Cupcakes Delivered is a new national delivery service, which sent us a dozen cupcakes this week.
Meanwhile, Business Insider’s colleagues at Lifehacker had Domino’s “breakfast” pizza delivered at about 11am and those who tried it were less than impressed.
The interesting litmus test is the excitement levels generated when the all-company come-and-get-it email went out. Most raced over for the pizza. It has perennial appeal.
The cupcake uptake was much slower.
The Wall Street Journal argued 12 months ago that we’d reached Peak Cupcake, pointing to the publicly listed cupcake company Crumbs, whose shares traded above US$13 in mid-2011, but had fallen to $1.70 by April last year. They now languish at 27 cents and there’s now speculation the world’s largest cupcake company might not survive.
So has Cupcakes Delivered arrived on the scene just as the world is turning its attention to bacon and eggs on pizza, and posh supermarket ready-to-eat meals by famous chefs? Even Zumbarons seem so last year and why anybody ever paid any attention to quinoa – unless it was deep-fried – should win someone a Nobel Prize one day.
The online company promises it can deliver cupcakes Australia-wide, unlike places such as Sydney’s Sparkle Cupcakery, which uses couriers, charging between $15 and a whopping $75 to deliver in a hurry to the city’s outskirts, while Melbourne’s The Cupcake Queens charges between $9.50 (CBD) to $25.
Cupcakes Delivered keeps its product range simple, with just seven options targeting the corporate gift, romance and newborn baby markets.
There are blueberry-iced vanilla cupcakes for boys, strawberry-iced chocolate ones for girls, and other variations on those combinations. Business Insider scored a mixed dozen – 6 vanilla base and 6 chocolate mud cake base, topped with assorted icings: cookies and cream, strawberry, blueberry lemon and vanilla.
The pink and black packaging is impressive and striking and obviously designed to survive the rigours of parcel service indifference and couriers who like to practice drop punts, but in the end it all felt a little over-engineered – like the package was worth more than the contents – with an outer box and a similarly styled inner box inside foil insulation with a frozen block to keep things cool.
Inside the box, the dozen were secured in a plastic frame. I suppose you could always play several rounds of pass the parcel when your order turns up.
A box of one dozen is $48.40, which sits around the market price of $4 a cupcake. On top of that, you’ll pay $19.95 for delivery, so we’re just south of $70 a box, or $5.50 each.
So it all comes down to flavour.
The cupcakes themselves are not bad and I took a couple home to an expert, my seven-year-old daughter, who gave them the seal of approval, but tellingly for a notorious icing licker – she’s been known to lick it off and leave the cake – this icing, or frosting as they call it, didn’t cut it.
I felt the same way. There was little discernible difference in flavours between the three frostings I tried: it was mostly sweet and the texture was a little gritty, yet built like a Tonka truck to survive the rigours of transport intact.
One colleague with a dairy allergy naturally turned down the cupcakes, assuming that they’d contain butter and possibly the icing too. Checking on the website it said they may contain traces of dairy and nuts. I appreciate the warning, but when I tried to click on the ingredients list, nothing happened.
And here’s another competitive advantage other cupcake companies have: they do stuff like gluten-free. We’ve got one of those in the office, so already two staff were left out of the deal.
Eventually I found the ingredients list on the nutrition list. I always thought of cupcakes as something fresh, pure and simple. Now I’m not so sure.
Here’s just a sample of what goes into these cupcakes:
Mixed Dozen Box:
Choc Sponge : Wheat Flour (Thiamine, Folic Acid), Sugar, Water, Eggs, Canola Oil, Choc paste [Water, Humectant (422), Cocoa Powder , Barley, Malt Extract, Natural Flavour , Thickener (413), Preservative (202), Colour (120)], Raising Agent ( 500, 450, 341),Thickener (1422), Glucose Solid, Emulsifier (420, 471 Soy, 475,481), Salt, Preservative(202).
Cookies and Cream Frosting : Dried Glucose, Icing Sugar ( Sugar , Maize Starch), Vegetable Shortening [Vegetable Oil (Palm, Canola, Coconut),Vegetable Emulsifiers(471- Soy), Antioxidant ( 306-Soy)], Choc Biscuit Crumb(2.5%) (Wheat), Salt, Preservative (202), Cream Powder (0.1%).
Strawberry Flavoured Frosting : Dried Glucose, Icing Sugar ( Sugar , Maize Starch), Vegetable Shortening [Vegetable Oil (Palm, Canola, Coconut, Vegetable Emulsifiers(471- Soy), Antioxidant ( 306-Soy)], Artificial Flavour , Vegetable Gum (415), Colour (124, 110), Food Acid (330), Preservative (211,202), Humectant (422).
Vanilla Sponge: Wheat Flour (Thiamine, Folic Acid), Sugar, Water, Eggs, Canola Oil, Thickener (1422), Glucose Solid, Baking Powder (500, 450,341), Emulsifier (420, 471- Soy, 475,481), Salt, Preservative (202), Natural Flavour.
Vanilla Frosting : Dried Glucose, Icing Sugar ( Sugar , Maize Starch), Vegetable Shortening [Vegetable Oil (Palm, Canola, Coconut), Vegetable Emulsifiers(471- Soy), Antioxidant ( 306-Soy)],Water and Flavour
Confetti [Vegetable oil (Cottonseed and Soybean), Thickener (414, 466, 407), Soy Lecithin, Colours (102, 110,127, 133, 171).
Lemon Flavoured Frosting : Dried Glucose, Icing Sugar (Sugar, Maize Starch), ), Vegetable Shortening [Vegetable Oil (Palm, Canola, Coconut) Vegetable Emulsifiers(471-Soy), Antioxidant ( 306-Soy)],Water, and Flavour, Thickener (415),Xanthophyll, Food Acid (330), Preservative (211,202), Emulsifier (433).
Gluten, Soy, and Egg.
Well, at least you get a lot of ingredients for $70. Whether you think that’s good value is up to you.
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