Ginger Elizabeth’s rare cupcakes might not be worth the yearlong wait
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For dessert lovers, Ginger Elizabeth’s long-awaited Cupcake Day is a sweet deal.
Ginger Elizabeth (1801 L St.) is a dessert shop specializing in chocolate and macarons, preparing cupcakes only on the store’s annual Cupcake Day. This year, it was Saturday, March 11.
According to an employee, owner Ginger Elizabeth Hahn created Cupcake Day because she normally doesn’t have the capacity to make all of her favorite desserts, such as cupcakes.
The cupcakes’ popularity is shown by the constant line extending outside Ginger Elizabeth from the store’s opening (10 a.m. on Saturdays) until the cupcakes run out. The cupcakes’ availability is unpredictable, according to an employee, and they could be gone early. (Three-thousand cupcakes were made this year, and the Real Red Velvet and Cookies and Cream cupcakes ran out before 3 p.m.)
Because of the possibility of the cupcakes running out, I pre-ordered mine a week early. Six cupcakes ($25) is the minimum required for a pre-order, and with four flavor options I chose two Salty Caramel, one Real Red Velvet, one Coconut Lime, and two Cookies and Cream cupcakes.
When pre-ordering, I was advised by the employee to come early, when the line is the shortest.
So I brought freshman Spencer Scott along, and we arrived at Ginger Elizabeth around 10:10 a.m.. Although the line didn’t seem incredibly long, we waited for the order for 30 minutes.
However, sunny spring weather and several dogs in the line added to the relaxed atmosphere.
Along with receiving our already purchased cupcakes, we ordered a chocolate chip cookie ($2.75) and a smoked vanilla caramel macaron ($1.90).
The shop smelled tantalizingly of chocolate, so we were eager to devour the long-awaited cupcakes.
Surprisingly, finding a table was easy, and we sat down outside the adjacent restaurant, Saddle Rock.
Scott enjoyed the chocolate chip cookie and said it was above average. The smoked vanilla caramel macaron was delicious; the dense caramel filling coupled well with the light, crumbly exterior.
Neither Scott nor I enjoy coconut, but we tried the Coconut Lime, which has a lime curd center and vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, anyway. Both of us disliked the cupcake, although I enjoyed the lime curd filling.
The classic Real Red Velvet was garnished with cream cheese frosting and crunchy chocolate pearls.
The frosting was extremely light and airy and was unable to cover the cake’s dryness.
Filled with a rich chocolate cookie pudding, the Cookies and Cream Cupcake was covered with a light cookies-and-cream buttercream frosting.
Scott enjoyed the three different types of chocolates- the mousse-like filling, rich cake, and light frosting- and said the Cookies and Cream was his favorite cupcake.
“It’s well balanced between (incorporating) the rich chocolate while not being too overwhelming,” he said.
With a salted caramel center surrounded by chocolate cake and a caramel buttercream frosting, the Salty Caramel cupcake lacked the density I expected. However, the light frosting paired well with the chocolate, and the sweet caramel center added a thicker texture. Because of its blend of textures and delicious caramel flavor, this cupcake was my favorite.
Overall, the cupcakes were lighter than I expected and did not live up to the hype. However, Ginger Elizabeth’s desserts are usually incredible, so the standards were set high. The Salty Caramel and Cookies and Cream cupcakes were delicious, but not as amazing as I had anticipated.
I enjoyed the smoked vanilla caramel macaron more than the cupcakes, while Scott preferred the cupcakes over the chocolate chip cookie.
Although the cupcakes didn’t entirely meet my expectations, the experience was altogether enjoyable, and I would recommend Cupcake Day.
Scott liked the atmosphere of Cupcake Day but said the cupcakes weren’t worth waiting a year for.
Next year’s Cupcake Day will most likely be on Saturday, March 10.
—By Larkin Barnard-Bahn