Happy new year to everybody! I have a bit of a backlog of posts accruing so expect some posts over the coming weeks. Thank you so much for all your support last year, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store! If you haven’t already, don’t forget to like me on Facebook – I post much more regularly and up-to-date on there.
But now down to business!
If you live in or around Sydney, chances are you have at least heard of Sparkle Cupcakery. Sparkle’s main store is in Surrey Hills, but they also have shops in Martin Place and David Jones in the city.
Sparkle is best known for their little coloured circles on top of huge swirls of frosting in a huge variety of flavours, from the usual (Milk Chocolate) to the unusual (Oriental Flower).
Sparkle runs classes in it’s Surrey Hills kitchen, and there is a small selection to chose from. The classes are priced at $99 per person per class (which runs for about 3 hours) but my friend scored a 2-for-1 deal on Red Balloon early in the year (note the deal is no longer running but you can still purchase vouchers through Red Balloon to give to people). This meant the class worked out at only $49.50 each!
Class: Working with chocolate
What did we do?
We started by making our own batter for chocolate cupcakes. We learnt some really great tips, like how long to cream your butter for, what order to add ingredients, what speed to beat at, and all those kind of things. The batter took quite a long time to make! I guess that’s what happens when you do things properly.
Once our cupcakes were in the oven and baking, we went downstairs to enjoy some champagne, macaroons and sandwiches.
After a bite to eat, our cupcakes were out of the oven and it was time to decorate. The teacher of the class showed us some examples of ways we could decorate our cakes (including the signature sparkle Milk Chocolate top!) and then we were left to our own devices!
At the end, we got to take a box of 6 cupcakes we made home! Yum.
What was good?
- Making the batter ourselves was great. Lots of cupcake classes focus only on the decorating, so it was really helpful to learn some basic baking skills too.
- We got to keep the recipe – for the cakes and the icing – and take them home.
- The class really catered for all skill levels. We had some people who had never baked cupcakes before, ever!
- The lunch was delicious, and free champagne is always good! We also got a nice apron to wear, which we got to keep and take home at the end.
What was not so good?
- The biggest downside was definitely the size of the kitchen. The kitchen is actually Sparkle’s commercial kitchen, but boy is it tiny! It would be the size of my kitchen at home and crammed full of appliances, tables, storage, etc. We only had 6 people in our class, but apparently classes accommodate 12 + people. We had just enough space with 6 people… if I had paid $99 and turned up to find 12 people there, I would not be happy! I asked the teacher if it was logistically difficult with 12 people and she said it was. You would be lucky to fit 12 people around the bench top, let alone actually move in the kitchen!
- We didn’t get to make the icing, only the batter. I would have liked to spend a little longer learning how to make the buttercream as it’s something I use often. However, we did get the recipe for it!
- Because we only had 6 people, we had loads more cupcakes than the ‘6 each’ which the class lets you take home. We also had loads of icing and decorations left over, so we all decorated a lot more than 6. We weren’t allowed to take more than the 6 home, as there was an issue with supplying us with additional boxes. If I had known, I would have taken some boxes myself! It seemed a bit wasteful since the bakery was not able to sell what we had made!
- Location. Parking is a little difficult, and it is timed and charged.
Conclusion: for our 2-for-1 offer, and with 6 people in the class, I thought the class was awesome value. If I had paid $99, it would have been alright. If I had paid $99 and more than 8 people had been there, I definitely would not have been happy. It is a nice gift idea for someone who has everything – we had 2 ladies doing it by themselves so you certainly don’t have to do it with a partner or friend. I would say keep your eyes peeled for a discount again – and then snap it up!