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By Eddie Hart
August 21, 2014
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Black Velvet Sydney

Black Velvet Sydney is the result of two years dedicated to understanding the art of cupcakes.
By Eddie Hart
August 21, 2014
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A new designer cupcakery has quietly opened up in the backstreets of Darlinghurst. It’s impossible to walk past Black Velvet Sydney without stopping to stare at the extravagant window display — tier upon tier of cupcakes, lavish wedding cakes, prettily bowed boxes, and pots of crisp, white orchids. BV Sydney isn’t a mere cupcake shop; it’s a 'concept store' that offers a luxe bakery and cafe experience.

The voguish veneer of the store is no surprise, as the owner Orlando Sanpo has a background in interior design. The Chanel-inspired interiors have a tasteful black-and-white colour scheme, elegant wall-mounted lampshades, Parisian-style marble and intricate wrought iron tables and simple Bentwood chairs. Cupcakes are gracefully arranged on tiered stands, and a range of sophisticated products are presented in a way you might expect from an upmarket perfumery. The assortment of frou-frou includes scented soy candles, reed diffusers, soaps and bath salts, jars of chocolate hazelnut or salted caramel spreads, cocoa-dusted sundried cherries, boutique coffee beans and a cabinet neatly ornamented with fancy chocolates.

Black Velvet Sydney is the result of two years dedicated to understanding the art of cupcakes. After trialling copious recipes from renowned international bakers (such as the acclaimed Magnolia in New York and Hummingbird in London), in addition to French patisserie techniques for the buttercream frosting, Orlando eventually created what he considered a flawless cupcake. His endeavour was rewarded when pastry wunderkind Adriano Zumbo endowed BV Sydney the top three prizes at the Annual Bake Off awards this year. In case you’re wondering: the Lemon Vodka, the Italiano (coffee and chocolate) and the Black Velvet (double chocolate), respectively.

The cupcakes are baked daily on site and we’d have to agree with Zumbo; the cake is wonderfully moist and fluffy, while the buttercream frosting is smooth, sweet and melts in your mouth. Orlando has created more than 100 flavours to rotate, so there will always be a new flavour to discover. The readily available signature flavours include the Lemon Vodka, Salted Caramel, Black Velvet and Passionfruit Velvet ($3.50/cupcake). Specialty seasonal flavours are introduced regularly, and be prepared for curious savoury combinations such as Bacon, Egg and Cheese; Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese; and Hot Dog. For those watching their waistline, Orlando’s cupcake recipe has is 40 percent less sugar than most. There is a cupcake to suit everybody’s needs, even sugar-free, vegan and gluten-free options.

Despite the impeccable interior, there’s still a playfulness in the form of the mismatched crockery. They have a range of organic teas and also make a decent flat white ($3.5), which is quaintly served in an old-fashioned teacup. BV Sydney take their coffee seriously, collaborating with Melbourne-based roaster Single Estate to craft boutique batches of The Designer Blend coffee beans. For something more decadent, the rich 70 percent dark cocoa Madagascar blend (small $3.5) is one of our favourite hot chocolates in Sydney. For sunny days, top picks include the ice-blended drinks ($5.95) such as the cafe mocha made with silky Java chocolate ($5.95) or the bestselling salted caramel.

Sydney's days of cupcakes aren't over yet; Black Velvet shows the bijou dessert trend is just hitting its stride.

Words and images by Eddie Hart.

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