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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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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 Kaboom Cupcake Review

Oh dear lord.

check out that solid core of ganache!

Kaboom Cupcake:  Guinness vanilla cake, whiskey chocolate ganache center, and Bailey’s Irish buttercream frosting.

Kat: This was a St. Patrick’s Day special, but I hope it makes some more appearances! Each element of the cupcake was great and the combo was even greater. The Guinness cake tasted like vanilla with a malty finish. The deep chocolate core definitely had a little whiskey kick blending with the bittersweetness of the chocolate. And the frosting had a notably Irish cream flavor, unlike some other Bailey’s flavored things that taste only of cream. The cupcake was not a super-boozy  dessert like a tiramisu, instead it was a grown-up tasting cupcake with a bite. And a CHOCOLATE GANACHE CORE, did we mention the core? A+

Kendra: Ditto. Just…ditto. That chocolate core goes STRAIGHT THROUGH–it’s like Journey to the Center of the Earth, except with delicious chocolate instead of burning lava. A+


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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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Baked & Wired Unporked Elvis Cupcake Review

Elvis isn’t dead! He lives on–in kitschy memorabilia, impersonators, and anything that mixes bananas and bacon.

Apparently, this cupcake used to be the ‘Elvis’, and contained everyone’s favorite pork product–but I guess over the years, it’s turned into a “banana cupcake topped with peanut butter frosting and drizzled with chocolate”.

the king is back?

Kendra: Well, going into this, I knew that at the very least I’d like the frosting. When it comes to desserts and fruit, bananas are always at the bottom of my list of what to get. They just have a very unassuming flavor. When banana is present in cake, it usually ends up being less of a dessert and more of a snack or breakfast item. There’s nothing wrong with it, I guess I just feel that ‘banana cupcake’ is one step removed from ‘banana muffin’. This banana-based cake base isn’t too different in that regard–it’s perfectly competent, and might have a finer crumb than a muffin, but it’s definitely not dessert-like. The frosting, of course, is a different story, and you should know my feelings on it from our Pretty Bitchin’ review. Not a bad cupcake overall, just nothing exciting…unless you’re into bananas, in which case have I got something for you! B-

Kat: While I enjoy the occasional green-edged banana, I have a bias against banana-flavored foods. The sweetness of ripe banana is too strong for me, in an almost-rotten sort of way. I would never have picked this cupcake if we weren’t on a quest to try every flavor. It’s not a bad pastry, though. In the base, the texture is definitely cake, and the flavor quite banana muffin. The frosting is the same buttercream as Pretty Bitchin. The saltiness of the peanut butter helps neutralize the banana-sweetness in the cake. I appreciate the texture contrast of biting through the hardened chocolate drizzle. Overall, the experience is more like a snack than a dessert. Not bad, but not for me.  C+

mmmpeanut butter

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Baked & Wired Vanilla Latté Cupcake Review

Vanilla Latté, one of three coffeehouse themed cupcakes at Baked & Wired (along with Mocha and Chai Latte), is a “vanilla cake with an espresso buttercream.”

Kat got the espresso bean

Kat: I think I may have a new top cupcake. I wonder if B&W’s signature parchment square wraps are what helps lock in the moisture of the cakes, since no part of the cake base is exposed to air. Whatever it is, it works! The vanilla cake is soft and delicious and almost pancake-y in flavor. The buttercream frosting is rich with bittersweet coffee undertones. The combination is perfect. A

mmmm yeahhh

Kendra: Guys. YOU GUYS. I’m about to write something blasphemous.

I prefer vanilla to chocolate.

Okay, that’s not 100% true–but it is when we’re talking about B&W cakes. I’ve had a few of their vanilla-cake cupcake options now, and in my opinion, their vanilla cake is better. I know vanilla is plain, safe, and standard, but this cake is somehow rich and dense and just SOLID, like they’ve encapsulated the flavor of great vanilla ice cream and produced it in cake form.

Anyway, so the Vanilla Latté starts with that awesomeness. Onto the frosting, which is sweet with a nice bitter hint of espresso.

I place this cupcake at the same ranking as the Chocolate Cupcake of Doom; the cake might be better with the Vanilla Latté, but I still love the chocolate ganache frosting on the Doomcake too much to place the espresso buttercream above it. WE HAVE A TIE. (And, if you’re into cupcake pairing like Kat and I are, the Doomcake is the perfect accompaniment). A+

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