About 4 months ago I tried a vanilla cupcake from Ella's Bakehouse @ Selfridges and all was not good (you can read about it here). I never really like to judge a cupcakery badly on just one try, so when I was told by a fellow blogger that Ella's Bakehouse had now opened a little store in Covent Garden I couldn't resist checking them out.
I had to wait a week or so, having had swine flu (oink oink) but last Friday after a rather hectic day at work I traipsed down to Covent Garden and chose 3 cakes - a vanilla (pink of course), a chocolate and a coconut. Oh yeah the store - it was small but perfectly formed with a lovely retro feel. There were quite a few flavours of cupcakes to choose from including red velvet, peanut butter and mocha and from the spaces on the shelves I think they had been busy. I took a couple of pics (after asking was it ok) and headed off home, heralding all my willpower not to scoff a cake on the bus as they looked really nice!
We had the cakes for pudding. Well, Manny had his cake for pudding - unfortunately the vanilla and the coconut were put barely touched in my beloved Brabantia bin. I really wanted to like these cupcakes, as the shop was cute, the cakes looked all glittery and pretty and Lorraine Pascale seems incredibly passionate about baking and any cupcakery near my work is welcomed, but as soon as we removed them from the box it wasn't looking great. The casing of the vanilla cupcake had come away completely from the base and the base looked all soggy. Also the vanilla frosting unfortunately smelt of nothing but butter - and alas tasted the same. Just butter - no vanilla, not really sweet - just buttery. I tried a bit of the base and it was very tasteless, again no taste of vanilla. I'm not a professional baker, but I know something was wrong - the cake was full of large air holes (over-mixing?) and as I said the base was very moist and sticky -to the point of being half raw. We decided it was only fair to try some of the coconut cake so we cut it in half but it was also inedible with not a lot of flavour - this one wasn't moist, instead it was rather dry. I'm a HUGE fan of coconut but the frosting did nothing for me - again just too buttery.
The chocolate cupcake was another story - I only tried the frosting, to compare and it was really tasty- very chocolatey and dense. Manny enjoyed it and said he'd have a chocolate one again but agreed the other two weren't worth visiting for.
I have since googled some reviews and while I found a couple that agreed with me re the over-buttery-ness of the frosting, others thought the cakes were fantastic and on par with Hummingbird - I shall politely disagree with that. Please let me know if you try the cakes and agree or disagree. I really do want to hear as obviously people have different tastes - this one just isn't for me.