The Three Best Cupcakes in DC
Nostalgic yet contemporary, evocative of fond childhood memories, cupcakes have been around for decades and have made a dessert comeback. Decorated with lavender hearts, fondant petals, and buttercream swirls, the cupcake is a perfectly sized canvas for culinary artists.
Creatively designed stores filled with trays of colorful cupcakes have gained popularity throughout the United States. These bakeries, called cupcakeries, exclusively sell cupcakes that have become part of the modern urban landscape. From elegant soirées and themed baby showers to barbeques and birthday parties, cupcakes are becoming the dessert of choice. For me, a cupcake is my very own morsel of perfectly proportioned cake and frosting in an assortment of innovative flavors like: peanut butter and jelly, chocolate hazelnut, and pink champagne with Italian buttercream.
In addition to its famous monuments and museums, DC has become known as a gourmet cupcake destination. Here are three of my favorites:
Best Chocolate Cupcake
Flourless Chocolate Cupcake from Lavender Moon Cupcakery
Located near the busy waterfront of Old Town Alexandria, the Lavender Moon Cupcakery bakes many delicious flavors. The Flourless Chocolate Cupcake is my favorite and happens to be gluten-free. Owners Tammy and Peter Durkin source organic, sustainable, and local ingredients to create quality treats. In fact, it took Peter Durkin one year of culinary experiments to finally arrive at the perfect recipe.
I love chocolate in all its forms and this dense cake which is made of almond flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and a sinful amount of Callebaut Belgian chocolate is my cupcake dream come true. It is topped with a luscious chocolate mousse frosting and sprinkled with sea salt and almonds. The sea salt is added with a delicate hand and enhances the notes of coffee and richness of cocoa butter that lingers playfully on the palate. The store has a cozy seating area and usually sells out of cupcakes towards the end of the day, so it is good idea to call ahead and reserve a few of the cupcakes in advance.
I like to stop by one of the many coffee shops in the area, like Grape + Bean next door, for a strong shot of espresso to pair with my Lavender Moon Flourless Chocolate cupcake. The waterfront is only a few blocks away with benches that provide a great view of the many boats and yachts that navigate the Potomac—a great spot to savor your cupcake and espresso.Lavender Moon Cupcakery: 116 S Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 683-0588, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm daily, www.facebook.com/lavendermooncupcakery
Best Vegan Cupcake
Red Velvet Vegan Cupcake from Sprinkles
Nestled among the charming buildings of Georgetown, Sprinkles makes one of the best vegan cupcakes in DC. Founder Candace Nelson sources fine ingredients like Belgian Callebaut cocoa and vegan sugar, making this Vegan Red Velvet my absolute favorite. Coconut oil replaces butter, resulting in a very moist cake; while cocoa adds layers of flavor. Made of silky, soy-based cream cheese, Madagascar vanilla and sweetened with vegan sugar, the frosting is the star of this ensemble. The company’s green ethics, biodegradable flatware, and sugar-free, yogurt frosted, doggie cupcakes are other alluring aspects to support this business.
Sprinkles serves a rich, hot drinking cocoa in the winter months and coffee and tea all year long. Georgetown’s picturesque waterfront nearby is the perfect spot to enjoy a a cupcake with a cup of steaming hot chocolate.Sprinkles: 3015 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007, (202) 450-1610, Monday–Saturday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, www.sprinkles.com
Best Citrus Cupcake
“You Tart” Lemon Cupcake from Hello Cupcake
Located at Dupont Circle, Hello Cupcake is easily accessible by Metro. Baked with wholesome, seasonal, local ingredients, Hello Cupcake boasts of an array of over 50 unique flavors. My favorite is the bright and refreshing citrus cupcake which is playfully named, “You Tart.” It is composed of lemon cake, topped with lemon cream cheese frosting and yellow sugar crystals. The cake is light and fluffy with zesty, citrus notes of lemon that marry perfectly with the smooth and tangy cream cheese to make a delectable frosting. The sugar crystals add a perfect amount of crunch and flair.
Hello Cupcake has a comfortable seating area, free Wi-Fi and a variety of hot beverages. Pair this cupcake with an aromatic Earl Grey tea for an uplifting mid-morning indulgence.Hello Cupcake: 1361 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 861-2253, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm daily, www.hellocupcakeonline.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gia Coelho was born in India and holds an MBA in Marketing. She lived in Toronto and has traveled extensively in India and Europe. She now lives outside Washington DC and pursues passions that include wildlife conservation, writing, culinary adventures, painting, and creating colorful Zentangle art that she sells on her Etsy site at www.etsy.com/shop/giacoelho.
Where do you get your favorite cupcakes? Share the name of the store and your favorite flavor below.