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Duel at Dulles!

22 Sep

The other weekend, my husband and I got to hang out with our super cool cousin, Alexis, who also has a cupcake appreciation.  To commemorate her birthday, we thought a cupcake feast was in order!  So, we headed over to Dulles Town Center Mall (21110 Dulles Town Center Circle) where not one, but two establishments sell these fine confections and the “Duel at Dulles!” was born! 

Sweetz Bakery Kiosk

We arrived at the mall and did a preliminary assessment – located Cuppies & Beans, reviewed the inventory, scoped out the seating, then made our way upstairs to the food court to do the same at Sweetz Bakery.  By this point, I’m so ready for a cupcake that I suggest ordering three cupcakes each…at each establishment.  Thank heavens for my wiser company, who figured one cupcake each was sufficient! Our first purchase was at Sweetz, which consists of a kiosk / cold case filled with jewel-like cupcakes.  And an impressive variety, I might add.  Something about each cupcake packaged in its own little clamshell mesmerized me – they look very, very special this way.   (Note: they’re kept cold because the frosting is whipped cream-based.)  We each picked out a flavor, and walked away with a Butter Raspberry, a Chocolate Turtle, and a Boston Cream Pie.   

We took our stash downstairs to the table right by Cuppies & Bean, and selected the following three cupcakes: Choco Mocha, Cookies n Cream, and Chocolate Ganache.  The selection here favored the more traditional flavors, and not quite the variety that Sweetz offers. 

Once settled at our table, Alexis was designated cupcake cutter (it’s not easy cutting a cupcake in thirds!) and we dined on each treat, one by one.   And here’s what we have to say about that: 

First up:  Cuppies & Beans (since they were sold at room temperature).  

Cuppies & Beans Cupcakes

 The Cookies n Cream was yummy.  The frosting had a teeny cream cheese flavor to it, so it wasn’t overly sweet.  Then the cake almost had a muffin-like consistency.  This was S & A’s favorite out of the three from Cuppies & Beans.  The Choco Mocha was tasty – nice chocolate cake with mocha flavored frosting, topped with a coffee bean (speaking from personal experience, I don’t recommend eating that coffee bean).  Again, moist cake and not overly sweet.  The Chocolate Ganache cupcake was very rich and (appropriately so) chocolatey.  I personally really liked this one, the ganache was great.  Steve and Alexis liked it, but liked it the least out of the three.  All in all, their cupcakes tasted really fresh and yummy.   

Next up:  Sweet Bakery

Sweetz Bakery Cupcakes

(They went last since they’re kept in the cold case.)  We probably let about 20 minutes elapse from the time of purchasing to the time of consuming, and they were still a wee bit cold.  Despite the chill, they were still impressive.  The Boston Cream Pie tasted just like an actual boston cream pie.  I’m usually not a fan of that particular pastry, but am definitely now a fan of this cupcake!  The Butter Raspberry consisted of a butter flavor cake with a raspberry mousse-like frosting.  Now, I’m always a fan of mousse so you can probably guess how I felt about this cupcake.  Lastly, the Chocolate Turtle – chocolate cake and a light, but very sweet frosting.  It wasn’t bad by any means, but all three of us felt it was our least favorite.  Steve and Alexis picked the Butter Raspberry as their #1 and Boston Cream Pie as #2 (you could really tell that they’re related with their similar tastes!).  For me, it was a tie between the Butter Raspberry and the Boston Cream.  I must say though, that all three of the Sweetz cupcakes were very, very spongy and light. 
And then came time to crown a winner.  It was an honorable duel…but for Steve and Alexis, Cuppies & Beans came out ahead.  For me, Sweetz won me over with that super spongy cake and mousse-like frosting!  To top it all off (literally), they were really pretty – the sweet shade of pink and white whipped cream topping on the Butter Raspberry, then the cool white chocolate, star/swirl design in the Boston Cream Pie’s ganache topping.  So, I want to find room on the Top 10 for these two delights!
Either way, if you’re headed to Dulles you are sure to find a cupcake to suit your needs!
Here’s the break down (again, in dueling fashion!):

Cuppies & Beans (CB) / Dulles Town Center Mall (1st floor main entrance), Dulles, VA / 


Sweetz Bakery (SB) / Dulles Town Center Mall (kiosk in food court), Dulles, VA / 

1. Price:  

CB: $2.79 

SB:   $2.86 / dozen: $36 

2. Room temperature:  

CB: Yes -ready for the eaten’ 

SB: Nope, you need to sit tight for a couple of minutes 

3.  Size:  

CB:  Standard (one of our three picks was a tad smaller than standard). 

SB:  A tad bit larger than the standard “standard” size.  But wait -they also have mini cupcakes!   I didn’t actually see them, but they are on the menu – $12 / dozen 

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  

CB: A chocolate vegan cupcake was available the day of our visit.  You will find gluten-free chocolate, vegan chocolate, and vegan mocha express on their menu. 

SB: Gluten and dairy free, and vegan are available daily.  Gluten and dairy free flavors include vanilla, red velvet, chocolate raspberry, yellow chocolate, double chocolate, and strawberry shortcake.  Vegan is offered in either chocolate or vanilla. 

5. To-go packaging:   

CB:  We carried our cupcakes right to our table, but I noticed some brown and pink cardboard boxes that just may be used for “carry out”. 

SB:  Individual, plastic clamshell. 

6.  Milk for sale?:  

CB: Why, yes!  Which we enjoyed in a biodegradable cup (made from corn).  Kudos for that!  Sodas, coffee, and espresso based drinks (hence, the “beans”) were also available. 

SB: No, but you’re pretty much in the food court so you’re not really left high and dry…or thirsty. 

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:    

CB:  Not that I spotted. 

SB:  I was completely fixated on those individually packaged cupcakes and didn’t notice anything else.  Check out their online menu though.  It looks like they’ve got some great cakes (including wedding cakes), cookies, brownies, cream puffs, and “fluffy pancake mix”.  Yup, that’s right – pancake mix for $2! 

8.  Ambiance:   

CB:  Mall atmosphere, with two or three tables near by for those ready to chow down (like us)!  They have a groovy pink and brown theme going for them, with some nice pendant lighting above the counter. 

SB:  Mall atmosphere here too.  Being right by the food court, you have lots of seating available. 

9. Service: 

CB:  Super nice and helpful! 

SB:  Very kind and patient! 

Sending my sincere thanks and happy belated birthday to Alexis, for her fun company and respected expertise!