Battle of the DC Cupcakes!

I’m a big fan of TLC, and one of the cutest shows on TLC is DC Cupcakes. Cupcakes and TLC?  Yes please!  The reality show follows the duo sisters pair, Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis, as they left the corporate business world in 2008 to open a cupcake shop in the chic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC.  The real name of the shop is Georgetown Cupcakes, and being that my hotel on my recent trip to DC was mere blocks away I knew I had to try a few…or a dozen!  Then I realized that another Georgetown mainstay, Sprinkles, was just 3 blocks away on M Street.  The cupcakes called to me, like mana from heaven.  I was a girl on a mission.
First, a disclaimer.  Some of you may have predispositions as to a favorite cupcakery…these are only my humble reviews.  In the end, it’s cupcake!  You won’t really have a bad time or bad cupcake at either place.
Ok, phew!  Now on to the cupcakes!
Getting there and overall first impressions:
If you’re not staying in Georgetown you can easily get there from downtown on the DC Circulator bus from Union Station or Dupont Circle, both of which will take you up M Street.  I first hit up Georgetown Cupcakes.  I thought the store front was really fun and cute!

When you walk up you will notice a line.  It is on average about a 10 minute wait to get to place your order, so the line moves fast.  Take a close look and you will notice the icing swirl they always use incorporated in their logo.  From the outside, it looks clean and sleek.

I really dig the pink in the Sprinkles store front.  Once again, you will notice their signature cupcake tops in the logo, which is really cute, though the writing could be bigger.  Where Georgetown Cupcakes does a neat swirl on top, Sprinkles chooses a smooth spread on top of theirs.  You won’t find the line outside Sprinkles normally.   TV fame and popularity help Georgetown Cupcakes with that.

Cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes

The display cases were pretty impressive in Georgetown Cupcakes.  I frankly liked the fact that the cupcakes were displayed in tiers and you could see all the lovely decorations much easier.  The variety and seasonal specials will overwhelm you.  There are about 18 standard flavors, like chocolate, red velvet, vanilla (using Madagasgar bourbon vanialla…yeah that’s a thing), and chocalate ganache.  Then there are about 5-7 daily specials that revolve like cookies and cream, key lime cheesecake, carrot, and salted caramel.  Expect only to get a mocha fudge on a Sunday for example.  Then there are seasonal favorites, which sometimes are just classics dressed up for the occassion, like the 4th of July red velvet, but often times use seasonal ingredients to make a fresh new cupcake.  For example, you will see the lemon blueberry cupcake in the summer months, and in December you might see the white chocolate peppermint or the gingerbread.  Mouth watering, yet?!

Down the road at Sprinkles, the display case and variety was kinda a let down after Georgetown, not gonna lie.  The store front is smaller, and they also have other things, like ice cream, so their variety is substantially smaller.  On a given day they seem to have about 10.  Still, the display case was pretty, though I preferred to have a nicer presentation.  Sprinkles actually experiments with some interesting flavors like chai tea, cuban coffee or cinnamon and sugar. They also have a Cupcake ATM in a number of cities like Chicago, Dallas, and New York.

Cupcakes At Sprinkles!

The Cupcakes
I believe a place lives and dies by their Red Velvet cake, so of course this was the first thing I went for.  It’s one of the few flavors the two stores have in common. Georgetown’s red velvet was denser than Sprinkles, which was almost too moist.  It was really the cream cheese icing that saved Georgetown Cupcakes for me.  Sprinkles icing feels and tastes more like a glaze, perfectly eatable, but if you are expecting that thick, smooth, creamy icing like I do, stick with Georgetown Cupcakes.  I was just not a fan of Sprinkles icing, and the cake was very crumbly so it will make it more difficult to share with a friend 🙂 Wait! Share?  You do get slightly more cupcake for your buck at Sprinkles though, which is a plus!

Georgetown red velvet (L) and Sprinkles red velvet (R)
Georgetown red velvet (L) and Sprinkles red velvet (R)

Flavors I tried:
At Georgetown I tried the 4th of July Red Velvet (yum!), Salted Caramel (double yum, with the caramel in the middle), Key Lime Cheesecake (tastes just like it, with the graham cracker base at the bottom!), and Coconut (awesome, if you are a coconut fan).
At Sprinkles I tried the Red Velvet (flavorful cake, good staple) and Cuban Coffee (had a nice, rich coffee flavor in both the icing and cake, great for coffee lovers).

Overall Winner?
Location and Store Front:  Both we nicely located along busy M Street in Georgetown and had appealing store fronts from a customer perspective
Cake: Gotta give it to Georgetown for their moist, flavorful cake and creative creations. Sprinkles cake was moist, but a little too crumbly.
Icing:  Definitely also have to give this to Georgetown.  You get almost as much icing as you do cake, and it’s rich and creamy.   If you prefer a less overpowering icing Sprinkles is your bet.  I just wasn’t a fan overall.

If you’re ever in the DC area, definitely head for the cupcakes!

Buen viajes, gnomies!

Ever been to either Georgetown Cupcakes or Sprinkles?  Let the gnome know what you thought.

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