Instagram cupcake review account informs d hall diners

A sophomore with a sweet tooth rates her favorite cupcakes


Featured at the Marketplace, these cupcakes are chocolate with vanilla buttercream. Nerds are used as garnish. Photo by Mary Alice Russell, ’22.

Mary Alice Russell

Aislinn Niimi, ’24, has always had a thing for cupcakes. Now, she is serving her community with her passion for the sweet treat by writing reviews of the cupcakes served in the Marketplace on her Instagram: @cupcakesofdhall. Niimi rates the cupcakes on a score of one to 10, with 10 being the best cupcake. The account boasts 133 followers including @wludining. The Ring-tum Phi sat down with Niimi to talk about @cupcakesofdhall and learn a little bit more about the mastermind behind the account. Below is an edited Q&A with Niimi. 

Q: What inspired you to start this account in the first place? 

A: So, I started @cupcakesofdhall on September 5 of 2020, and I started it because I realized I was reviewing and eating cupcakes every day and then just telling my friends how much I liked them or if I didn’t like them. And I was also inspired by my friend Alice’s food review account [called @aliceswlufoodjourney], so I thought her Instagram food account was really cool and because I was eating these cupcakes all the time, I thought it would be really cute to have a cupcake review account, and my friends were really encouraging and positive. People have told me that they read my reviews carefully and they make their decisions based [on my reviews] so that made me really happy.

Q: Why cupcakes? 

A: Because they are so cute, and they are just the perfect size. It’s all portion controlled, unless you get two, and I also love the frosting and icing. As compared to a slice of cake, I think you get more frosting on the cupcake. The ratio is different. 

Q: Do you have a special way that you eat your cupcakes? 

A: I do not. I usually just bite into the cupcake, but sometimes I can get behind using a spoon. It’s controversial, but sometimes if I don’t want to get my hands dirty I’ll just use a spoon. I have tried taking off the bottom and putting it on top of the cupcake. I’ve done the cupcake sandwich many times, but it’s never really become my signature way of eating a cupcake. It all depends on whether or not the cake is going to hold up or if it is going to crumble. 

Q: What is your cupcake rating process? 

A: It is quite methodical. First, I take a bite of the cupcake with the frosting and the cake. As a first impression. Then I usually will lick some of the frosting off of the top to see what the frosting is like on its own. Then take one bite of the plain cake. Then slowly finish eating it. Because sometimes, the frosting carries the cupcake and sometimes the cake carries the cupcake. The numbering is kind of subjective, but obviously a 10 out of 10 cupcake is flawless, a nine out of 10 is great, eight out of 10 is enjoyable, seven out of 10 is good, but it didn’t make my day and then six down is ok. The lowest I have ever given is a three.

Q: What is your favorite cupcake? 

A: I think my personal favorite is the chocolate coconut zucchini cupcake. It’s gotten consistent nines or 10s. I really love how moist the chocolate cake is on that. Sometimes, d hall chocolate cake doesn’t hit the spot for me, but [the chocolate coconut zucchini cupcake] usually has chocolate chips and the zucchini just gives it a great consistency. The most consistent cupcake is the carrot cake cupcake: straight 10s since I’ve been reviewing it. 

Q: Do you think this is something you will do throughout your Washington and Lee University career? Do you think it is one of the ways you are making your mark here on campus? 

A: I suppose so. I never really solicit follows very actively, but people find me and so I have [133] followers now which is pretty cool. I will keep eating cupcakes for the entire time that I am here and I will keep reviewing them. 

Q: I feel like the more time we spend at d hall the less attractive it is to go there. Would you say that as a sophomore it’s been harder to get down to d hall. 

A: It certainly has. When I lived in Graham-Lees it was so close. It was the only place we went, so I would eat there on a daily basis and try the cupcakes on a daily basis. Now, I live in a theme house. I live in the ARC house which is much farther away from campus, and I do go to d hall about three times a week because I have to stay on campus some days. So, it has been harder to get to d hall and get the cupcake reviews. 

Q: Will you always just do cupcake reviews? 

A: There is only one time that I haven’t done a cupcake review and that was when I did a trifle review which is technically the cake in a cup. I’ve always been a big fan, I thought the trifles were really tasty, and the reason I did this review last month was because I met some freshmen who didn’t know about [the trifles] because [d hall] was not doing it as much. The mixed berry one is my favorite, so when I saw it, I decided to review it on the account. 

Q: Do you love making food? How does food influence your life? 

A: Absolutely. Food is a huge part of my life. I love cooking for myself. I love trying new foods. I also have a huge sweet tooth so I especially love desserts. I think all events are made better by food.