Today, I went on an epic walk (I’m guessing it was probably 4-5 miles, but my feet argue 20), in search of a few museums that were free this weekend. I am on a tight budget (meaning no budget), but I thought it necessary to indulge in a cultural culinary activity on the way home (it was only fair to my feet). I stopped in to Sprinkles, a crowded but modernly-furnished cupcakerie on M street in Georgetown. I figured the cupcakes would be expensive, but I knew they were a “must-eat” for D.C.. I ordered the key lime flavor and headed for a quiet place to enjoy and reflect upon my treat.
According to their website, “Sprinkles Cupcakes are handcrafted from the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. Topped with Sprinkles’ trademark modern dots, rich chocolate sprinkles from France, or seasonal sugar decorations, Sprinkles’ gourmet cupcakes are a deliciously sophisticated update on an American classic.”
While I am unclear about what makes a dot “modern” or a cupcake “gourmet”, I felt it necessary to try out a specimen from one of Georgetown’s premier cupcake shops. Sprinkles was started in Beverly Hills to service rich people who didn’t know what else to spend their money on (they even have doggie cupcakes, and for just $2.50 each these are sure to be a bargain :) :) :) !!!! <3 <3 !!), and quickly made its way around the country to 11 different locations, including LA, Chicago, New York City, and Dallas(?). It looks like this franchise follows the Desperate Housewives wherever they go! It is interesting that they market the store as a throwback bakery, digging through the corporate corruption into the childish hearts of our nation’s middle-class tourists. Yet, at $3.50 per cupcake (and we’re talking regular-sized cupcakes–they aren’t huge by any means), wouldn’t we rather the kids cherish 5 cent hot-dogs and home-made apple pie? Georgetown Cupcake is the other specialty store on M street in Georgetown, and while I have yet to venture across the street to try “the best red velvet in town!”, I’m sure its clientele and quality are similar.
Here is what I have deduced (graded on a scale of 1-5):
Decoration: 2. THE FROSTING WASN’T EVEN GREEN. But I guess the dot was modern as dots go.
Taste: 3. It did taste like key lime, but I feel that I could easily have achieved this effect with a white cake Betty Crocker mix and some lime extract.
Customer Service: 2. They are efficient, but their method of ordering with one employee and paying with another (just because it’s policy and not because it’s necessary) irked me slightly. I also distrust places that ask for my name and require credit card validation if I am making a purchase of $10 or less.
Value: 2. Gourmet cupcakes are a novelty to be tried once, but no one making less than $80,000 per year could make it a habit. The cupcakes were definitely good, but if I am going to pay $3.50 for one it better be the size of my face.
To summarize, make a pit-stop at Sprinkles or Georgetown Cupcakes it if you are on vacation in the area, but don’t go out of your way (especially since G-town has no metro stop!). I am a lover of cupcakes (and all things frosted), but I would pick a ginormous carrot cake cupcake from Black Sheep over these pint-sized, overly-advertised copy-kittens. Or, I would make a mutant creature in a bundt dish, cover it with three tubs of frosting, some googly eyes, and pink crunchy sprinkles, and give it away for hugs :)
Here is an extra-sweet vid for those of you that love sugar, guns, and a little bit of fun :)
PPPPS: Here is my favorite blog for you entrepreneurial bakers: http://www.bakerella.com/ the cake-pops are OMNOM.