I've long thought The Cupcake Collection is Christchurch's champion of cupcake purveyors - I wouldn't say I've tried them all but of the ones I had tried they'd always come out on top. So when I heard that they'd opened a new stand at Riccarton Mall I figured it was worth dropping in (not, you know, all the way from Wellington, but about a week ago when we were in Christchurch anyway).
The stand is upstairs, in the new food area, part of the gigantic extension which seems really new to me because I moved away from Christchurch just after it opened, but is actually about 18 months old. It looks neat and cute and very clean. The girls keeping shop were wearing bright red lipstick, which is cutesy, I guess, but irritates me when it's clearly the uniform - I'm sure they don't mind but I would. ;-) I'm not working there, though, so I guess that's fine.
The cupcakes are all lined up, spectacularly uniform and pretty but somehow a little soul-less. I suspect this is probably something to do with the way the mall seems to suck the life-blood out of everything.
As well as the regular cupcakes (which are $4.50 each) there were also the extra pretty ones over to one side - these were $6.50 and though they did have very pretty decorations I think they were all vanilla (there was no indication of flavour that I could see, so I am guessing) which is pretty, well, vanilla, for such a pricey cupcake. They also had macarons - but argh, they spelt it wrong on their signs! This is going from bad to worse! (my high school friends will tell you that I can be a bit of a spelling Nazi sometimes. They also might tell you I'm actually pretty fond of vanilla and used to splash it around with reckless abandon in home economics, so I shouldn't be so judgemental)
Because it's the mall, not a lovely wee tea shop like the Beckenham store, the cupcakes are boxed up - neat little boxes, with a cardboard insert that holds the cupcake safely in position all the way home, or perhaps for as long as it takes to find a table and sit down because really, who can wait until they get home for cupcakes? ;-)
We chose a cookies & cream one, topped with a mini Oreo, and peach and passionfruit.
I was actually really disappointed by the cookies & cream flavour - the topping (and perhaps I shouldn't be surprised but I was) seemed to be stabilised cream, or something similar - a texture I didn't enjoy it all, fluffy and a bit greasy and not very flavoursome. The flecks of cookie through it helped but not enough. The cake itself was even more disappointing, mainly because I've had quite a few Cupcake Collection cupcakes over the past couple of years and they've all been good - the sort of moist, flavoursome cake that is pretty scarce in the big wide world. This one, though, was a bit oily and quite bland.
The peach and passionfruit was better, though the cake was also a little dry. The fruity filling was delicious and the cream cheese icing was a good match.
So, while I still think The Cupcake Collection has a lot going for it, and definitely recommend the Beckenham store for a treat, I don't think Riccarton measures up. Go and enjoy the pretty china and lovely surrounds over the other side of town instead!
Sorry that this is a bit negative - I'm interested to hear if any of you Christchurch folk have had similar (or contrasting) experiences - what's your top cupcake pick?
The Cupcake Collection is located at 140 Colombo Street (on the corner of Tennyson Streets), Christchurch. It's open 10.30am-5.30pm weekdays and 10.30am-3.30pm weekends, ph 03 332 8432.