It was by chance that I found out about Confections Cupcakery. I was meeting a colleague half way between our offices in Manassas, VA at a Starbucks when as I was pulling in to the parking lot I noticed a huge cupcakes sign in the window across the street.
GASP!! It was a cupcake shop! I knew I had to stop inside!
At first glance, Confections seemed like a typical American cupcake store full of cute baking and cupcake decorations. The smell was so sweet and inviting! I couldn’t wait to see what kind of cupcakes they had behind the counter!
Their kitchen/prep area was actually out in the open, which I love when cupcake shops have that set up! I love being able to watch the bakers and decorators practice their craft. It’s inspiring and I love seeing the techniques others use.
Their shelves were fully stocked with a wide range of cupcake flavors and because I’m me, I couldn’t just pick one or two. I got a dozen. One of 12 different flavors!
It was just before Easter, so I made sure to pick the cupcake ready for the Spring holiday. The rest were a variety of vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, and fruit.
From top to bottom, left to right…
OREO, Lime, Marshmallow Sundae
Triple Chocolate, Strawberry, PB Cup (filled)
Chocolate Raspberry, Red Velvet, Easter
Maple Bacon, Rocky Road, Orange
What makes these cupcakes the BEST CUPCAKES IN VIRGINIA ?
SIZE: Compared to others, these cupcakes are just the right size. Not too big and not too small. The ratio of cake to frosting is exactly how I like it… about 1/3 frosting to 2/3 cake.
FLAVOR: Each cupcake I tasted actually tasted like what its name said. They didn’t taste artificial and the flavor combinations were perfect. I loved that they had the basics but the special flavors were a bit fancy without being too over the top.
CAKE: The cake on these cupcakes was moist with the perfect crumb. They were sturdy enough to hold up to the frosting without being overly dense.
FROSTING: American buttercream – not too sweet and not too buttery. The frosting on these cupcakes was so delicious that I could have licked it all off and eaten it alone… which I never do!
APPEARANCE: For me, these are exactly what cupcakes should look like. The cakes themselves are similar in size, even with the different recipes. The frosting on top is a perfect swirl or dollop and even though they are garnished differently, they still feel uniform – you know they’ve come from the same bakery. Simple, delicious, and beautiful.
My Personal Favorites:
I’m a sucker for a good Oreo cupcake and this does not disappoint! The cake is rich and the creamy Oreo frosting is the perfect topper!
OMG. This Peanut Butter Cup cupcake is filled with even more delicious peanut butter goodness! It’s heaven. Sinful… but heavenly.
I’ve been on a lime kick lately and their Lime cupcake is the perfect combination of tart and sweet! Plus the cute little gummy on top adds a sweet extra kick of tarty goodness!
When a cupcake blogger takes a trip to New York City for the first time, it’s written in the rules that she’s got to visit the place that started the entire cupcake craze… Magnolia Bakery.
Feb 2-5, 2017, I took my first trip to New York City! On my bucket list was to visit the birth place of the cupcake craze… Magnolia Bakery!
Now, you may be asking how did Magnolia Bakery start the cupcake craze? Well, it all started with Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City filmed a seen for SATC outside Magnolia eating one of their cupcakes.
Instantly, the country became crazy for cupcakes and the sweet revolution began!
My trip to Magnolia Bakery took place early on a Sunday morning. I hopped in a NYC taxi cab and whisked across town to the bakery. It was quiet in NYC, so I got there quick and there was no line to get inside. I picked a perfect time to visit.
The front of the bakery was filled with pastel colors, bunting, and lots of decor for Valentine’s Day. The only thing lacking were a few tables and chairs to enjoy a cup of coffee and a cupcake.
Immediately, I went straight for the case of cupcakes! Three cases filled with the regular flavors plus the Sunday special.
It was hard to choose which ones I wanted to take home to the family to try!
I knew for sure I needed a funfetti cupcake for Matty, I wanted PB&J, and the remaining I’d get a variety so I could get a general feel for the flavors and textures of their cake & frosting.
As soon as I got home from my trip, I couldn’t wait to open the box and dig into the cupcakes!
When I try cupcakes, I share with my family. So we all sat around my coffee table and we got to sampling!
First up was the Funfetti Cupcake!
This vanilla cupcake was filled with funfetti sprinkles and topped with vanilla buttercream and more funfetti sprinkles!
The cake was moist and the buttercream sweet! Matty LOVED this cupcake and I have to say I was a fan too!
Next up was Red Velvet!
Mahonia’s red velvet cupcakes are made red with cocoa, vanilla and a little southern mystery, with its own special whipped vanilla icing.
The whipped vanilla icing was so smooth and creamy. One of the smoothest icing I’ve ever had actually. This was a solid red velvet cupcake.
After red velvet we tried the Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake.
These moist chocolate cupcakes had a smooth velvety texture and dark chocolate flavor, chocolate buttercream and assorted sprinkles.
The chocolate buttercream tasted like fudge and was my favorite part about this cupcake!
Next up…. Vanilla Cupcake!
This old-fashioned vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream topped sprinkles did not disappoint. If you’re looking for a great basic cupcake, Magnolia Bakery does a great job at that!
My favorite is up next… Peanut Butter & Jelly.
This cupcake was made with a peanut butter cake filled with jelly and topped with peanut butter buttercream and chunks of peanuts. The frosting was packed full of peanut butter flavor without being too thick or rich.
The only thing I would change about this cupcake would to have more jelly filling. I only got one or two bites with the jelly and I would have liked to have every bite include the jelly.
Last but not least, the Vanilla Chocolate Cupcake.
These old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes are topped with chocolate buttercream and are classically delicious. This is the same fudge-like frosting on the chocolate cupcake so I definitely enjoyed that.
Overall, I’d have to say I enjoyed the cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. They were classic, well made, and had great flavor.
Were they the best cupcakes I’ve ever had? No. However, I’m still glad I went to the bakery to get some. Now, I just need to visit Billy’s Bakery, Butter Lane, and Baked by Melissa.
I think a road trip to NYC is in my future this Spring!
Have you been to Magnolia Bakery? I’d love to know what you thought of their cupcakes!
Nestled on a cozy side street of Rome, Italy and close to the River Tiber and the Piazza Navona, the Made Creative Bakery is a delicious retreat for both tourists and locals alike!
In October 2015, my husband and I were treated to a once in a lifetime trip to Rome, Italy with a group of wounded soldiers and their families. On this trip we attended an audience with the Pope, toured Roman ruins and shopped at the Piazza Navona.
On our last night in Rome, I knew I needed to find one of the several cupcake bakeries before I left! I had been walking all day, I was exhausted but I was determined.
My husband and I reached the Piazza Navona just at dusk and were given 45 minutes to shop at the stalls and stores along the piazza. Instead of shopping, we sprinted 3 blocks over to Made Creative Bakery for cupcakes!
The store was just a few minutes from closing and I was so thankful we made it in time! It was almost Halloween so their store was filled with pumpkin and ghost themed cookies and cupcakes!
This bakery was a cute, small shop but full of character and charm. The decor was simple and bright, which I liked. They probably found their energy quote through a service similar to Utility Bidder because their prices for very reasonable. The lady behind the counter spoke little English but was still helpful and polite.
There were a few bar stools for seating and when the store wasn’t about to close, they had tables and chair outside for more seating.
I picked out a few goodies to have boxed up to take back to the hotel with us. Since I don’t speak any Italian and the woman behind the counter spoke little English, it was difficult to ask questions about the bakery.
Made Creative Bakery also served a few other cookies and treats that weren’t Halloween themed including these monster chocolate cookies!
Big pillowy clouds of chocolate and so delish!
I did try to take some pictures of the cupcakes that night when I got back to my hotel room. Unfortunately, it was dark, the lighting was horrible and none of the pictures turned out that great.
However, I did eat all three cupcakes and two cookies I bought and they were delish! The frosting on the cupcakes seemed to be some kine of meringue, but I couldn’t tell which one… probably Italian since you know, it’s in Italy!
Made also provides workshops and makes customs cakes for parties and corporate events!
If you’re in Rome, make sure to stop by Made Creative Bakery for a treat! Tell them I sent you!
In the bustling suburbs of Washington, DC, Georgetown Cupcake is a famous bakery that serves up delicious cupcakes to thousands of fans hoping to get a glimpse into stars behind the Food Network’s hit show DC Cupcakes.
It didn’t take me too long for me to visit Georgetown Cupcake after moving to the DC area. On the same day that I visited Sprinkles Cupcakes in DC, I walked just a few blocks down the same street to Georgetown Cupcake.
Everyone told me that I should expect huge lines at Georgetown so I was anticipating a line out the door and around the block. However, that was not the case on the day I visited. From the outside, this famous cupcake shop looked just like any other. The only difference being the huge signs in the window advertising their show, DC Cupcakes.
The first thing you see upon entering the cupcakery is the massive display of their cupcake flavors. Tiers upon tiers of cupcakes loaded with frosting in countless flavor combinations. It was overwhelming… and had me wondering… do they really sell that many cupcakes in a day?
We were there late in the afternoon and I couldn’t wrap my head around them selling so many cupcakes that late in the day!
That wasn’t all the cupcakes they had on hand either… they had this bakers rack full of them and I’m certain there were more in the back too!
That is A LOT of cupcakes!
I couldn’t decide which cupcake I wanted to try, so I went home with a dozen. Ha.
From left to right, top to bottom… I chose lemon, cookies n cream, vanilla birthday, chocolate birthday, strawberry, and red velvet.
In comparison to other cupcakes I have had, the cupcakes at Georgetown were a bit on the smaller size. Especially in comparison to the cupcakes at Sprinkles, which were huge compared to these. However, they did not disappoint on flavor!
Each cupcake was distinctly the flavor it was supposed to be, including the strawberry. The red velvet is one of their top sellers and the cream cheese frosting was rich and delicious. The cookies n’ cream cupcake was my favorite with the chocolate close behind. My kids loved the vanilla birthday.
The one big downfall to Georgetown Cupcake… the customer service.
I’m not one to write bad reviews, but the customer service was horrible at this cupcakery. I felt as though I was cattle being herded through the food line. The girls taking my order couldn’t get me through their register fast enough and offered no help or assistance in helping me fulfill my order. Once we placed our order, it was fulfilled at the pick-up counter by another employee who was as equally cold to us. Put our cupcakes in the box, called our number and that was it.
I had heard so much about how great the cupcakes at Georgetown are that the last thing I expected was for the experience to be ruined by cold employees. Quite frankly, it was disappointing and such a turnoff to Georgetown as a whole.
When I think about my experience just a few minutes prior at Sprinkles Cupcakes compared to the experience at Georgetown, it was like night and day. Sprinkles was welcoming, kind, and helpful while Georgetown was cold, unapproachable and unhelpful.
I can’t say that I’ll never eat a Georgetown cupcake ever again, but I definitely will not recommend going there if you want to have a great experience. Save that for Sprinkles. Order Georgetown for parties… definitely. Their cupcakes were delish!
For only a few days in Spring, the Tidal Basin at The National Mall in Washington, DC shifts into beautiful shades of pink, white, and green in a magical celebration of the changing season!
After living in Europe for 5 years, I was unsure of how I felt about moving back to the USA. Would America be able to “WOW” me like Europe did with its abundant sights, travel opportunities and whimsical appeal?
Yesterday, I visited the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms in the Tidal Basin at The National Mall and I was not only impressed, but overwhelmed by their beauty and magnificence!
The blooms were about half open yesterday when I visited with the expected peak to be in the next day or two. There were a great deal of people visiting the Tidal Basin, but it wasn’t so crowded that I couldn’t stop to take these beautiful photos.
There is something so simple about the flowers on the cherry blossom tree that draws me in. Each flower is delicate and dainty, but put arranged together in their natural bunch, the blooms are a grand display of nature’s majesty.
I could have spent hours sitting on the lawn surrounding the Tidal Basin gazing at the beauty of the cherry blossoms, watching the people, and enjoying the warmth of the sun shining down on me. It was glorious.
There were even a few tulips blooming already! Tulips are my favorite flower and I am so excited to visit Burnside Farms in Virginia for one of the largest displays of tulips in North America!
The National Park Service had a couple of cherry blossom stores set up around the Tidal Basin as well as an ice cream cart and food stands. Matty enjoyed a big popsicle and I had an ice cream sandwich to cool off. It was perfect.
Just across from the Tidal Basin is the Washington Monument. On this visit to The National Mall, I had not planned on visiting the monument because I had seen it just a few weeks back. However, as we passed by it on the way to the Smithsonian (Matty wanted to see a “castle”) I saw a small patch of cherry blossom trees with the monument behind that I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of!
There are so many descriptive words that come to mind as I look at the beauty and massiveness of the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms.
Magical. Breathtaking. Glorious. Magnificant.
Just to name a few.
If you live in the DC Metro area or are planning a visit, I highly recommend you doing so during Spring so you can experience the Cherry Blossoms!
In May of 2010, my Mother passed away at the age of 68. As long as I could remember, my Mother always spoke of visiting Rome and bearing witness to the one place that everything she believef in as a Catholic would be close enough to touch. My Mother dreamed of visiting the Vatican, meeting the Pope and praying in the Sistine Chapel.
Last week, five years after her death, I fulfilled her lifelong dream. I visited the Vatican, I met the Pope and I prayed in the Sistine Chapel… and through the entire journey, I felt my mother with me. I wore her diamond earrings during the journey and took a moment every opportunity I had to say a prayer of remembrance for her.
Each day of this Spirituality Resiliency Retreat had a different theme set out by our chaplain, Ch. Regule.
Ready – Our first day of the 2 day road trip! We were all packed and READY to begin this fantastic journey.
Reset – Day 2 of travel gave us an opportunity to reset our train of thought and get ourselves ready to receive what the week had to offer us.
Receive – Our first day touring brought us to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Our goal this day was to receive the Holy Spirit and be open to anything we may feel while visiting such a holy place.
Restore, Renew, Revive, Repent – Wednesday was the day we were fortunate to have an audience with the Pope and the day we could fit any “R” word we needed into our hearts.
For me, after hearing the word of Papa Francesco, I felt a renewed sense of purpose as my role as care taker to my husband (who suffers from combat related injuries). I also felt revived in the Catholic faith, a feeling I had not felt in 20 years. Being in the presence of the Pope allowed me to reconnect with my faith and reaffirmed my commitment to having a relationship with the Lord.
This summary of the catechesis by Papa Francesco was read in English during our Papal Audience. Those words reaffirmed my commitment to helping Dave overcome his combat related injuries, to our marriage and to my love for my family. Out of all the days that I could have been witness to Pope Francis… I believe I was meant to hear these words.
Today we consider the promise of love and fidelity made between husbands and wives, which is the basis of all family life.
This promise is called into question nowadays and seen is somehow opposed to personal freedom. Yet the truth is that our freedom is shaped and sustained by the fidelity to the choices and commitments we make throughout life.
Fidelity grows through our daily efforts to keep our word. Indeed fidelity to our promises is a supreme expression of our dignity as human beings.
There is no greater school to teach us such fidelity than marriage and the family, which are in God’s plan a blessing for our world.
St. Paul tells us that the love which grounds the family points to the bond of love between Christ and the church. In these days of the hardship on the family, let us pray that the church will uphold and strengthen the promise of the family with creativity and with unfailing trust in that faithful love in which the Lord fulfills His every promise.
The video below is from the Vatican and shows the entire Papal Audience I was privileged enough to attend.
Papa Francesco took so much time with each person he came in contact with. His love for people and his willingness to truly care for those who wish to love & serve the Lord is awe-inspiring.
Relationship – The final day of touring Rome, we were to reach out to those around us and either strengthen relationships or build new ones. I chose to do both. I took this time to bond with my husband over an amazing day of touring as well as taking the opportunity to use my military-wife skills. I was able to connect with our Battalion LTC and ask him questions about our upcoming move and get answers we had been unsuccessful at getting in the past. This connection, this new relationship really started the ball rolling on our future back in the USA.
Risorgimento – Which is an Italian word that means to change in a way the transforms you so that you’re not the same. On the first leg of the drive home, I realized that I will never be same after this trip. I had been transformed. All of my fears about my life, my marriage, my husband and his health were all put to rest. I was now confident in my role, in my commitment and in my love for my family. No more doubt was present. I have this life for a reason… to be the wife my husband needs and the mother my children deserve.
Reflect & Remembrance – Once we arrived home, rest along with reflection and remembrance of our journey was in order. Writing this blog post is a part of the remembrance process for me. Sharing my pilgrimage and my journey on my blog will cement my commitment to my family and my husband.
This entire trip would not have been possible without the support of the Chaplain’s Office, the USO Rome and our tour guide Jean Paul.
LTC Lawrence Burns presented certificates of appreciation to Christiano & his staff of the USO Rome for all his hard work in planning and organizing this trip for the Wounded Warriors of the WTB-Europe.
This was our entire group of Wounded Warriors & their families along with the Chaplain, security & staff of the WTB-Europe outside the USO Rome office on our first day of touring Rome. Thank you USO Rome for being amazing hosts for our time in Rome! You made us feel welcomed and loved!
LTC Burns also presented our tour guide, Jean Paul with a certificate of appreciate. His knowledge of Rome and the Vatican was vast and he knew the answers to any an all questions we had for him. Not only was he a professional, but he was kind and fun to be with!
You better believe I found cupcakes in Rome too! But… that adventure is for another day and another blog post!
I took almost 1000 photos during this trip and there was no way I could include them all in this blog post, so I’ve put the best 100 or so pictures in this gallery below! Enjoy!
Rome & the Vatican – October 2015
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”1″ gal_title=”Rome & the Vatican”]