Cupcakes by Charley is a teeny, brightly coloured jewel in the very heart of the shopping centre of Leeds. Their second boutique opened last July in the Queen’s Arcade and has been wowing locals with their sugary offerings and laid back, friendly atmosphere.
Baked on premises every day, the cupcakes themselves are like mini masterpieces A almost too good to eat! There is no need for pre-ordering of large amounts and so Cupcakes by Charley have proved invaluable ‘cheat sweets’ for dinner parties as well as beautiful desserts for weddings and celebrations of all kinds.
Barely able to control their watering mouths, the Leeds Love Affair team spoke to Hayley and Charlotte, the lovely ladies that run this super-sweet boutique, to find out what they’re all about…
Who are you and how did you get here?
We are Charlotte Mitchell and Hayley Catchpole and we own Cupcakes by Charley. We became friends while working together and discovered we both love baking so we got together and made some batches in the kitchen. We tested them on our family and friends before taking our products to farmers markets and food festivals where we got loads of orders. We did that (at weekends while working fulltime!) for about 4 or 5 months before we realised we had to open our own business. We opened our first boutique in Harrogate in July 2009 before opening our second one in July 2011.
What do you think makes Cupcakes by Charley unique? What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?
All our products are fresh baked on the premises, that means you can just pop in and takeaway a large number and wide selection of cupcakes freshly baked that day without having to order days in advance. We honestly really believe in our products A they are the best cupcakes our customers have ever tasted! We offer an affordable luxury in a bright, modern boutique.
What’s your favourite product that you sell?
We love ‘Charley’s Red Velvet’ (chocolate + vanilla sponge, mascarpone icing) and our bestseller is our ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’ flavour which is drizzled in caramel. You can get a ‘Charley’s Dozen’ (12 cupcakes with 1 thrown in for free) for 22.95 and the ‘Eat In/Takeaway Special’ which is any cupcake and hot drink for 3.75 A both great value!
What can customers look forward to from you on Valentine’s Day then?
We have 2 new flavours for this Valentine’s Day : ‘The Last Rolo’ which is chocolate sponge (with a rolo baked inside!) with caramel buttercream and ‘Raspberry Romance’ which is white chocolate sponge with raspberry buttercream and a dark chocolate heart on top.
This Monday and Tuesday we are doing a ‘Valentine’s Selection Box’ for 10.95. You can choose any 6 cupcakes to go in it and we’ll gift wrap it for free!
You offer a bespoke service too A what’s the weirdest/ best request you’ve ever had?
Oh we have loads of lovely stories! One guy asked us to make a batch that spelled ‘Will you marry me?’ and that was just brilliant to be a part of. She said yes (thank goodness!)
A recent one was a skull and crossbones design A that was quite intricate. We love doing designs to order, it’s a great challenge. We can do any bespoke design in batches of at least 12.
What do you think makes Leeds so awesome? Where do you usually hang out?
The variety of successful independent shops, bars and restaurants. Our nights in Leeds are usually dinner at The Red Chilli followed by drinks and a boogie at Call Lane Social.
What made you decide to open a boutique in Leeds?
We opened in Harrogate first as that’s where Charlotte is from. When we started we got lots of orders for weddings and there’s a big market for weddings in Harrogate. Hayley is from Leeds so we were always going to come here eventually! We love being in the arcades, it’s the perfect place for our boutique. We’ve only been here 6 months but it’s been awesome so far. Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to open more boutiques…
Finally, describe the experience your customers get in 3 words…
Fresh, modern, luxury ?
Cupcakes by Charley has closed their Leeds branch. You can still find them in York and Harrogate.