Australian cupcakes in Austin: The Sugadeaux Cupcakes/Sugar Mama's Bakeshop global cupcake experience

This guest post is by our friend Jess Pryles of Melbourne, Australia's Sugadeaux Cupcakes, pictured above, about her adventures baking for a week at Austin, Texas bakery Sugar Mama's Bakeshop. Thanks, Jess, for the great post and congratulations to Jess and Olivia for a fabulous collaboration, hopefully the first of many.

By Jess Pryles:

Well it’s been 31,000 return miles and over 38 hours in an airplane economy seat (taking into account the extra fog delays when I was only one hour from home!) but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I spent a week at the end of May as a guest baker at Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop in Austin, TX. I knew I wanted to visit the states to see what was happening in the cupcake world, seeking inspiration, exploring the myriad of frosting styles, seeing how others choose to decorate their cupcakes but most of all, seeing how Americans feel about my cupcakes. After all, the USA is the birthplace of the cupcake as we know it. (Note: I haven’t exactly done years of research on this, and there may be some example of French monks from the 1600s baking little cakes in little papers, but for all intents and purposes, today's cupcake and my cupcakes are based on the classic American style).

As I had been a fan of her style and of course her success as the top cupcake/bakeshop in Austin, I contacted Olivia (head Sugarmama and proprietor) who was incredibly receptive to the idea, and we took it from there.

Though we had not actually met in person before, it was clear within the first two minutes of my initial visit to the bakery that Olivia and I were going to get on like a house on fire, or a pair of cheeky teen siblings. By the end of my time in Texas, Olivia and I had developed our own language, had spent many a night discussing frosting, displays, cake textures, boxes and a host of other topics which you could only discuss for 4 hours with another cupcaker. I am proud to call her my close friend. You can tell just how crazy we are by the photo evidence of guns'n'roses sessions during baking. One of the rich personal rewards for me was being able to have this person, who is in exactly my profession, facing the same problems I face, chat to me about our shared experiences.

But on to the cupcakes!! I’m sure you all know how many types of chocolate cake there are in the baking was truly a serendipitous moment when I tasted a Sugarmama’s "odd couple" (chocolate cake, salted caramel frosting and a chocolate coated pretzel!!!) for the first time and realised we had a near identical chocolate cake recipe - this was going to work! We set about trying to blend some of my flavours with Sugarmama’s existing range (which was an extremely difficult task over tacos and cocktails...) and here’s what we ended up with:

The Malteser - Named for the Aussie candy of the same monicker, the malteser was a chocolate cupcake piled high with malted frosting and topped with a malted milk ball - easily one of Sugadeaux's most popular flavours.

The Mojiteaux - It took a little explaining for some to get the cute play on words for the name of this cupcake, but it was a huge hit in the Texas heat! A cool lime cake base brushed with rum syrup, topped with fresh mint-infused frosting (they're the ones with the little Aussie flag flying proudly!)

And because I didn’t want to do a Vegemite cupcake, we truly brought a unique Australian flavour to the bakery with brown sugar Wattleseed shortbread cookies. Wattleseed is the seed taken from our national flower, the Wattle (which you should Google because its totally cute) and imparts a nutty and totally individual flavour into dishes.

I’m pleased to report all three were a success in their own right. The 'teser met the needs of local chocoholics, the Mojiteaux satisfied the cravings of those who prefer more unusual inspired cupcake flavours, and the Wattleseed cookies proved an unusual taste sensation - I didn’t actual meet anyone who didn’t like the flavour. For five days we sold these treats alongside Sugar Mama’s regular offerings, and seeing my flavours sell out was really an uplifting experience.

The people of Austin particularly exuded that typical Southern hospitality and charm. Nearly every one of them, when they discovered I was Australian, replied with a cheery and heartfelt "Welcome!" In addition to an amazing response from twitter, and some awesome media coverage on KUT, FOX 7 morning show and The Statesman food section, many of Sugar Mama’s regular customers who had simply heard about the event whilst in store made the effort to come back. There was such a great sense of community support, as though they were grateful Olivia had brought them something new to try, and it was practically their obligation to stop by and check it out. Truly, Austinites know how to support their local independent businesses.

SO thank you to the people of Austin, and thanks to Olivia, Steve & Jack at Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, not to mention everyone in the online community who supported our wacky experiment!

For more information, visit:

Sugadeaux Cupcakes (Melbourne, Australia) and Sugadeaux Cupcakes on Twitter

Sugar Mama's Bakeshop (Austin, Texas) and Sugar Mama's Bakeshop on Twitter


Sugar Daze said…
Great post! I loved reading about the Austin/Aussie global cupcake experience! I'm fortunate enough to have made Jess' acquaintance this past year (albeit virtually) and am determined to get my hands on one of her Sugadeaux treasures in this lifetime even if it means making a trip down under.

Jess, if you ever want to make a pit-stop in Paris, you know you are welcome to my kitchen (I've got your GnR and Def Leppard right here!) Would love to see more of these joint cupcake bakefests!
Cakespy said…
Oh how I wish I could have been there too!
keri said…
i came back home two weeks shy of your time in austin. :( i really wanted to try all your treats!

while in texas, however, i didn't miss out on my cupcake addiction. a little cupcake shoppe called sugarbabys in houston was too cute for words and the choc.truffle had a truffle inside the cake. spark, bam, loved it.

i'm glad you had a chance to visit the states, especially austin. you prolly picked one of tha best cities eva.
Cole said…
We were lucky enough to catch Jess on her last day at Sugar Mama's and I have to say that The Malteser is one heck of a cupcake! So good!! We're hoping Jess gets to come back to Austin soon. In the meantime, you'll be able to find us at Sugar Mama's sampling Olivia's awesome goods... :-)