Do I care for cupcakes?
No, I don’t. I seriously don’t.
I can never understand the cupcake allure. My other bib has it that I suffer from Francophilia and my heart only beats at the sight of good madeleines.. very well diagnosed indeed!
That said, them cupcake shops that have mushroomed recently in London invoked an attention of sort, and so have proliferated a good number of cupcake cookbooks. Hummingbird Bakery came to my mind, so to speak.
Do mainstream cupcakes cut it for me? Let’s have a look…
Strictly not mine. I found their cupcakes stodgy. The one I had was this carrot (cup)cake with walnut (£2.65). Not aggressively spiced, adequately carroty. Heavy and the frosting over-sweetened. The Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, less attractive in appearance and more expensive (£3), was a far more superior alternative.
You can’t eat both by themselves. A cup of tea/coffee is needed to wash the sugar off your system.
Moving on to Cox Cookies & Cake on Brewer Street…
If you get over the seedy neon lights (that make Cox look as if the place sold cocks not cakes) and the sexy novelty looking cupcakes, theirs are not that bad. The Muscle Mary one (at unreasonable £4) – hazelnut and praline – was quite lovely. The cake was lighter than Hummingbird but the icing not as smooth.
The classic range is cheaper (£2.50). The triple choc chip with crunchy malt balls was good. Full of texture and more sweet than bitter.
Ella’s Bakehouse at Covent Garden Piazza looks a girly gimmick. Sparkles and all.
Surprisingly theirs are very good. Light. Moist. Great consistency from the icing. Flavours are not out of this world, but it fares well. The regular sized Nutella (£2.50) was ok – I don’t mind reprising – and the miniature vanilla (£1) was just the right amount of cupcake and flavour combination I’d like to put in my mouth.
That said, the flavours are subtle and do not sparkle at the tongue..
My least favourite of the West End = Sweet Couture on New Row.
I had Red Velvet – classic American red sponge with cream cheese frosting – and Vanilla, all at £2.35. All dry, heavy, unpleasant. Say, both did not taste fresh whatsoever.
Very much like Ella’s Bakehouse, Primrose Bakery is a cupcake institution. Girly, pretty. Grannies will love them and so will their little nieces. The bakery ambiance is very dreamy 60s. Theirs (£1.85) are not as light as Ella’s but the flavours – carrot cake below – are a lot more pronounced. Decent frosting, too.
This brings me to the surprise cupcakes my other bib tailor-made for my last Christmas. Not by himself but through a custom made site.
.. BIG CAKE LITTLE CAKE ..
They specialise in all-you-want-to-have-them-look cupcakes. Jam filled. A variety of unusual (and usual) flavour combination. Loved the Cherry Blossom-looking strawberry-filled, Victoria sponge mini cupcakes. Great madeleine-like texture. Delectable icing. Varying degrees of strawberry-ness..
£18 for 2 dozens.
And the mint choc X-mas cupcakes. Bittersweet + minty. Very gooey sponge. Glistening frosting.. super fresh!!
This could convert me into cupcake-ism.
My cupcake ranking?
Big Cake Little Cake 9/10
Primrose bakery 8/10
Ella’s Bakehouse 7/10
Cox Cookies & Cake 6/10 (too expensive)
Hummingbird Bakery 6/10 (too heavy)
Sweet Couture 5/10
And the Candy Cakes?
They look toxic .. neither keen on look nor taste!
Came across Treacle Cupcakes on Columbia Road the day after I published the post. Really good miniature lemon (£1). Fresh spongy sponge. Velvety frosting. Well balanced flavours. Thumps up for me ^_^