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A Mini Revolution

Of all the developments in the food business in 2009,the tiniest has been the advent of cupcakes. These little cup-sized portions of sin and joy are versatile and easily customised...

Cupcakes are taking over the city,one bite-size at a time

Of all the developments in the food business in 2009,the tiniest has been the advent of cupcakes. These little cup-sized portions of sin and joy are versatile and easily customised,so it isn’t a surprise that they make for superb party nibbles and are an excellent alternative to chocolates for gifting. So far though,Mumbai has mostly had vendors who would deliver based on bulk orders,but the opening of Butterfly in Union Park (Khar West) last week is symbolic as it is the first dedicated store that displays and retails cupcakes.

This move is expected to be followed by Cupcake & Co,run by Namrata Narang and her friend Sangeeta Kulkarni,who currently retail from Godrej Nature’s Basket and hope to open their own store within a couple of months. Tart,the pioneer of cupcakes in the city has been running in an ad-hoc fashion out of owner Aashiyana Shroff’s restaurant,VongWong,and she is considering opening a store for Tart’s cupcakes and regular cakes soon.

Sugar Rush,which opened around the same time as Tart,is a vendor that functions out of Malika-Rahat Khan’s apartment on Altamount Road and she too is looking for the right property for a store. All three have indicated that they are looking at places in Bandra; the area thus looks like it will be overwhelmed by cupcakes,as it also houses Sante,the delicatessen that sells cupcakes.

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Cupcakes appeared on the scene towards the end of last year; Tart was born at the Upper Crust show in December 2008 when Shroff realised that there was a demand for her cupcakes. Khan says that “I was trained as a chef in London and when I came back,I didn’t want to work anywhere so decided to sell desserts.” She also sells brownies,biscuits and tarts but doesn’t display or sell individual cupcakes,instead accepts orders based on her menu. Natalia’s Kitchen—

another venture popular in South Mumbai that operates from Natasha Alpaiwalla’s home in Breach Candy—provides a more comprehensive offering for house parties. “We supply cupcakes,cakes,biscuits,quiches,dips and other party snacks,” her representative tells us. Cupcakes have,evidently,come a long way as there are currently around eight different vendors,with Cupcake & Co,Sante and now Butterfly being the only ones that display their wares.

In an increasingly competitive market,innovation is the only way to stand out. While the base sponge is usually plain,the icing and sprinkles on top can make all the difference. “Our cupcakes are more innovative. For example,we have made roulette tables with cupcakes. Also,we can customise cupcakes based on an order,” claims Narang,though we bet the other vendors will disagree. Butterfly is the most expensive vendor with prices going up to Rs 80 per cupcake,but owners Sarah Jane Dias and Shaana Gwynne pride themselves on their ingredients. “Everything we use is natural,except colouring. For example,when we make a hazelnut cupcake we ground natural hazelnuts,” they say.


The only way to find out which one is your favourite is simply to try each.

Natalia’s Kitchen,Breach Candy. Tel: 2352 2540 (Natasha Alpaiwalla); Sugar Rush,Altamount Road. Tel: 98334 98943 (Malika-Rahat Khan); Tart,VongWong restaurant,Express Towers,Nariman Point. Tel: 2287 5633; Cupcake & Co,Godrej

Nature’s Basket. For customised orders,Tel: 99209 76000 (Namrata Narang); Butterfly,31 Bajaj Arcade,Union Park,Khar.

Tel: 6529 1737

First published on: 01-01-2010 at 02:16:25 am
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