Another of our pre-planned stops on what I have now lovingly dubbed the “European Tasting Tour” (because “no carb left behind” just didn’t have the same ring to it) was Laduree.
Purveyor of macarons, sweet treats of all kinds, and a tea service that blew my mind, Laduree originated in Paris but now has locations in Paris, London, and in the chic SoHo district of New York City. I feel like I may sound like a broken record now when I say: the store was breathtaking, the sweets were over-the-top, the presentation was divine.
Yep, Laduree was another of those incredible destinations. A feast for the eyes, the Laduree we visited was in the ground floor of Harrod’s, and was breathtaking. Chandeliers. Richly wallpapered walls. Opulence.
There was a girl sitting two tables over who must have been about all of thirteen years old and was wearing Givenchy sunglasses and carrying a Fendi bag. The long-legged girl at the next table over had trendy grey-bleached hair, a short black sheath dress paired with 5″ stilettos, thick lipstick the color of crushed berries and precisely-winged black eyeliner. She must surely have been a model.
We ordered the full tea service, and sat waiting for it awkwardly. What kind of conversation does one make in a place like this? I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t think any words I would have to say would be worthy of the opulence surrounding me. Everything I wanted to say felt out of place and loud.
Our food arrived and it was wearing clothespins. I am not kidding. Perhaps this is a routine thing with fancy food, but for me it was all new.
I was certain of little more than the overwhelming feeling I had that I was completely out of my element. This was an important realization for me because, while I wish to create an environment at Oh My Cupcakes! that’s aesthetically pleasing, beautiful, extra special, I also wish to create a place where people feel welcomed. Where they feel our hospitality and never feel out of place. Interesting observation.
And while I love when people walk in and ooh and ahh at the beautiful environment that is Oh My Cupcakes!, I love it equally as much when we host my dad’s black-leather-clad motorcycle club brothers on Veteran’s Day. It is our hope that we’ve created a place that’s a feast for the eyes, but also one where everyone feels like they belong. It’s led me to create an Oh My Cupcakes! manifesto, which will be in a separate blog post.
Was the tea service incredible? Yes. Were the macarons some of the best I’ve ever had? Yes. However, they STILL did not top CH Patisserie here in Sioux Falls. Nope, Chef Chris still has the “best macaron” on lock, in my opinion.
Laduree was certainly worth the stop, but what I gleaned from that visit was worth more than any sweet pastry creation. It was a lesson in humanity, in emotion, and in belonging.
I’ve heard of Harrod’s. Sure, of course I’ve heard of the department store in London. It’s big, right? It’s like a Neiman-Marcus or a big Macy’s, right?
Oh, you silly, silly girl.
I had no idea what to expect from Harrod’s in London. The only reason we headed that direction is because I knew Laduree was in the ground floor of Harrod’s. Laduree was one of the planned stops on the tour (read that post in a few moments!) but I didn’t know what to expect from Harrod’s.
Stop in while we’re on our way to Laduree? Sure, why not!
Harrod’s is like nothing I’d ever seen before. Picture floors and floors, thousands of square feet of luxury. Opulence. Dare I say it? I do. Excess. Excess as far as the eye could take in.
What I didn’t expect though, were cupcakes. And cakes. And delicious desserts galore. In fact, I’m just going to leave all of these drool-inducing photos right here for your enjoyment.
Overall, Harrod’s was unexpected. I thought we would find what we were looking for at Laduree. But we found delightful creations before we had even arrived at our intended destination.
Have you ever heard the phrase “we eat with our eyes first”? That phrase quantifies why presentation is so important. Anyone (well, most anyone) can make delicious baked confections, but if they’re served with a thumbprint in the frosting or a piece cracked off of one side, the first impression is less-than-satisfying. London was ALL about presentation. The pride that accompanied not only the baked goods but the styling of the bakeries themselves was like nothing I’ve experienced before.
Presenting our next stop: Elan Cafe.
Elan is another little spot revered for their use of florals, which decorate nearly every inch of the place. In fact, their flower wall has been called “the most instagrammable spot in London.” So picture-worthy, in fact, that they choose one location-tagged pic every week to win a free coffee. This is an excellent idea!
The thing we didn’t realize about Elan from pictures I had seen ahead of time was how very small it is inside! The tables are in the basement, and it’s about the size of my living room. You have to be very comfortable squeezing in next to perfect strangers in Elan.
After asking our very French, very funny waiter what were the best things on the menu, I took his advice and had a summer fruit tart. Once again those summer fruits were all over the place. It was the pinnacle of presentation and the fruit flavors blended so well together. It was a win.
Amanda asked what she should have and he recommended the Hazelnut Tart. (Ah-zelnoo was how he said it, which left us just nodding and saying “sure, sounds good!”) It WAS good, the chopped, toasted hazelnuts melded with the light hazelnut whip, the dark chocolate, and the croissant/cookie-like pastry just perfectly. It wasn’t too heavy, just rich and delicious.
Elan is all about their coffee, so a latte was a nice accompaniment. No flavored syrup in Europe typically, just straight up latte. Also good.
I noticed they had “Coke light taste” (Diet Coke) on the menu, so I asked to order one. He literally wouldn’t not let me! At first I thought he was kidding, (“zees no goot.”) But he would not let me order it! He said it wouldn’t go well with the pastry, shook his head in disapproval and waited for my next option. It seemed more good-natured than anything else, so I laughed and ordered tea. The tea was another summer floral tea, but it came steeping and I was instructed to “wait until the flower blooms” to drink it. I wasn’t able to capture a good picture, but that’s exactly what it did inside the little French-press type glass pot, and it was both a feast for the visual sense as well as delicious.
It was incredibly hot in London, so I also asked for tap water with ice, and he smiled and rolled his eyes as he said, “ah, you Americans.” Finally he obliged and said, “Ice,” but qualified, “on the side” as if he had won an argument and was getting the last word. 🙂
Helpful hint in Europe: It does not matter how hot the weather is. You will need to ask for ice *specifically* if you want it for your water. Every. Single. Time.
He was hilarious. And difficult to understand. He was good-natured and he made every customer feel lighter and happier. Because of his thick French accent, we did a lot of smiling and nodding and taking his advice on the menu. That was perfectly ok; he didn’t steer us wrong.
More flowers as you round the top of the steps and head downward into the basement, which is the main location of the tables at Elan. Those servers must climb 2,487 flights in a day as they went up, down, up, down grabbing pastries from upstairs and serving guests downstairs.
Everything at Elan was about beauty. Their desserts were presented sumptuously with exquisite detail. I wanted to try everything.
With the heat in London, picking anything for “take-away” wasn’t a viable option, so we chose only the two and chose to photograph everything else. The pictures may look good enough to eat, but I promise they taste better in person!
Rose petal with sugar-syrup “dew” and gold flake on top of a raspberry macaron dessert. Serious detail.
This is inlaid into the marble at the top of the stairs at Elan. Coffee? Yes. Yes please.
Elan was another highly-anticipated stop. There were things that were different than I had expected (the overall size of the place, for instance) but I was not one bit let down. It was everything I had hoped in terms of presentation and beauty.
Though they do serve sandwiches for lunch, we did not partake, so I cannot comment on how they taste. Sort of on this “eat dessert first” trek, we stuck to the most important things at Elan.
That’s what I keep seeing every time I try to post a new blog.
I’ve got so many stops to tell you about; so many ideas bouncing around in my head, so many flavors to describe. Unfortunately, the internet in Europe is more spotty than a Dalmatian, and has made it difficult to blog regularly.
Fear not. I’ve got skads of pictures to share, so as soon as I get great service again I will share all my words and photos until you TLDR (too long, didn’t read) me. Until then, enjoy this picture of some stuffed corgis I found at a Buckingham Palace gift shop. That is, if it will ever finish uploading.
As we began our journey through Europe, there was no doubt where our first stop would be. Peggy Porschen Cakes in London has a reputation for their bespoke cakes and their love of all things beautiful. Wisteria floral cascades draped the top and the sides of the soft pink doorway, creating the perfect Insta moment for so many. In fact, the queue to snap the perfect photo was nearly as substantial as the queue to grab the perfect table. I admit, I was right there with everyone else.
Quaint white-painted metal tables and chairs lined the sidewalk, but in our desire to enjoy the full cakery experience, we decided to dine inside. Our wait for a table was quite reasonable at roughly fifteen minutes, during which time we stood aside repeatedly for those attempting that “just right” shot. (Smile! Wait, now point at the sign. Here, look up and tilt your chin to the right. That’s it, have a look now!) We were obviously not the only ones who had been enchanted by Peggy Porchen long before arriving.
Once inside, the tiny store was blooming with flowers on nearly every surface. Tables were close enough to get exceptionally cozy with strangers, but no one seemed to mind. The chandeliers, the marble, and the filigree designs on the white woodwork were all straight out of a storybook. Note: the Brits love their florals, as you’ll see in subsequent posts to come.
The Cupcakes and full-sized cakes posed proudly and beautifully in the open-backed glass case, with each flavor marked by a small descriptor sign similar to those we use at Oh My Cupcakes! They offered six flavors of cupcakes and several other sweet treats like macrons and pound cake. I chose a slice of the Strawberry Champagne cake. The sponge (the cake itself) was moist and flavorful, although I didn’t catch too much actual champagne flavor. Strawberry jam between the layers ensured the cake did not become dry. The crumb was a little on the tougher side for a cake such as this, meaning it didn’t fall apart and crumble. To be honest, that’s just the way I prefer mine, so no complaints here.
The buttercream. For the love of all that is good and holy, where do I begin on the buttercream? From the appearance standpoint, the light to dark pink had a lovely ombré effect that denoted a strawberry flavor perfectly. It was so light, but had enough texture to it to be fully satisfying, and was not overly sweet. If I’m guessing, I’d bet it had to be Swiss Meringue buttercream for the way it left a velvety soft feeling on the tongue.
Amanda chose the Summer Berry cupcake. It was obvious that berries are in season as they were featured heavily in many bakery items all across London. The cake looked dark on top, which always leads me to believe the cake will be dry and over baked. That wasn’t the case with this little summer beauty, however. It was moist, it sang a chorus of great berry flavors, and the little heart on top was a flavor syringe filled with berry compote. As you were enjoying the cupcake, it was to be lifted out of the sponge as you drizzled the compote on top of your pastry. Only one small thing; the pleasant server said the syringe was filled with chocolate, so it was a surprise to find the berry syrup. Still delicious, to be sure, it’s just a good rule of thumb in life not to promise a woman chocolate if there’s no chocolate to be had.
We also enjoyed a pot of tea for two which even poured pink, and it was served in adorable little pot so common at pastry shops in London. We lingered. We savored. We gazed around with curiosity and wonder. We took our share of photos, and the pleasant staff didn’t make us feel like an inconvenience for doing so. Interestingly, our fellow guests didn’t make us feel like an inconvenience either. (More on that later.)
The full-sized cakes were a lovely addition to the offerings. I loved that you can enjoy your own slice of heaven in addition to (or alongside) a cupcake.
Peggy Porschen Cakes was one of my most anticipated stops. It certainly did not disappoint. The servers were friendly, the customers were happy, and the pastry was top-notch in quality. It’s hard to say at this point in the journey, but I may have been able to stop at Peggy’s and forego some of the others! (It was that good.)
Side note: they also have the Peggy Porschen Academy, which is down a half a block from their retail store and which offers classes in creating cakes like Peggy’s. It was closed for refurbishment (and perhaps for the summer) but seems like a GREAT place to go learn in the future.
It’s been 9 years! Nine years on August 21st since Oh My Cupcakes! baked and sold our first cupcake. The journey has been a long one and at the same, time has passed by in a blink.
We were the first cupcakery in all of South Dakota nine years ago, bringing you the first taste of all the splendor and deliciousness that cupcakes can be.
It’s important to us to continue to be innovative. To create. To be the first to bring you new flavor experiences.
And that’s why we are here. Europe. To learn and to see. To experience and to taste. To see what bakeries on this side of the pond are doing that bakeries in America haven’t yet begun to do.
A few of our stops? London’s famous Peggy Porschen Cakes, Cafe Elan, and the Paris/London experience named Laduree.
We would love to take you along with us on this journey. Certainly it is a feast for the eyes. And with my descriptions, I hope you’ll feel so close you can almost taste all that we taste along the way. I’ve carefully packed you in my suitcase. Thanks for coming along for the journey!
My puppies were scared that my suitcases meant I was leaving. They were right. 🙂
To perform a true, scientific experiment, it was imperative that we taste and savor our own Oh My Cupcakes! cupcakes prior to arriving in Europe. 🙂 Often, people ask me what my favorite cupcake is. While I can’t name one specifically. This is a pretty good sampling of the ones I consistently reach for!
How incredible was this moment? The sun was rising as we arrived in London, and I happened to look out the window in time to see that the rising sun to the opposite side of the airplane had created a perfect prism and shadow of where we were at that moment in time. One moment in a lifetime, and I was lucky enough to capture it.!
Hello, England! It’s nice to meet you.
Get in on March Madness a different way by choosing your favorite cupcake! We’re narrowed down the field to 64 of our most popular flavors. Which of your favorite flavors will make it to the end? Fill out a cupcake bracket by April 2nd at 12pm for a chance to enjoy a dozen standard size cupcakes of your “Champion Cupcake.” (Mouse-over the cupcake image to see the name in the game)
To fill out your Tournament of Cupcakes bracket, click below.
What flavors will be in your championship?
We know time seems to be slipping away and the days are counting down to Christmas.
Panic? Nope. You can take a deep breath, sip your cocoa slowly, and smile because you don’t have to worry one bit.
Oh My Cupcakes! has you covered with treats for last-minute holiday parties, teacher gifts, and goodie exchanges.
Cupcake Wreath | $65
Twenty-two standard size cupcakes festively topped with hand-piped, edible fondant pieces.
Christmas Dozen | $33
Our most popular flavors and seasonal favorites, decorated festively in one cute little package!
Tokens | $3 each
Exchange a token in-store for any standard size cupcake. A perfect stocking stuffer!
Available online with any cupcake order
Token Cards | $6 each
On the Most Wanted list from anyone with Secret Santa.
Available In Store Only
Cupcake Candles | $20 Standard | $9 Mini
Relax in the sweet scent of freshly baked cupcakes with our brand new hand-poured soy candles. Available in eight scents with 30-hour and 70-hour burn times.
Available In Store Only
Whether it’s a treat to eat, a smile stuffed into a stocking, or a gift wrapped under the tree, you’ll find it at Oh My Cupcakes!
Create an order for in-store pick up or local delivery today, and enjoy these seasonal treats while they last!
With blessings and gratitude,
Melissa & the Cupcake Ninjas at Oh My Cupcakes!
Oh My Cupcakes! is way more than a storefront that sells cupcakes. We want to invite you in and share some of our history and fun facts. We want you to feel like we sell more than cupcakes, too.
In order for us to get to know each other a little better, we’ve compiled a list of 20 things that you may not know about Oh My Cupcakes!
We had so much fun walking down memory lane as we compiled this list, it originally started off as “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Oh My Cupcakes!” and quickly turned into “20 Things.”
So it begins…
#1 The first retail location of Oh My Cupcakes! opened her doors April 1st, 2010, thus beginning the start of a beautiful journey. Shoutout to Pamela Miller for being the first official customer!
#2 Our founding verse is “Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed” Proverbs 16:3.
#3 The store was nearly called “Cupcake Days.” Melissa’s five year old son, Brandon, inspired her when he started saying, “Oh My Cupcakes!” instead of “Oh My Goodness!”
#4 We have a secret menu item called the “Frosting Shot” where you can purchase JUST the frosting. We just warn you not to give it to your kids too close to bedtime…
#5 We use around 240 lbs of butter a week in our recipes. You know what else weighs 240 lbs? A female lion…fierce.
#6 We ship nationwide! We’ve shipped cupcakes as near as Mitchell and as far as Seattle to the Amazon headquarters.
#7 The New York Yankees have gotten a sugar rush from our cupcakes!
#8 We can put your face on a cupcake!!!!!!! Say what?! Talk to a Cupcake Ninja to see how in the world this is possible.
#9 In 2012, a young girl that made it her mission to try every single one of our cupcakes..and succeeded. Could you beat the challenge?!
#10 Our current 57th & Bridges location opened her doors on August 6th, 2013. Shoutout to Linda Blom for waiting outside even before our doors opened!
#11 Underneath nearly every surface in our Bridges location are handwritten messages from all the Cupcake Ninjas. Many left quotes, blessings to the workers that helped build the interior, and Bible verses. We wanted the foundation of Oh My Cupcakes! to hold words of love and gratitude for every person that steps foot through our door.
#12 One of our biggest wedding orders was 97 dozen cupcakes…nearly 1,200 cupcakes. But what makes it better? The wedding was for a group of unlikely cupcake lovers: a bunch of burly bikers!
#13 When we deliver cupcakes, people often include a card message that we hand-write and attach to the box. One of our favorite card messages was going to a dentist’s office. The card read: “Thanks for fixing my jacked up teeth!”
#14 In 2013, Oh My Cupcakes! was honored to win South Dakota-Woman-Owned-Small Business of the Year with the Small Business Association.
#15 Melissa, the founder of Oh My Cupcakes!, wrote an interactive-inspirational leadership book about Oh My Cupcakes! called “Fingers in the Frosting.” She is currently working on her second book.
#16 Our busiest day is Valentine’s Day with well over 1,000 customer transactions. We bake everything fresh from scratch and begin that day between midnight and two a.m.
#17 Oh My Cupcakes! has twice been named on a list of top 50 cupcake shops in the nation, once ranking at #17.
#18 We have a fun way to bring the party home with you. We have these cool things called Party Kits! We include two cupcakes, a bag of delicious buttercream and two pods of sprinkle and candy toppings.
#19 For all of you familiar with June Cleaver, she was one of the inspirations behind the elegant vintage theme to the store. We wanted a theme that was a nod to simpler times, where things like baking homemade, from scratch, and with love were important.
#20 We keep waiting for the day one of us is tired of eating cupcakes…still hasn’t happened!
Our favorite thing is to get to know you, so we thought we’d offer a chance for you to get to know us.
To moms like mine, who like cake more than flowers. You deserve flowers, cake AND so much more. We love you, Mom! Reserve this limited edition Cupcake Bouquet for your mom by calling 605-310-6742. Only a few more reservations for these gorgeous bouquets are available now through Saturday, May 7th.