Danielle blogs about anything and everything cupcake, from reviews of new flavors and shops to cupcake apparel, jewelry, and accessories. Her blog is a Blog of the Day Awards winner and has been nominated by readers for Best Food Blog on the Web site Blogger’s Choice Awards—all within four months of its official launch.
Though she wishes she could blog and eat cupcakes for a living, it doesn’t pay the bills (at least not yet). By day, Danielle is a contracts administrator for a government contractor in Bethesda. “Like most people, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated,” says the 24-year-old Montgomery County native. “I just kind of fell into it.”
We caught up with Danielle to chat about her favorite subject. Unfortunately, no taste tests were involved, but we sincerely hope Danielle sends us a box of her Key-lime cupcakes to sample. (Hint, hint.) Read on to find out where she goes to get a cupcake fix, whether she prefers her cupcakes with sprinkles or plain, and her favorite cupcake-related article of clothing in her wardrobe.
Cupcake flavor of choice:
“I’m a carrot-cake fiend, but I’m addicted to trying fun, innovative flavors. I recently tried a peach-meringue-pie cupcake from Lavender Moon in Alexandria, and it was wonderful. Other favorites include the s’mores cupcake from Lola Cookies & Treats in Leesburg, Couture Cupcake’s brownie cupcake (available at Café Tu-O-Tu and ACKC Cocoa Bar), and Hello Cupcake’s Velvet Elvis. When people ask me who has the best cupcakes, I always respond by asking what flavors they’re looking for. Different places are good at different things.”
Last cupcake you ate and where it was from:
“A pumpkin-spice cupcake from Hello Cupcake in Dupont Circle. It was without a doubt the best vegan cupcake I’ve ever had, way better than anything from Sticky Fingers, which is a vegan bakery. I was enjoying it over a cup of coffee with my DC/Metro Cupcake Meetup Group.”
Favorite cupcake place in Washington:
“Hello Cupcake. I love the frosting, I love the flavors, the staff is friendly, it’s in a convenient location, and, most importantly, I can sit down right there and enjoy my cupcake.”
Cupcake place not worth the hype:
“CakeLove. I wish someone would explain to me how on earth this place got itself on the map. The cake is dry, the icing is gross and oily, and the presentation looks like the product of a five-year-old’s baking experiment. I’d get more pleasure from eating a handful of dirt. Okay not really, but you get the point.”
Favorite dessert besides cupcakes:
“When I was little, my mom used to buy boxes of peanut-butter cups. She’d put them in the fridge so they’d get really cold for when we wanted one. I know that’s not really a dessert, but there’s something about cold peanut-butter cups that I can’t pass up. Other than that and cupcakes, I’m not much of a dessert person. If you gave me the choice of a pomegranate or a pastry, I’d go for the pomegranate. Ooh! I wonder how a pomegranate cupcake would taste!”
Number of cupcakes you’ve eaten this week:
“This has been one of my better weeks (for the waistband, that is). I’ve only had two! One homemade carrot cake and a red velvet from the Flying Cupcake in Indianapolis. (My boyfriend has family in the Midwest, so I’m out there a lot.) They bake chunks of chocolate into their red velvet, which I’ve never seen anyone else do. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.”
Favorite boxed cake mix:
“I can taste a boxed mix a mile away, and I’m not a fan. But if you’re going to use one, I think Duncan Hines is the best option. Try to find recipes online that incorporate the boxed mixes. This helps mask the boxed taste and gives your cake a more original flavor.”
Sprinkles or no sprinkles?
“Nobody likes an ugly cupcake! Sprinkles, adornments, garnishes—I’m all for making cupcakes pretty. But don’t go overboard—nobody wants to bite into a cupcake blanketed with nonpareils.”
Buttercream or cream-cheese icing?
“While I prefer cream-cheese frosting to buttercream, it really depends on the flavor of cupcake. If it’s chocolate or vanilla, I want buttercream. If I’m eating red velvet or carrot cake, then definitely cream-cheese frosting. All of the frostings at Georgetown Cupcake are cream-cheese-based. Some people love this, but it’s also met a little bit of criticism with people who prefer buttercream.”
Best cupcake presentation for impressing guests:
“Simple—use a decorating tip! Don’t just slap the frosting on with a butter knife. (I’m looking at you, Warren Brown from CakeLove.) Top it off with some chopped nuts, chocolate shavings, or sprinkles and voilà—a beautiful cupcake!”
Most outlandish frosting you’ve ever tried:
“Goat-cheese frosting. Last month I was a judge in DC’s first annual cupcake contest and one of the contestants made it. I couldn’t even tell you what the flavor of cake was because all I could taste was this goat cheese. Yuck.”
Best cupcake option for calorie counters:
“When it comes to cupcakes, or any dessert for that matter, make it yourself. This way you know exactly what you’re eating and you can track it. When I was really into Weight Watchers, I’d enter my recipes into their online system. It gave me a point value per cupcake.”
Most creative cupcake you’ve ever made:
“Probably my Key-lime cupcake. I go to Key West every summer with my family, and when I was there in July I picked up some local ingredients to play around with when I got home. I made a Key-lime-infused cupcake with a Key-lime-pie filling, frosted with buttercream, drizzled with a Key-lime glaze, and topped off with crumbles of Key-lime/white-chocolate-chip cookies. It was actually really good.”
Favorite cupcake-related item in your wardrobe:
“My Juicy Couture cupcake necklace. I would’ve loved that Judith Leiber cupcake clutch from the Sex and the City movie, but I have a feeling if I shelled out 12 car payments on a purse, my boyfriend, Mike, wouldn’t be too pleased.”
Best and worst things you’ve ever baked for a boyfriend:
“The only thing Mike might love more than me is my carrot cake! It’s a recipe I worked on and perfected a couple of years ago, and not to toot my own horn, but it’s pretty much the best carrot cake you’ll ever taste. One time I attempted a beer cupcake for him, but it was a disaster. It was so gross I wouldn’t even let him try it. One of the judges from the DC Cupcake Contest was nice enough to pass a stout-cake recipe my way, so I plan on trying to redeem myself with that in the near future.”
Most expensive cupcake you’ve ever heard of:
“In our area, the most you’ll pay for a cupcake is $3.50. A few months ago, I was talking to a guy who told me he paid $6.99 for a cupcake at Tres Jolie in Denver. Now, I love a good cupcake, but $6.99? I hope it came with a happy ending.”
Favorite local food blogs other than your own:
“Between the day job, blogging, baking, and trying to have somewhat of a life, I don’t have as much time to read other blogs as I’d like. When I have a chance, I do like to check in on DC Foodies and The Washingtonian’s Best Bites Blog, of course!”
What's your favorite cupcake place? Tell us in the comments!
Next week, check back for the Blogger Beat: Election Edition. We catch up with AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis and the Bluey Blog's Robert Bluey for head-to-head talk about polls, presidents, and all things politics just in time for the election. Tune in Wednesday for our star-spangled interview!
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