Biscotti cookies, peppermint and gingerbread men garnish this season’s holiday cupcake menus around the District.
By Sheila Mulhern
It’s safe to assume that cupcakes have hit a “sweet spot” in the District. If the stress of wind chill factors and last minute shopping causes a holiday overload, escape for a few minutes in the guilty pleasure of a freshly-baked confection in a paper wrapper. Take a look at the top picks as we close out 2010.
Hello Cupcake: Maple Bacon Pecan
Pass the Maple Syrup: Made with maple cake and pure maple syrup, glazed with browned butter frosting, sprinkled with pecans and bacon.
Ski-lodge Snowscape: Whether you’re about to hit the slopes or having a Sunday breakfast, the comfort from a wintery morning can be found with a stack of warm pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. That’s what inspired Hello Cupcake pastry chefs to couple the sweet maple and candied pecan flavorings with the smokey bacon – yes, bacon! So put away the spatula and grab that mimosa!
Also on the menu: Hot Buttered Rum (rum raisin cake with rum frosting and rum-soaked raisins), and Gingerbread (spicy fresh, ground and crystallized ginger cake mix with a tangy lemon frosting)
Pricing: $3 each, $12 for four, $18 half dozen, $33 dozen
DC Location: 1361 Connecticut Ave NW, DC; 202.861.2253; Hello Cupcake
CRUMBS Bake Shop: Peppermint Hot Cocoa
Traditional Favorites: Chocolate cake is infused with vanilla buttercream and peppermint cream cheese frosting, mixed and decorated with crushed peppermint flakes.
Peppermint kisses: CRUMBS co-founder, Mia Baur, combines traditional ingredients and designs for a wide spectrum of seasonal treats. Forgo the steeping mug of cocoa by the fireside for a cupcake version of the minty, chocolate treat. If you can’t decide from the plethora of choices on the menu, go for the Holiday Collection Taste Pack for some bite-sized samples or to bring as a hostess gift.
Specialty packs include: CRUMBS Holiday Collection Taste Pack, Christmas Squiggle, White Hot Chocolate, Christmas Good Guy and Christmas Sprinkle Mix and more!
Pricing: Individual cupcakes range from approximately $3-4. Taste Pack at F St. location sold for $18 (sells online for $24)
DC Location: 604 11th Street NW, DC (at F Street); 202.737.4001; CRUMBS online orders
Frosting: Sweetie Pie
Homemade with: Sweet potato spice cake toasted with brown sugar and marshmallow frosting.
Comfort and Joy: Comfort food that will carry you through any winter season gathering in the form of your favorite side-dish memory is what Frosting’s Todd Bracken and wife, Michelle Snow Bracken, wanted to bring out in this cupcake going with a candied yam with marshmallow casserole combination. “It was like being able to skip to dessert but also get my stuffing, mashed po’s and turkey or Christmas ham as well,” shares Todd Bracken and we agree this innovative taste combo shouldn’t be missed.
Other holiday favorites: Candyland (chocolate devil’s food cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting and crushed candy cane topping); “Small. Round. Joy-ous!” Box.
Pricing: $2.75 each, $29.70 dozen; Joy-ous half dozen box $16
DC Location: 1 Wisconsin Circle, Chevy Chase, MD; 301.539.9021; Frosting website
Red Velvet Cupcakery: Spiced Eggnog
Purest Ingredients Used: Egg nog buttercream frosting and cake garnished with a delicate biscotti cookie slice.
Winter Wonderland: Executive Pastry Chefs, Stephanie MacGlaughlin and Ciji Russell wanted to pair holiday favorites of eggnog and biscotti that would carry through as timeless winter season favorites. Using pure ingredients is an important factor that goes behind the menu creation. Not to mention, where else can you get a cupcake and biscotti cookie all in one?
Weekly Specials Coming Up: While stocked with decorative fondant garnishes for any cupcake combination, each week presents a holiday cupcake spotlight.
Up next: Gingerbread (gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing and gingerbread man cookie), followed by Triple Chocolate Candy Cane (flowerless chocolate cake/gluten free with milk chocolate mint ganache and white chocolate peppermint bar).
Pricing: $3.25 each, $36 dozen
DC Locations: 501 7th St NW DC, 11939 Democracy Dr. Reston, VA; Red Velvet Cupcakery
Georgetown Cupcake: Rudolph Red Velvet
Fondant Frenzy: Red velvet cupcake with vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a fondant red-nosed reindeer.
You know Dasher and Dancer: Pairing the most famous red-nosed reindeer of all with red velvet was a no brainer for Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis as was creating twelve fondant topping designs.
Twelve Days of Christmas: White Chocolate Peppermint, Santa’s Chocolate Chip, Red Mitten Vanilla, Coconut Snowball, Hannukah Dozen, Holiday Hazelnut, Holiday Lava Fudge
Pricing: $2.75 each, $15 half dozen, $29 dozen
DC Location: 3301 M St. NW DC (202.333.8448); 4834 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD (301.907.8900); Georgetown Cupcake online orders