“An Adoration not an obsession”
In the summer of 2013, I embarked on the “DC Cupcake Journey”. The Premise was simple. I would travel to every single shop that sold cupcakes within the confines of Washington, DC to taste the best the city had to offer. I gave myself one stipulation: I had to run or walk to and from each shop. This was an easy way to increase my running mileage, and offset the unnecessary calories at the same time. I mostly chose to run, with the average distance being about five miles round-trip. Sometimes I would walk on the return trip for fear of smushing the cupcakes if I ran with them (certainly happened a few times). My friends noticed the dedication of my journey, and soon imagined me as some sort of cupcake obsessed goblin. All in jest I was ready to replace Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster as the Cupcake Fiend.
The inception of this idea came from when I was at an end-of-summer celebration at my job. They supplied generic grocery store cupcakes to the party. Of course they didn’t buy enough for everyone to indulge. After a while there were two cupcakes remaining, and a co-worker made an assuming comment, “Go for it, I know you want one. You’ve had your eyes locked on them the whole time”. She couldn’t have been more wrong. The gaze in my eyes was not one of desire, but of slight disgust. These were the sweatiest, most artificially shiny, unappealing cupcakes I had ever seen. It was in this moment that my cupcake aspirations were born. On a whim, I decided to explore the streets of DC through a new lens. I would spend a month traversing what has often been called the most walkable city in America in search of the best cupcakes in the District. It all culminated with a new appreciation for a fine delectable dessert . You can call me a DC Cupcake Connoisseur.
With the recap of the old journey, I plan a new one. Throughout the summer months I will be revisiting, updating, and discovering all the cupcake shops in DC. Sadly some of my favorites shops and bakeries no longer exist, so I am hopeful that new ones have propped up in their place.
Here is my ranking of the shops & bakeries based on the quality of their cupcakes at the time.
- Sprinkles (Best richness of cake and icing)
- Baked & Wired (Most unique offerings)
- Georgetown Cupcake (Despite being the most famous of the bunch, they are actually the best value as well in terms of cost to quality ratio)
- Sweet Lobby
- Hello Cupcake (They got better over time. Unfortunately they closed down, along with my favorite cupcake in the entire city, which was their Dulce de Leche cupcake.)
- Sweet Themez (Closed)
Tier 3 -If you’re really craving something sweet, and these are the only baked goods around.
- Crumbs (Closed)
- Au Bon Pain (Really just a 3 cupcake selection at any given time)
- Red Velvet
The Rest – Just avoid eating cupcakes from these places as they are not good.
- Firehook Bakery
- Whole Foods Market (at least they look pretty)
- Larry’s Ice Cream
- Cake Love (Closed)
I based my ratings of quality on the elements of cake, frosting, and moisture. Of course to be consistent, I made multiple visits and tried the same same flavors across each location. Flavors tasted include: red velvet, double-chocolate, cookies & cream, raspberry/lemonade (this was an awkwardly consistent flavor available at all the shops), white iced yellow cake, chocolate frosting yellow cake, and a caramel flavor.