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Doron Petersan, proprietor of Sticky Fingers bakery (City Paper readers’ pick for “D.C.’s Best Vegan Restaurant 2011“), piped up on Thursday to remind Y&H that Crunkcakes aren’t the only liquor-laced cupcakes in town. Petersan points out that her crew nabbed a cool $10,000 by winning the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” this past spring with their own spiked desserts, including a chocolate cinnamon cupcake, filled with a bourbon caramel sauce and topped with a bourbon vanilla frosting.
The biggest difference between Petersan’s boozy cupcakes and Crunkcakes is the overall level of alcohol. Each Crunkcake contains nearly a full one-ounce shot of liquor, according to creators Faith Alice Sleeper and Raychel Sabath. The Sticky Fingers varieties are far less potent. No one is getting crunk, in other words, at Petersan’s place in Columbia Heights. Unless you eat an awful lot of them.
The grog gap has a lot to do with location. Crunkcakes are sold in licensed bars. Sticky Fingers bakery, meanwhile, doesn’t have a liquor license. At least not yet. Nor does it need one. So long as the liquor amounts to less than 10 percent of the ingredients of a given cupcake, according to Petersan.
“There’s not enough alcohol in the cupcakes for me to have to card you,” she says. “And that’s how we don’t have and we don’t have to have, currently, a liquor license.”
Most of the alcohol in Sticky Fingers’ “21 and over” creations are found in the frosting. Petersan does make a whiskey cake, she notes, “where the whiskey is mostly cooked out of the cake.” But there is whiskey in the frosting, as well, which doesn’t evaporate, she adds.
Crunkcakes, meanwhile, are infused with alcohol after baking, the makers say, meaning the hooch doesn’t cook off at all.
That’s not to say that Crunkcakes will remain D.C.’s most powerful cupcake, at least in terms of alcohol by volume.
Petersan tells Y&H that Sticky Fingers is now in the process of applying for its own liquor license, which would allow for sales of organic beers and wines at the bakery. And, of course, boozier cupcakes.
“When we do get our liquor license, that’s when we might get a bit more risque with the alcohol cupcake,” she says.
Photo by Chris Shott