I hear you. DC didn't need another cupcake place. I know. Baked and Wired has the best cupcakes in town. Yes. The line outside Georgetown Cupcake makes me nauseous, too. However, when California native Sprinkles Cupcakes opened on M Street in Georgetown, we couldn't resist popping in to show them some California Love.
Sprinkles calls itself the world's first cupcake bakery and while I can't verify that statement, I can say that I've been enjoying Sprinkles cupcakes since they opened in Beverly Hills in 2003. Back in 2003 the world was a different place. B and I first caught each other's eye, the Washington Nationals were dropping baseballs in Canada as the Montreal Expos, and it was a huge novelty to find a place specializing in cupcakes (and frosting shots!). Sprinkles was my first cupcake love.
This past Saturday, B found a way to combine two of my loves: cupcakes and Target. Isn't he so dreamy? We raced out the door needing to eat breakfast and run some errands, so we popped into Sprinkles, scooped up some cupcakes, and made our way to Target's food court to devour them. Why didn't we just eat them at Sprinkles? Have you tried dealing with parking on M Street? Target parking is so much easier.
So we sat in Target twirling in our plastic chairs and licking frosting off our fingers. I was the picture of happiness. To me, Sprinkles has just the right balance of moist cake and decadent frosting. Their coconut cupcake (bottom of the photo) is my idea of cupcake perfection.
I was so excited to have a taste of home that I allowed myself to get talked into buying 4 cupcakes. We demolished two of them in Target and then packed up the other two for eating a few hours later (I couldn't wait!). As I pushed my red cart around the store, I kept a very close eye on the precious cupcake cargo sitting on the child's seat. People steal my cart in Target all the time, but if someone had stolen my cupcake cart, there would have been quite a scene. Don't get between a girl and her nostalgic cupcakes.
Second Thoughts From B
J mentioned the coconut cupcake. It was joined by (going clockwise), strawberry, a special cherry flavor to honor the cherry blossoms, and peanut butter chocolate. Now, everyone in their best Cookie Monster voice*, repeat after me: Mmummm, mmummm, mmummm, mmummm, mmummm!
While all of our friends in LA (and the folks at US Weekly that turned Sprinkles and cupcakes into a starlet-driven fad) probably like hearing this West coast shout out, we know what all of you DC readers want to know. How does Sprinkles compare to other local offerings? As the one without the nostalgia bias, let me take a stab at this one...
The cake is uniformly moist and light, and as good as anything we've tasted in DC. As for the flavor, some were bolder than others, but none were lacking. The frosting is always fabulously vibrant and light, and as J said, the ratio to cake is spot on. And the size and price is even appropriate. I guess it is no surprise that the owner of Sprinkles is a judge on Food Network's Cupcake Wars (which was recently won by our favorite vegan bakery, Sticky Fingers Bakery).
So imagine you're in the heart of Georgetown and in need of a cupcake. Where do you go? Hello Cupcake (one of my favorites) in Dupont is too far. Up the street is the cupcake shop you've heard a lot of buzz about. However, you're a savvy TwoDC reader and know that Georgetown Cupcake guarantees long lines and small, hype-powered cupcakes. Down a side street (Thomas Jefferson) is Baked & Wired (J's favorite), the cool coffee bar with awesome (taste and size) cupcakes and Hippie Crack. But to get there you have to pass Sprinkles. What to do?
Honestly, you can't go wrong with either. While they are both equally good, they are by no means the same thing. One embraces the off-the-beaten-path location and lifestyle with an emphasis on natural ingredients and a laid back atmosphere. The other is chic, cool, and beautiful, and more similar to Hello Cupcake. My advice, find a friend and get one of each.
*Really? You're going to call me out on my cupcake-eating Cookie Monster reference? If our favorite dessert eating monster can incorporate broccoli into his diet, you think it is such a stretch that cupcakes would make it?