an’ moist, but the raspberry-cream cheese frosting does not beat out the raspberry jam-filled/lemon buttercream-frosted combo of the Razzmanian Devil. It’s certainly not bad, just very, very sweet. Cashier fail. C+

Strawberry: Er, I’m not sure how it’s labeled as the ‘most popular’ of the cupcake flavors on the website, because…well, it’s not that great. But I guess that’s the moral of the story here–WHAT IS POPULAR IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, that’s how it goes, right? Anyway, the cake was dry and bland, and the frosting was sugary-sweet, and I didn’t get any strawberry flavors out of this at all.  D

 

And a special guest review from an honorary Sugarvamp, Miss Mary!

Smurfette: the clear winner out of the three, and in a way, Smurfette combines the best qualities of the two that came before it.  The lemon buttercream is zingy and delicious, and the cake is perfectly soft and moist.  The cake part actually reminded me of a muffin, but while that was bad news for the Strawberry cupcake, Smurfette reminded me of the packaged blueberry muffins I used to get at the convenience store in college: amazingly moist but never soggy, and with just the right ratio of blueberry-to-cake parts.  A

Raspberry Cloud: At first, I was convinced that this cupcake reminded me of a candy flavor I couldn’t quite place – a lemon or lime jolly rancher, maybe? – , but after a few more bites and input from Kendra, I changed my mind – this cupcake is remarkably like sherbet.  The raspberry cream cheese frosting is smooth and light and almost melts in your mouth, but has a hint of a kick that really does mimic tangy, refreshing sherbet.  Add in the lemon cupcake base and you’ve got your summer treat.  I was surprised that I didn’t notice cream cheese overtones as I often do with cream cheese frosting.  This cupcake’s weak point is the actual cake part.  Not bad, per se, but it’s a little bland.  A solid B.

Strawberry: Katie observed that this cupcake is really more like a muffin, and not in a good way.  The texture of the actual cake is pretty coarse, and I wasn’t impressed with the frosting, either.  Forgettable.  I give it a C mainly because I tend not to like strawberry-flavored things, so someone who does might not be so turned off by this one.

…and here’s the Smurfette showing off her goodies:

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Baked & Wired Razmanian Devil Cupcake Review

razmanian devil is a lover, not a fighter

From  now on, when life gives me lemons, I’m gonna shove some raspberry preserves in the middle of it if I can get it to taste like this cupcake.

looney tunes circa 1993

Website says it’s “Lemon cake with a raspberry jam center topped with lemon buttercream“.

So what’s that like?

Kendra: This is usually what Kat and I would pair the Chocolate Cupcake of DOOM with–the citrus tartness offsets the extremely rich chocolate nicely. On its own, it’s still quite formidable–the lemon buttercream doesn’t have the same sweetness as the regular buttercream (for obvious reasons), and the lemon cake flavor is cut by the raspberry preserves. This cupcake has actually brought to my attention the fact that ‘lemon’ and ‘raspberry’ can be added to the ‘goes together like peanut butter and jelly’ echelon. A

Kat: MY FAVORITE. This cupcake is one of the sweeter ones, but I love it that way! It’s very light and refreshing, if a cupcake can be light and refreshing. I can actually manage to finish one of these on my own without getting overwhelmed by the flavor. Possibly because it does include two flavors in one. The raspberry and lemon are a perfect compliment to each other. This cupcake airs well with the Chocolate Cupcake of Doom. A+

usually has more raspberry filling

note–Usually the amount of raspberry filling isn’t quite as scant as what we had for this review–if it was consistently like this, I’d lower my score. –Kendra

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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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Baked & Wired – Cherry Blossom (Seasonal)

Baked & Wired had a seasonal flavor to celebrate DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival. This cupcake was ‘vanilla cake with maraschino cherries mixed in the batter and topped with a cherry-flavored buttercream.’

Kat: This cupcake is so pink and pretty that it looks like something Barbie would eat, but is is definitely real food. The cake is as pink as the frosting, and has a bit of a syrup-like translucency. I’m used to maraschino cherries being served singly as a garnish, so all the chunks of cherry in the cake seemed quite indulgent. Mmmmm…preserved fruit. This is one of the sweetest cupcakes I have had from Baked & Wired, which definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste. B

Kendra: After you get past the fact that consuming this shockingly pink cupcake makes you look like a Pretty Pretty Princess, it’s not too bad. As Kat noted, it is verrrrry sweet, but the cherry flavor comes through enough to make this worth trying. Probably too sugary for most, but little  kids and people who love sweet things (like me) should probably enjoy this. B


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Baked & Wired Mocha Cupcake Review

Lest you start thinking that we’re in cahoots with B&W, we’re gonna tell you that they aren’t perfect. Not all the cupcakes we’ve sampled have been hits (the Unporked Elvis comes to mind)–as far as I know, there aren’t any immaculate bakeries.

But man, their Mocha cupcake is a huge letdown, especially compared to the Vanilla Latté. What the hell happened? Et tu, BWute?

Kendra: As much as I love drinking mocha lattés, I’m going to stop eating them from now on. I haven’t noticed any of B&W’s other chocolate-cake based desserts being quite so dry and flavorless, so I don’t know what’s up with this. And the mocha frosting just doesn’t taste like much of anything other than cloying sweetness–I didn’t get any chocolate taste, or hints of espresso. Epic Fail. F

Kat: This is definitely a different cake than their other chocolate offerings. It is bitter without being chocolate-y, and notably drier. It does have coffee undertones, but the vanilla latte cupcake is a much richer experience. This cupcake is mediocre at best. D

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Specu-wha?

So, Speculoos spread. Also called ‘spekuloos’, ‘speculaas’, and ‘spekulatius’.

like a million cookies

I’ve been kinda obsessing over it ever since Kat shared an article about the controversy surrounding said spread. Mostly because it seems like the perfect accompaniment to Nutella–I mean, it’s GROUND-UP COOKIES that you can spread like peanut butter. HOW IS THIS NOT A GREAT IDEA? I do take a little bit of issue with the fact this: “As [the Speculoos] company sets its sights on the United States, it faces entrenched competition from peanut butter. Peanut butter may have more nutrients, but [the chief executive] said, “this is something new, with no nuts in it, at a time when more and more people have nut allergies.”

Yeahhh, uh, I don’t know if I’d put peanut butter and cookie paste on the same page–maybe once I start replacing my pasta with Twizzlers.

Anyway, my curiosity would not be sated by merely reading about this amazing product, so I placed an order with the only US distributor, Biscoff. Sure, it came to 7 bucks per jar, but it’s all in the name of SCIENCE.

Kat and I (along with roomie Marymary) all took to it like deranged groupies. I figured that since it was similar to Nutella, I could probably consume it in a similar fashion–which for me involves crepes.

the spread spread

But first, we each took an unadulterated spoonful in order to get the full effect. Then we took a few apple slices and dunked them in. Having figured out the general flavor, we went a little cray-zay and slathered it on the crepes–along with Nutella, marshmallow Fluff, and strawberries. OH YES. OHHHH, YES.

a perfectly healthy  lunch

We had some of these Korean DYNAMIC DUO cookie/cracker snacks lying around, so we also dunked those in–because what pairs better with cookie than cookie?

like batman and robin cookies!

IN CONCLUSION…

Kendra: It’s similar to creamy peanut butter, but seems less greasy for whatever reason, and tastes similar to a mild ginger snap–which in creamy spread format is QUITE addictive. I’ve been using it in place of maple syrup on my breakfast goodies–which speaks volumes if you know about my undying love for maple syrup. Worth $7? Probably not, but I definitely have no regrets.

Kat: Surprisingly light and mild for something that seems so decadent. Quite tasty, with a smooth texture. I’ve never had a speculoos cookie, but it tastes rather like Anna’s Ginger Thins to me. Maybe a little less gingery, actually. Recommended, but certainly not a must-have. It was a great topping for crepes and apple slices. A

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