Washington Post Cupcake Wars: They Finally Have A Winner

by moderndomestic on November 6, 2008

Hello Cupcake - Cupcakes (smaller)

I bet those Post testers never want to look at another cupcake ever again.

It’s over! It’s over! No, not the presidential campaign, but the Washington Post Cupcake Wars. The last installment, published last Wednesday, brought us our final two cupcake contenders. And yesterday, the Post announced the overall winner of the eight-week competition. 

As I suspected, I had never heard of the two cupcake establishments that were featured last week: Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, in Arlington, and BakeshopDC, an online store that also sells cupcakes at the hip Murky Coffee in Clarendon. Like many cupcake establishments, Heidelberg really didn’t do well; testers criticized the dry and bland (yet also too sweet) cakes, although they found the vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting to be the least offensive of the bunch. BakeshopDC was given a decidedly “meh” review; testers thought the cakes were moist, if a bit bland, while the frostings were too “airy,” “sweet,” and “grainy.”

Considering that Post testers only went gaga over one cupcake establishment during this whole eight-week saga, I wasn’t surprised that they named Georgetown Cupcake the out-right winner. After all, Post testers really ripped on the cupcakes they tested throughout the Cupcakes Wars, but Georgetown Cupcake stunned them into silence (and a really vague review).

For a list of the tester’s most common cupcake criticisms, you can read the Posts’ Ten Commandments of Cupcakes. They also finally released all the scores for the different bakeries, and gave some insight into the final scoring methodology. At which point I though that, perhaps, the Post was doing a bit of an overkill

The Post did have a rather sweet article to tie up the series, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the cupcake phenomenon, both in DC and across the country. The pieces delves into the historic roots of cupcakes, and their recent revival by establishments like Magnolia Bakery, Sprinkles and, yes, Georgetown Cupcake.

The writers admit they thought the cupcake craze was on its way out before they started the Cupcake Wars, but that the tremendous response to the series made them think otherwise. I found that very touching: given my love of baked goods, I’m glad that others have opened their cynical hearts to the loveliness that is a good cupcake. Or maybe I’m just all fuzzy feeling because of the Barack Obama victory. 

The best part of the Post story is that they published recipes for two of the top scoring cupcakes: Georgetown Cupake’s winning cupcake, Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes and Best Buns Co. Vanilla Cupcakes. There’s also another recipe for vanilla cupcakes, and a recipe for coconut cupcakes, although the Post doesn’t specify if the recipes are from any specific bakery. Maybe no one else would give out their recipes?  

The recipes look tempting, although after the Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, I kind of want to take a little break from baking (my waistline would really appreciate it). But that Georgetown Cupcake recipe just begs for a review. Maybe in the next few weeks.

In any event, here’s a hearty congratulations to Georgetown Cupcake! May your cupcakes live long and prosper.

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