I am impossibly optimistic when it comes to fitting things into a limited timeframe. Prime example: my recent day in Auckland, where I only made it to about half the places on my list. Since we don't own a car it's not just when we're away that I do this; whenever we rent a car (which is quite often; it's cheaper for us to rent one when we need to than pay for parking, insurance, rego etc., since we don't need a car day to day) I think of all the slightly out of the way places we could go and try to get there. And so it was that on Saturday, after picking up our car at 12, heading to Paraparaumu for the Kapiti Food Fair (and a custard square), and then stopping into Petone to check out Ontray's, I realised with a panic that getting all the way over to Miramar before closing time (4pm) was probably pushing my luck a bit.
Luckily for me the lovely ladies who run the shop weren't too worried about closing at 4 on the dot, and after a phone call to check if they'd still be there and a lot of impatient waiting at traffic lights we pulled up outside the store at about five past.
The shop is teeny tiny, but adorable and the cupcakes are beautifully decorated. They also had various cupcake accessories - I didn't want to linger too long as I was conscious I was already after hours but I did pick up a tube of pretty pink sprinkles for the bargain price of $3.
I had a Grabone voucher I snapped up a while back for a box of six, so I chose one of each of the five flavours they had left, and one of the mini ones (I wanted to try as many different flavours as I could; the lady kindly offered me more than one but I thought six was already a bit excessive!).
They are all stunningly presented - your inner little girl will squeal with glee when she spies them. ;-)
So how did they taste? From left to right:
The lemon flavour was a nicely moist cake, with zesty, flavoursome icing.
Chocolate one was unfortunately a bit dry and I found it quite boring - neither the cake nor the icing had any wow, they were quite bland. Bottom of the class, sorry, chocolate.
The lemon meringue was pretty good, though, with a lemon curd filling (yum, can't go wrong with that) and a fluffy meringue buttercream topping. I'd definitely choose this over the regular lemon - but both were good.
The mini chocolate almond flavoured one, which is gluten free, was far and away the best of the lot. The cake was moist and soft and slightly nutty - this is my recommendation. Plus check out the gorgeous rose topper!
Vanilla, true to name, had a good hit of vanilla flavouring (so it's not 'plain', it is actually 'vanilla') but the cake was a little on the dry side. Note that the smushed icing and slightly beheaded reindeer has nothing to do with the makers but instead the transporters (i.e. Mr Cake and myself), who inadvertantly bashed the box around a bit too much. Sorry Rudolph!
Last on the list was banana - now, I am rarely a fan of banana as a flavour in cake; I love my banana coconut loaf recipe, but banana cake usually makes me regret eating it, possibly because it quite often carries baking soda as a flavour. This cupcake fortunately didn't feature the notes of bicarbonate soda I so dread, but still didn't thrill me - a little on the dry side, just nondescript really.
I wasn't blown away by the cupcakes themselves - they were a bit hit and miss (though I'd happily eat as many of the chocolate almond flavour ones as came my way) - but the decorations are incredible (all made in store from gumpaste) and the shop has some fun little bits and pieces for you to do your own cupcakery with at home, which makes it worth a visit in my book.
Cupcakes is located at 38 Caledonia Street, Miramar, Wellington, ph 04 388 5005, www.cupcakes.co.nz