On The Road: Two Palate Dining: Babycakes Cupcakery

From top left- Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup
From bottom left- Chocolate Ganache, Sticky Toffee, Birthday Cake

She Said: Babycakes Cupcakery

While we enjoyed our day spent in the Abingdon/ Bristol area recently we also decided to expand our search for THE BEST cupcakery. As you know we’ve been looking for a while for a good cupcake shop and so far we haven’t found a good one. We’ve had cupcakes that were too frozen (Cupcakes Actually). We’ve had cupcakes that we couldn’t even tell what the flavors were supposed to be (Giant). We’ve had cupcakes that were too expensive, too big and didn’t taste good (Edibles Incredible).

We decided that we would sample some cupcakes while visiting our old hometown area. After all, don’t cupcakes make a road trip more fun? We are happy to say that we were pretty pleased with the treats we sampled from Babycakes Cupcakery

Abingdon is one of the sweetest and cutest towns in all of America. I worked at Barter Theatre when I was in college and I can attest that it’s also a great little town for the arts, too. There are tons of old buildings. It’s just sweet and adorable. Babycakes Cupcakery has as adorable location in an old building. It’s a precious jewel of a bakery with beautiful, old wood floors. Everyone we met in the shop was pleasant and helpful. The cupcakes were arranged like jewels on beautiful glass stands. It was a lovely and comfortable place to be!

Because we had a really yummy lunch (at Mellow Mushroom) we didn’t want to eat the cupcakes right away. We wanted to try this cupcakery, but we asked a lot of our cupcakes in that we waited a long time before we even started sampling them. I am happy to say that they more than stood up to the task. They stayed intact and delicious even after sitting in the car. Kudos are definitely in order to Babycakes for their cupcake quality!

We are used to the steep prices here in DC the area we were shocked to see a half-dozen cupcakes cost only 12 dollars! We figured if we got the half dozen we could try more flavors. I just want to note that we did not eat an entire half dozen cupcakes. We did sample them spread out over our journey home, but we did not eat the entirety of all the cupcakes- not even close.

There was a large selection of flavors and we tried some of our favorite flavors and we also tried some flavor adventures. I love caramel! It’s seriously one of my favorite flavors. I always sample caramel treats, especially salted caramel treats. At first I was skeptical about a salted caramel treat that was as chocolate based, as this cupcake seemed to be. The chocolate cake was moist, sweet, rich, mellow and not bitter. I truly think it’s the finest cake part of a cupcake that I’ve ever bought. The chocolate wasn’t overpowering, just a nice addition to the frosting which did indeed taste both salty and like caramel. I also loved the Sticky Toffee cake. The frosting had the sweetness of toffee, but was also tangy and fluffy. The cake part was like a traditional toffee cake dense and date studded. I was really surprised that the dates didn’t bother me, but I liked them. Okay, I thought they were walnuts until I looked up a recipe for the cake. But, the point is that they were tasty.

As much as I loved the Salted Caramel and Sticky Toffee, I’m afraid that I didn’t care for the other cupcakes very much. I didn’t like the peanut butter frosting on the Nutter Butter and Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes. I love peanut butter, but I was disappointed with the frosting. I thought that it didn’t have any depth or any sweetness. It simply tasted like thinned out peanut butter. While the peanut butter cupcake was made slightly better by the always delicious chocolate cake it was served on, the Nutter Butter’s plain cake tasted almost like bread dough.  I thought the Chocolate Ganache cupcake’s ganache was too bitter, but it was served on the fabulous chocolate cake! I was the most disappointed by the Vanilla Birthday cake. I was pleased that they had been sparing with the sprinkles, but I detested the cake and frosting of the cupcake.  The cake was flat and bland. The frosting had such an overpowering, too-floral vanilla taste and smell that almost tasted like lotion or candles. It was very unsettling to my palate.

Even though I didn’t like all the flavors I liked the Sticky Toffee and Salted Caramel so much, I would absolutely visit and buy these cupcakes again. I saw a few other flavors that weren’t available that day that I would also sample. The only thing that disappoints me about liking Babycakes so much is that there are so far away. They’ll definitely be a stop on trips back to East TN and SW Virginia. Open a store in DC, Babycakes- you’ve got the talent to make it here! Until then, we’ll enjoy their treats whenever we are in the area.

Kari’s Ratings

Salted Caramel- 10

Sticky Toffee- 8

Nutter Butter- 0

Chocolate Ganache- 2

Vanilla Birthday- 0

Peanut Butter Cup- 2

Overall- 7

Babycakes Cupcakery

He Said: Babycakes Cupcakery

When we were visiting our old stomping ground for Homecoming weekend a couple of weeks ago, we tried Babycakes Cupcakery.  After lunch we knew we had a long car ride ahead of us, and knew we’d want something sweet on the road.  Over the course of the trip back we tried six different flavors.

Babycakes is a cute little place just off of Main Street in Abingdon, VA.  They have a light sandwich menu, but mainly they sell cupcakes.  They’re priced very inexpensively compared to the bakeries we’ve tried in the DC Metropolitan area.  I was very surprised when the women behind the counter said that people complain that the cupcakes are expensive.  $2.25 if you buy one cupcake is not expensive!  Since we ordered half a dozen, they were only $2.00 each!

We tried their Vanilla Birthday Cake, Sticky Toffee, Nutter Butter, Chocolate Ganache, Salted Caramel and Reese’s Cup flavors.

My favorite was the Salted Caramel.  The chocolate cake was amazing.  By far the best we’ve tried in recent memory.  It was rich and moist, and just what a chocolate cake should be.  The caramel frosting was tasty and delicious.  And they had the perfect amount of salt sprinkled on top.  The Chocolate Ganache had the same cake, but the ganache was a little to dark for my taste.  The thin frosting was good for what it was, but just too assertive for me.  The Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake also had the same chocolate cake but was topped with a light peanut butter frosting and a piece of a Reese’s cup on top.  I loved the frosting.  It tasted like whipped peanut butter.  The taste was exactly what you get from peanut butter.

Their Nutter Butter flavor used the same peanut butter frosting, over an almond cake topped with a bit of a Nutter Butter cookie sandwich on top.  I’d never had anything like this before, and I loved it.  The almond cake didn’t have a very strong cake and worked as a very good canvas for the frosting.  Having had their vanilla cake with the Birthday Cake variety, I can say that the almond cake worked better with the frosting than the vanilla cake would have.  The Birthday Cake is very sweet.  Both the cake and the frosting were very sweet.  I liked it at first, but couldn’t finish it because it was so sweet.  By cupcake standards these were fairly small, but the sweetness was very overpowering.

Another standout was the Sticky Toffee.  This gooey, yummy treat was basically just a traditional sticky toffee cake with cream cheese icing on top.  The frosting was amazing!  It was tangy and sweet and incredible.  I’ve never had sticky toffee cake before, but if this is an accurate representation, I’m a fan.  The dates are a great touch.  I love fruit in cakes (just not fruit cake).

Babycakes is a wonderful little place to stop in for some unique cupcake creations in Southwestern Virginia.  I know we’ll be back next time we’re through that area.  There’s a level of creativity in their creations I’ve yet to see here in the DC area.

 RJ’s Ratings

Birthday Cake-5

Sticky Toffee-10

Nutter Butter-8

Chocolate Ganache-7

Salted Caramel-10

Chocolate Peanut Butter (Reese’s Cup)-8