Cupcake Craze Bites Old Town


What do Californias wine country, New York City, Las Vegas, Toronto, Ottawa, Santa Barbara, Atlanta, St. Louis and Alexandria all have in common?  Yes, these cities are all tourist spots, but more specifically each one has at least one trendy cupcakery. As of early September, the Lavender Moon Cupcakery opened its door at 116 South Royal Street in Old Town and officially began offering healthy, tasty and creative flavors of the traditional little cakes.

The shop is the newest venture of sommelier Tammy and husband, Chef Peter Durkin, a junior partner with Chadwicks Restaurants.  When they returned home from their travels in 2007, the pair realized that what Alexandria needed was a cupcakery similar to what they had found in cities all over North America. However, the dynamic duo decided to put their own spin on the little bakery creations and try creative combinations of flavors such as peach and basil or chocolate with a hint of lavender.

Over the course of four months, they renovated a historic row house and tried a wide variety of cupcake concoctions where they cut the sugar, added yogurt to some and then enhanced the mix with honey and lavender and other flavors.

We wanted to try to develop new flavor combinations that are not super sweet, said Peter. However, we will still offer traditional chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for those folks who love the good, old fashion cupcakes. You could say most of our cupcakes are healthier because we use less sugar and more organic ingredients.  On Saturdays, the Durkins arrive at the Alexandria farmers market early to get fresh ingredients for the cupcakes.

Wednesday through Sunday, the Lavender Moons cupcakes are baked twice a day in the nearby Chadwicks Restaurant ovens, and the cupcakes do taste as though they just popped out of the oven.  Tammy explains that their strategy is to keep customers interested by changing the flavor offerings every day. Tammy continued, We are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until the cupcakes run out. Some days we have a few left over, and so we walk around the neighborhood and give them away to our neighbors. Then other days, we have run out in a couple of hours.

Frank Kozuch, owner of Whistle Stop Hobbies just a few doors down, is pleased about the new addition to the South Royal Street block and is eager to sample the cupcakes. However, Frank commented that the bakery treats must be good because the past two weekends the cupcakes have all been snapped up before I have been able to try one.  I look forward sampling the different kinds! 

One person who did get to sample a number of the delicious cupcakes is Gerald Fauth, who is fortunate enough to have his office above the Lavender Moon Cupcakery. Gerald tried a number of cupcakes while the recipes were being refined and states that they were all good. His personal favorite is the light vanilla bean cupcake with a stuffed lemon curd center.

While the Durkin’s are awaiting the approval for their sign from the Board of Architectural Review, a sign on the door and window invites passers by into the cheery, cozy spot with its bold burgundy striped walls painted by artist Monica McCall and decorating details from King Streets Decorium Gift and Home store.  If the peach and basil or chocolate lavender cupcakes are typical fare at Lavender Moon, no one will even consider walking by and not stopping in to savor the tasty treats.

For more information, cupcake tasters have to visit the 116 South Royal Street shop because they do not yet have a website or a telephone number. However, the prices are set: cupcakes sell for $3 each or a dozen can be purchased for $30.  Also on offer are Tammys Teas for $3, and soft drinks, juices and water for $2.