First, the good.
Sweet Things are based in Primrose Hill and although they don't have a store you can order online or buy at their local market stall at weekends.
The lovely Japanese girl behind the counter recognised us from being in Camden a couple of weeks ago and was incredibly friendly. We opted to have a cupcake each as pudding to our fabulous Bhangra Burger we'd had for lunch.
There was a lovely choice of flavours and I went against my normal first cupcake at a new company (vanilla), and opted for a strawberry cheesecake cupcake.
The cake was incredibly fresh and moist, and the frosting was a lovely tart cream cheese frosting with a strawberry drizzle and biscuit topping. I loved it - and made quite a mess scoffing it.
Manny, no surprises here, opted for a double chocolate cake and was so overwhelmed by how good it was I had to post a pic of him on Twitter enjoying his cake!
Second up, the bad.
This is a chocolate cupcake from Cupcake-A-Licious, a Surrey based cupcake company. Firstly it looks a little squished as I refused to pay £1 for a box for a £2 cupcake to take it home, so we re-used the cupcake boxes from Sweet Things which I happened to still have in my bag. I get very perturbed about paying extra for a box -surely this should be worked into costs?
Anyhow, our cupcake was a Chocolate Delight - a delectable chocolate sponge accompanies by an oooh so irresistible chocolate butter icing according to their advertising material. According to me, and Manny it was a rather dry, flavourless cake, with a really unpleasant frosting. It tasted artificial somehow, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't butter in there, or chocolate. It tasted like Stork and cocoa powder. I resisted it and it went in the bin after a couple of bites.
Finally, the ugly.
Ok, ugly is a bit harsh but it's not exactly tempting is it? This is a white chocolate and raspberry cupcake from Monkey Poodle, a London based baking company. Again there was no box for the cake, we were offered a bag or a napkin so alas it got squished. It had previously looked like this.
According to their website, our cupcake was; One of our favourite combos, creamy white chocolate (chunks of) and fresh raspberries in vanilla sponge topped with swirls of buttercream icing.
When we divided up the cake to share there was an odd smell about the cake, and the frosting texture was wrong. I'm still convinced it was a Swiss meringue frosting, or an attempt at one, rather than buttercream as it tasted like a glob of sugary uncooked meringue. And it got no better after the frosting - the cake had an incredibly grainy texture and Manny bit into something unpleasant which was a chunk of not very nice white chocolate. It was devoid of any pleasant flavour, apart from the raspberry so, alas. another one for the Brabinta.
All in all a very disappointing day for cupcakes at the Real Food Fest.
A couple of points. If you're going to sell an easily damageable food item at a festival where people are coming to buy goods and take it home, offering boxes is really a good idea, or you end up with photos of your cupcakes looking kinda sad on peoples websites. Also trying to be polite could be a way forward. We tried to engage in conversation with one stall owner and asked her what her company had been named after, which led to a bit of a dramatic sigh and a "oh everyone asks that" ...well yes, perhaps people do but perhaps you could think of an interesting way to engage the customer with the story of why rather than sigh, especially when no-one else was buying your cakes! Another stall holder was busy reading and when we stopped to buy she kept reading and barely glanced up, so we didn't buy her cupcakes. Finally, I noticed that people seem to be relying more and more on glitter and gimmicks like wearing 50s clothing to sell their cupcakes (hello there is only one Ms C!!), rather than ensuring their cakes taste good and use good ingredients, which is sad.
We also sampled a couple of other baked goods at the festival - an Oreo brownie from Outsider Tart and Manny had a millionaire shortbread from The Desert Deli. Both stalls could teach the others a great deal -they were friendly, chatting to customers, explaining about what they had to offer etc, and both items were delicious and flavoursome.
Oh and if you go, do try the buffalo milk ice cream at Laverstoke, say hello to the calves and lambs for me and don't miss the dancing sheep truck at the back! And the lovely English couple living in France brewing real ale are delightful! And if you try any cupcakes do let me know!