What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?

Sheryl Thai used to be an IT consultant. Then during the GFC two years ago, she was told that she no longer had a job. Not one to cry into her keyboard, Sheryl decided that it was time to fulfil her dream of owning a cupcake store, inspired by the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City.

She started her business online but as demand outstripped supply she opened her first store in Glenferrie Road Hawthorn. Cupcake Central at Melbourne Central is her second store and my, is it pretty.

The branding has been designed by Matt of The Anatomy, who was also responsible for the branding of St Ali. The cute-retro-down-to-earth styling has been done by the talented Claire Laritt-Evans who also styled Market Lane Coffee. Best of all, the kitchen contains the kind of quality ingredients I choose for my own pantry – Callebaut chocolate, Madagascan vanilla – as well as some dream kitchen items like vintage filing boxes! Old-fashioned scales! Pastel SMEG fridge!

I was invited with other food bloggers to attend a cupcake making workshop where we got to make vanilla, red velvet and chocolate cupcakes, play with fondant and learn the art of frosting. I pride myself on being a bit of a baker (I did get a Kitchenaid stand mixer instead of an engagement ring) but even I learnt a few things.

Firstly, in order to get perfectly shaped cupcakes, use an ice-cream scoop to pour your mixture into the patty tins. Genius!

Secondly, after experimenting with different colours of fondant and different cutters, I never want to eat fondant icing again – it’s just like sugar playdough.

Thirdly, frosting a cupcake perfectly using a piping tip is harder than you’d think. Here are my shamefully woeful creations compared to the professional standard you’ll get at Cupcake Central.

Cupcake Central has a constantly rotating menu of cupcake flavours depending on the day of the week and cupcakes are baked fresh every day (apparently some of the mass produced cupcakes are baked 2 days before and iced – boo). I’m a fan of the chilli chocolate and chocolate hazelnut, while my friend said that the red velvet was the best she’d ever had. Give them a try and you be the judge :–)

Cupcake Central, Level 2 Melbourne Central Dining Hall, cnr Swanston and Latrobe Sts, Melbourne

Mon – Thurs 10:00am – 6:30pm, Fri 10:00am – 9:00pm Sat – Sun 10:00am – 6:00pm

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