I came to know of this cupcake bakery shop, Fluff Bakery at Jalan Pisang, off Victoria Street from instagram and was astonished by the many compliments it received from customers crazy over their cupcakes and who willingly queued for hours to get them. Curious, I decided to visit them one day (that was a month ago) and indeed there was already a long queue when I arrived just before 12 noon.
The queue snaked around the corner of the pre-war building and onto the sidewalk and I learnt that it is like that everyday till they sold out in 2 to 3 hours. Everybody was waiting orderly and patiently and apparently, the first person at the queue was already there at 11 am! Strangely, the queue was predominantly Malay with less than a handful of Chinese or Indians. Then I remembered reading in their instagram that it was a recent start-up by a young Malay couple. No wonder the Malay clientele! They really support their own kind, I thought, or maybe because it is halal. I didn’t want to queue under the hot sun and decided to return another day.
The next time I was there (2 weeks later), I was happy to see no queue from afar. Excited, I quickened my pace arriving only to be greeted by a closed door and a sign that read they were closed. So they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Open from Wednesday through Sunday from 12 noon till all sold out. My goodness! again I have to return if I still want to try these much raved cupcakes.
Today, I vowed to get them ‘by hook or by crook’. When I alighted from the bus at the bus stop just infront of the building, I was disappointed to see a long queue of people already there. I had timed myself to arrive just before they open but it now looks like I still had to wait for quite a while. It was scorching hot and there was no shelter or shade. But I didn’t want to come back again, so I had no choice but to join the long queue of Malay women and young girls in their tudongs. There were several Malay guys too and a couple of young Chinese girls.
As I inched slowly towards the shop under the intense heat, I felt stupid having to wait so long for mere cupcakes that I can easily bake myself. I told myself that they had better be good to justify my long wait. It was a small shop that can only accommodate 3 customers at a time. Only when one leave can another enter. So that’s also the reason for the long queue. Behind glass partition is the production area where a number of female workers churn and pipe out more cupcakes.
At $4 each, I thought it was rather expensive. They have a few flavours everyday besides some whole cakes or cookies. I bought a banana split cupcake, salted caramel and apple pie salted caramel pretzel cupcakes. I had to console myself that these have fillings inside which justify their higher price. Anyway, once home, they will be weighed, dissected and examined for their worth.
So are they worth queuing so long for? My personal verdict - Certainly not! Although I have not tried the other flavours like Cendol, Nutella Red Velvet and salted egg yolk custard, these 3 already failed my expectations, although the apple pie caramel pretzel is slightly better and it is nice because of the crunchy salted pretzel which I reckoned are store-bought pretzels. Although they are bigger (compared to Twelve Cupcakes) and have fillings, the cake is rough and dry and the frosting is not buttercream. So there is a lack of richness in the frosting. Personally, I feel that fillings are unnecessary and in the case of the salted caramel, it is a whole mass of hardened coagulated sugar in the centre. As for the banana split, it is a mass of mushy banana that has no flavour.
Left: banana split Middle: apple pie Right: salted caramel
Cupcakes are meant to be light and with frostings only on top. Undoubtedly, they are innovative and have come up with a variety of unconventional flavours like milo and holicks and wacky flavours like onde onde, chendol and mooncake cupcakes with lotus paste and salted egg yolk as fillings! I am not surprised if they will one day have nasi lemak cupcake too!
Well, maybe this is how business can survive these days with all the keen competition around. It is also good to give Twelve Cupcakes a run for their money. In the United States, the cupcake craze has died and I thought it has also plateaued in Singapore. However, judging from my Fluff experience today, it is just getting hot, at least amongst the Malays.