Who knew something as small as a cupcake could cause such a big brouhaha? Well, folks on Whining & Dining have definite preferences, and at the suggestion of a blogger, I jumped right in and took on the task of comparing cupcakes from three local shops: Muddy’s, Gigi’s and Café Eclectic. We know there are other cupcake bakers; let me know about your favorites and — heavy sigh — we’ll get to them, too.
Each shop has plenty to offer. The deep, deep chocolate cupcake from Café Eclectic topped my list — it was almost black compared to Muddy’s Prozac and Gigi’s Midnight Magic (also quite dark). The sprinkles of turbinado sugar on top provided just a touch of crunch, and I liked that, too. Some of the other tasters — there were seven of us — found the chocolate too intense. On chocolate, it was two for Café Eclectic, two for Gigi’s Midnight Magic and three for Muddy’s Prozac.
I usually like a denser cake, but the lighter texture of the Prozac was a knockout. Gigi’s was a disappointment to me (the cake was dry), though I’d tasted the Midnight Magic cupcake a few days before, and it was divine — moist and rich.
The icing on the vanilla cupcake from Café Eclectic was superb — you could taste both the vanilla and the butter — but the cake was dry. Muddy’s Plain Jane cake was tender and delicate, but the icing was too sweet for me. Gigi’s Wedding Cake, complete with that huge swirl of icing, was the favorite for four of us, Muddy’s was for two, and one swore that Café Eclectic’s cake was a pound cake and went with that one.
Worth noting: Muddy’s lemon cupcake (the Pucker Up) was the most refreshing, Gigi’s carrot cake was most like the dense carrot cake that is preferred by my family, and Café Eclectic’s strawberry cupcake was declared the best overall by one taster for its buttery icing and intense strawberry flavor.
Muddy’s Bake Shop, 5101 Sanderlin, 683-8844; Café Eclectic, 603 N. McLean, 725-1718; Gigi’s Cupcakes, 4709 Poplar; 888-2253.
— Jennifer Biggs: 529-5223