I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published August 1st 2015
Joy to the cupcake-loving world
It's a sinful indulgence - and one I try not to partake in too often - slipping out of the office in the middle of a workday to satisfy my cupcake craving. And I'm not alone. Joy Cupcakes fulfils this craving for many a CBD office worker based in and around the top end of Bourke Street, as well as tourists out for the day paying a visit to Parliament House or the Alexandra Gardens.
Joy Cupcakes is located in Southern Cross Lane, which is not so much a lane, but more a partially open-air pedestrian-only strip of cafes, eateries and restaurants that runs between Bourke and Little Collins Street, just a short way down from Exhibition Street (behind the old Southern Cross Hotel building—hence the name—which is now an office building home to thousands of Victorian government employees). It's light and airy and spacious, with luscious green plants in timber planter boxes and modern slabs of concrete grey tiles underfoot. The Lane is a hive of activity on any given weekday, starting with the construction workers and tradies grabbing their coffee and toasties from the cafes who open while it's still dark, to the hordes of office workers having lunchtime meetings over sandwiches and salads and sushi, to the uni students swinging past at the end of the day to down some quick dumplings or pho as the night awaits them.
And in amongst all this hustle and bustle lies the sweetest spot of all – Joy Cupcakes. The shopfront, with its name brightly shining high above the full length-glass windows, is a rather unlikely neighbour to its fellow cafes and restaurants, who hawk all manner of savoury delights. But there are times (perhaps more times for some of us than others) when one requires a sweet treat to follow one's sandwich or salad or sushi!
Joy Cupcakes make all their cupcakes on site, with different flavours on offer each day, as well as the favourites that remain fixtures on the daily menu. There's Strawberry Shortcake, Red Velvet, Vanilla, Chocolate Marshmallow, Chocolate-on-Chocolate, Dark Chocolate (and did I mention chocolate?) as well as some more exotic and intriguing flavours that I've yet to try: Rosewater and Pistachio; Fig and Mascarpone; and Lavender and Honey. They come in regular or mini sized (though I must admit, I always skirt by the mini cupcakes and head straight for the regular sized ones…preferably those with the most frosting piped on top), and whilst they are a little pricey ($4.50 for a regular sized cupcake, and $2.50 for the mini), their range also includes vegan, gluten-free and nut-free cupcakes, and there are small discounts for buying more than six at a time.
Each cupcake comes presented in Joy's signature cupcake boxes, perfect for taking back to the office for the staff morning tea (beats a hastily purchased packet of ho-hum biscuits from Coles at 9 o'clock the night before) or for when you shamefully realise you've forgotten your significant other's birthday and need to transport your celebratory cupcake home on the train (and Joy Cupcakes look so gorgeous, the forgotten significant other will move past your memory lapse quite quickly).
But for the times when a box is not required, and you're happy to sink your teeth into one of Joy's Cupcakes right there and then, you can take a seat on one of the Ikea-esque wooden stools along the back wall of the little shop as you watch the girls behind the counter mixing and icing and decorating, or at the darling white tables in the front window. You can also dine al fresco out in the laneway, at one of the high-top tables that look like pastel checkerboards, in amongst the throes of people eating and chatting and parading by (and isn't there just something secretly satisfying about taking that first bite of cupcake, frosting ending up on the tip of your nose, and crumbs dropping into your lap as you sigh with contentment, while your colleague stabs at a salad?).
But for all the joy that Joy Cupcakes brings, alas, I must note that sadly, they are closed on the weekends. Eek! Yes, I know, I know—this IS WeekendNotes—but please don't tar and feather me. I just couldn't resist writing about this little shop, sitting calmly amongst the towering glass buildings, busy city streets, and people hurrying about in every which way. And if you do happen to find yourself in this part of the city on a weekday, whether you're sightseeing or avoiding going back to the office, and you need a sweet hit of cakey deliciousness, stop on by. You will be filled with joy.