Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sparkle Cupcakery, Surry Hills

I work in Surry Hills, which seems to be a bit of an eating hotspot these days, and was excited to learn that a cupcake bakery had opened up not far from my office. I say not far, but anyone who has ever had to make the hike from Elizabeth Street up Foveaux Street to Crown knows that The Hill of Death lies between you and your desired destination. However, I wasn't letting that get between me and (hopefully) a good cupcake.

Before departure, I had a peruse of their website http://www.sparklecupcakery.com.au/ - pretty snazzy, with a run down of flavours and what day of the week they were available. I mentally made my selection and off I went.

After oxygen therapy upon conquering THoD, I spotted my prey and in I went to be greeted very chirpily by the young man behind the counter. The shop is exactly as you see on the website, I say this as I thought there’d be more to it in the flesh but no, not a huge amount of space. Given this is the 'trendy' part of Surry Hills, I wasn't surprised that there were lots of 'ladies who lunch' types in here, especially as you can sip a champers with your cupcakes.

So I perused the window display and made my selection - a lavender and honey and a coconut ice. They were placed into a stylish paper bag and whilst he was doing this I spotted a printout email on the counter from a corporate customer expressing their unhappiness. I noted this for two reasons. 1) I was about to fork over $9 for two cupcakes, so I was hoping this person had unfounded complaints and 2) I organise all our work functions, so always like to know who is worth their salt especially local suppliers. So regardless of whether or not you know who your customer is, its not a good idea to leave such notes out in plain view.

So, to the point of my visit. The cupcakes look nice, a big mound of frosting with a dot on top, it seems they (the dots) are colour coded according to flavour.

Lavender and honey – listed as a ‘soft-scented lavender cake with creamy honey frosting.’ As soon as I opened the bag I could smell the lavender. Maybe even a little too powerfully. The cupcake itself was a little on the dry side. The frosting is nice, but I am not detecting much honey. So, I take a mouthful of icing on its own. Hmmm, very fragrant but not really honey, more a lavender taste. So I take a mouthful of just cake – no real lavender flavour at all., In fact, while I do not have the resources to break down components, I strongly suspect it’s a vanilla cupcake with lavender icing, not a lavender cupcake with honey icing as the website states. A tad disappointing.

So, onto the coconut. Coconut ice – ‘tropical shredded coconut cake topped with coconut ice.’ So, this is meant to be a coconut cupcake with coconut icing. Check on the icing, but the cake is not coconut and this is obvious - there are no shreds evident in the cake at all and it simply doesn't taste of coconut. And unlike almost every coconut cake I've had in the past, this cupcake is very dry and crumbly, and is very difficult to eat.

For me, $4.50 for a cupcake is getting up there and possibly amongst the pricier cupcake offerings in Sydney. The cake itself seems more miss than hit. They are generous with the frosting and have some really interesting flavours on offer – it would be great though, if the finished product tasted of what was actaully described on the menu.

Sparkle Cupcakery
132 Foveaux Street
Surry HIlls
02 9361 0690

PS pics are coming as soon as I can get them off my phone.


  1. Megan, I was very entertained by your post :D. How disappointing to conquer THoD only to be served mediocre cupcakes :(. I think half the problem is people don't know any better - they get a dry cupcake and it's what they expect. Most bought cupcakes I've had are disappointing. People seem pleasantly surprised when you serve them a homemade cupcake and it isn't dry like all their previous cupcake experiences. It seems like a lot of places are more focused on how things look than how they taste. For $9 I would want fabulous cupcakes - pretty and yummy.

    Definitely unwise to leave a letter of complaint out in view of customers :0


  2. Aww what a shame. The interior of the store is stunning but I've heard the same about the dry texture which is strange. When you make cupcakes they usually last for days before they start to get dry. I wonder if they're not baked every day which accounts for the dry texture? Or else they're not using a great recipe!

  3. THoD - that's hilarious, and I know exactly what you mean. Or I used to... I'd collapse at the pub just dying for a beer once I hit Crown St, usually in heels!
    I'm yet to try Sparkle but have heard many, many mixed reviews. Would you try them again?

  4. NQN: I suspected it was older stock, although I've since read other reviews who've had the same issue so it could be a recipe problem.

    Tina - Firstly, I applaud you for conquering THoD in heels!! Secondly, no I wouldn't try them again. For the price, I think you can get much better quality. We've been getting Cupcakes on Pitt for a few work morning teas and they've been surprisingly good (I'd heard mixed reports about them, so maybe they've picked up their game)! I think what was most disappointing though, was they have such great sounding flavours but the flavours you thought you were getting, you didn't. Such a shame.