An opening in the cupcake market

A little spy SMSed me today to announce that Crabapple Cupcake Bakery in Prahran Market is closed with a mysterious notice on the door. Sounds like there might be an opening in the cupcake market for Melbourne’s cupcaking blogger Vida!

What’s the goss?

I’ve not been a fan of Crabapple, not least because of the price-to-quality relationship (but I hope nonetheless that they didn’t do anything silly to damage their business). And i’m not a convert to cupcakes anyway (Vida, seduce me!).

27 thoughts on “An opening in the cupcake market”

  1. The prof and I first realized that the cupcake was the new muffin a couple of years ago when, wandering around the West Village in NYC, (in search of the pub Dylan Thomas drank himself to death in), we came across a long line of fine young 20 somethings waiting patiently outside a cupcake bakery…at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night! Check this out;
    I’m with you Duncan…what is it all about?

  2. Duncan, all this just as I start supplying Las Chicas!!! I had no idea about Crabapple but it’s one less for me to compete with and an opening for me to pick up the shortfall! I saw cupcakes in one of the cake shops in Acland St tonight selling for $6.00 – CRAZY!!! Mine go for $4.50 at Las Chicas and Red Rhumba and I have to say so myself – mine look ten times better – I will convert you because seduction is no my game!!! Where do I deliver my conversion/seduction dozen?!?!? Vida x x x x

  3. I noticed that too. Jak was feeling ill and I thought Saturday afternoon cupcakes and tea would do the trick. With an eye ona story I checked ASIC and they went into Administration on the 2nd. They were really useless and slow in that shop. I used to find I was either ignored, they’s break off mid-serving me to have a long conversation on the phone or with someone else. I always felt like I was a bit of an incovenience.

  4. Welcome Utsi. Yep, I share your scepticism, though at least muffins have stuff *in* them and can have different types of batter… I’ve not seen much evidence of this in Cupcakeland. There are other blogs too. I imagine the bakery you refer to was Magnolia.

    Vida! I’m going to come and inspect your batters! But seriously, yours look fabulous, and even though we might disagree about cupcakes, I can understand why yours are selling well:)

  5. Oh, Ed was commenting as I was writing! Definitely, Ed. I ate *one* and was distressed at the relatively dry, overbeaten buttercake. The icing was thick and gritty. I think I paid $3.50 (or was it $4.50?). Service was indifferent. I walked past many times after that and saw no improvement in service with other customers. But still the customers came.

    There’s a thread over at Vogue claiming mould and cockroaches. I’m not endorsing those claims, just mentioning it as another possible part to the story.

  6. I’m going to call the administrators tomorrow morning and try and slip it in the Hun. They don’t normally comment but you never know.

  7. Magnolia it was & close it did…for a week. Not enough sinks & too many rodents! Is there a pattern emerging here?

  8. OMG, these stories are making my hair stand up!

    I did purchase some once or twice at Prahran market and they were dry and stale, they were always expensive but I must say they did look pretty. Duncan you can use any cake batter in cupcakes, all you have to do is reduce the cooking time… I love muffins but I feel they are basically a scone with aditions, kind of bread like whereas cupcakes are cake, and I LOVE the cakey!!! I also love the toppings but that is just me and maybe, just maybe, one day it will be you too, I can only hope to convert you… Vida x

  9. I have to weigh in to this cupcake versus muffin debate as I’ve long had an opinion on this exact topic.

    A few years ago, cupcakes started popping up all over the place and were all the rage. I was caught in the excitement and bought quite a few, only to be disappointed. Most were very dry and just a basic butter cake, with a really fancy topping. They looked great, but were way overpriced and did not justify the cost. I remember buying this tiny cupcake for $4 at a market cake stall. So I’m with Duncan and am not totally convinced about how good cupcakes are. I love the look of them, but usually the taste and price does not match.

    I love love love muffins and make them regularly. They are great for breakfast, mid morning snack and afternoon snack. They just feel so wholesomely good and are not too rich. Cupcakes are great for a really fancy birthday cake tower or a high tea, but they’re too rich as a breakfast treat.

    Ok Vida, I’m willing to be converted too, so seduce me with your cupcakes.

  10. I guess the cupcake appeal is the cosmetics and the sugar hit from the icing. Let Them Eat Cake does some reasonable ones. I often picked a hummingbird or carrot cake based cupcake which tend to be more moist. In reality though I like the Baker D Chirico muffins, which are moist and made with out butter. They have the air of being healthy while appearing decadent at the same time if that makes sense.
    Vida, muffins are nothing like Scones, sorry but I must be firm on this.

  11. my turn!!!

    Firstly muffins are just a way of convincing people cupcakes are healthy – add a bit of fruit if you will, or just the chocolate chip ones (how is that not cake?) and over fill them so they ooze out the top (LOL! I know i am going to get shot down for that).

    If you’ve ever had GOOD CUP CAKES you will know that they are the business. Having said that I am not hugely keen of the 3 inches of icing (frosting if we’re a la americana!). But if you’ve ever had home made fairy cakes (sponge like, hole cut out, jam and cream in the centre, cut out cut in two and put on top and then dusted with icing sugar) you’ll know that this is jam and cream sponge made portable (or child friendly).

    Funnily enough, before they became “trendy” again, we had cup cakes at my 30th and then my sister’s and my hubby’s 30th parties made by cake extraordinnaire mum! Do you think there were any left?

  12. Crabapple has indeed been placed into liquidation, and if the folks at Pitcher Partners are to be believed (the liquidators) some fool has been equally foolish and has purchased the business lock, stock and barrel. So Melbourne it seems is to be beset by stale cupcakes with ghastly quality all over again.

    But never fear! there is salvation for those hungry for a quality cupcake – every month (third Sunday) there is a farmer’s market at Yering Station, where you can find a stunning array of (dare I say it) both fresh AND tasty cupcake morsels.

  13. Cupcaker… your comment seems a little self-interested, especially for a first-time visitor here (to my knowledge). I’ll let it by, as I’ve let Vida talk about her business already, but I hope you return to participate in other topics too.

  14. Stale cake, bad service.. Yikes – sounds like they had a lot of problems. What a shame. I haven’t been, but like their little cookbook.

  15. Sorry Duncan, I guess everyone has to have their first time at something. I only found your blog after hearing about Crabapple and doing a Google search for more information, as a friend was planning on having Ms Graham’s cakes for her upcoming wedding – yours was one of the threads I discovered. Sorry if I ruffled feathers… self-interesetd? No. Delete if you wish.

  16. No worries, Cupcaker. It just looked like an ad for yourself. No need for me to delete your comment and you’re welcome to hang around, of course:)

  17. I love this ‘debate’. I do love cupcakes but I would happily confess I am typically just as happy to look at them as eat them. They remind me of my childhood and bring a little smile to my face. But I will agree dry and stale cupcakes have turned me off any store bought variety.
    Loving have discovered your blog Duncan and am now keen to get stuck into reading your macaron advice 🙂

  18. I met with Jennifer in March this year and booked Crabapple to supply my wedding cake. Purely by accident I found out 2 weeks ago that they have gone into receivership. Taking my $100 deposit and leaving me without a cake (my wedding is in 2 weeks time). I am disappointed that I did not receive a courtesy letter pointing out that I needed to find a new wedding cake supplier. As for the deposit, I imagine I will never see that again! Fortunately I have found a lovely lady in Croydon – Juli from Just Cupcakes and she has gone out of her way to help me out. And her cupcakes are even better!!

  19. Gosh things really raged and I had no idea… I went off and all this happened! I just did not think about how passionate everyone is which I should have because I mean we are all passionate foodies… Anyway I just am happy to offer my cupcakes to those who want them and baking makes me very happy, full stop!

    I also love Duncan’s macarons and they too make me very happy!! Vida x

  20. We’re all passionate about food Vida. We’re still waiting to try out one of your increasingly famous cupcakes. What flavours do you do? I might even go to Red Rhumba just to try one out. I said might hahaha. When I’m next driving past there, I’ll drop in.

  21. Next blogger get together will be filled with cupcakes I promise!! I can do any flave your wish, just ask! For Red Rhumba I only do chocolat and vanilla with chocolate ganache or chocolate caramel or cream cheese topping… it’s easier to keep it simple and it keeps my costs down. I don’t want to go out of business before I have properly started by over exerting myself. Vida x

  22. Jo-anne, can you please give me the details of Judi at Just Cupcakes? I live overseas but am having my wedding in Melbourne and had met with Jennifer about my wedding cake. I only found out by chance today since my friend went by one of their stores. Now I need to find another cake shop from the other side of the world!

  23. Hi Every one, I first tried one of there cup cakes 2 months ago, just to see what all the hoo ha was about, I’m a pastry chef by trade and i must say i wasn’t impressed at all, $4.50 and it was at least 2 days old. Sad to see such a well known business go down like that but i think the greed got to her.

  24. I’m a first time commenter, but I felt like I should wade in for the Crabapple debate. I had their cupcakes twice without incidence- once at a 21st and once instore and while the service wasn’t too bad, I would have liked to have been served more promptly and for the tea selection at Prahan to have been a little better. Personally, I get more from making cupcakes myself (I love the basic vanilla cake and icing in the Crabapple book) and experimenting with piping techniques and colour, but I had a look at Vida’s blog and her cake porn is enticing enough to make me track down some of her wares to see if they taste as good as they look.

    Oh, and muffins are excellent too, but an entirely different kettle of fish to cupcakes.

  25. Just thought you would like to know,especially the lady from overseas wanting cupcakes for her wedding, that Sweethut cupcakes in Eltham (she has a website ) are fantastic and she goes out of her way to design or make your ideas up on cupcakes.We had white and green with little white chocolate peugot cars on top for my husband’s 50th and everyone raved. Give them a go! Wendy

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