by Bethany Imondi
It seems that everyone has a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. When you’re a part of a couple, February 14th is another cause for celebration with your favorite person. Whether it be celebrated with a fancy restaurant dinner, watching romantic comedies or receiving teddy bears and rose bouquets, the holiday is beloved by those in pairs. For singletons, though, the day might as well be called “Singles’ Awareness Day.”
But regardless of the differences in feelings about Valentine’s Day, there really is no contest when it comes to the holiday’s sweets. Conversation hearts and anything chocolate-related are as iconic of the day as is Cupid. But while a box of candy or chocolate hearts are the typical go-to treats, the District’s plethora of cupcakeries affords another way to satisfy any sweet tooth. Whether you celebrate today with someone special or looking for a way to celebrate yourself, here’s a roundup of local cupcake shops and their Valentine’s Day specials.
Georgetown Cupcake ★★
Like Valentine’s Day itself, people either love or hate Georgetown Cupcake. Despite lines that now mirror those for waiting to ride roller coasters, there are still loyalists who will do anything for the treats from Georgetown’s original cupcake shop. For those who cannot afford a blue box of Tiffany jewels, a pink box of cupcakes might be the next best thing. In addition to their normal rotation of flavors, the shop has February specials to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Available throughout the month are Strawberry Lava Fudge, a chocolate cupcake with a fudge core topped with strawberry frosting and Strawberry, the classic vanilla recipe with fresh strawberries added to the batter then topped with strawberry frosting. There are also special versions of the vanilla, chocolate and chocolate squared cupcakes, all of which come topped with seasonal fondant decorations. Although the cupcakes won’t last as long as a bouquet of roses, they definitely taste better.
The newest shop on the block, Georgetown’s Sprinkles is the first D.C. outpost of the California-based franchise. The brainchild of Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson, Sprinkles serves up creative and decadent treats that, according to its website, promise to “conjure up lovely memories of your own childhood or family, or simply the pleasure of good taste.” If the line at the shop up the street is too long, the cupcakes at Sprinkles are big enough to share, or indulgent to enjoy by yourself. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the shop is baking up a special Raspberry Chocolate Chip creation. Belgian chocolate cake is studded with chocolate chips then topped with a luscious raspberry frosting. The XOX box is also available, and it includes favorites like Red Velvet, Chocolate Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate. With such a wide variety of flavors available on any given day, you might not ever have to wait outside in line for cupcake again.
Baked and Wired ★★★★
When someone says they avoid Georgetown Cupcake, chances are they are fans of Baked and Wired. Loyalists of the latter skip the former’s lengthy lines and instead hang out in this cozy bakery. Cupcakes flavors range depending on the season, but some of those available year-round include Chocolate Cupcake of Doom, a chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate satin icing, and The Tessita, a vanilla cupcake with dulce de leche filling and chocolate-hazelnut icing. Currently, the coffee shop/bakery/study spot is touting a Menage a Trois cupcake. This elegant sounding dessert consists of chocolate cake, raspberry filling and cream cheese icing. Washed down with a handcrafted coffee drink, the parchment wrapped cupcakes are whimsical and oh-so satisfying.
Dean and Deluca ★★
Were it not for our budget-strapped wallets, many of us agree that Dean and Deluca is the grocery store we wish we could afford. With its shelves of gourmet food stuffs, including truffle butter, risotto mix and flavored olive oils, the store offers a range of ingredients perfect for the most pretentious dinner party. In addition to its stocked items, Dean and Deluca also has a wide selection of baked goods. Right now, the store is advertising its Hugs and Kisses Cupcakes. Available in Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla or Chocolate Sour Cream and hand-frosted with either vanilla or chocolate frosting, the cupcakes come decorated with red and white Xs and Os. If you are stopping in for ingredients to whip up a special V-day meal, these cupcakes are a simple finish to the evening. However, if you’re going to splurge for dinner shopping at Dean and Deluca, you might as well splurge on a more memorable dessert.
Photo: Flickr user w.jeffrey