The Washington Post Cupcake Wars: Fancy-Pants Bakeries and Entrepreneurs

by moderndomestic on October 7, 2008

Last week’s Cupcake Wars ventured out to two establishments I had never heard of (just like in Week Two), making me think that perhaps I should subscribe to the Washingtonian or something. Or get a car so I can get to all these bakeries outside of the District.

The Washington Post tested cupcakes from Just Cakes, a fancy-pants bakery up in Bethesda that’s won a bunch of Bethesda Magazine’s reader’s choice awards, and Couture Cupcakes, a mostly custom-order business that sells their cupcakes at ACKC and Cafe Tu-o-Tu. I’ve said this before, but I think that the Post’ six-weeks-of cupcake-extravaganza may be a tad bit stretched for content. Maybe they could try some of my cupcakes in a pinch!

The Post testers didn’t even try to hide their deep hatred of Just Cake’s cupcakes. Testers tore them apart on every front imaginable, saying that the cupcakes were too dry, the flavors were too artificial, and the frosting was too sweet. They especially disliked the spice cupcake that had a “sawdust” texture, neon lime frosting, and a heavy hand with the cloves. Ouch. Tasters did like the chocolate and german chocolate cupcakes, which were deemed the best of the bunch.

It’s too bad that Just Cake’s cupcakes scored so poorly, because the photos on their web site are really impressive (I especially like the Halloween-themed) cupcakes). While their products may not taste that good (at least according to The Post), their decorating sure is cute.

The Post actually liked Couture Cupcakes, making them the second bakery that has fared well in the Cupcake Wars (the first was Baked and Wired in Georgetown). While the Post testers didn’t lavish effusive praise the way they did with Baked and Wired, testers said the cupcakes were “nicely done,” with moist cake, well chosen flavors, and creamy frosting. The Red Velvet Cupcake was the testers’ favorite, and it looks absolutely delicious in the photo on the Posts’ Web site. I was glad that Couture Cupcakes scored so high, because the business started out as a hobby, and just turned into a real business in April. Go entrepreneurs! And their cupcakes look absolutely gorgeous on their Web site—I especially like the rose cupcakes on the homepage.

Who knows what the Post will come up with for the next two weeks. You know that two of the bakeries have to be Hello Cupcake and Georgetown Cupcake, but the other two? Who knows.

In the meantime, I want to see if either of those bakeries have cupcake-decorating classes.

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