Hello Cupcake opened in Dupont Circle on August 25, and from the beginning it’s been getting great reviews from Washington foodies. So I organized a cupcake expedition last Friday, where eight of us stormed the store and sampled the wares
Hello Cupcake is the brainchild of Penny Karas, a marketing professional turned cupcaketier. This begs the question: do all DC bakeries have to be founded by former white-collar professionals who follow their pastry-filled dreams?
Hello Cupcake uses all fresh ingredients, natural flavorings, and no trans-fats. The shop offers a wide variety of flavors with really cute names—”You Tart” and “De Lime and De Coconut” were two of my favorites. Some flavors are available every day and some rotate on a weekly basis—you can see their flavors and schedule on their web site. But don’t get too excited about all those flavors; when we were there there were only five or so available (I had really wanted to check out the Maya favorite cupcake, but, sadly, there were none to be found)
Between us, we sampled the You Tart, Peppermint Penny,and Peanut Putter Blossom cupcakes. And I can say with confidence that everyone raved about their selection. I had the Peppermint Penny, and I was very impressed—the chocolate cake was tender and moist, and the cool minty frosting was sweet, fluffy, and perfectly flavored. Our You Tart sampler doesn’t usually like lemon-flavored desserts, but she absolutely loved her cupcake. And wonktheplank practically inhaled the Peanut Butter Blossom—in fact, he loved it so much he wouldn’t even let me taste the frosting!
I was especially interested in the frosting, since frosting is such a controversial subject in the DC food world. When I tasted my cupcake I was pretty sure that the frosting was a buttercream made with powdered sugar, and the Web site confirmed this. If you don’t like the tooth-aching sweetness of powdered sugar frostings then this frosting may be too sweet for you. But I thought the flavorings and the cake itself balanced the sweetness well.
My one criticism is that the cupcakes had too much frosting—the giant frosting swirls made for a great presentation, but they were a bit overwhelming. At least one taster had to scoop some frosting off her cupcake.
The space itself deserves a whole blog post—the cute, pink fairy-tale chandelier; bright pink-and-brown color scheme; and clean and crisp display cases are more than enough reason to check out the space (plus, they’re LEED certified, which is no small feat).
Overall, Hello Cupcake is an excellent addition to the Dupont Circle scene and offers fabulous products. If you have a guest in town with a sweet tooth, or just need a break during your lunch hour, I highly recommend that you go over and check them out.