We've walked past a lot of cupcakes over the last year. Walked past, hesistated for a very long time, and then kept walking, pulling a sad face while thinking of our waistline. But like it or not, ditch the knitting - cupcakes are the latest essential accessory to make yourself look cool, or at least to make your friends love you long time.
With that in mind we caught up with one of London's premier cupcake suppliers
Who are you?
I’m Jemma, I run Crumbs and Doilies, with a little from my boyfriend (who does the website) and King Ken (who’s in charge of sprinkles). Crumbs and Doilies is the spiritual home – or, at the very least, the London pied a terre – of the cupcake. We sell our cakes online and at Sunday UpMarket in the East End of London, between Spitalfields and Brick Lane.
What did you used to do?
Before starting Crumbs and Doilies I worked in the Rose Bakery café at the top of Dover Street Market. I loved the Comme des Garcons discount, but they didn’t do cupcakes, so something had to give.
What made you want to become the cupcake queen?
I don’t know if I’d call myself the cupcake queen – maybe the cupcake duchess: you get all the flashy cars and palaces, without having to open so many hospitals! Anyway, I love baking cupcakes, and people love eating my cupcakes, so it seemed like a natural choice. It’s great to see people’s eyes light up when they open the box or see the stall.
And what's so great about your cupcakes?
All our cupcakes are freshly-baked using top quality ingredients. Our vanilla cupcakes are made using real vanilla, our chocolate with real chocolate, lemon with real lemons, carrot with real carrots, coffee with real coffee and banana with real bananas. There’s no additives, preservatives or funny stuff.
We also take great pride in offering the best range and selection of sprinkles anywhere in the UK. Dots, stars, sugar strands, hundreds and thousands, cows, pigs, dinosaurs, snowflakes…We’ve got them all, and in every colour of the rainbow. That means we can create cupcakes to suit any occasion and colour scheme. We also supply great cupcake towers, in four to seven tiers, for weddings and other events.
We love little silver balls. How many do you use a year?
We actually don’t use that many silver balls – our standard cupcakes tend to feature more innovative, colourful designs – but they do come out now and again for weddings. In an average month, we might get through a kilo or so of sprinkles. That may not sound like a lot, but bear in mind they’re very light!
What's your favourite cupcake design?
It varies. Right now, I’m liking turquoise buttercream icing with white and pink heart-shaped sprinkles. And, of course, snow-white buttercream with red and green Christmas tree sprinkles for the festive feel.
You let people give you requests - what’s the craziest cupcake request you’ve had?
For all-out weirdness, it’d probably be an order from Infinite Livez, the British rapper, who wanted cupcakes decorated with a mini sugarpaste model of his alter ego one-eyed puppet for the front of his album. We’ve also had an order for 2000 identical bright orange cupcakes for a well-known airline, and we recently did some wild-west cupcakes, complete with mini cacti and cow skulls, for the Hideout store in Soho.
Any famous customers?
We don’t like to cake and tell, but let’s just say that a certain Hobbit-loving white wizard is a repeat customer, and our cakes always go down well with media luvvies.
Who is your favourite celebrity baker?
Arthur Baker. Cheryl and Danny don’t get a look in.
And finally, what's your favourite London secret?
London’s got loads of great places, though I think most of them are ‘known about’. There’s a great Vietnamese restaurant on Old Street (Cay Tre) where the (excellent) food is either cooked at your table or served sizzling or set on fire. I also love jewellery by Tatty Devine in Soho and cute if useless toys from Playlounge.