Poppy Cakes (Brisbane, QLD)

Emporium Complex
1000 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
+61 7 3257 4844

Even though there are always things to do on the Gold Coast (yes, I’m serious), there are times when you do get sick of it. Luckily, Brisbane is only a 40 minute trip up the Pacific Motorway should you want a change in scenery. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been to Brisbane (we’re thinking maybe seven years?) so I asked forced Marty to drive me there the other Saturday for some food, shopping and sun (yes, it DID rain in Goldie that day!).

After spending about half an hour looking for a car park, we spent an equal amount of time checking out some of the trendy clothing stores in ‘The Valley’ before walking the opposite direction to the Emporium, a complex that houses a swank hotel of the same name and a handful of neat restaurants. We had lunch at Tony Percuoco’s much-lauded Tartufo restaurant (the subject of my next review) before deciding to pick up some cupcakes for later.

Now, those of you who either know me in person or have been reading my blog for so long that they WISH they knew me in person will know that I. Hate. Cupcakes. While it’s no secret that I’m not a huge dessert person, cupcakes are the one thing that I hate more than stupid customers, tardiness and the Collingwood Football Club. Not only are they too sweet, I also find them to be very one-dimensional and boring at the best of times. If I wanted something cake-y, I’d rather pay $4-7 for a slice of REAL cake than a stupid little cupcake.

So why I decided to set foot into Poppy Cakes, I have no friggin’ idea. Perhaps it was the small but lovely shop, looking so warm and welcoming like the Brisbane sun that day, that drew me in. Perhaps it was the tables of middle-aged patrons quietly reading copies of the Courier Mail while munching on cupcakes that made me want a piece of the action (as in, eating the cupcakes, not action involving the customers, you sickos). Or maybe I was just looking for an excuse to buy something. Whatever it was, I was glad I went in.

Proudly claiming to be sell the ‘best cupcakes in Queensland’, Poppy Cakes do a lot of things right. Not only do they supposedly make great coffees and sell cookies (for cupcake haters like myself), they also claim to cupcakes made with the finest ingredients (we’re talking Valrhona chocolate, for example). Plus, they also have a line of low-gluten cupcakes. Now, I’d be lying here if I said that I wasn’t half-curious at this point. I knew I had to go. On another note, they also like to remind us that their cupcakes are ‘New York-style’, though I’m not really sure what exactly makes these cupcakes New York-style.

Because we rocked up late in the afternoon, a lot of the cupcakes on display had sadly sold out. There’s not to say that the only flavours available for purchase were horrible, but I wouldn’t have minded trying the vanilla passion cupcake with its vanilla base and passionfruit butter cream topping or the coconut lime cupcake. In the end, I grabbed a chocolate peanut butter cupcake ($4) while Marty grabbed a classic red velvet cupcake ($4.20) because he’s ‘never had red velvet cupcakes before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.’

Marty devoured his cupcake as soon as we got home. He said that it was ‘nice’ and appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too sweet (funny, coming from someone who loves his sweets more than his stupid Collingwood Magpies). What made his particular red velvet cupcake a ‘classic’ as opposed to a ‘standard’ was the use of cream cheese topping rather than buttermilk. Marty said that the slightly salty topping really did give the cupcake, which had only the slightest hint of cocoa, a nice edge. Thumbs up.

I didn’t eat my cupcake until the very next day. I was told not to refrigerate the cupcakes so my poor cupcake had been sitting in room temperature for 24 hours. Surprisingly, the cake remained beautifully moist. Like Marty’s cupcake, mine wasn’t terribly sweet either and super dense and super moist cake paired amazingly well with the creamy peanut butter icing that actually tasted more like REAL peanut butter than peanut butter topping. It was unexpectedly delicious.

I don’t really know why these cupcakes tasted better than anything I’ve had in Melbourne. Perhaps it was the smaller sugar content. Perhaps it was the good quality ingredients. Perhaps it was because these cakes actually had character. Perhaps it might have been the secret magic dust that made them ‘New York style.’ Whatever it was, it made me less of a cupcake hater, at least for that day. If cupcakes didn’t have such a limited self life, I would have bought a huge box to take to Melbourne with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a long way from liking ‘cupcakes’ on Facebook. However, if Melbourne’s many, many cupcake stores made cupcakes that were more like the beauties sold at Poppy Cakes, then I’d be less of a hater.

Poppy Cakes on Urbanspoon

I eat too much.


  1. Hannah
    June 19, 2012

    I would’ve interpreted “New York style” as meaning “a bollock-ton of frosting”. Also, I’m not usually fussed by cupcakes either, but you managed to pick the two flavours I would willing try. Peanut butter because, well OBVIOUS, and red velvet because I’ve never eaten velvet before.

  2. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    June 20, 2012

    OMG OMG OMG I want these cupcakes! I’m totally crazy about cupcakes 🙂 actually i’m crazy about everything LOL so that’s a bit silly for me to say that but these cupcakes look amazing 🙂 and i love how you said that they were still really moist.

    I have issues with the icing of cupcakes in Melbourne too…but I really like Cupcake Central 😀


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