Monday, July 06, 2009

Trendy Confectionery God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us?

Why is Silver Spring so far behind the cupcake curve? It's been nine long years since Carrie Bradshaw chowed on that fateful cupcake, yet Silver Spring has yet to sprout its first ├╝ber-trendy $3 cupcake place.



Cupcakes, which were apparently invented sometime during the last decade, have spread across the metro area like a sugary plague. Capitalizing on a New York trend, places like Georgetown Cupcake, Red Velvet Cupcakery and Hello Cupcake have sprung up around the District in the past couple years. And it's not just DC proper, either - there are "cupcakeries"(real word?) in Virginia as well, and Bethesdans are getting their very own Georgetown Cupcake so they won't have to drive all the way down Wisconsin Avenue to queue up.

Now, I love me some cupcakes as much as the next red-blooded American and really have no problem paying a few bucks for a quality cupcake, but the concept of standing in line a half an hour or more to get one is a bit absurd. I do give maximum respect to proprietors of these places - they are milking this cupcake bubble to the fullest. Hell, I'm sure baking cupcakes is probably a lot more interesting than my job. Having a Land Rover for a cupcake company car is a bit over the top, though. You don't want to end up as the Evander Holyfield of cupcake bakers.



Anyway, I see lemmings customers lined up down the block at Georgetown Cupcake at all hours of the day, so there is clearly substantial a demand for cupcakes in our area. I can't believe that this need doesn't extend across the District border to Silver Spring. Nevertheless, despite the frosting-laden treat's apparent astronomical popularity, to my knowledge no one yet is planning on opening up a cupcake joint in The Spring. Are we that poor and/or unhip? There must be enough pent-up cupcake demand in our little corner of MoCo to sustain a dedicated cupcake shop. We're supposedly getting a new donut shop, but I'd take a cupcakery over that. (A good gelateria or bagel place would trump either of these, but I'm not holding my breath.)

Yes, there is a Cakelove in DTSS, and they do indeed sell cupcakes, but you never see people lined up out in front of the store. Why the Cakelove cupcake fail? Here's a few theories:

- Cakelove sells non-cupcake food. Why would you want to be in a line for a bakery when someone might think you are buying something other than a cupcake?

- Cakelove is soooo 2003. If it opened up now, it'd be hot.

- According to comments made on this blog and others, people don't exactly love Cakelove's cupcakes. (Their cupcakes only scored a 4.5 out of 10 in a Washington Post cupcake-off.)
Come to think of it, we don't have a fake Pinkberry frogurt place yet, either. Plus we never got a Krispy Kreme when those were the unhealthy food du jour, either. (Look what happened to them, though.) Maybe we're just flyover country when it comes to dessert trends. Well, at least we all won't end up with Type 2 diabetes.



25 comments:

Matt L. said...

In my experience, the made-to-order cakes from Cakelove are far superior to their cupcakes.

On a less sophisticated note, the two things I wish for the most in DTSS:

1) A do-it-yourself car wash (Mr. Wash is great, but sometimes I'd rather spend less than $10)

2) A dunkin donuts (sometimes i really want their coffee and a donut... is that so wrong?)

... I'm bracing for scorn from the masses...

Dan Reed said...

There are much bigger fish to fry. The loss of the Amish Market, for instance. I know you wouldn't drive to Burtonsville, but now it's all the way out in Laurel. And their lemon squares beat trendy cupcakes any day. (Where can you get $4 lemon squares in Bethesda? Nowhere.)

Tina & Drew said...

I'm one of those suckers who'd wait in line for Georgetown Cupcake, glad to know they're coming to Bethesda. Would also kill for a Pinkberry and a Game Stop in the downtown area. *sigh*

Thayer Avenue said...

I would kill for a financially sustainable 9-hole golf course close by.

Sligo said...

The golf course could sell cupcakes in the clubhouse to support itself. Problem solved!

chippy said...

I am diabetic and cupcakes are off limits to me, but from what I understand the cupcakes at the General Store in Forest Glen are to die for.

Even though this isn't a
"trendy" chain store "concept" on Ellsworth drive one could consider some local flavor in ones search for the sugar induced bliss.

CoronaSS said...

Dan - hope you are being sarcastic - Laurel is a whole 3-5 miles east of Burtonsville. That's like what, another 5 minutes onto the drive?

Hopefully the Greek Place will become a the Bagel Place soon, or the Big Greek Cafe will become the Big Greek Bagel Place.

Springvale Roader said...

Mars needs women, and Silver Spring needs good bagels. And good pizza.

Why is this too much to ask?

Easley Does It said...

This might be your best blog post ever.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Ooooh, I have a bit of a Cakelove addiction, I have to admit. Cupcakes, scones, and slices of cake, then full cakes for big celebrations.

A year or so ago, Warren Brown (the owner of Cakelove) was in the store and was very nice and charming to my elderly mother. Beyond the usual "polite to customers", he was warm and genuine.

Tina & Drew said...

There's that new pizza place in Takoma Park that does wood oven pizzas. It's not bad, but would like a Matchbox in downtown Silver Spring. mmmmm

ForestGlen said...

Cakelove totally sucks! Why pay $3-something for a dry cupcake that doesn't taste any better then one you can buy for a lot less at a grocery store.
I hope they go out of business soon.

Lil B said...

I can make a kick ass red velvet cupcake for you for a dollar. actually, i can make a dozen.

brentgilroy said...

Why pay $3 for a dry cupcake that isn't better than cheaper ones at a chain store? For the same reason Silver Spring/Takoma Park puts up with a lot of less-than-stellar and sometimes downright bad businesses of all types -- because it's a LOCAL business, not a national chain, run by someone who (everybody wants to think) agrees with "our" political views and values (assuming "we" have common views!) and is (most defenders of "buy local" want to assume) making it with love and personal care, and not for a profit! (though I bet Cake Love, as a company -- actually, now, a chain -- is pretty profitable!).
Yeah, uh huh.

Anonymous said...

"There's that new pizza place in Takoma Park that does wood oven pizzas."

Any details on this place, name, address etc? May as well give it a try.

ForestGlen said...

Just because they're "local"...doesn't mean that I'm going to let them rip me off

Easley Does It said...

I believe this is the new pizza place in Takoma Park...

http://www.roscoespizzeria.com/

Been meaning to try it myself.

Tina & Drew said...

That's the one Easley, they don't serve alcohol but do turn out decent pizzas.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with Cakeloves cupcakes- I have a problem with the $3 and $4 cupcake idea. We went to a few of "the" cupcake places in NYC. Big Deal. I guess if you don't bake yourself- these prices for a cupcake or lemon square seem ok. Dan, I can get a tray of lemon squares for under $4- I bake them

Matt- $5.49 coupons for Mr. Wash are always available- in the Gazette and on the back of Giant receipts among other places.

WashingtonGardener said...

I agree Lil B - bake you OWN and much tastier and cost somuch less. Cupcakes are a cinch! The sametime you spend waiting in line - you could make 2 dozen for you with plenty to share! If I ever buy any it is at church/school bake sales. Home-made always trumps this bulk-made junk.

Dr. F. said...

Maybe someone can convince Cakes Plus in Maryland City to open a DTSS branch. Their cakes are so good my friends in Delaware come there for all their cakes. Good cupcakes too.

I'm still lamenting the loss of the MoDo's on Wayne Avenue back in the 90's. I was addicted to their vanilla creme filled donuts iced with chocolate.

DevouringDC said...

Cakelove = dried out, stale tasting and overpriced. Waste of calories, have a beer instead. What I'd really love to see is a real butcher and fish monger.

TheDadReport.com said...

We drove down to DC to get Cakelove's cupcakes when my daughter was 4. We bought some, gave her one and she spit it out. When a kid spits out a cupcake, you've got all the answers you need on that place.
Ed

Dr. F. said...

After this thread I went back to Cakes Plus on 198 in East Laurel/Russett/Maryland City to see if they were as good as I had remembered.

Turns out the cupcakes are still good and still just $1 dollar each.

Not to throw any more bricks at Cake Love. I just think they can do better.

People like their story and don't want to see them squander all the good will and positive PR they've engendered by not taking steps to mitigate the negative word of mouth their products appear to be generating.

Anonymous said...

I have never been to [insert restaurant name], but I know a friend who had a friend who went there and did not like the [insert food type] one bit. Now I scorn them as an abomination to man and nature and will not rest until my children can live in a world free from their fetid existence. Of course I can most certainly make any [insert food item] far cheaper on my own. And let me tell you my version of [insert food item] will change your life!