I’m not going to lie, Marge. It was too cold and too crowded to get a shot of the exterior of The Sweet Lobby, a Capitol Hill sweet shop dedicated to gourmet cupcakes and European treats such as macarons, madeleines, éclairs, shortbread, canelés and more. Had it not been overbearingly crowded, I would have probably sampled a bit more, but as it was, I just wanted to get a cupcake and get out of there. No time to waffle in the cupcake house! Har dee har har.
The Sweet Lobby is the brain child of Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, an engineer who balances her work in the area of vision research with owning and operating The Sweet Lobby. Within months of opening, Winnette won an episode of Cupcake Wars on The Food Network, which inspired my interest in TSL as I wanted to see if their cupcakes compared to my local (and favorite) cupcakery, My Sweet Cupcake, also winners of Cupcake Wars. I realize this is likely comparing gala to fuji apples.
This the is the cupcake my friend KD went for, one of her usual go-to cupcake flavors as it regularly satisfies any straight up coconut craving. I appreciate the gracefulness in this cupcake’s simplicity, and that the coconut flavor comes from not just a pile of shredded coconut lazily scooped on top of a vanilla cupcake, but from the base cake itself.
As soon as I caught sight of the menu, I zeroed in on two flavors: chocolate mint and strawberry champagne. The chocolate mint was nowhere to be found, however, which fueled my determination to own and consume the last strawberry champagne cupcake. I had a small handful of people in front of me, but thankfully, none of them ordered this cupcake and it was all mine!
The cake was extremely soft and moist, with fresh strawberries baked into the cake. The frosting wasn’t this overbearing pile of sugar, but a hearty dollop of rich, creamy buttercream. The inside white chocolate fudge was also a surprise, and definitely contributed to the moistness. It’s an understated, elegant flavor that I recommend.
One quibble I had was that one or two cupcake flavors that are supposed to be available on Saturdays were not. I’m guessing their daily specials might have a “once we’re sold out, we’re out” policy, and they’re replaced with daily flavors. Thankfully, the special flavors seem to rotate throughout the week, so one does not have to get up early to beat the Saturday crowd.
While I could easily walk away from The Sweet Lobby and continue to call My Sweet Cupcake my favorite cupcake stop, I would never hesitate to recommend them. Their dedication to creative and classic flavor pairings is commendable, not to mention their unique Cupcake Lab, where they encourage customers to order their own desired flavor combinations. Definitely something to think about upon my return to the neighborhood.
The Sweet Lobby
404 8th Street SE
Washington DC 20003
Metro: Eastern Market Station
Friday & Saturday: 10a-10p