Monday, August 22, 2011

Cupcake Showdown: Bleeding Red Velvet (Part 1) - Little Cupcakes

Shop 7 Degraves St; 03 9077 0413
TG06 181 William St; 03 9600 1690
Shop 4 118 Queen St; 03 9602 3884

Opening Hours: Varies, see here

It's been a goodly amount of time since this blog featured an old-fashioned showdown!

Little Cupcakes, William St

Cupcakes are a real religion in Melbourne. Worshipping types run the gamut from daily zealots to occasional visitors and even the prodigal (those who flock in during troubled times).

Cupcakes at a crossroads.

Blasphemy unfortunately is rife, especially in the CBD, where artificially-coloured and synthetically-flavoured idols are hawked aplenty.

It is for this reason I turned my back on the faith some time ago, having tasted too many ‘cupcakes’ better employed as neon decorations than eaten by any man or beast.

My return to the fold therefore is with a very particular mission in mind: a search for a contender worthy of claiming the Red Velvet throne.

A more callous person might observe a comparison between the Red Velvet cake and the Holy Grail: mystical construction (oddly tasty combination of beetroot with buttermilk, cocoa and cream cheese), scarlet contents, Hollywood endorsements, and a passionate following.

It is in fact because of one such passionate follower, L, that I became hooked while looking for a version befitting the occasion of her birth.

As far as Melbourne is concerned, Little Cupcakes is the goldie oldie shop for fundamentalist cupcakesians. L swears on her stack of recipes that these are still the best in town but I’m not sure I agree!

Tastings will be scored according to a badly-conceived Thank-Cake-It’s-Almost-Friday! matrix: T for texture, C for Cost, I for Icing, A for Appearance and F for Flavour.

Texture: As with other cupcakes I’ve had from here, this is a pleasantly light cake, with a very small crumb. In the spongy to fudgy spectrum, it is much closer to the former than the latter, but retains an adequate level of moistness.

Cost: $4.00 per regular cupcake ($4.50 for gluten-free) and $2.20 for a mini size.

Icing: Is there a dentist in the house? Prohibitively sugary (grainy even!), with the sweetness overpowering any of the cream cheese tang required for a red velvet.

Appearance: Adorable! Evokes thoughts of all things girly-curly like pastels, pinks and polka prints. And the shops are just as sweet, spice and everything nice.

Flavour: Not bad. Errs on the side of too subtle perhaps, bordering on bland with a tinge of baking soda. If I didn’t know better I wouldn’t have thought it contained any cocoa.

Overall Score: 7/10. I would add, however, that in the consistency and ‘all-rounder’ stakes, Little Cupcakes is always a great bet and has certainly stood its own through the waxing and waning of the popularity of the cupcake faith!

Despite my red velvet resolve, I couldn’t resist disloyally taking home a Belgian Chocolate cupcake as well.

In my next post I visit a contender that I believe controversially displaces Little Cupcakes as the incumbent queen of Red Velvets.

Care to hazard a guess or provide a suggestion?

Little Cupcakes on Urbanspoon


  1. I still love cupcakes but the icing just gets too full on for me these days.

  2. You need to head over to Cupcake Central in Melb Central for a little of their lovely cupcakes. It's up on the food court floor... So good! Plus all freshly made in store! GO!

  3. Glad I am not the only person who think the icing/cream portion is too big. Lovely to look at though.

  4. Thanks. Another winner. I like your idea of using religious terms to analyse these cup cakes. I would have liked to see some political analysis as well, like, which ones of these cup cakes are likely to be a rage at Tea Party?
    My guess of the surprise contender: box of 12 cup cakes at Woolworths? I have tried them in Canberra. Their texture is like tofu, which is good. The icing is as sugary as the icing on those you tasted. Their appearance is neat and tidy in a box. Their flavour is hearty. And the cost is so heavy in their favour, compared with all the alternatives, that in this time of cost pressure on family budget it alone would cut the cake!

  5. Oh, I've always walked by here but assumed they didn't do GF cupcakes...may have to pop by and check it out again sometime. :)

    It does look a little overwhelmed with icing, the poor things!

    Although cupcakes seem to be big here, I still don't think it can be compared the cupcake phenomenon that is in the states.... :L

  6. Ooh, interested to see the final results of the showdown!

    My favourite Little Cupcakes cupcake has to be the Belgian Chocolate. The icing is to die for!

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  8. For the comments you have, I thought it'd be rated a little lower. lol, maybe you are being too kind =)

  9. AAhh…I do love my food battles. My Red Velvet favs are still from Little Cupcakes…can’t beat the amazing frosting.

  10. I thought you'd give a lower rating than 7/10 too from your comments. I do think Little Cupcakes are the best of all the mainstream cupcake stores. Great to see they've got a stor on Williams st. Always thought the Degraves one was the only one.

  11. Penny: I know! Too-sweet icing is really the only problem with Little Cupcakes I reckon. There are some less intense offerings out there!

    msihua: I may have already been there once twice or more ;)

    AT: Cupcakes are the epitome of eating with yours eyes I think!

    DJ: I can't believe you bought cupcakes from Woolies! They are very...lurid. As for politics, we'll see haha I'm a great believer in sticking to what you know.

    Ashley: Let me know what you think of their GF cupcakes! I actually prefer the chocolate one to the regular chocolate one...more fudgy! And yes we've all seen the Magnolia bakery episode of Sex and the City! It caused such madness!

    Adrian: My friend L would agree with you, definitely!

    Old young man and Yunny: It was a very adequate cupcake even if the icing was too sweet for my tastes! Also gave them credit for their staying power and all-round good consistency!

  12. April: I did enjoy the icing! It tasted like a very quality milk chocolate mousse! Yum!

  13. Don't know who you are... found ur blog when looking for cupcake info... love ur writing style, though you sound a BIT like a lawyer/law student, or social sciences person... am heading over to satisfy my cupcake cravings coz of ur pics... so thanks!

  14. Anonymous: Haha last I heard it isn't a crime to be (or sound like) any one of those! But thanks so much for dropping by, please come again :)

  15. I totally agree with your assessment of the red velvet. I caved in and bought one but found the same issues you did: too light and spongy, not enough flavour and a grainy frosting that was too sweet and not tasting much like creamcheese at all. Although I do love the Belgian Choc much much more :)

    Looking forward to reading the Red Velvet adventure. I'd order a box from Sugadeaux. She's pretty hardcore about red velvet cake :)