So you knew it was coming...I'd been out of the country for 8 months and on a cupcake-less Island so you knew when I returned to England I would be cupcaking it up to the max! Here's a little roundup of what I've been indulging in....
Fresh off the plane the day I arrived back in London...my sister, Mara, and I headed straight for Selfridge's. Lola's has always been a London favourite of mine. It was the 1st April, we were eagerly anticipating what their flavour of the month would be. Mara had not been overly impressed with their peppermint hot chocolate flavour for March so we were excited to see what April had to offer. On the underground we were all guessing what we thought the flavour would be, I said it would probably be coffee or something like that since we don't eat anything with coffee in for religious reasons and of course it turned out it was espresso flavour so we didn't try that! I went with an Oreo one and Mara went with the Red Velvet.
We decided to eat them with a little view of Big Ben in the background (courtesy of a Selfridge's window display!) I was actually quite surprised, Lola's used to be one of my go to cupcakes that I knew would always taste good but I was disappointed, the frosting was so sweet!! Perhaps I've just been spoilt since I was able to try the amazing cupcakes of Crumbs bakery whilst in the Caribbean and now nothing will ever compare!
After that we headed to Covent Garden. I had wanted to go and check out Sweet Couture, but I got as far as the front door and it wasn't very inspiring - the flavours were pretty normal and nothing really looked too amazing so we gave it a miss and decided Ella's Bakehouse would offer something far yummier. I got the banoffee, by this point of the day jetlag had set in and I was so tired I forgot to take pics!
A few days later, we headed to Cheshire Oaks (an awesome outlet shopping centre about 45 minutes from where I'm living in Shropshire). Mara had said at Christmas she'd remembered seeing a cupcake stall so I was pretty excited. When we came across The Cupcake Compartment, it was located across from a Krispy Kremes stand.
My advice to you would be choose a Krispy Kreme every time, the cupcakes were really uninspiring, the majority were just chocolate or vanilla sponges with different coloured frostings on top.
For example Mara opted for the Rolo cupcake which was just a straight forward chocolate sponge with chocolate frosting and a Rolo on top! I would have at least expected a caramel filling or something that would tie the cupcake to the actual name rather than just a Rolo on top! I went for a mint cupcake which again was pretty standard - chocolate sponge, mint flavoured frosting with a bit of an after eight style chocolate on top which was rather tasteless.
After a few days of cupcakes not really hitting the spot, I was excited to roadtrip to Oswestry (about an hour from where I am now) in search of two cupcakeries I had read about online.
My first mistake was underestimating how big Oswestry is! I was expecting it to be some little village where I could easily stroll down the street and spot some cupcake shops! but it's actually a pretty big town so we walked around for about 20 minutes before we came across either of the shops.
The first one we came to was Icing on the Cake. The shop was very modern and nicely done out inside, with cake stands all over the place full of goodies, however they were mostly tray bakes, cake slices, loaves etc... and their cupcake range wasn't really the star of the show. They do a whole range of baked goods such as rocky road, millionaire shortbread, carrot cake, shortbread etc but they just had one main cake stand in the middle of the shop filled with chocolate, vanilla and some lemon cupcakes.
I must say at £1 a cupcake it was definitely the cheapest I've ever purchased! but they were just really standard cupcakes, the chocolate frosting did have a lovely rich taste but I felt they could have done more with the decorations rather than just throw a sprinkling of white choc chips on.
I was more excited about the second place we were planning to visit, Crumblicious - they actually have a proper website and I had read up about them. My mom and sister have also visited them before and said I would like their cupcakes. My husband was going to visit them for me on my behalf last Saturday when he popped to Oswestry but they close at midday on a Saturday so he wasn't able too. I even called them before we left the house today to check they would still be open when they arrived and they said they would. I knew the second I walked through the door something was wrong, there was not a cupcake in sight! They are not solely a cupcake business, they do occasion cakes too and as luck would have it they were baking a fruit cake for a 50th wedding celebration at a low temperature and so that had prevented them from doing any more cupcake baking this afternoon! so they didn't have any cupcakes left! I explained how I'd travelled for an hour just to visit them and was planning to review them on my blog so the lady quickly offered to post me some to try if I left her my address - I was pretty impressed with this offer and will wait next week to see what materialises!
Just when I was about to give up hope on the West Midlands' offerings in cupcakes...we paid a visit to The Little Round Cake Company. They have a cupcake stall in the Darwin Centre in Shrewsbury High St but I was also excited to learn they have a storefront known as The Little Round Bakery.
It was in a residential area and I wasn't really sure what to expect. So I was relieved when we walked in to find a counter filled with a whole variety of cupcakes...I knew we were in for a treat!
There were so many I didn't know how to narrow down my selection! We shared a carrot and a banoffee cupcake. The carrot cake was the most moist and delicious cupcake, even with raisins in (and we're not really raisin fans at all) but they somehow added to the moistness. It also had a delicious cream cheese frosting which tasted like it could have been flavoured with orange too. The banoffee cupcake was a banana flavoured cake with banana frosting topped off with a trickle of toffee and some toffee chunks!
At £1.50 a cupcake they certainly don't break the bank, but for someone who is currently unemployed two was all I could afford! I had my eye on the white chocolate and raspberry...I guess it's a good reason to return soon!
So after this week of cupcake hunting my verdict is if you happen to find yourself Shropshire way the only cupcakery I can recommend to you is The Little Round Cake Company, and Queenie's has always been a firm favourite...I just haven't managed to justify a special trip to Ironbridge yet but I'm sure we'll find ourselves there soon enough - with my cupcake loving family it won't take us long!