On our way to run some errands last Saturday, Jenn and I happened by Thimble Cakes in Centretown. According to journalism student and fellow Ottawa food blogger Hilary Duff (no, not Hilary Duff), Thimble Cakes is Centretown’s second specialty bakery, selling cupcakes. The first is baker Mandy Lunan’s Aunti Loo’s Treats (507 Bronson Avenue), which opened October 2009.
Thimble Cakes happened to be Duff’s first stop in her odyssey to find Ottawa’s “perfect cupcake.” Duff has made it her quest to try cupcakes from Ottawa’s many purveyors, both brick and mortar cupcakeries and special-order businesses. Everything is being chronicled on the Local Tourist Ottawa blog. New posts appear Mondays.
Thimble Cakes (369 Bank Street) literally charmed us into its storefront. This, after our spending the majority of the morning at a charity bakesale at the Centretown United Church (507 Bank Street) down the street. As we walked in, I could hear our wine blogger Claire’s voice, telling me the bakery stands out in the neighbourhood, a lovely place to take a respite while shopping.
Located beside a Herb and Spice, the location was apparently once a gym. Now, owner Wendy Velthoven seems to have created a completely different look and feel with warm wood floors, soft powder blue and white paint, and vintage style furniture.
There is attention to detail at Thimble Cakes cupcake-wise. There are the usual flavours, vanilla, chocolate, but there is also “bright banana” and pumpkin. The frostings also vary from butter cream to cream cheese, each flavoured to complement the cake, mint, strawberry, vanilla. Cupcakes with large amounts of frosting are wrapped in parchment, similar to cakes in oriental bakeries. There are even kid’s cupcakes in plastic re-usable holders.
A large cupcake at Thimble Cakes costs $3.26. Mini-cupcake, $0.83. A trio of large-cupcakes cost $8.80. A box, containing a dozen mini-cupcakes, costs $8.96. A dozen large-cupcakes, $35.19.
Thimble Cakes’ are more expensive compared to Melissa Somers’ cupcakes from The Flour Shoppe (617 Bank Street) in the Glebe.
Taste and texture aside, Thimble Cakes’ higher prices likely have do with the bakery being nut free. The bakery also offers gluten-free cupcakes, vegan cupcakes (egg and dairy free), and sugar free cupcakes. On that note, The Flour Shoppe recently began offering gluten-free cakes from the Dolci Bake Shop.
According to Dahlia Liwsze’s Open File filing, “Cupcakes Conquer the Capital“, owner Velthoven intends to differentiate Thimble Cake’s cupcakes by not allowing third-party reselling. She wants to build “prestige” around her brand. They are an exclusive gift, “made with love.”
According to Thimble Cakes’ website, the bakery uses organic and local ingredients as much as possible. The store front uses environmentally friendly products, compostable and recyclable, as well.
The mini-cupcakes Jenn and I purchased to sample sported a moist cake. Jenn remarked at the vanilla bean specs in her cake, enjoying its slight chew.
I greatly enjoyed the feather light cream cheese frosting on mine, its cake’s crumb delicate and light. We are excited to sample Thimble Cakes’ gluten-free offerings, comfortably seated in Thimble Cake’s sitting room when we visit next.
369 Bank Street