The Great British Cupcakery has been a local Instagram source and lunchtime hideout since it first popped up on Newcastle’s Quayside. With its cheerful, modern Victorian deco all in pastels, walking into the cafe feels like you’ve arranged afternoon tea with the Ladies Charity committee. It is lovely and bright, decorated with motivational quotes framed in French Renaissance picture frames, fine China teapots and flowers. All very cheerful.
Although the cakes, and particularly the cupcake selection is both immense and jawdropping, it’s their milkshakes that draw the locals in. Instagram picture worthy (search #greatbritishcupcakery to see what I mean), these half milkshake half cake-slice creations are impressive upon delivery but slightly overwhelming in reality. For one, they are HUGE. You get a whole pint of thick, heavenly sweet milkshake, which is enough to make you feel sick. But the milkshake is then decorated with thick cream, lavishing of sauce or syrup and crowned with a sweet treat. On my trip I tried the Toff Shake, a caramel infused milkshake, complete with thick Madagascan Vanilla Cream, topped with a Chocolate Velvet Slice that is then covered in toffee caramel and toffee popcorn. Even looking at it made me feel 10 lbs heavier. Before I had even made it through to the milkshake I was beginning to feel sick.
I have to say that although visually impressive, I wasn’t overall happy with my milkshake. In terms of the toppings, although the caramel sauce was tasty, as was the toffee popcorn, I’m sceptical how much credit the Cupcakery bakers can take for this, particularly the toffee popcorn which I doubt is home-made. While, the actual baked treat, the crowning Chocolate Velvet Slice, was dry which was disappointing as it looked really tasty. While, the milkshake itself was delicious and refreshing, once I had actually made it down that far. In all honesty, I felt defeated as opposed to satisfied once I had finally finished the milkshake. They’re too big for my liking, especially because you get so much in one drink, and would rather more buy a miniature version with fresher toppings. Half pint options would be a good idea, particularly because at the moment they cost £6.20 each!
However, this was not my first visit to the GB Cupcakery, and while I am not won over by their milkshakes, I can’t sing the praises of their cakes enough (not the ones on top of the milkshakes). Their cakes, in my opinion, are a much better selling point than their milkshakes, as it’s here that their name as a Cupcakery really comes in. Their cupcakes and beautifully decorated cakes are gorgeously tasty as well as pretty (get your Instagram ready) and are much more reasonably priced in m opinion, although you may still be over-faced by the size of the cake slice. I particularly like their Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake (I do love caramel), which would cheer up anyone’s day with its amazing flavour.
Aside from the sweet treats, another bug bear on my visits was the staff. I have had a mix of experiences with the servers at the GB Cupcakery, with some front of house staff being very cold and blunt which seemed ill-fitting in such a bright, happy cafe, while other employees have been nothing but lovely and attentive. With such a friendly deco and a business based on edible artworks and a family love of baking, it is surprising not to find a more consistent attentiveness and cheerfulness among the employees. Overall, I am not overly impressed with the Great British Cupcakery, but neither have I been wholly disappointed. With some attention to their areas in need of improvement, this cafe could certainly become the cupcakery it clearly imagines itself being, but they certainly are not there yet.