Let me get this out of the way: I don’t mean to feed the dragon. The Washington Post beat me to this realization two years ago, and I only had my first taste last weekend. I am in fact late to the party. Furthermore, I know cupcakes are over. We have entered the cupcake backlash period. Macaroons are the next big thing, if donuts don’t get there first.
BUT. Let me just tell you. Georgetown Cupcakes — specifically their “Chocolate Squared” cupcake, is:
- The best cupcake I’ve ever had
- Better than any New York equivalent
- You know, probably a “Top Five All-Around Dessert”
Friends, let’s dig a little deeper. Cupcakes attained It status within the last ten years, and in no small part thanks to the iconic Sex and the City scene of Miranda and Carrie wolfing down Magnolia’s and dishing on crushes. It was a New Yorky thing to non-New Yorkers, and that made it cool outside, and it was a West Village thing to New Yorkers, which made it cool inside, too. Then cupcakes got too cool for their own good. One reason: some bakeries got too big for their britches, and decided to expand to Los Angeles or Dubai, and is anyone really surprised that the buttercream’s not as fresh when the owners are also drafting a five year plan for the United Arab Emirates? No. Another reason: it’s cool to hate on the trend for being trendy.
But before cupcakes were the zeitgeist, and being the zeitgeist brought them down, they were perfect. Here’s why: small cakes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like cake. But who wants to make or buy an entire cake when it’s just you? Or when half your guests like vanilla, and the other half wants chocolate? (This happens. I took advanced requests before bringing birthday cupcakes to my third grade class. What, this is just me? Moving on.)
Cakes are harder to share with coworkers or classmates. They never cut cleanly, or evenly, and the third or fourth slice always gets messed up because frosting’s collected on the knife blade, so it just drags through the cake and sort of squishes it in a depressing way. There are often leftovers. Cakes just look like a giant mass of calories, staring you down. But dammit all if cakes aren’t just the best tasting thing ever.
This is why cupcakes are great. You don’t have to cut them. They’re easy to share with groups. They’re frankly portable, and who isn’t constantly stricken with the thought, “I’m having a lovely day, but I really wish I had a small, portable cake to nosh on right now”? You can make a batch of six, or forty eight, and why stop there in fact, you can make thousands, as Georgetown Cupcakes does. They come in any flavor cakes do, and are customizable beyond that. They are CUTE and PRETTY.
All that is why we first fell in love with cupcakes. And one more thing. Although some cupcakes are overly sweet, or not perfectly soft around the outside, or topped with air-hardened frosting — the best cupcakes are truly the center piece of a cake, the sweet spot of perfect frosting application and evenly set, crumbly-moist batter. And Georgetown’s chocolate squared cupcake happens to be cut from a outstanding, intensely chocolate cake. Lots of butter, sifted flour, and undertones of coffee that intensify the chocolate. SO MUCH CHOCOLATE, but it feels lighter than air.
And that, in a nutshell, is the giant success of the chocolate squared. I’m going back, and I don’t even care if it’s uncool!