The Cupcake Parlour Review
I am a mad, bad-ass baker. You should see me in an apron – I go off. Hand me an electric mixer and some flour, and I’ll have myself a party.
You can image then, my eagerness to try The Cupcake Parlour, a little cafe/bakery that specialises in the teeny cake treat. Situated in West End, the cafe is not quite unique in Brisbane (there’s also Couture Cupcakes in Bardon, and Carousels Cupcakes in Chermside), but it is still something of a rarity to find specialty dessert/sweet stores in this city. Just looking at the website got me going – I was excited to see they had such flavours as Rocky Road, Peanut Butter, and Fairy Floss.
I’d already sampled the coconut variety at the New Farm markets, but was eager to have the full cupcake cafe experience. They bake their cakes fresh in-store every day, frost them by hand, and also do wholesale and catering.
The range in the cafe is huge, but eventually we settled on a Gooey Choc Fudge Centre, and a Toblerone (left & middle, both $3).
We settled at one of the tables outside and before long, our coffees arrived. Also $3 each, they were excellent. When I asked for some skim milk on the side for my long black (right), my server asked if I preferred steamed or cold – in my book, this earned them major brownie points for quality service. The long black in question was really quite good – evidenced by the thick crema on top. D’s flat white was also top notch.
There’s a decent amount of both indoor and outdoor seating, and the decor of The Cupcake Parlour is very cute without being kitschy. They sell other treats like melting moments and slices, as well as an array of cold drinks and coffees – how good does a Raspberry Mocha sound?
Now, onto what we’re all here for: the cupcakes. We had specifically ordered these two because they had cool stuff inside. The Toblerone was supposed to be “filled with chewy bits”, and the Gooey Choc Fudge Centre was supposed to have…well, you know.
I gave a little yelp when I peeled the paper away from the Gooey Choc-a mass of gooey, fudgey chocolate came away from the cake (below)! I was excited and dug in. Unfortunately, there was no more goo to be found in the cake. It had only been present in a tiny little pocket right at the bottom, which had promptly collapsed when I tore the wrapper off. The cake itself was excellent – dense yet fluffy, and not overly rich. This was a good thing, as the icing was very sweet. I suspect they use caster sugar rather than icing sugar, as it was very hard and I could taste little sugar granules.
The Toblerone also had an excellent chocolate cupcake base, but the filling was also disappointing. We poked, picked, and munched our way through it carefully, but not a single ‘chewy bit’ was to be found. D apparently stumbled across a few pieces in the icing, however. The icing was also very sugary and unfortunately not very flavoursome – a rich chocolate, nougaty ganache would have gone perfectly on top here. I also grabbed a Sticky Date to take away, and am licking the last morsels from my lips as I type this. The cake on the Sticky Date was perfect – just like sticky date pudding, with chunks of dates throughout. But again, the sugary icing let it down – this would have been awesome with a butterscotch cream. If you get this one, I recommend warming it up a little bit first.
The cupcakes are beautiful and it’s a very sweet spot to have some afternoon tea, but I think my expectations were too high. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – get creative, people! I want to see some unusual flavours, something not so safe. Why does the Cookies and Cream cupcake not have chunks of cookie through it? Why are most of the cupcakes just a plain chocolate/vanilla base with a flavoured icing on top? I’m sorry – you can’t pop marshmallows and cherries on top of a plain chocolate cake and say it’s a Rocky Road cupcake.
Now having said all that, The Cupcake Parlour is none the less a specialty cafe, doing something not entirely run-of-the-mill with desserts, and they really deserve kudos for that. I will definitely visit them again to enjoy good coffee, great service, and a ‘safe’ (but pretty) cupcake.
The Cupcake Parlour
5/60 Vulture St
West End map
(also at West End and New Farm markets)
1300 CUP CAKE (1300 287 225)