|American-style cupcakes at Sparkles|
I am not a cupcake connoisseur. And I never understand the current craze of these desserts fancied up in many local glossies. And a cupcake priced at more than Bt100 apiece? For butter and flour and artificial colouring? That would definitely crack me up.
|A familiar sign of cupcake connoisseurs|
But then, a friend suggested that I check cupcakes at Sparkles out. She simply said ‘Go, you should,’ and so we did one afternoon right after a big fatty lunch. Sparkles is run by an American-born Thai Khun Sophie who earnestly puts her American-style cupcakes and some other baked items out in a very very honest way. Cupcakes do need to be pretty. But there’s no need to fancy anything up if you goods are already good, right? So here at Sparkles, I could not help to be surprised when I finally saw the shop – small, simply decorated and clearly without any expensive elements to add extra costs to the main products. Those who come here come for the heart and soul of the place which is the daily array of freshly baked cupcakes, 16 different flavours a day out of the total 60+ creations Sophie has been gradually succeeded throughout the 4-year-life of this place (plus more before making the business out of it). There are also some cookies and if you are lucky, some cheesecakes and lemon pies, too.
|Rose Water Cake, Bt80 apiece|
Sparkles cupcakes are showcased near the storefront glass pane, each single flavour in its own sanctuary of a tall glass dome. On our visit, there were rose water, lavender, Nutella, vanilla vanilla and more. There were also ‘American-style’ cookies in white chocolate chips, espresso chocolate chips, and more. The cupcakes are Bt80 apiece and the cookies are Bt50-70 apiece depending on flavour. My eyes went buzzed when I first saw the arrangements; I didn’t know which one to choose. Everything looked so good and I could eat them all. But the rose water conjured me back to my last trip, so rose water it was. And one cookie, please. The white chocolate chips. No guilt!
|The white chocolate chips cookie|
There are some seating at Sparkles. This is such a generous gesture for this relatively small space. After walking from the BTS in that sweltering day, we just needed to sit down and indulge in these sweet bites and a chilled drink. Talking about fancy and expensive decorations and Sparkles will definitely flunk when compared to other fancy cupcake bakeries in town. Their pale blue walls are simply painted; there’s no designer built-in furniture, no dark-wood panels, no special lighting. Instead, there’s one white bookshelf leaning on one wall providing a platform for a mixed set of footed trays holding the ‘Swarovski elements’ of earrings, necklaces, relics and tokens. Above it is a Thai-style triangular monk anointment in gold leaves. Another wall fashions a hand-painted illustration of a Bodhi tree. In silver and pink.
As we sat down, I got to ask Khun Sophie what exactly is the ‘American-style’ cupcakes, and she answered ‘the cake!’ which needs to be cottony soft yet a bit crumbly and not too sweet! The first bite into my rose water cake proved exactly that, with a fragrant hint of rose water scent in both the cake and the creamy-yet-light buttery topping to complete the whole picture of a lovely dessert. The secret, she revealed, is not by adding shortening which is an easy way to achieve soft texture of any cake and cookie, but the whole careful process of getting all the ingredients right, baking right and keeping the baked items right. Cupcakes and cookies, she explained, are best served at room temperature. If you buy in bulk, you can keep them in the fridge until just before the serving time and there you go.
|Order some cupcakes for party? Call ahead for the daily flavours.|
It is also nice to know that Khun Sophie strictly maintains a baking philosophy that does not include helps from artificial substances. Pure butter, and never shortening or margarine. Real lemon and lavender, and never the extracts. Vanilla beans (she believes only in the Madagascar pods) and not the bottled substitutes. And of course, no cheap shortcuts like corn syrups and preservatives. You should eat Sophie’s cupcakes and cookies as soon as you possess them, which is definitely not difficult at all.
Sparkles is reckoned by a CNNGO piece as one of the best American-style cupcake existing in Thailand. After 4 years and this self-taught baker still passionately bakes every single thing herself. She is also always fancying up new flavours and concoctions. I read that she even once achieved a foie gras cupcake! The best thing to do is to call ahead for the daily flavours, or if you are throwing a party, order in advance. And if you are so into cupcake and always frustrated that one only lasts just a few bites, try her signature ‘cupcake cake’ which is a giant version of the dainty usual. At Bt1,300, one cupcake cake can serve up to 20 people.
Sparkles – 2/6 Sukhumvit 53. There’s no parking at Sparkles. The best way to come over is by BTS (Thong Lor) and take a short walk, or if you need to park, try the nearby curbside of Thong Lor Soi 1 or Sukhumvit 55. Mon-Sat: 9.00am-7.00pm, Sun: 11.00am-6.00pm. T: 081-136-3367 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.