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Are cupcakes the new black where you live? In the Washington DC area, cupcakes are the latest accesory-the culinary equivalent of the birkin bag. Goodbye boutique pizza, sianora sushi, and hamburger, who? While Washington DC’s Hello Cupcake opened to lines wrapped out the door and up the street, Tammy and Peter Durkin quietly began serving delicous cupcakes out of their Old Town store.
Beyond simple white lace curtains that line the windows of Lavender Moon Cupcakery are bold raspberry-striped walls, faux painted by a local artist. In two rooms, high ceilings don fixtures that range from utilitarian, bare light bulbs to soft crystal chandeliers purchased from Decorium Gift and Home on King Street. On the counter in back, buttercream-coiffed cupcakes perch upon cake pedestals behind a tall glass shield, while a brick fireplace across the small room suggests that perhaps, it once warmed a family home.
“We’ve been restoring the home for 4 months” said Tammy, wife of Peter Durkin, who also co-owns Chadwicks in Old Town. She added “we’re waiting for an armoire and hope to put a bar (across the front) so people can have a place eat their cupcakes”. In addition to cupcakes, plans are being made to serve organic teas, gelato and hot chocolate. Meanwhile they are looking into obtaining a license to serve food and install a kitchen. “It took 9 months for (Fontaine Caffe & Creperie) across the street to obtain a license”, noted Tammy.
As Lavender Moon Cupcakery evolves, Tammy hopes to increase sourcing local, organic ingredients. She needs to find an egg supplier that can handle the volume, and already uses Kingsbury Chocolate in their cupcakes. “Kingsbury’s Lavender Chocolate bars are used in the cupcakes we have today”, Tammy added, ”I’m going to be supplied with local lavender honey also”.
Lavender Moon Cupcakes are made twice daily in the kitchen at Chadwick’s. Today’s selection included Chocolate Lavender, Vanilla Lemon Curd, Mexican Chocolate Pudding Buttermilk Chocolate (Durkin uses buttermilk so the sweet cinnamon chocolate can act as a foil against the salt in the buttermilk), Devils Food filled with Peanut Butter Ganache, Passion Fruit Mousse Stuffed Pistachio Vanilla, Summer Peach Mint (made with fresh peaches from the farmers market bought early in the morning), Vanilla Vanilla, Chocolate Chocolate and Espresso Meringue.
In the interest of gastronomic journalism (read-a great excuse to indulge!), Frank and I bought 3 cupcakes and sampled two as soon as we got back home. The Vanilla Lemon Curd topped with a fresh raspberry had vanilla-flecked frosting swirled high, and thick lemony curd piped into moist vanilla cake. Devils Food filled with Peanut Butter Ganache was a delightful surprise with a flavor combination that reminded both of us of a treasured childhood treat–a Tastykake. Again, the frosting was creamy, topped with a dark brown, shiny ganache, and the chocolate cake was rich and moist.
The Mexican Chocolate Pudding Buttermilk Chocolate cupcake was thoroughly enjoyed with cup of coffee the next morning. It survived the night just fine in an airtight container. The Mexican Chocolate Pudding that filled the white cupcake was kissed with cinnamon and the cake was still held together with moisture.
Despite the modest and certainly understated opening of Lavender Moon Cupcakery, this store is selling thoughtful, creative and spot on delicious cupcakes-right out of the shoot. It is my belief that a faithful following will grow along with Peter and Tammy’s store.
Cupcakes sell for $3 a piece, a dozen for $30. They also sell “Tammy’s Teas” for $3, and sodas, juices and water for $2.
Lavender Moon Cupcakery
116 South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone and Website TBD