Everybody knows Washington DC is king in terms of politics and history. But I bet you didn't know that the district also has a reputation for boasting the best cupcakes. Here in DC, the top cupcake stores are the edgy and trendy Baked & Wired, the cute and conservative Sprinkles Cupcakes, and of course the famous "as seen on TV" Georgetown Cupcake.
Because these three stores have such a big presence and cult following, everyone has their favorites. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these preferences were more based on the reputation of the desserts and the aesthetics of the store rather than on taste itself.
So I decided to do a little bit of investigating, put the biases aside, and find out once and for all which is the best cupcake in Washington, DC.
Step one was to buy a red velvet cupcake from each store in order to ensure that the comparisons were as fair as possible. Step two was blindfolding my roommate to rule out any and all possibilities of getting biased results. Finally, step three was adding in my own reviews after the fact. And just to keep things fair, I had her use a fork so she couldn't tell which cupcake was which based on size, shape, or wrapping.
So here is what we learned from a completely objective perspective of which DC cupcakes truly are the best.
Contestant One: Sprinkles Cupcakes
My roommate loved Sprinkles' frosting. She praised its subtle hint of cream cheese flavor as well as its creamy consistency. She really liked that the frosting was sweet, but not to the point of being overwhelming.
However, she was not as fond of the texture of the cake. She commented that it was a bit sticky and got caught on the roof of her mouth. She also found the cake a little chewy and not as sweet as she would have liked it to be.
I personally really like Sprinkles Cupcakes and I go frequently to their Newport Beach location when I'm at home. I agree with my roommate that Sprinkles really does kill the frosting game—it wasn't too sweet and had a perfect consistency.
However, the only thing I'm going to knock Sprinkles on is that I think their cake could have just have just had a little more moisture to it. It tasted good, don't get me wrong, but it was not as spongy and soft as I was really hoping it would be.
Contestant Two: Georgetown Cupcake
Her initial reaction to eating this cupcake was that it was delicious, but then "it got real sweet real fast." Once again, she was a big fan of the frosting, remarking on how light and fluffy it was. She thought it was smooth and delicious, easy and enjoyable to eat.
However, once again her problem was with the cake itself. While she was pleased with the texture, she found this cupcake to be a little on the bland side. She even asked me repeatedly if I was sure I bought red velvet (I did, don't worry), because it lacked the strong flavor she was hoping for and expecting.
I made the trek to Georgetown Cupcake and I stood in line for fifteen minutes just to get in the door, so it's safe to say that my expectations were sky high. And in all honestly, I was not that impressed.
I think that the problem for me was that the frosting's sweetness overpowered the cake and I didn't get the red velvet flavor I wanted. The frosting was SO sweet, I was a bit overwhelmed. If you are a person with a hella sweet tooth, this is your place, but I am not that person and this was not my cupcake.
Contestant Three: Baked & Wired
Immediately after taking the first bite, she declared this one to be the clear winner. She liked the light and fluffy texture of the cake and was pleased to find the red velvet flavor she felt was missing from the other competitors.
Again, she was quite taken with the frosting, but particularly loved how it tasted like it had been hand-whipped. She said that it was light and airy, but still packed a big punch of cream cheese flavor.
Baked & Wired definitely was the champion today. This was the simplest cupcake of them all. It comes in a plain white bag, the wrapper is monotone, and the only decoration is a tiny, silver jewel.
But I think that simplicity works to Baked & Wired's advantage. The cake was soft and spongey, everything you would hope for in a baked good. The frosting really did feel like it had been hand-whipped, and the flavor was prominent but not overpowering.
I think that they knocked it out of the park and Baked & Wired is truly the best cupcake in the district.
All three of these establishments obviously have great cupcakes— they got their reputations for a reason. But it's easy to let your judgment become based solely on the store's vibes or the cupcake's decorations. So hopefully this article was helpful in looking past all of that in determining which is truly the capital's best cupcake.