Care to take a guess on which cupcake is which? Red Velvet is another one of the chains that have popped up in the cupcake trend. Cake Love is one of DC's most prominent and longest standing cake stores, that only started selling cupcakes along side their slices of cake since the trend. Then there's Whole Foods, a healthy grocery store specializing in herbs, health foods, organic, farm raised foods, which also offers a "boutique" cupcake at nearly half the price of actual cupcake boutiques.
Looking at the above pictures I can sure tell you which cupcake I think would cost two dollars.
So, I held my second taste test with all the same standards and criteria I did for my first edition of DC Cupcakes: What the Locals Think. These results were dramatically different than the first round. The first round were the cupcakeries I determined to be perhaps the "more popular" cupcakeries. It turns out I was right. I knew Cake Love would be well known, and chances were few people had considered a Whole Foods cupcake...I had no idea how poorly asking about Red Velvet would go.
But first: Let's talk taste test!
The results were nearly unanimous on the taste test:
- Red Velvet had the favorite cake.
- Cake Love had the favorite icing.
- Whole Foods was deemed "tasteless"
- Red Velvet's Gnache Icing was "far too bitter"
- When asked to pick an "overall favorite" every person picked Cake Love.
Unlike last time, where 100 people were just brimming over with their opinions about Georgetown Cupcakes, Hello Cupcake, and Baked & Wired, Wednesdays survey yielded a lot of confused looks, perplexed responses, and questions about each one's location. Easily the most common response was "Is that the one that's in [Penn Quarter/U St.]? I think my [roommate/girlfriend/boyfriend/coworker] has been there."
I honestly in good faith can't even give you stats. The response rate just wasn't high enough for me to consider it truly legit. Lets just leave it with: Cake Love had the most consistent favorable comment, and Red Velvet was easily the most hated, and literally, only one person said they'd had a Whole Foods cupcake, and they expressed sheer hatred towards it.
Even at the end of all this, Baked & Wired and Georgetown Cupcake are remaining as the only cupcakes in town that the DC locals really poured out the love for. If you're only in town for a short trip head straight to Baked & Wired! I'd hate for the line at Georgetown to take up an hour of your trip!
Cake Love: A DC Tradition
Cake Love has been in DC longer than the cupcake craze, the same cannot be said for the other cupcake boutiques, and though they won today's taste test, it was commonly noted that they are better for cakes, and not cupcakes. Though they did win the taste test, in the survey they were always described as "okay." Nobody said that it was their favorite cake spot in town (but after last months love for Baked & Wired it would be hard for me to imagine there a lot of love left). The shop itself is somewhat airy, if not a little too dark despite the large windows. The displays were uninspiring, and the cupcake the least gourmet looking of any cupcake yet in either taste test. The chocolate cake itself came off with a highly nutty flavor, and during the taste test was not identified as chocolate cake, but rather a spice cake. Odd right?
Favorites flavor cupcake mentioned in the survey: Chocolate, German Chocolate, and Coconut
Décor: 8 it has a semi cutesy vintage kitchen feel
Service: 8 friendly, not enthusiastic
Packaging: 2, paper bags and due to the soft frosting it traveled POORLY
Variety: 5 nothing you hadn't seen before
Red Velvet: Move Over Hello Cupcake, Meet The New Last Favorite
Thought not everyone agreed the survey was pretty explicit that Red Velvet Cupcakery was not loved. On a personal note, I'm sorry but I have to say it: I spit out my bite of chocolate gnache. It was inedible. I tried it again once I'd adjusted my notions that this gnache was very dark, but it didn't help. It was bitter and frankly disgusting. The taste testers agreed. Some of the survey participates spoke about seeing unsanitary conditions and bug infestations. I wish I had started with the survey. I wouldn't have taken that bite. One of the taste testers actually said: "UGH! If the Donner party would have had these cupcakes, they still would have kept on eating each other!"
To be fair, there was some praise of Red Velvet, and one person did say "
Favorites flavor cupcake mentioned in the survey: Birthday Cake, Black Velvet
Décor: 5, depending on location, Dupont: 0 it's stuck in with Tangy Sweet, Penn Quarter 6, Tucson: 4
Service: 7, not particularly friendly, not ready at opening
Packaging: 5 a brown bag with a BIG A sticker on it, poor branding
Whole Foods: The "Boutique" Cupcake You've Never Heard of For a Reason
I won't even humor the idea of trying to talk about Whole Foods. I LOVE this store, but it was a bad cupcake, with waxy frosting and no taste. It literally tasted like you were eating nothing. If there wasn't texture you wouldn't have known there was a cupcake. With nobody in the survey having tried the cupcakes, save one, there isn't a whole lot to say except this:
Boutique cupcakes cost twice as much for a reason. They actually have flavor.
I must admit, I was very excited about the idea that maybe this underdog cheap cupcake could contend....but it couldn't. You can make a better cupcake from a mix, and you should. For two dollars, go ahead and buy a cake mix. You'll be much happier.
Favorites flavor cupcake mentioned in the survey: NA
Décor: NA it's a grocery store after all
Service: 7, polite, helpful, not knowledgeable
Packaging: 6, plastic containers that actually traveled best out of the day
Variety: 6, but does it matter if they aren't good?
Thanks for reading! Hope that helps you make your choices! Personally I recomend reading the quotes below! They crack me up!
A few quotes from the survey: