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Sprinkles – What Cupcake Dreams Are Made Of

20 Apr

I have been to Sprinkles, and it was good.  Crazy good, actually. 

It didn’t all go according to my daydream, but I still came out of the experience with a skip in my step.  No sunny and 70 degree weather on the day of our visit.  It was more like low 60s with severe thunderstorms circling about.  No front door parking with fed meter, either (I’ll admit, that really was a stretch).  But we did score a spot just around the corner, and the 35 cents in my wallet bought us 12 minutes on the meter.  Armed with an umbrella, our camera, a note pad, and our appetite – it was go time. 

See that little pink bunny graphic on the window? Thats Sprinkles there!

As we approached, I was relieved to see no long line spilling from the front door (especially since the storm of doom lurked overhead).  But getting through the front door was still a challenge as customers were aplenty.  Steve and I squeezed our way in and soaked in all up.   We had arrived!  I quickly scanned the premises for Candace Nelson and/or free mini cupcake samples…no dice.  But once we spotted the long-listed menu on the wall, an employee warmly greeted us and offered their assistance.  We placed our order, which was filled and ready to be rung up (by another friendly employee) after about 3 minutes.  I probably could’ve stood there in the crowd and people / atmosphere-watched for about an hour.  Steve on the other hand, was good to go after the 3 minutes were up.

Our Sprinkle bag in hand, we eagerly headed out to share our loot with family.  Here’s what we consumed:

~Peanut Butter Chocolate (“chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cake with fudgy milk-chocolate cream cheese frosting“):  The awesome peanut butter/chocolate combination with a fun texture was a group favorite.  Another thing going for it – chocolate sprinkles on top.  (Did I ever tell you guys I used to eat straight-up chocolate sprinkles with a spoon in college?  It was like the best cereal substitute ever.) 

~Red Velvet (“southern style light chocolate with cream cheese frosting“):  This cupcake is a beautiful thing.  I know I’ve said I’m not a Red Velvet fan, but I’m a fan of this Red Velvet.  Now I’m having to ask myself, will it replace Georgetown Cupcake’s Red Velvet in the #3 spot of the Top 10?  {Insert dramatic music here}

~Cinnamon Sugar (“light spiced buttermilk cake dusted with cinnamon sugar“):  This cake, like all of the others, was fresh and had fantastic consistency.  I loved the spice flavor, but really missed my frosting here (cue my inner frosting freak’s cries “why, oh why, is there no frosting on this cupcake?!”)  My mother-in-law mentioned that it was like coffee cake and I think she’s right on.

~Banana Dark Chocolate (“fresh banana cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting“):  This one also got a few votes for favorite, including mine!  I LOVED this cupcake.  Imagine fresh, homemade, out-of-the-oven, all-that-is-good-in-the-world banana bread with a soft and rich chocolaty frosting on top.  I will dream of you, Banana Dark Chocolate cupcake, every night until we meet again. (And, a big thank you goes out to the employee who brilliantly recommended this one for us!)

All in all, Sprinkles was a hit amongst the family.  They looked beautiful (cute little sugar button topping and all), and most importantly they tasted gourmet.  You certainly did not disappoint, Sprinkles (even Steve, who was initially a little miffed by the cramped quarters and high prices) – rock on!

And now, the break down!

Sprinkles Cupcakes / Washington D.C. location at 3015 M Street NW / / Other locations include Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, La Jolla, New York, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, and Scottsdale (Don’t see your hometown on this list? There’s hope – log on to their website and vote for their next location)

1. Price: $3.50 each / $39 dozen.  Ooof, these are some of the priciest I’ve encountered.  

2. Room temperature:  Why, yes!

3.  Size:  A solid “standard” size

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:   They make a Red Velvet cupcake in both the vegan and gluten-free varieties, hooray!

5. To-go packaging:  Our four cupcakes were sittin’ pretty in their brown, cardboard box with logo sticker (love that cursive font, btw).  And, hip hip hooray, they put the box in a paper shopper (bag) for easier transportation.   ~  I didn’t pick up any napkins or silverware on our way out, but did get a quick glimpse of those supplies.  I think the forks and things were wood or bamboo, which I think is super cool.  The less plastic in the world the better, right?!  After checking out their website, you’ll learn that sustainability is important to the Sprinkle’s philosophy and all of their packaging supplies are made from recycled materials (hooray, again)!

6. Milk for sale?:  Yes, hooray (once more, with feeling)!  Skim, organic, or soy.  Or sip on coffee, tea, apple juice, Pellegrino, water, or Coke (from the glass bottles – is it just me or do those bottles make Coke-drinking feel fancy? Either way, I love ‘um!)

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Not so much…well, see the above beverages.  Does that count?  IF, though, you happen to have your dog in tow…who IS  a cupcake enthusiast then you’re in luck.  They have these mini “doggie cupcakes”  (that looked so pretty I thought they were for us humans), which are sugar-free and topped with a yogurt frosting for $2.50 each.  More for the cupcake enthusiasts – merchandise like t-shirts, hats, a serving tray, and cupcake mixes.

8.  Ambiance:  It’s a wee space, but very rad.  Sprinkles knows what’s up.  It’s like this neat blend of Scandinavian / mod melded with a dash of sweet and a hint of whimsy.  There’s a small, round (or was it asterisk)-shaped table set in each of the store’s two bay windows, so your chances of dining in can be compromised depending on when you visit.  On our Saturday evening jaunt, I think we were lucky just to be inside. ~  Despite the tight quarters and throng of cupcake-lovers, the space still had a sparkle to it.  (Maybe I should’ve titled this post “Sprinkles Sparkles”.  Care to weigh in? 🙂 ) 

Faces have been "sprinkled" to protect identities

9. Service:  Pretty awesome!  This place was packed to the gills, and the staff still seemed unruffled.  They were so calm and friendly.  I never felt rushed, and actually felt like they were happy to see me.  I think that calls for one more (and final) “hooray”!

 10.  Three words to describe the Sprinkles experience:

1) Distinguished  2) Cheerful  3)  Urban

Last word:  The Red Velvet and the Banana Dark Chocolate knocked my socks off, so you know what that means?!  Top 10 material, all the way!

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