I’m pretty sure the only vegan cupcakes in McHenry County come from my kitchen. But maybe there’s another vegan baker or two out there. It’s a different story in DC, where even regular bakeries have a vegan option.
First up is Cakelove. Founded by a former lawyer (my role model) Cakelove was baking cupcakes before they became popular. I was a big fan in my pre-vegan days, but unfortunately the deliciousness does not transfer over to vegan baked goods. This was an embarrassment to vegan cupcakes everywhere. I got the chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. The frosting was good. It wasn’t very sweet, nor was it very chocolate-y. The lack of sweetness wasn’t a problem, but chocolate frosting should taste chocolate-y. The cake part was just dreadful. Very dense. I cut off the bottom and ate the frosting with a tiny bit of cake. At $4.20 a cupcake (more than a regular cupcake and the most expensive of all the bakeries), this was a terrible deal.
2. Sticky Fingers
No trip to DC is complete without a trip to Columbia Heights for Sticky Fingers. I stuck with the plain vanilla. It was delicious and confirmed that I am excellent at following directions. My cupcakes taste just like it. The cupcake was moist, the frosting was sweet and there was a perfect frosting to cake ratio. It’s almost not fair to have other bakeries competing against Sticky Fingers for best vegan cupcake, but not including Sticky Fingers would be wrong. Plain cupcakes are $3; a little more for something fancy.
Sprinkles and Georgetown Cupcake are less than 1/2 a mile from each other. They both have TV connections. Sprinkles was founded by Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson and Georgetown Cupcake has its own reality show on TLC. I took H with me, because I couldn’t eat 2 cupcakes all by myself (after eating Sticky Fingers for lunch that is). Both just have one vegan option. Sprinkles has the same red velvet flavor every day. This cupcake is huge! Probably the size of two Georgetown cupcakes. The cake was moist and the cream cheese frosting was the perfect sweetness although a little firm because it probably came right from the refrigerator. However, it had a strong coconut taste that I didn’t care for (I am not a big fan of coconut). H liked it though. Cupcakes are $3.50
4. Georgetown Cupcake
Last but not least, the extremely popular Georgetown Cupcake. Georgetown Cupcake offers three vegan favors on a rotating schedule: apple cinnamon, cranberry spice and carrot cake. Fortunately, we were not there on a carrot cake day (vegetables should not be a star player in a dessert!) We got to try the cranberry spice with cream cheese frosting and it was delicious. The cake was moist; the flavor was interesting; the frosting was sweet and soft; and the cupcakes are pretty. They are small, but only $2.75. I do love frosting, but the frosting to cake ratio was 1:1. Other than that, the cupcake rivals Sticky Fingers. Of course, the lack of variety knocks Georgetown Cupcake down a notch.
1. Sticky Fingers – cupcake perfection
2. Georgetown Cupcake – a tad too much frosting
3. Sprinkles – due to the coconut taste. However, H thought Sprinkles was better than Georgetown Cupcake
4. Cakelove – gross