Food & Drink Tuesday, May 31st Words by: Lauren Rogers, pictures by: Lauren Rogers and Johana Joudalova

Hitting the sweet spot: cupcake cafe opens in Hereford city

Food & Drink Tuesday, May 31st

Hitting the sweet spot: cupcake cafe opens in Hereford city

Over the past 15 years cupcakes have gone from children's party treat to multi-million pound business.

According to some sources (and my indepth internet research) Sarah Jessica Parker made them trendy when she stuffed one into her gob on Sex in the City in 2004.

By 2012, an estimated 44 million cupcakes were consumed in the UK and national newspapers were declaring them the new cocaine.

Admittedly that Telegraph article was about sugar addiction and socially acceptable drugs but the sentiment behind the headline still stands - we're hooked.

The salt caramel maracon may be the bake du jour but cupcakes show little sign of falling out of fashion just yet.

And that is good news for Valencia Simpsons, the Herefordian who has quit her job in criminal justice to open the Kup-cake Kitchen Café in Union Street, Hereford.

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40-year-old Valencia started baking when her little boy was born with breathing problems and she became aquainted with long, sleepless nights.

“I watched YouTube videos to keep myself awake, then I started doing the fondant decorations, the flowers. It went from there. 

"I was working full time when I opened the Kup-cake Kitchen from our house in Mordiford; I would bake through the night and deliver cupcakes on my lunch break.”

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In 2015, life threw another curveball. Valencia became seriously ill following a routine operation. Lying in a hospital bed considering her own mortality, she re-evaluated things.

Twelve months later and back to full health, she had secured funding from Virgin StartUp. Before too long she was installing coffee machines, ordering champagne and declaring the Kup-cake Kitchen Café officially open.

“For a long time I'd wanted to go to cafés where I could bring the children but I could still be a grown-up; somewhere that was family friendly but somewhere I’d want to bring my friends who don’t have kids too.

“A lot places that are child-friendly, to be honest, felt like going to nursery. I think Hereford needed something a little more elegant."

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Kup-cake Kitchen Cafe is not quite a bakery-cum-champagne bar, but it sells fizz as well as coffee and ice cream as well as hand-decorated cakes. The ice cream is supplied by Hay-on-Wye-based Shepherds and Rowlestone Farmhouse, two of the best local ice creams available.

Valencia has plans for live acoustic music, private parties and late night openings - fitting accompaniments for the modern-day cupcake, all grown up. 

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Kup-cake Kitchen Cafe is open 7.30am to 5pm daily at 31 Union Street, Hereford.

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