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Let them eat cake, says Tony Greenway. Specifically, cupcakes
Britain is, officially, going cupcake crazy. We know this because next month the UK will be in the frenzied grip which is almost certainly not the right expression of National Cupcake Week.
Partly, you can thank BBC2s The Great British Bake-off for this cupcake devotion. You know, the show where amateur artisan bakers knock themselves out to impress judges Mary Berry and the unnervingly blue-eyed Paul Hollywood (bakings answer to Simon Cowell) with their cake-making skills.
The dire economic climate might also have something to do with our sweet national obsession, because while cupcakes are certainly an indulgent treat, theyre not going to break the bank. Yet, actually, the craze is said to have started years ago on the other side of the Atlantic, when the Sex and the City girls announced they loved the cupcakes from New Yorks legendary Magnolia Bakery.
In Yorkshire, cupcakes are big news. Some of the artisans who make them are so good that they have been nominated as finalists in the National Cupcake Championships.
So where can you go in Yorkshire for the best cupcakes? Here are my favourites:
Sootys Cupcakery, 7 Castlegate, York
Sootys Cupcakery is a small shop thats big on inventiveness. Its Yorkshire Rose cupcake and its Hurricane cupcake were shortlisted for the National Cupcake Championships 2012, which take place in London on July 2nd. We go to press before that date so cant tell you how they did.
Fancie, locations in Sheffield
Fancie is the award-winning brainchild of Amanda Perry who left Cornwall to become a pastry chef and then set up a business in her Sheffield kitchen in 2008. Now there are three fancy Fancie shops in Sheffield. Vogue called Fancie the hidden gem of the North and Paloma Faith and Lily Allen are said to be fans.
The Sunshine Bakery, 82 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds
Another small but exquisite establishment with a French bakery vibe. I sampled cupcakes here the other month and they were out-of-this world (especially the Eton Mess cupcakes). I discovered the bakery is owned by David Bennett, who worked in Michelin star restaurants for 17 years and was Marco Pierre-Whites former chef; and that David was crowned Cupcake Champion of Great Britain in 2010. So no wonder I liked them.
Mama Doreens Emporium, 31-33, Cold Bath Rd, Harrogate
Jessica Bradley is the woman behind Mama Doreens which produces speciality
cakes, confectionary and cupcakes, of course, using fresh, local ingredients when possible. Mama Doreens shop opened in March, but the business is four years old and supplies to various outlets. I especially relish her Irish Cream cupcakes, Pina Colada cupcakes and Cosmo cupcakes.
Sugar Therapy, Bower House, Station Parade, Harrogate
Charlotte Marrifield has worked as a chef in five star hotels and Michelin star restaurants, designed premium desserts for leading supermarkets and cooked for Albert Roux, Gordon Ramsey, Gary Rhodes, Stephen Fry and Delia Smith. Now she runs Sugar Therapy. Charlottes Prt a Patisserie Afternoon Tea was named as the UKs Best Modern Afternoon Tea by Stylist Magazine and she runs cupcake decorating classes on the last Sunday of every month.
Swirly Sweet, York
Swirly Sweet is just one year old and already grabbing peoples attention. The owner, Lorraine Mills, holds cupcake masterclasses and childrens cupcake parties in hired venues and peoples own homes. She also custom-makes cupcakes for any occasion. Probably the Madagascan Vanilla or the Chocolate Indulgence, are her most popular, says Lorraine