This past weekend, AV took me to Washington, D.C., for a four-day celebratory weekend. On Friday night, we had a lovely barbecue at the home of one of AV's friends; Saturday, we woke up and explored the city, ultimately bumping into the 4th of July parade, which was watched for an hour or so. A helpful hint for all my readers with an even slightly cynical bent: No one human creation provides more opportunities for observing/commenting/making fun of all aspects of humanity than a parade. We had fun.
That afternoon, we ventured into Georgetown with two of AV's friends, JK and LM (our intrepid tour guides for the weekend), to see the swanky sights. And by "swanky sights" I mean cupcakes. Being as I am in the cupcake biz, part of my obligation as a good citizen is to check out the rival offerings anywhere I go, so I had two destinations in mind: Baked and Wired and Georgetown Cupcakes, both located on side streets off the main Georgetown drag.
First up: Baked and Wired. The shop is a combo coffee shop/bake shop, and it has a pretty cool/hip vibe with just a touch of attitude. The layout of the goodies was slightly reminiscent of Billy's, without the cupcake case, and I made my selection from the treats displayed on diferent kinds of cake tiers on the counter. I chose a carrot cupcake and a chocolate-vanilla cupcake ($3.50 each!!), which were packed in a cute little two-cupcake box. We had designs to eat them after dinner while watching fireworks on the Mall, so after we rested in the seating area of the cafe for a bit, I went back up to the counter to grab a bag. Unfortunately, nobody was there-- literally, there were no workers even within eyeshot of me. I stood and waited for a minute or so, all by my lonesome, and then I just walked behind the counter and grabbed a bag for our cupcake box. I suppose it's all in keeping with the "relaxed" vibe of Baked and Wired, no?
With our box and bag in tow, we made our way to Georgetown Cupcakes. Georgetown Cupcakes seems to be D.C.'s Magnolia, right down to the line out the door. Sigh. It turns out, though, that the line is more to do with the fact that only about 4 people fit inside the shop at any given time than with overwhelming demand; after about 5 minutes of waiting, we were up. The cupcakes are all arranged behind a glass counter, and it seems as though those ones are for display while the workers pack your selection in the back. It seemed like a good system, since they kept the line moving. I went with a chocolate-vanilla, a red velvet, and a mocha (for JK and LM); the three traditional size (read: smallish) cupcakes were packed in a cool pink box. We were off.
Later that night, after a delicious Asian-fusion dinner at Mie n Yu, we found ourselves on blankets on the Mall, awaiting the fireworks. A cupcake fest ensued. I cut each cupcake into fourths so each of us could try them all. First up: the Georgetown Cupcakes offerings. Both were ahh-kay, if that makes sense; the cake was pretty standard on both, with the RV a little spongey and the chocolate large-crumbed but richly chocolatey. It was the frosting that prevented these from becoming stellar cupcakes-- it was light and whipped and too insubstantial for my taste, almost with the texture of cream cheese frosting without enough powdered sugar. These were certainly good renditions of what they were, but I definitely prefer my frosting richer and thicker.
And that's just what Baked and Wired provided. These cupcakes were housed in the same type of cool cupcake paper as Sweet Revenge in NYC, just a parchment square that unfolds as you eat the cake inside. These tiny cakes were large, as well, just on the reasonable side of Crumbs-sized-- certainly a substantial treat. First, I tried the carrot: A rich cake packed with walnuts, tasty though not as moist as Billy's, with a good solid cream-cheese frosting (and a good amount of it, too). Then the chocolate-vanilla: Very moist chocolate cake, rich and delicious buttercream, a real winner. The B&W chocolate-vanilla was my favorite of the bunch; it reminded me a bit of Amy's Bread chocolate cupcakes and was eminently craveable. Next time I go back to D.C., I'll go back to B&W-- though their cupcakes are expensive, they're good stuff.
Stomachs packed full of sugar and fat, we collapsed on the blankets and played cards until we were treated to a delightful fireworks show that lit up the Washington Monument. Happy birthday, America!