February 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Absolutely Cakes: A Review

Being treated to confectionery is always lovely but arriving home from a day at the office to a gift box of twelve sumptuous-looking cupcakes is without doubt an absolute win! I didn't initially plan to pen a review (given that I considered it really rather rude to all but research the gift I'd received!) and yet, upon sampling the wares of Bristol-based company Absolutely Cakes*, felt somewhat compelled to do so as I'll proceed to explain...Now, it's fair to say that I take the art of cupcake creation very seriously and as part of my self-appointed pilgrimage have sourced some of the industries front-runners; indulging in the signature ‘Red Velvet’ cupcake at London’s Hummingbird Bakery and bagging myself some rather innovative ensembles from New York’s Magnolia Bakery. Yes yes...though you'll no doubt frown upon my shameless bout of name-dropping there, the point I'm trying to make is that the dozen beauties delivered to my doorstep that day were right up there with the best that I've tasted...

It's fair to say that since it opened its doors in 2008, Absolutely Cakes has moved from strength to strength; with a couple of Great Taste Awards under its belt (or expandable waistline if you will) and a trio of gold stars awarded by the Guild of Fine Food. Suitable for a range of occasions, cakes of all shapes and sizes are made fresh-to-order from their Westbury-on-Trym premises. Cupcakes are baked using the best quality ingredients – locally-sourced, organic and free-range where possible – and available in mixed Selection Boxes of 6, 9 or 12, party packs of 36 or 54 (with their own 3 or 5 tier stands) or in fact, in quantities of as many or as little as you desire, (though with a minimum order of four - go big or go home, that’s my motto!) I was also impressed at the extent of Absolutely Cakes' 'allergy awareness' whereby all cupcakes can be created to a specific dietary requirement; be it gluten/wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free or vegan. Furthermore, bespoke flavours and toppings are available upon request so if you want your loved-one's name spelt-out in gold leaf, all you have to do is ask*! You might also be interested to know that, besides mail order (BS addresses only, people), you can visit Absolutely Cakes and ogle their offerings at a number of Bristol's Farmer's Markets including the Tobacco Factory Market in Southville every Sunday and the Whiteladies Road Market every first and third Saturday of each month. Absolutely Cakes even supports the Bristol Pound*; which in turn supports independent businesses just like this one...a concept which you may wish to get involved with if you haven't already!
Right then, with the formalities out of the way, let me tell you about the shameless gluttony that ensued…and, unwilling to single-handedly attempt all twelve, I drafted in the help of my house-mate who was unsurprisingly more than happy to lend her sweet-toothed expertise! We initially agreed that the selection had been beautifully packaged; the box wrapped with cellophane and secured with pink ribbon; thus, instigating the wow-factor before the first mouthful had been manoeuvred. And although elsewhere, this is where the buck often stops – cupcakes failing to live-up to their visual appeal – this was certainly not the case here. In fact, I can safely say that – predominantly on account of the magical middle to be found in each – these were quite frankly delicious! The 'Toffee Temptation' proved a personal favourite; the distinctive aroma of burnt-sugar channelled perfectly via a melt-in-the-mouth layer of sticky toffee sauce. I also loved that the 'Jelly Bean Bonanza' had sweets sporadically baked into the sponge and that the 'Terribly Chocolate Orange' concealed a generous measure of sharp citrus curd which appropriately offset its rich, chocolaty body. 'B' reported that 'Let's Go Nuts' was especially intense with its distinctive peanut butter epicentre and the sprinkling of roasted peanuts that adorned its frosting – if truth be told, I was a little miffed that I hadn't got in there first and bagged this particular cupcake for myself! In fact, the only flavour which we felt didn't quite hit the mark was the 'Ginger Nice' which packed quite a punch and thus, could be written-off as an acquired taste. To that end, it would have been preferable to have been provided with details of the boxes content - I mean, I'm all for 'suck it and see' but having to fire-up the website to determine the identity of each cupcake (which would have been entirely necessary had I been subject to the likes of a food intolerance) does seem to detract from the novelty-factor a little...
Guess the Cupcake...!
Each cupcake had been topped with decadent butter-cream icing; appropriately flavoured in light of its theme. That said, it did not go unrecognised that a balanced disposition in terms of the cake-to-covering ratio avoided an overly sickly aftermath. Furthermore, the sponge had maintained its light, subtly aerated texture despite the fact that the package had spent a cold, damp afternoon beneath the recycling box in our front garden as no one had been home to receive the delivery! A finding which only gave rise to the notion that these were clearly baked to a high standard but also that the packaging proved functional as well as frilly. Lastly and quite incidentally (and not that I advocate theft in any shape or form) I mused that had an eagle-eyed passer-by stumbled upon this sugary twelve-pack and let temptation overcome them, they would have altogether lucked out! Though fortunately for me, the pleasure was all mine – thank goodness for Neighbourhood Watch...!

And now for the second opinion...

'B' gave Absolutely Cakes a rather modest rating of 7/10 and in three words, described the cupcakes as: 'original and tasty'. 

*For prices and a full list of flavours, visit the website: http://www.absolutelycakes.co.uk/ 
*Not really...

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