There is no denying that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to share beautifully decorated cakes adorned with hearts, kisses and other romantic embellishments with your significant other, basking in your sweet, sweet happiness with sweet, sweet loved-up sugary treats. (Although in my relationship cake is more part of our staple diet than a delicious treat that we enjoy on occasion!) Whilst picking up get-well-soon cupcakes from the local bakery for my ill boyfriend this week, who was slogging away in the library and quite frankly in need of a quick pick-me-up, I stumbled across Konditor & Cook’s Valentine’s range. I love their specialist ranges, particularly their Mulled Wine Cupcakes at Christmas, so I decided nothing could be better than cheering my boyfriend up with these love-themed cupcakes.
Mr. Mount Hazelnut
This was Konditor & Cook’s ‘manly’ cupcake, made especially for the man who does not want to be showered with hearts and kisses on a cupcake, with its macho moustache clearly oozing masculinity. Funnily enough, this was my boyfriend’s favourite cupcake, so it obviously resonates well with the male species! The hazelnut sponge was beautiful, soft, and spongy, and was no different in texture to the other sponges despite being wheat-free. The flavouring was also impeccable, with a strong hazelnut sponge, topped with an extremely generous creamy hazelnut frosting. Having pleased the boyfriend with ‘Oh, this is good! This is my favourite! This is the best cupcake I’ve ever had!’ it has gained the winning spot in Claire’s Konditor & Cook’s Valentine’s Cupcake Collection Competition (got to love a bit of alliteration)!
Raspberry Chequer Cupcake
Second place goes to the Raspberry Chequer Cupcake. This was my favourite in terms of flavour and decoration. The icing was beautifully scented with a soft raspberry flavour, blended beautifully with white chocolate, which was delicately but thickly piped on top of a soft vanilla and raspberry-swirl sponge. This gave the sponge a gorgeous marble effect, as well as adding to the subtle raspberry flavour that is typical of Konditor & Cook’s cupcakes; they are never over-powering on flavour. However, the real treat was the raspberry surprise at the bottom, which gave a sharp but sweet kick to the cupcake, really setting it apart from the others.
Lady Marmalade Cupcake
This orange-themed cupcake was much subtler in flavour than the others. Whilst fun and flirty in its decoration, with lip-pouting seduction (although if you wanted to be more forward with that someone who makes your heart flutter, or possibly just you knickers drop, they had some rather bold biscuits to choose from with words such as ‘SHAG’ plastered across them in big capital letters)! However, my love affair with this cupcake basically stopped there. I love flavour, and the orange marmalade taste was just too faint for my liking. I wanted it to be tangy and adventurous, like the decorative lips and ‘Lady Marmalade’ name suggested, but it just continued with the theme of soft and subtle flavours. It would almost be like asking that innocent girl in your class/office, ‘voulez-vous cous chez avec moi?’ You know what you want, but it’s not going to happen!
Curly Wurly Cupcake
Unfortunately, neither my boyfriend nor I were massive fans of this cupcake, which I was quite upset about because the Curly Wurly cake is Konditor & Cook’s bestseller and is used in their baking classes (something which I desperately want to do)! Whilst the chocolate sponge was lovely (but, yet again, quite subtle in flavour, especially for a chocolate cake), it was the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting that neither of us were keen on. The typically generous amount of icing was too overpowering for the subtlety of the sponge given the slightly tangy flavour of the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting on this cupcake. I have to admit though, the frosting did go beautifully with the sponge after I scraped the majority of it off, and I can imagine it would be extremely complementary on their full-sized cakes that allows for more sponge and less frosting.
Overall, the Konditor & Cook Valentine’s Collection was a heart stealer. The decoration alone allowed these cupcakes to be the perfect gift for a loved one this February. It is impossible to walk past the bakery window at any time of year without peering in to see the continuously changing flavours and always impeccably decorated cupcakes (so much so that my flatmate refuses to try their cupcakes because she’s adament that cakes that look THAT good always compromise on flavour, and I suppose that in some cases she is right). However, I will always have a lot of love for the experimental flavours and decorative talents of this bakery and they always give you that special treat feeling when you walk out the door with a bag full of gorgeous looking cupcakes peering up at you as you walk along the street.