In honor of #BirthWeek (which is TOTALLY a thing at my house, but only for me; nobody else gets #BirthWeek) I decided to hold the first of what I hope will be many cupcake smackdowns.
The process was simple. We visited three different cupcake establishments in metro Atlanta. We got two cupcakes from each location. Wait. That is a lie. We ended up getting 4 cupcakes from our last place because... choices are hard. My partner in selection was my middle son who was allowed to claim a share in #BirthMonth (also a thing) since his birthday is at the beginning of August and mine is at the end. Seeing that I gave birth to him, I get #BirthMonth.
Our first stop was one of the newest cupcake establishments in Atlanta, Georgetown Cupcakes. As the name implies, the company originated in DC but now has a location in Buckhead.
|Bright and Eager at our first stop of the mission.|
The interior is spare and sleek; the focus is on the cupcakes, for sure. The selection was good and hard to narrow down but we decided on a Butterscotch and a Peanut Butter Fudge.
Our next destination was only a few miles away but had a unique feature - an ATM.
A Cupcake ATM.
We traveled down the road to Lenox Square Mall to visit the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. You can go inside and order from a real live person, but where's the experience in that?
A touch screen comes up and allows you to select your flavor. For this one, we chose a namesake Sprinkle cupcake. For our second choice, we wanted something that we hadn't had before and sounded unique. The chocolate marshmallow cupcake met the specifications and we finished out our order. Swiped the credit card. Waited for that little door on the right to open.
The door does finally open and your cupcakes appear like the sweet little presents from the cupcake angels that they are. Here's a tip for all Sprinkles Cupcake ATM users everywhere: if you hesitate too long by, say, trying to capture this moment digitally, the door starts to close. My son yelled, "MOM!" and we both shoved a hand in there to grab our cupcakes before they were lost forever. Fun fact: the door WILL spring back open if it meets with enough resistance. "Enough resistance" means that it will not cut your hand but it will leave a definite line imprint on there. If there is a (paid for) cupcake on the line, I will take some pain.
Our third and final stop of the day was a familiar one.
Gigi's has two locations near our house and is much closer to us than the other bakeries visited that day. This is why we picked four cupcakes from this stop - we wanted two somewhat different cupcakes, but we do have some standard favorites from Gigi's. We went with a cherry limeade, a chocolate chip cookie dough, a Texas milk chocolate and a red velvet. Okay. So, only the cherry limeade was "different". I wanted the vanilla float cupcake but realized that I was pretty much drowning in excess already and showed a little restraint. Actually, it was more the fact that my sweets-loving 13 year old was giving me side-eye over a 9th cupcake purchase. When you get to that point, you know you need to pack it in.
|I feel about a pink Gigi's bag the way some girls feel about a blue Tiffany's box.|
The cupcakes had to wait - I promised to take people to the pool. Upon our return, I was a mean mom and made people actually eat regular dinner-like food. I was not their favorite person.
But when I decided it was, in fact, cupcake time, all animosity melted away and people could suddenly not get close enough.
I'm telling you right now that there was not one scientific thing about this taste test. I asked people which flavors they wanted to taste. We cut things in half and passed them around.
So, I noticed a few things right off the bat. See the cupcake in the above picture where the icing appears to be falling to the left a bit? That's the peanut butter fudge from Georgetown. I noticed that their frosting was different from the others. It was the first location we went to and those cupcakes sat in the car while we hit two more locations. Then all the cupcakes sat on the counter while we went to the pool and ate dinner. Now, the butterscotch cupcake from there was fine, but the peanut butter fudge frosting got melty. If you go to Georgetown, you might want to refrigerate those cupcakes if you're not going to eat them shortly after purchase.
The Gigi's cupcakes are definitely bigger and the frosting is taller. This could be a pro or a con for you depending on your preferences and needs. If you are a frosting fiend, you get PLENTY of it. If you are looking to treat a child, though, it might be a bit much. (FYI, they do have mini cupcakes.)
All of them were beautiful and tempting.
TasteI'm telling you right now that my children were really no help here. Everything they tasted was the best damn cupcake they have ever had in their mouths, to hear them tell it.
I personally felt like the Sprinkles cupcakes were on the dry side. This is the third time I have had their cupcakes and I've had that opinion every time. I don't know if it's an ATM thing or if they would be more fresh in-store. However, for the hassle you have to go through to park at Lenox Square and the price tag that is higher than others, I will probably be parting ways with Sprinkles.
Both the Georgetown cupcakes and Gigi's cupcakes made me happy. The cakes on each were moist and the frostings rich and delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by the pairing of the Gigi's cherry cupcake with the limeade frosting.
|There were cupcakes left because Mean Mom limited everyone to ingesting one whole cupcake each at one sitting. These are all gone now.|
And the winner is....As far as taste goes, it's a tie between Gigi's and Georgetown. They were both delicious and satisfying. The Georgetown frosting is lighter while the Gigi's is very thick, so it's really a personal preference.
But for me and mine, I'm going with Gigi's. The first reason is simple economics - Gigi's cupcakes are bigger and you get waaaay more frosting for a nearly identical price. If you're a frosting whore like I am, you'll be down with that. The second reason is geographical desirability. Gigi's has locations all over metro Atlanta. Georgetown Cupcake is a good 35 minutes from my house when there's no traffic involved. If they would like to branch out north of the city, we might be able to explore a steady relationship.
As I mentioned previously, there are more cupcake locations to be conquered! I feel we should do this like Jeopardy where Gigi's will come back to defend her title against the next two competitors. We may have to have a special First Day of Autumn Cupcake Smackdown since the next family birthday isn't until November and that's just too long to wait for cupcakes.
Tell me: what are your favorite cupcake bakeries? Where should I go for our next Atlanta Cupcake Smackdown?