Saturday, 15 October 2011

Grand cakes from an unsightly alley!

Today was a milestone! Happily, Zoe and I went home after a morning baking with a copy of this weekend's 'Het Parool' under our arms for a read and a cup of tea, because WE'RE FEATURED IT IN!!

It's in Dutch so here's the English translation:

Grand cakes from an unsightly alley

In an unobvious alley in the Red-Light District, English, Julie Wintrip and American Zoe Gottehrer produce remarkable baked goods.

The cupcake hype in Holland began when the stars of Sex and the City were filmed in New York’s Magnolia Bakery enjoying cupcakes. According to Julie Wintrip (Biritish, 33) and Zoe Gottehrer (American, 34). “My favourite bakery” says Gottehrer. ‘You have to wait a good half an hour in the queue in order to obtain one of their cupcakes!”

They themselves are settled, since May, a little less visible with their businesses Queen of Tarts and Cake Amsterdam, in the narrow Sint Jansstraat , number 61. An unsightly alley between the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal and Warmoestraat. Slowly the small passageway is becoming hipper. The two tart ladies sit, amongst others, alongside a potter, belly dancer, and a fashion studio.

Now and then passers-by take a look at their bright red tiered cake in the window and cupcakes decorated with moustaches. Wintrip “The organisation Movember asks the men of the general public to leave their beards and moustaches unshaven throughout the month of November. It is a sponsored event in order to raise money for prostate cancer”. This week a collection of their cupcakes and cake have been relocated to the Magna Plaza, where the start of the event is held.

Their atelier is teeny-tiny. A kitchen at the back, racks full of tools and equipment and a large work table in the front. The ladies take their turn in the kitchen. “Because it’s too small for the two of us. But if necessary we do help each other.” Such as the time that an employment agency ordered a thousand cupcakes for their jubileum.

Wintrip specialises in cupcakes, Gottehrer - ‘Bespoke Baker of Taste & Distinction’ – is more a fan of exciting cakes.

And the neighbourhood are happy. The Bulldog orders regularly, in Ton van Joep’s lunchroom on the Zeedijk are bright pink cupcakes and at fashion shop The Darling in the Runstraat customers enjoy their treats in the cupcake-hangout.

No two cakes are the same. That would only be boring. And they’d rather not make the cakes with photo’s on top. Un-exciting, no they’d rather make three dimensional artworks: a shark that springs from the cake board. Or a chessboard with chess pieces. Gottehrer: “All the pieces, it became too much. In the end we chose to make the pieces in a check-mate position on the board”. A cake in the form of a smart-phone? A tommy gun – an old machine gun – for the opening of the new VIP Social Club of Boom Chicago? Or a ‘gynaecological cake’ – indeed, complete with all internal female details – for a recently graduated doctor? Everything’s possible.

The ladies also give workshops. And children’s parties, where the children learn to bake and decorate. Just like she learned from her mother. Wintrip “As a child I remember making a snooker table cake for my brothers birthday. With chewing gum balls.”

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