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Hey Little Cupcake! review

Jemma Gibson likes this place like she likes puppies

Published on June 7th 2011.

Hey Little Cupcake! review

This could be a classic story of a cuter-than-thou-cupcake enterprise growing out of one woman’s kitchen.

The artwork lining the walls, which largely proclaims the need to eat cupcakes is in an array of glitter and pale pink and the gifts for sale, which include tote bags and chocolate rubber ducks and are absolutely adorable and wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale.

Read the story of any of the cupcake outlets that have sprung up over the past ten years and it’ll probably go something like this; (name/s) started baking cupcakes with tasty/fairtrade/local/free range ingredients for children’s parties/local delis/cafes/businesses/markets (number) years ago, and before s/he/they knew it, the little cakes were selling out and the business grew too big for one domestic kitchen, so they sought out permanent premises and (cute bakery name) was born.

IMG_3304.JPGAnyway, Hey Little Cupcake! opened in February after having temporary pop up shop elsewhere in Spinningfields last year. Walking into the place is like walking into a giant marshmallow, it’s cute and colourful and sort of massively harmless. The beautiful array of glistening cakes with charming names is almost overwhelming.

I spied a display of cake pops (£1.50) on the counter (small balls of cake, covered in icing and, in this case, adorned with a retro looking black and white photo), which any ardent follower of baking trends will know is the next big thing.

After much deliberation I selected La Paris (£2), a chocolate sponge cupcake topped with strawberry buttercream and sugar hearts, and a latte (£2.75).

I stalled for as long as possible-reading newspapers, checking my emails, taking pictures, calling friends and long lost relatives, staring into space and doing anything else I could think of-before cutting into the little work of art in front of me, driving my fork into the impossibly perfect pink buttercream and scattering little hearts across the table.

The buttercream, which simply refused to lose its picture perfect form, was super sickly sweet, as anticipated and the perfect accompaniment to a rich, moist chocolate sponge. Unfortunately that wasn’t what followed, the cake was dry and crumbly, akin to the things I talentlessly baked as a child, but tasty nonetheless and hopefully not a characteristic of all of the cakes made here.

The coffee served is Illy and was everything one would expect from a premium brand, very nice indeed.

The decor is reminiscent of a twenty-first century dolls’ house, the floor is pink and white and glittery, and everything else is either pink or white or both. Instead of being filled with newspapers, the rack on the wall was stuffed with trendy cook books and magazines, it’s this kind of touch that sets Hey Little Cupcake! apart from other coffee shops that just happen to sell cupcakes. 

The only other customer was a trendy thirty-something leaving with a box of cakes as I walked in, which I would like to imagine was filled with glittering pink beauties for his adorable little girl’s birthday, or something equally delightful-that seems to be what this place is built for.

Being the only person present (apart from a plethora of staff) was slightly off putting but I was early and not nearly as awkward as it can be. I enjoyed watching trays of fresh cakes being carried from the kitchen and the cool music-a mix of Coldplay and Nelly Furtado-somehow very fitting.

I was taken with a small notice on the table advertising Cupcake Afternoon Tea which includes ‘cupcake shaped finger sandwiches’, with all of the classic fillings one would expect, mini cupcakes, scones, chocolate covered strawberries and a pot of tea of coffee and is available for £10 on Saturdays and Sundays, this may well be enough to draw me back, in spite of the disappointing chocolate cake.

Hey Little Cupcake’s website states ‘there is also a very cute range of cupcake themed gifts, cards and artwork all available to buy’ - this doesn’t come close. The artwork lining the walls, which largely proclaims the need to eat cupcakes is in an array of glitter and pale pink and the gifts for sale, which include tote bags and chocolate rubber ducks and are absolutely adorable and wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale.

Hey Little Cupcake! is perfect for mothers and daughters and best friends looking for a girly retreat, but I fear its location in Spinningfields attracts more corporate clients and private parties than Saturday shoppers who would surely love this gorgeous cupcakery.

But ultimately its works, it’s impossible not to love this place, it’d be like hating a puppy, and I reckon I’ll be going back.

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

Hey Little Cupcake!

Little Quay Street,


Manchester M3 3HF


Rating: 14/20

Food: 6/10

Service: 4/5

Ambience: 4/5


Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.



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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

C ThompsonJune 7th 2011.

Excellent writing. Very funny. Still I can't help but like the occasional cup cake

Mark GarnerJune 7th 2011.

Cupfuckingcakes. Hate 'em.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SmittyJune 8th 2011.

you've not tried mine...

Cath StansJune 8th 2011.

Intelligent comments are very welcome Mark. This is a sweet place that works sweetly in this place.

Cake HoleJune 8th 2011.

Paying for cakes that cost that much is outrageous. The mark up on flour alone has got to be about 800%.

I don't think I'd ever pay that much for a cupcake but I'd gladly eat one. Hypocrisy yes, but it's a double standard I can live with.

PreetiJune 8th 2011.

The term Child Labor is used for employment of children below a certain age, which is considered illegal by law and custom. It is seen that children are found working more in the informal sectors compared to factories and commercial registered organizations. In many developed countries, it is considered inappropriate or exploitative if a child below a certain age works. Child labor is still common in some parts of the world.

Documentary - "The Dark Side of Chocolate" explores the actual fact behind the sweetness of the chocolate. We eat chocolates almost everyday but we never realize that what is the actual face of these delicious chocolates. We never bother to think that behind this delicious taste of cocoa there is another taste altogether: the taste of child abusers and child slavery. So next time think once before eating chocolate.

To watch please visit - http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/4809

KerryJune 8th 2011.

Yet another person who baked a few cakes at home and then thinks they can make a living out of it! They put together a cute, colourful, fantastic looking shop..and fail to put time, quality and taste into their cupcakes! I've tried these myself and know many people who work in the RBS building above where the pop up shop was and unfortunately we agree, dry, crumbly, sickly sweet cakes. Not just a one off it appears! It's a shame as this type of thing gives those of us trying to make quality cakes in this business a bad name! There are much better cake and cupcake shops in the Manchester area than this one!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mr CakeJune 8th 2011.

Wow! I completely disagree with you on this. I've been a few times and enjoyed them everytime. What's not to like?? Fun looking shop, really nice staff, good coffee and tasty cakes. I've been to a lot of cafes since moving into Manchester and you can do a lot worse than this place. It's different and that's what makes it stand out. I'd much rather get my cake fix from a place like this than somewhere like Selfridges or Marks. Have you tasted the ones from Selfridges? They taste awful. You should be having a pop at those guys!! I'd love to taste your cakes though, you sound like you know what you're doing!

KerryJune 8th 2011.

Each to their own! Everyones opinions are different and all valid! I've tried Marks and don't like their cupcakes..far too sweet and synthetic. I've never tried any from Selfridges, to be honest I can't say I go in there much so didn't even know they sold them. I'll pop into Manchester tomorrow and give them a go now though! I bake cakes and cupcakes for a living, have done for many years and have a very successful business so hopefully that means I do know what I'm doing, lol. I've no issue with the shop at all, I'm all for different and standing out. Thats what high streets need! I just wish my and my friends experiences had been more like yours and not as disappointing as we experienced!

Milly MoonAugust 7th 2011.

Im with Kerry on this one, very sweet and a little dry.The cup cakes at Selfirdges are very nice, so much so, that I think the same company are now supplying Harvey Nicks and Booths Supermarkets... are we really to believe that all these high end stores have got it wrong and dont know a good cake from a bad one... surely not.

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