Two sweet shops face off for the best red velvet cupcake

Media Credit: Sarah Urtz | Assistant Photo Editor

Nearby cupcake staples Georgetown Cupcake and Baked & Wired both shine in different aspects of flavor and presentation.

One is a nationally acclaimed cupcake shop. The other is a local bakery favorite. But there’s one that comes out on top in presentation, price and flavor.

Baked & Wired, located at 1052 Thomas Jefferson St., and Georgetown Cupcake, located at 3301 M St., are both nestled blocks apart from each other along the brick-paved streets of Georgetown and boast a wide selection of gourmet cupcakes. We tasted a bite of each stop’s classic red velvet cupcake to find out which sweet wears the crown.

Cake

Both cakes shared the classic dark red color and a chocolate-vanilla taste.

Baked & Wired’s cupcake was a happy medium of dense and light and fluffy. The cake was moist, with only a faint chocolate taste compared to the shop’s more chocolate-heavy options like “Chocolate Doom.” The batter is made with a dash of chocolate and vanilla, according to Baked & Wired’s website.

Georgetown Cupcake’s red velvet cake shared a similar mixed chocolate and vanilla flavor to Baked & Wired’s rendition, but the outer edges of the cake were dry. The outside of the cake appeared and tasted stale even though I tasted the cupcake minutes after the shop opened. Despite its shortcomings, the overall cake was fluffy and the center of the cupcake was moist.

Verdict: Baked & Wired takes the cake.

Frosting

A frosting can make or break a cupcake, and the two cupcake shops were tasked with perfecting a red velvet cream cheese frosting. Baked & Wired claims to top its red velvet cupcakes with a “heap of cream cheese frosting,” while Georgetown Cupcake says its frosting is vanilla cream cheese.

Baked & Wired’s frosting had notes of cream cheese, but it was sweeter than a typical cream cheese frosting. The frosting was lathered on top of the cake in no particular shape or spiral, but the consistency was thick and balanced. The cupcake’s frosting-to-cake ratio was slightly off, with frosting taking over the flavor of the rest of the cake.

Georgetown Cupcake’s vanilla cream cheese frosting was balanced with the rest of the cake. The flavor was what I expected and wanted in a cream cheese frosting – sweet, but not sweet enough to overpower the cake flavor. The white frosting was neatly piped in a smooth dome on top of the cake, and the texture was smoother than Baked & Wired’s frosting.

Verdict: Georgetown Cupcake kept it classic with enough cream cheese flavor.

Presentation

Presentation and decoration are the cupcake’s first impression to a customer.

Baked & Wired keep its decorations to a minimum, focusing more on the size and flavor of the cake instead of the presentation. The red velvet cupcakes are topped with small, silver edible pearls, adding an endearing touch to an otherwise simple look. The semi-transparent parchment paper wrapper holds the cake and unfolds into a square shape. The frosting is also spread evenly on top of the tall cake with no distinct shape or swirl.

Georgetown Cupcake focuses on presentation. The decoration is kept simple with a small red fondant heart topping the smooth, white frosting. The frosting is neatly piped into a circle, leaving a small rim between the frosting and the edge of the cupcake. A brown cupcake wrapper hugs the cake.

Verdict: Georgetown Cupcake’s neat and simple decoration.

Bang for your buck

When it comes to sweets in the District, they aren’t cheap.

Baked & Wired’s red velvet cupcake retails for $4.10, while Georgetown Cupcake’s red velvet cupcake cost $3.50. While Georgetown Cupcake’s sweet is only 60 cents cheaper, it is nearly half the size of Baked & Wired’s cupcake.

Baked & Wired’s cupcakes are notable for their height and are even called “cakecups” on its menu because of their relatively large size. While Georgetown Cupcake’s cupcakes are of the standard size, you’ll find the better deal at Baked & Wired.

Verdict: Baked & Wired’s large cupcakes will give you the most for your money.

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