First, an American-Style Gourmet Cupcake Bakery has made its appearance in Robertson Quay since January this year.
Welcome to Swirls Bake Shop, brought in specially by Danish and his wife, Alia.
Danish shared with us his road trip last summer at California where they drove thousands of miles and trying literally every cupcake shop from the largest chains to tiny independent owner run stores. Although cupcakes is not new in Singapore, Danish and Alia wants to share with the locals what they had enjoyed in their trip, particularly having been inspired by multi-million dollar company, Sprinkles in California (who claims to be the inventor of modern day cupcakes) who even have their very own cupcake venting machines, to tiny independent owner run stores.
While Danish faithfully order red velvet cupcakes on all his visits; Alia is keen to try new, or rather completely awkward flavors. This joint passion has created about 102 luscious cupcake flavors by introducing different sets of specials every month. In addition, to ensure the cupcakes are sold fresh, the shop bakes at least 3-4 times everyday.
There will be a special flavor for each day with the basic flavors such as Red Velvet, Milk Chocolate, Oh So Cocoa, Vanilla Chocolate, Nuts about You, Very Vanilla, Strawberry Burst, available everyday. For more descriptions of each cupcake. Do drop by their website. If there is a particular flavor you are keen, they do accept orders the day before with a minimum order of 6 regular cupcakes or 12 tiny ones. They also provide delivery island-wide with a delivery charge of $19.95.
(From left to right) Very Vanilla and Vanilla Chocolate
Although cupcakes are often more popular for baby showers and wedding favors, Danish and Alia prefers to handcraft their cupcake frosting using a palette knife instead of using a piping bag, in a way this is the old style of presenting a cupcake. In fact, Alia trains all her staff to frost the cupcakes proper through the use of the palette knife and with the swirl on top of each cupcake, that explains the name of their shop. This makes their cupcakes unique from those that uses fondant and piping bag.
In addition, having entering the market later than the more talk-about Twelve cupcakes opened by our local DJs, Daniel Ong and Jamie Teo and Plain Vanilla Bakery at Holland Village; Danish felt that their niche is their use of old school American recipes, where nothing artificial is used in the flavoring of each cupcake. For instance, fresh strawberries are cut and mixed into the batter and frosting or expect diced carrots and pineapple in their carrot cupcake (i.e. What's Up Doc?). He believes that the use of fresh ingredients allow his customers to feel the texture and crunch of the real ingredients. In fact, Danish takes an extra mile to extract vanilla from Madagascar vanilla by himself to bring out the actual goodness of the bean.
Apart from her passion about baking, Alia used to be a fashion stylist for an Italian magazine, Amica. So from the shopfront to the cupcake, it is creative and fashion focus. The concept, the shop and their website uses bright colors, are all carefully selected and matched by Alia. In fact, the photos on their website is taken by a fashion photographer. Indulgence + Fashion + America = a happy product with their backend as a business. In addition, they do believe in social responsibility and this month, they liaise with Pathlight schools where they display the students' paintings and the sales goes to the students.
(From bottom left, anti-clockwise) Nuts about You, Very Vanilla, Red Velvet
Strawberry Burst caught our attention for its crunch from the vanilla beans and strawberries. Their July, Saturday special, Cookie Dough is also interesting for its chocolate chip cookie dough at the centre of the cupcake with crunchy brown sugar frosting. With the extra bit of texture and not the conventional smooth batter, it does make it different from the cupcakes we have tried previously. Think Ben and Jerry in cupcakes. Red Velvet would be highly recommended for Danish has trained his palette to perfect this one. What's Up Doc also left an impression for the moist texture, probably due to the addition of pineapple.
Personally, we are not big fans of cupcakes but if we were to pick up cupcakes for an occasion, we may swing by Swirls for not only the plentiful flavors to choose from but also the tiny bite-sized they have come up with to allow us to take several flavors in a go.
The tiny cupcakes are priced between $2.50 to $2.95 while the regular ones are priced between $3.95 to $4.10. Not extremely cheap as they are all handcrafted with love.
Last but not least, many thanks to Danish for the invitation and the warm hospitality.
Swirls Bake Shop
8 Rodyk Street
#01-08 (Off Robertson Quay)
Tel: 6634 4765
Opening hours: 11am to 7pm everyday