DC Cupcakes in LA

Georgetown Cupcake - Vanilla & Chocolate

Happy New Year, friends!

It’s my first reconnaissance of 2014 and I’ll admit, we’re fortunate this one happened. If it weren’t for another cupcake enthusiast, I wouldn’t have known this East Coast chain had a shop in Southern California.

I’m speaking of Georgetown Cupcake in Los Angeles. The bakery offers over 100 flavors and its founders star in the series, DC Cupcakes on TLC.

Reality TV is not my preference, and with shows like Honey Boo Boo, I can’t even tell you what channel TLC is on my cable lineup.

Hence their reputation would not earn them any bonus points with this connoisseur. I was there to judge them on their cupcakes alone.

Their LA shop was unlike any bakery I’ve been in before. It was styled more like a fashion boutique than a cupcakery, with a few cafe tables for eating.

Now I’m well aware the early bird gets the cupcake. Still, I was disappointed in their 5pm selection.

The tiered silver platters held just a cupcake here and there. Moreover, they were mainly Christmas flavors. It was two days before a new year; most bakeries had switched their menu.

I was ready to move past the holidays, so I selected two flavors from their daily variety. The associate retrieved my cupcakes from the back and charged me $3 each.

I was surprised to see a fair price. It fit the smaller size of their cupcakes and I wasn’t being charged for the location or the Georgetown Cupcake name. How refreshing.

At home, I started with their Toffee Crunch. It’s a toffee cupcake with a toffee-infused vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with crushed Heath Bar.

Georgetown Cupcake - Toffee Crunch

The cake was moist with bits of toffee throughout. Their signature cream cheese frosting was smooth. It enhanced the cake’s flavor and crunchy toffee pieces.

But it got better.

The Georgetown Cupcake had an unusual shape. It wasn’t flat on top. Rather, it had a slight bowl in the middle that allowed the cupcake to hold more frosting. Thus the closer I got to the middle, the sweeter the cupcake became!

Glorious.

Now that I knew of Georgetown’s frosting technique, I eagerly moved on to Vanilla & Chocolate. It’s a Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake with whipped Callebaut chocolate frosting, topped with a seasonal fondant decoration.

I was drawn to this cupcake because of the fudge-like appearance of its frosting. Additionally, this classic combination is a good test of a bakery’s merit since there are no extras to hide behind.

Looks can be deceiving, as I was ill prepared for what came next.

Though I could see flecks of vanilla bean in the cake, its flavor was no match for the frosting.

The chocolate’s intensity was overwhelming.

I assumed the cacao percentage was in the dark chocolate range, which I can only handle in small increments. Alas, in this instance all I could do was use the cake as a shield.

I pushed aside the frosting to appreciate the cake’s texture and vanilla essence for a couple of nibbles. It was good. No doubt a lighter frosting would’ve allowed its flavor to be more apparent.

Once I ran out of cake to accompany the chocolate frosting, I set down my fork and stopped.

I was not about to wage a war I could not win.

I give Georgetown Cupcake 4 out of 5 stars.

I know many say the cupcake market is saturated. However, if you can bring something special, I say welcome.

I can understand why this chain is popular back East and I’m glad they brought their flavor to Los Angeles.

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6 thoughts on “DC Cupcakes in LA

  1. Just a quick point of clarification . . . I was not comparing their “cupcakes” to those of Starbucks, Panera, etc. I was comparing their “marketing tactics” to that of Starbucks and Wal-mart.

    All I’m saying is that they will not be offering anything different than what is already here in Atlanta, because many, many cupcake bakeries here do cupcakes “well, using quality products.”

    I’m sure they will fare well here . . . because they have a huge following . . . however, that doesn’t mean their cupcakes are necessarily better than what’s already here.

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    1. Thank you for clarifying. I get it now… Every market is different and your cupcake bakery experiences may vary from mine. We have bakeries that want to charge you for their name or a petite cake that looks pretty, but doesn’t taste good. Thus for LA, DC Cupcakes do bring something.

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  2. I’m sure DC Cupcakes are very good, but the cupcake craze started several years ago, and at this point, there are now a LOT of very good cupcake bakeries.

    Based on the flavors you tasted, every cupcake baker I know has some type of Heath Bar cupcake . . . and if your cupcakes are worth the salt you use to bake them, you also use Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract . . . Madagascar, Tonga, or India vanilla beans and Callebaut/Valrohna chocolate . . . nothing special there. It’s the ingredients that make a cupcake stand out and believe me, a lot of bakers have learned that lesson the hard way . . . those that haven’t, have already fallen by the wayside.

    And, yes, accept it or not, the market is saturated, some areas are more saturated than others. And, just because you CAN do something . . . just because you have a good product with a TV show and huge FB following to boot . . . doesn’t mean you should. It doesn’t mean you necessarily need to have a presence in EVERY major city across this country. Quality has been thrown out the door for quantity. Let’s see how many cupcake bakeries “ABC Bakery” can open! There are far too many franchise cupcake owners at this point, who don’t even visit their stores on a regular basis . . . who leave everything up to some store manager, etc. to tend to their products and quite frankly, it’s leaving a bad taste in the whole cupcake industry.

    From what I’ve read in your review, these cupcakes are not going to bring something “special” to every market, especially the Atlanta market. I don’t believe just because you have the resources, you should try and conquer every city and state that you can. In Atlanta, there are a lot of very, very good cupcake bakeries that already have that something “special”. . . CamiCakes, The Cupcake People, and I could go on and on.

    I just equate these “big box” cupcake bakeries to Wal-Mart and Starbucks. These companies moved in and made it impossible for other already established small businesses and mom and pop bakeries (which DC Cupcakes was at one point) to survive within their own community. And, it’s a shame because it’s these “local” businesses that really help sustain local communities . . . help them grow and prosper.

    I am planning to visit DC real soon and while there, I am looking forward to stopping by DC cupcake to have a cupcake . . . or two. I just don’t want to eat a DC cupcake in Atlanta, Georgia that’s all.

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    1. To be honest, I was unfamiliar with the DC Cupcakes brand and came into this recon with a clean slate. I understand that bigger does not necessarily mean better. However for me, their cupcakes differ from Starbucks, Panera or grocery stores trying to claim their share of the cupcake industry. Although the flavors I tasted can be found on most menus, they were done well, using quality products. I cannot speak for Atlanta, but I have paid more and received less in Los Angeles. I’d be curious to learn how DC Cupcakes fare in your market.

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