Review: Red Velvet Cupcakery (501 7th St NW,DC)
Cost: $3.25
Flavor: Lemon Burst
Score: 4.6

One of my early reviews as The Cupcake Critic was Red VelvetCupcakery. After a lot of feedback from my audience disclaiming my less than stellar review, I decided to give them another try. Almost two years later, I had a chance to pop into the Penn Quarter cupcake shop located one block from the Chinatown/Gallery Place metro stop.

Red Velvet’s Flavor Selection: Sold Out!
I was headed to the movies with a friend and while waiting decided to get myself a sweet treat. I noted in my original review that the customer service was awesome. I was greeted by a handsome young man who explained what was left of the flavors long gone after a full day of sales. I chose the lemon burst cupcake, forked over my $3.50 and was on my way.

Cupcake Art

I decided to save my treat for post movie, dinner and drinks and wait until I was home. Once home I dug into the creamy treat and to my surprise found it to be a sheer and utter delight. The frosting was creamy, smooth and bursting with lemon zest. Not too sweet or pungent with lemon flavor the uber-soft cake rounded out my overall experience.

The Lemon Burst Cupcake & Red Velvet Bag
I immediately regretted ever saying anything horrible about this friendly and centrally located shop. With hours of operation as late as midnight, I believe that I have found a new after-hours cupcake spot.

Review: YoCake (Dupont Circle: 1829 M Street NW, DC)
Flavors: Almond, Amaretto, Carrot Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Lemon Burst, Pecan Hazlenut, and Strawberry Champagne.
Cost: $2.75 each (Buy 5 Get 1 Free)
Score: 4.8

Montgomery County based YoCake recently moved into some cool D.C. digs a la Dupont Circle. Located next to Ozio’s,  the tasty combination of both cupcakes and frozen yogurt is sure to be  a hit amongst daytime workers and late-night club-crawlers alike. I stopped in to try six of their numerous flavors that range from 12 daily flavors and 45 specialty flavors. My assortment of cupcakes included: Amaretto, Carrot Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Lemon Burst, Pecan Hazlenut, and Strawberry Champagne. Each retailing for $2.75 with a buy 5 get 1 free deal. I also tried one of their amazing Yocake sundaes.

The gentleman behind counters was super sweet and patiently suggested flavors for my mountainous YoCake sundae. After I expressed my love for strawberries, he suggested the perfect combination: a strawberry champagne cupcake with a combination of cheesecake froyo and strawberry froyo topped with fresh strawberries. *Drool* The sundae was so big I couldn’t fit get the top on it.

Looking at the toppings bar I counted at least 10 toppings to choose from in addition to six frozen yogurt flavors. Great selection for creating your very own cupcake/froyo masterpiece. I took a quick spoonful of my sundae and it was awesome! The cheesecake and strawberry froyo was the perfect blend to accompany the sweet and delicate strawberry champagne cupcake. The adorning strawberries were the perfect balance of texture to make the sundae complete. I spent the rest of my weekend plotting how to get back to Dupont Circle and, oh yeah, by the way…stop and get another sundae.

The cupcakes were an even better treat. Each cuppie had a delicate balance of incredible texture and a frosting that would melt in your mouth; but not too sweet. They were the perfect size with a distinct flavor all their own. Although each cupcake was amazing, the strawberry champagne, lemon burst, and German chocolate cake were my favorite. I highly recommend them.

No cookie-cutter flavors here…both their cupcakes and frozen yogurt can stand alone while complementing one another. It’s good to know that YoCake can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Cupcakes Actually
Cupcakes Actually (11944 Grand Commons Ave Farifax, VA 22030)
Flavors: Cherries Jubilee
Cost: $3.75
Score: 3.8

Cherrie Jubilee cupcakes
Spending a few days with a college pal in the Commonwealth, I was pleased to discover that their home was within walking distance to Cupcakes Actually. Cupcakes Actually is tiny storefront housed in a gorgeous outdoor shopping center. Decorated in full cupcake fashion, parking was a breeze and we found a spot directly in front of the store.

I was immediately greeted with at least 8 different flavors to choose from ranging from ‘The Italian Stallion’ to key-lime and cannoli. They also advertised milk shots for $0.25 cents and cake bites for $1.50. I walked away with the cherries jubilee cupcake for $3.75 and a cute box. I must note that Cupcakes Actually was next door to Pinkberry (my new obsession) so I looked forward to both cupcakes and Pinkberry.

Cupcakes Actually’s Assorted Cake bites
When we arrived back at my friend’s house, we both looked at our cuppies, then to our Pinkberry, then back at our cuppies like, “which one do we choose first?” I went with my beloved cuppies and upon first bite, found it to be a solid “B” student. The frosting was abundant although heavy on the shortening. The cake was good but could have been a bit smoother. To their credit, they were replenishing their stock when we came in so those cupcake may have been made earlier in the day. Nonetheless, the cupcakes looked better than they actually tasted.

My cherries jubilee cupcake topped with a
cherry jelly belly
Neither bad nor crave-worthy, Cupcakes Actually are a great choice for suburban-dwellers who want to be tied-over until their next cupcake-fix.

Danielle’s Desserts (2001 international Drive McLean, VA 22102)
Flavors: Caramel, Double Chocolate, Red Velvet, Coconut, Sour Cream Banana Walnut, and Strawberries-n-Cream
Cost: $3.25 each
Score: 4.5

Recently, I was contacted by the team for Danielle’s Desserts on doing a review for their cupcakes. I was thrilled because I’ve been following Danielle’s Desserts on Twitter for sometime and assumed she focused more on elaborate desserts, and not cupcakes. Within days I had a box of six cupcake faces smiling at me! My box contained flavors ranging from fruity, salty-sweet, and traditional.

For $3.25 each, these cupcakes were a healthy size. Although I didn’t have to travel to their location in Tysons Galleria, I do know that their location is metro accessible by train and bus but driving there would probably ideal. Also, for those who do drive there, expect valet parking service which is sweet!

Each cupcake had a silky smooth texture and flavor. The frosting was a bit sweet but overall an absolute treat. Check out my breakdown for each flavor:

Caramel
The caramel cupcake was moist, very flavorful, a bit sweet but the heath candy bits were a nice addition. The cake seemed larger than the others and reminded me of Baked & Wired’s cupcakes for two. The mix of salty-sweet was great, I just wish that they would have been less sweet.

Coconut
The coconut cupcake we essentially perfect! The cakes texture was unusually delicate while the frosting strayed away from traditional super-coconut flavor and immediate sweet-ness. It was well planned, took it’s time and delivered!

Red Velvet 
It’s never a secret that the Critic doesn’t care for red velvet anything! *cue childhood memories* But on the chance that I am forced to review a red velvet cupcake, it’s really saying something if I can enjoy it- and I did. There was a balance of sweetness with the flavorful cake which didn’t rely on the over usage of cocoa powder. The color was perfect and the texture moist without overkill (slow down on the palm kernel oil, folks!).

Sour cream Banana Walnut
My initial thought was, “I like banana but in a cupcake? What a funny name…” This cupcake reminded more of a sweet muffin as the cake was nice banana (with real banana) while the frosting was delicate, it was really there to decipher this cupcake from a muffin. In essence, it wasn’t bad (I wouldn’t kick it out of bed) but compared to its siblings, it wasn’t that great either.

Strawberries-N-Cream
This was my first cupcake in the bunch. It was love at first sight! The vanilla cupcake was delicate and topped with an even more delicate cream frosting with perfectly sliced strawberries adorning it. All of the components came together beautifully and it was my favorite out of the entire batch.

Double Chocolate
Chocolate, chocolate and this cupcake delivered on the promise! Although it is a double chocolate cupcake, both the frosting and the cake could their own or do the tango in tandem. I could taste the coffee (used as a softener) but it was perfect and gave that excellent punch that good chocolate (cup)cake needs.

Overall Danielle’s Desserts are a treat that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for my Virginia Cupcake Lovers!