(Note: I just got back from South Africa yesterday. My brain has absolutely ZERO idea what time it is. I contemplated blogging last night, but I was deliriously tired, and acting slightly more crazy than normal. At one point, I may have fallen over my husband in the kitchen because I wanted to bite his arm. When he didn’t acquiesce, I started whining like a four-year-old.

So he let me bite his arm. 

I’m still kind of out of it, but I’m pleased to say that the attempts at spousal cannibalism have become far more infrequent since that episode. I’m going to try and get my bearings over the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll be posting about a few trips that we had prior to South Africa, that I haven’t gotten around to telling you about. Enjoy.)

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Like any good alchemist, I spend a lot of time at home trying to turn lead into gold. Or, more precisely, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and a bit of vanilla into cake.

Same thing, basically.

I usually have more than a modicum of success at it. I’ve become a pretty accomplished baker over the years (and an even more accomplished eater).

But every now and then, I have a misstep. Last weekend, I attempted to make some oatmeal butterscotch cookies. And while the chemistry behind my error eludes me, I will say this: they did not turn out as planned. Rather than form anything remotely resembling a cookie, they spread out and fused together into a thin lattice.

I pulled the cookie tray out of the oven and stared at my failure. I poked at it feebly with a fork.

And then I figured, what the hell, I might as well try a bite. It was either that or the trash. I gently forked up a morsel. Then another.

By the time that Rand came into the kitchen and found me there, the pan was already half consumed.

He stared at me for a moment. I opened my mouth to say something. To try to explain to him that contrary to appearances, I did have some degree of willpower. That I was better than this. Really.

But before anything came out (remember, my mouth was full of butterscotch-flavored failure), Rand grabbed a fork and polished off the rest of the tray.

God, I adore him.

The point is this: in my love life, I am discerning. In the world of baked goods, I am not always so.

The cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake in Boston, are on the opposite end of the spectrum as my cookies. The bakery started in D.C., and has several locations, including one on Newbury Street.

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Their confections are pretty to look at, and hold together nicely. But they aren’t so good as to justify frenzied eating right out of the figurative pan. You will not find yourself, after you’ve finished your cake, pressing your finger against any crumbs that may remain at the bottom of the box.

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Look, none of this stopped me from eating three of them, but I think I’ve made it clear that sometimes I can’t be trusted.

The shop is adorable, nestled in the row of brick buildings that line Newbury street, blending in so well that the storefront would be easy to miss. The line is formidable, and it’s best to get the cakes to go, since there’s not much seating inside.

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The cakes have a dense, grainy crumb (think cornbread), a feature which I’m not opposed to. They aren’t terribly large, but are on the expensive side. Half a dozen cupcakes set me back about $20. The frosting was thick and almost gummy – many of the vanilla variants were cream-cheese based.

I wasn’t thoroughly impressed, but a friend who managed to rifle a mocha cupcake away from me declared it one of the best she’d ever had.

Like someone in a doomed relationship, I stuck with it, hoping things would improve. I took bite after bite, thinking, “This next one will be better.”

It wasn’t.

It’s not that I would advise you to steer clear of Georgetown cupcake – it’s just that I felt somewhat let down. The cute storefront, the adorable boxes … all of that built me up, while the cupcakes themselves fell flat.

There was a lesson to be learned here – within a few days, it was practically screaming at me. We were in Chinatown, and Rand told me that he’d heard there was a good cake shop nearby (I know I said it before in this post, but it bears repeating: I adore him).

The facade of Eldo Cake House was not particularly noticeable. The interior was equally forgettable.

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The desserts were simple, and ridiculously cheap. $2.00 for a generous slice of spongy cake, filled with fruits and cream. $0.80 for a rolled slice of cake with cream filling.

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Having been burned before by Boston’s dessert scene, I took a tentative taste. Yes. Yes, this was going to work.

“Do you want a bite?” I said to Rand, though I made no move to offer him one.

He nodded. “It’s cool,” he said. I’ll grab my own fork. A wise decision, as I showed no signs of relinquishing mine.

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He wasn’t gone long. Perhaps a 10 seconds. Maybe 15. And while it was not my intention, by the time he returned, the cake was gone.

“Should we get another slice?” I asked, somewhat guiltily. Rand merely smiled and shook his head. He knew as well as I, that had we ordered another piece, he probably wouldn’t get to try that one, either.

Because sometimes it’s now how your dessert looks. It’s how it tastes, as you quickly mash it down your gullet, in moves so quick, they look like a blur.

Full list of categories:  City Guide » Cupcake Death Match » Food » Restaurants
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Comments (23)

  1. 05. Feb, 2013 / vks:

    Totally agree. I just don’t think Georgetown Cupcake is that great. I live in DC and my favorite local shop is Hello Cupcake in Dupont. Their frosting is totally superior. Red Velvet is decent too. Their peanut butter cupcakes are quite good.

    If you’re going to be in New York anytime soon, I HIGHLY recommend looking up Sweet Revenge in the West Village. I had their Vanilla/Vanilla cupcake last week, I cannot put into words the feelings that cupcake made me feel about vanilla extract and butter cream.

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  2. 05. Feb, 2013 / Just One Boomer (Suzanne):

    I should have known better than to read an Everywhereist post reviewing bakeries this close to lunchtime (on the East coast). I am now officially ravenous, dammit. Even the pan (get it?) of the first bakery was not offputting thanks to the photos. And
    now I’m supposed to be happy with the lovely salad in the refrigerator. Really?

    P.S.: I know you said the prices at Eldo were ridiculosly low, but $0.00 for a creme filled caje roll? Perhaps it was a jet lagged fueled typo.

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    Just One Boomer (Suzanne) Reply:

    Of course, I can’t blame jet lag for my typo. Can I blame post induced cake craving?

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    Everywhereist Reply:

    It should be $0.80. You are right. A very jet-lagged fueled typo. :)

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  3. 05. Feb, 2013 / Christina:

    I almost steer clear of to pretty or cute bakeries….almost. Seriously though, my favorite desserts come from this place called, wait for it, Chinese Bakery. They have the best cakes, not to sweet, with fresh whipped topping, full of fruit and almonds on the side. We had their cake at my last birthday and I think i remember not even using a fork, but I’m going to blame the drinks for that behavior.

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  4. 05. Feb, 2013 / Mary Rose:

    Come to DC and taste what Georgetown Cupcake ripped off. Baked & Wired in Georgetown has the best cupcakes I’ve ever head, and they’re about half the size of your head. As a cupcake aficionado, I will give you a run for your money, and I promise B&W won’t disappoint. Come to DC!

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    Jill Reply:

    I emailed my DC friend the following sentence:

    “What’s the name of that unbelievably good giant cupcake place we went to down the hill and around the corner from Georgetown Cupcake?”

    And guess what, it’s Baked and Wired. I highly endorse and second this recommendation!

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  5. 05. Feb, 2013 / Sharon:

    I bought the red velvet cupcakes from Costco the other day…my favorite cupcakes ever!! They are HUGE and their frosting OMG! I can’t buy them very often because I will eat one every day until they’re gone. I refuse to pay $3.00 for one cupcake at a fancy little shop.

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  6. 05. Feb, 2013 / Ericka Olin:

    Hey Geraldine! I tweeted you a few months ago about our shared love of cake (and because I realized I heard your hubby speak at a social media conference in Duluth, MN). Next time you or Rand are in the Twin Cities or Duluth area, you can count on 6 free cupcakes from The ButterCup Factory: http://www.buttercupfactory.com. I promise not to disappoint. :-)

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  7. 05. Feb, 2013 / A.Red:

    If you are ever in Miami I recommend Mishas Cupcakes. These cupcakes are the whole package Great taste, Great look ,Great store, and Great price. I think I have tried all there cupckes “I have a problem”.

    P.S. THERE CAKE IS ALSO OUT OF THIS WORLD.

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  8. 05. Feb, 2013 / Angie:

    I can also tell you which cupcake place to avoid in Cincinnati should you ever find yourself in town. As much as I’d love to love them, I just can’t. It’s one of those over hyped places with the chic interior and “gourmet” flavors. And also happens to be approximately 1 block from my place of work. So I’ve paid $3.50 per cupcake one too many times in my attempt to love them. And every single time I’ve been disappointed. Oh, and thankfully, the last time I stopped by, they had closed 5 minutes prior to my arrival … so I went to Kroger and spent $1.99 for a dozen mini cupcakes which were heavenly.

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  9. 05. Feb, 2013 / Lisa Robinson:

    In Fredericton, New Brunswick, Monkeycakes is pretty fantastic. Their store is tiny, but the cupcakes are awesome (and I don’t usually like cupcakes). I’m looking forward to trying their maple bacon flavour –very Canadian!

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  10. 06. Feb, 2013 / Louise:

    I’m going to NY and to Washington for the first time in April, I’ve made note to go to baked and wired in Washington and to Sweet Revenge in NY based on the other comments.

    Note if you come to London you must try LOLA’S cupcakes, there are branches throughout the city but my local is in mayfair on lansdowne row. Blueberry and Red Velvet are to die for.

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    Jill Reply:

    Also try Sugar Sweet Sunshine in NYC! I recommend the BOB

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  11. 06. Feb, 2013 / Cat:

    hahah spousal cannibalism. That made me laugh.

    Cute cupcakes. I wish I ate sweets so I could have one!

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  12. 06. Feb, 2013 / Mia:

    Agreed. As a DCist, Georgetown is overrated at best. You just WANT it to be so much more. If you are ever in the Boston area again you should try Kick *ss Cupcakes. http://www.kickasscupcakes.com/index.php Three words: Deep Fried Cupcake. :)

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  13. 06. Feb, 2013 / Maria:

    Mmmmmm….baked goods.

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  14. 07. Feb, 2013 / Liz:

    Sprinkles Cupcakes are a million times better than Georgetown Cupcake! We had them at our wedding…absolutely delicious. (And you can’t have just one…)

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  15. 07. Feb, 2013 / Elizabeth:

    I am so happy to read this! I rarely feel compelled to make comments, but I feel the EXACT same way about Georgetown Cupcake. Everyone here in DC is completely obsessed and yes, they’re good, but they aren’t THAT good. The boxes are cute and they’re decorated nicely, but I’d rather make a cupcake out of a box. I actually miss those in these days of fancy designer desserts!

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  16. 07. Feb, 2013 / Paige C. Willey:

    As a fellow cupcake connoisseur (seriously, I have a cupcake budget. It is larger than my food budget), Georgetown cupcakes are my favorite cupcakes. I used to drive three hours each way to the nearest store to get them. BUT you have to get the right ones. Not every cupcake is good. Which flavors did you have? Because the salted caramel and the cherry blossom (seasonal) are literally the greatest things I have ever consumed. I once made the salted caramels for my coworkers using the Georgetown recipe, and they raved about them.

    It is possible you didn’t get one of their better flavors.

    That being said, cupcakes are like cheeses. There aren’t really any bad ones, people just have different preferences for cupcake composition. It’s very likely that your cupcake composition preference is different from the Georgetown style.

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  17. 08. Feb, 2013 / Lindsay:

    I, like you, have a slight obsession with all-things-baked (especially cupcakes). I have been known to purchase a dozen…or so, and eat half the box in one sitting… my husband thinks it may be a sickness, hmmmm. Anywho, I lived in DC for 8 years and can confidently say that I’ve sampled all the city has to offer in the baked goods department. Georgetown Cupcakes was one of the first on the scene and one of the first I sampled. I fully agree with you, that I don’t at all understand the hype, price tag, and lines wrapped around the block. That didn’t stop me from (literally) trying every flavor (as in, I went every day to sample the different daily flavors). None of the flavors blew me away. My favorite cupcake (and coffee) shop in DC, bar none, is Baked and Wired. You MUST try this place, if you have not already. The cupcakes are massive, soft and the icing is so yummy I could just eat it by the spoonful! Their coffee ain’t too shabby either. I live in Nashville, TN now and haven’t had a cupcake in a while. It’s been, like- a month or something crazy! I’m going to use a gift certificate my sis-in-law gave me for Christmas and go get a dozen from Cupcake Collection. RIGHT NOW. Your post inspired me (and turned on the sweet tooth!) Thanks!!

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  18. 11. Feb, 2013 / Richard Crest:

    I agree, that’s why many say looks can be deceiving.:) Great taste for desserts is more important than the facade of the store, box and cake.

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  19. 06. Mar, 2013 / ANISA:

    Wow, as I sit here at my desk eating a very freckled banana, I am sooo jonesing for a cupcake. There are no cupcake shops around here that I know of except maybe for gluten free. Can’t even find a good muffin in this town.

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