Sweet Lobby converts to holiday treat central

Not every congressional staffer has the time to bake treats for the office holiday party, but who wants to be the one to show up empty-handed?

The Sweet Lobby, the dessert oasis of Capitol Hill, can help the fiscal cliff-obsessed save face this season with cupcakes that look as good as they taste. It’s located at 404 8th Street SE in Barracks Row, a 10-minute walk from the Capitol building. 

“The special thing about Sweet Lobby is that it really is a one-stop shop for the holidays,” co-founder Winnette McIntosh-Ambrose said. “You can come in and order gift baskets for friends or pick up cupcakes and macaroons for a Christmas party, or even just get a little something sweet for yourself.”

McIntosh-Ambrose and her brother and co-founder. Timothy Ambrose. won the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars” this past year, and they both have chemical engineering degrees from MIT. They’re from Trinidad and Tobago and have also lived in France and Japan.

It’s their unique background that helps these cupcakes stand out. 

“The ideas for the cupcakes come from somewhere in my crazy head,” McIntosh-Ambrose said. “I’ve lived all over the world, so I have these influences of Eastern and Western culture, and because of my engineering background, I’m not daunted when it comes to creating wild and intriguing flavor combinations.”

One unsurprising holiday flavor is the chocolate peppermint cupcake, which is topped with shaved peppermint and filled with a delectable combination of rich chocolate and a hint of peppermint. 

There’s also a gingerbread cupcake, with spicy cinnamon and ginger flavors, topped with an adorable miniature gingerbread man.

“If you’re having a holiday party and want to impress your guests, the best thing to do is get some of the basic cupcakes, and then surprise your guests with some seasonal and bolder-flavored cupcakes, like our white chocolate raspberry cupcake or a black-and-white bubbly macaroon,” she said.

The Hill’s suggestion for the perfect holiday dessert combination is the bipartisan special, which consists of six cupcakes and six macaroons for just under $30. 

Our recommended cupcake flavors: chocolate peppermint, caramel apple, chocolate salted caramel, gingerbread, green tea, and the black forest. For macaroons, go for the most adventurous flavors: pecan-praline, black-and-white bubbly, green tea chestnut, peach saffron, mocha and rose.

McIntosh-Ambrose expects the Sweet Lobby’s second holiday season to be bigger than its first, and plans to go into overtime to come up with the most creative and enticing concoctions to satisfy the shop’s customers.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about giving the customer a phenomenal experience the second they walk through our doors,” she said.