Wow it took me a while to get around to part two. With all the baking I've been doing the past couple of weeks and the Council visiting, it's been hectic! I know my last entry was rather long and it probably deters people from reading so I'm going to keep this short and simple - straight to the point!
Firstly here are a few fantastic professional cupcake photos that I've been promising. I love looking at them!
Visit my Flickr photostream to take a look at all my cupcake photos.
So here goes Part Two.
132 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW
To be honest, this was the cupcake bakery I was most interested in visiting. I have read up about them and seen their cupcakes advertised on some market events in Sydney. I've read a couple of reviews of the place by I Am Obsessed With Food and The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry and both didn't particularly rave about their cupcakes, describing them as dry and tasteless. Well for $4.50 a pop, you don't want your customers saying that! So I really wanted to see and decide for myself.
The first thought that entered my mind when I saw their cupcake design was "I think Sparkles is waiting for Sprinkles to file a lawsuit against them". How odd that they would have the same signature dot on their cupcakes just like Sprinkles 'trademarked dot'... And naming their cupcakery Sparkle? Sparkle..Sprinkles..Sparkle. Not to mention their flavour chart on their website was oddly similar. Originality = 0/10. Anyhow I was still blown away at how schmick and posh the cupcakery looked when I walked in. Stunning shop fittings with a modern chic design, certainly didn't resemble a bakery of any sort. They even sold champers! It was the high-end of cupcake bakeries, who would've thought.
The flavour I had to try was Green Tea & Bubbles. I love green tea and I was dying to find out what the bubbles in the cupcake was. Such an enticing cupcake name...
So I took my first bite. Okay, green tea where are you. I know you're there because you're a green tea cupcake and I can see that you're green. Ohh...I can just taste you, but just barely. The cupcake was indeed quite dry, it wasn't very sweet and left a little bit of tarty aftertaste. If it weren't for the frosting which was quite soft, rich and not too sweet - I would not have finished it. Luckily I had an English Breakfast tea so I could take a sip after each bite.
Ok bubbles, where is the bubbles. Well see that white gooey thing in the middle? That's the "bubbles" which I believe is made out tapioca. Looks like snot and whilst I thought there would be a burst of flavour it had absolutely NO flavour at all, it was like bland tasting snot. Not that I would know what snot tastes like. I just didn't see the point in filling a cupcake with flavourless goo. Well at least you get to add "bubbles" in with the cupcake flavour name.
Susan tried the Lemon cupcake, which was again dry and didn't have that burst of lemon flavour we were hoping for. I also wanted to try the Pistaccio & Cardamon [sic] but had a long day ahead and didn't want it squished in my bag. So I asked if I could get a box, unfortunately boxes cost $2 each. I stupidly paid for it but at least I got to choose the colour sticker to seal my box. whoop. I chose purple.
Well since the cupcake was already pretty dry when we had the cupcakes in the morning, when I ended up eating the Pistachio & Cardamom cupcake it basically had the same dry, crumbly, days old cake texture. The cupcake flavour was quite subtle and had to really struggle to taste the flavours but I must admit I really did like the slight tang they had in their frosting.
Overall, the service was great at Sparkle Cupcakery, the place was beautifully decorated and designed, they had tables to sit at and enjoy the cupcakes with a coffee or champers. The cupcake itself however was the downfall. Also for Sydneysiders that may not be aware of Sprinkles in the States, they would think that Sparkle is the pioneer of the modern chic cupcake. However for those of us that have seen how Sprinkles has started this incredible cupcake phenomenon... well, it just seems like another copy cat trying to cash in on the idea. It's quite unfortunate to see the Founder market their business as 'turning the traditional cupcake on it's head' and creating the 'modern cupcake', clearly taking credit for something that wasn't their own original idea. Or perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions and she just happened to create a near identical product to Sprinkles by coincidence. Either way, for $4.50 a cupcake they really should take the feedback of their customers on board and improve their cupcakes to make them tastier, flavourful and less dry. I don't know about you, but looks and perception can only take you so far, it's the actual cupcake that you want to enjoy and not feel like you need to reach for a glass of water in case you choke on the crumbs.
My Little Cupcake
62 Ben Boyd Road, Neutral Bay,NSW 2089
It was such a difficult trek to get to this place. Sydney roads are not driver friendly and the traffic requires a lot of patience. When we finally found this place just outside the city, it was a lone shop on a street of houses. It looked shabby chic adorable. The shop itself was more that a homewares shop than a cupcake bakery, they sold all sorts of shabby chic kitchenware like plates, cups, cake stands. It had no tables or chairs like a cafe and I wasn't sure they even sold cupcakes when I walked in but when I asked about the cupcakes, they were taken out of the glass display cabinet where the counter was. They looked very very pretty. The were $3.50 each for the normal sized cupcakes and I believe the larger cupcakes were $4.50.
They only had two flavours, Vanilla and Chocolate. Unfortunately the chocolate had sold out for the day which was surprising as it seemed very quiet there and it was still quite early in the day. I bought two vanilla in pastel blue and pastel green, they both has sugared flowers on the top.
I was thinking to myself that this place must make the perfect vanilla cupcake, it looks perfect and I could smell that vanilla *sniff*. I couldn't wait to try it. Well it was good but it wasn't perfect. The cake itself resembled a sponge cake with vanilla extract, I was really hoping to have that cupcake moment when I had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake but it didn't happen. The frosting was a little bit on the hard side as you can see from the photo. It was super sweet as I think they had added too much icing sugar to the butter. I did end up finishing the blue one though, was too full to touch the green one and I actually brought it back to Melbourne the next day. I had a few bites of it but by then it had become stale which was a waste!
It was a cute little shop and I enjoyed browsing around, it wasn't what I expected for a cupcake shop but it was definitely different. I loved the pink oven in the storefront and the people were nice enough to let me take photos.
Well this concludes my Sydney Cupcake Excursion. Tried to make it less lengthy, don't think I succeeded but will be trying my hardest to post shorter ones in future. I have been moving along with my business, I know it seems like it's moving like a snail but there are just some things that I cannot rush and I've come into terms with that. I sometimes get annoyed because I feel like I have done jack all but then I look back and my small achievements are important, they are my little stepping stones to reaching the top of the mountain. Before I know it I'll be up there...can't wait to see that view!