A Cupcake Affair (in Zurich)

Macarons in New York.  Frozen yogurt in Paris. And now… Cupcakes in Zürich.

Melanie Studer, originally from Basel, just opened the very first cupcake shop in the German part of Switzerland. (You can get your fix in the French part here or here.)  Despite having to spell out the word c-u-p-c-a-k-e and explain what it is each time someone calls her, she can’t seem to bake enough.  800 cupcakes left her small, pink shop in Zürich’s old town on opening day.  Having spent several years in the UK with her British boyfriend, tasting the treats at Primrose Bakery and a small, glittery bakery in Covent Gardens, she fell in love with these little cakes and especially their bright colors and fun decorations.

Cupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, Switzerland

I’ll admit I was a bit wary, expecting a dry cake and either overly sweet – or worse, bland – icing on top. 0 for 2. I had my eye on the Caramel and Sea Salt mini, Melanie’s favorite, and it was a fresh, light and moist cake (made with chai tea powder), with caramel and fleur de sel in the topping. The day I was there, the other mini’s on offer were passionfruit and chocolate/rum. All toppings are made with mascarpone, different for us Americans, who are used to sugary buttercream frosting, like on the East Coast at Magnolia Bakery or on the West Coast at Sprinkles (soon on the East Coast too!). Because of that, the cupcakes are kept cool, which was quite refreshing, even on a cold, November day.

There is a roster of rotating flavors of regular cupcakes too, the most popular so far being the dark chocolate cupcake with raspberry topping (named Marilyn Monroe). There’s also Romeo & Juliet (vanilla cake with chocolate) and Casanova (vanilla cake with passionfruit). That’s Melanie below holding the “Affair of the Month,” apple cinnamon cake with vanilla topping. Keep your eyes out for a banana creation soon too…

Cupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, SwitzerlandCupcake Affair, Zürich, Switzerland

So why the special names? When I asked Melanie, she pointed to the shop’s name, Cupcake Affair, and said ever so simply, “you’re having an affair with your cupcake. It’s exciting. They are tiny, colorful, sweet treats. Go ahead, give in to temptation and enjoy.”

So I did.

Cupcake Affair, Zürich, Switzerland

Cupcake Affair
Spitalgasse 12
8001 Zürich
Monday to Friday: 11am to 7pm, Saturday: 10am to 5pm
(Opened November 13, 2010)

25 Responses to “A Cupcake Affair (in Zurich)”

  1. valentina says:

    I do love her choice of flavours – passion fruit and vanilla. Great combination.Ok..i love passion fruit so I am a bit bias…however, passion fruit is the sunshine in one’s mouth.You then add the all regal vanilla..ha..sinful.
    What a pretty little shop! I love the names. romeo and juliet..that is dead sweet .pretty serious affair. I am someone who favours toppings without butter cream so her selection is a winner with me on that. Tin tin to her success.

  2. Tweets that mention A Cupcake Affair (in Zürich) | MyKugelhopf -- Topsy.com says:

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  3. Lani says:

    I do love cupcakes! The Cupcake Affair sounds like a fun place to taste all these different flavors…bravo for bring cupcakes to Zurich!! They were surely missed! Now all that Zurich needs is chocolate chip cookies!!! When will that happen…..

  4. Emma says:

    Mmmm, mascarpone-based topping would be delicious! I agree that cupcakes are often too much / too strong, but this sounds fantastic. Did the mascarpone moderate the flavors of the toppings so that you could pick up on the more subtle flavors of the cakes?

  5. Kerrin says:

    valentina, I remember you saying how much you love passionfruit. And if you prefer cupcakes without buttercream frosting too, then yes, this place is so for you !

    Lani, definitely exciting that someone has brought cupcakes to Zürich ! And I certainly could not agree more, bring on the chocolate chip cookies ! 😉 When will that happen ? Probably not soon, but you never know…

    Emma, the mascarpone was actually an excellent choice – not too sweet, not too rich, just right. And as you said, it didn’t overwhelm the cake either (nor did the extra flavors), as can sometimes be the case too.

  6. kelleyn says:

    Every reason to make a trip back to switzerland. Are they just as good as those found here in the states. I found Swiss brownies not the same.

  7. Uncle Beefy says:

    Well you just had to know you’d likely grab me with cupcakes! 😉

    Looks like such a lovely shop, Kerrin! Though a slight tinge of jealousy that it isn’t a mutual venture between the two of us. What? An Uncle can dream, right?!

    I remember suggesting to some American friends who live in Europe about the idea of moving and opening up a cupcake place. They said the Europeans would *never* go for it. Proof that it’s probably best not to always listen to others opinions. Sigh.

  8. turkey's for life says:

    Looks like another inviting shop – although the confusion would begin again with us Brits. I had to clarify what a cupcake was with two American friends just yesterday. We eat ‘Fairy Cakes’ in the UK – yes, which is a cupcake.

  9. Kerrin says:

    kelleyn, I hope I can help make your list of reasons to come back and visit Switzerland longer and longer, so that you do make it happen ! 🙂 The cupcakes here are different than what we may be used to in the States, so it’s a personal preference in the end. They are really excellent though – super fresh and flavorful. But I agree in general, brownies and especially cookies aren’t quite the same in Europe.

    Uncle Beefy, a lovely surprise as any to see your comment, thank you Mr. B ! [Note to self: blog more about cupcakes.] A mutual sweet venture between you and me, that’s the stuff dreams are made of !! Your idea was a brilliant one, and of course every good idea has its contradicting reactions, but it’s not too late… Oooh here’s our future business, how about cookies… ? Hey, a girl can dream too, right ?!

    turkey’s for life, funny you say that, I actually asked Melanie how come she chose the word “cupcake” instead of “fairy cake,” but since she’s not British, she wasn’t really keen on that term, nor was she sure of where it came from. Do you know why they are called fairy cakes ? Cheers ! 🙂

  10. Kiki says:

    Oh, what a deliriously delicate and delightful shop this is – I read through her website and looked at the cupcakes – even as a non-dessert person I was thoroughly tempted and enchanted by the unusual and not too sweet compositions. And they look so lovely
    BRAVO Melanie – and BRAVO Kerrin – to both: Habt eine erfolgreiche, freudige und (nicht über-)süsse Zukunft…. (I am just trying to remember which one is the Spitalgasse?! In case I’d like to visit next time!)

  11. Liana @ femme fraiche says:

    I LOVE the clever names!! And the shop is actually gorgeous. I’m not a cupcake fan so much, just because I’m scarred from the super sweet icing that plagues NA versions. But mascarpone is a love of mine (especially in tiramisu) I agree that it would make a delicious icing!! Great post:)

  12. jen laceda says:

    Pink and brown!!!! That is soooo totally my daughter’s colours!! She’s gonna love Melanie’s store (and so will Mommy)! Hmmm, very interesting…cupcake icing with mascarpone! Now why don’t they make that in Canada? I suppose cream cheese frosting is our equivalent…Anyway, I want that caramel and salt mini cupcake! I need Food-Ex to deliver me some NOW!!!

  13. Pierre says:

    K send some caramel and salt cupcake….to sp please!!!!!!!!!
    Nice article, got the nostalgie of Magnolia……

  14. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    I love the idea of a mascarpone frosting. The black forest cake I made for Anton recently was filled with lashings of mascarpone (as well as that choc/haz mousse). I actually want to try and make my own mascarpone actually. It’s so expensive to buy here, and I’d love to use more of it. As a frosting on cupcakes, for example!

    Love the witty names for the cupcakes. Would like to try the caramel one. Would be interesting to taste the flavour of that with the chai tea powder. Delicious!

  15. Duncalator says:

    Cupcakes are to cake what tea-cup poodles and mini schnauzers are to golden retrievers: then perfect size for modern life. With that in mind, it’s always good news when cupcakes and the bakers behind them proliferate and branch out.

  16. Kerrin says:

    Kiki, not a dessert person ?! Ok ok, I guess that´s ok 😉 Thank you and danke ! Spitalgasse is in the old town in the Niederdorf, it´s the street that leads up towards Zähringerplatz. Hope you visit soon and have a few cupcakes too ! Be sure to say hoi to Melanie 🙂

    Liana, sounds like there is a tiramisu cupcake in your near future ! You´ll have to make that and let me know how it goes. Yum !! 🙂

    jen, Food-Ex, yes ! That really needs to exist, how much fun would you and I have ?! And I love pink and brown together too. My favorite combo is blue and brown – hence this site´s design ! 🙂

    Pierre, saudade ! Oh, NYC .. .surtout Magnolia Bakery. Et Corner Bistro. Et D´Orsay. Et….

    Julia, make your own mascarpone ? Wow, that´s one I have never tried. Go for it. And I bet that Black Forest Cake of yours was incredible !

    Duncalator, well said. Here´s to more cupcake shops and mini schnauzers ! 😉

  17. Kiki says:

    Kerrin; thank you – I now see exactly where Spitalgasse is…. I used to live for some time at the Hirschengraben, hence I really should have remembered this lane as I walked it every day to go to work, lol 🙂 And yes, I really am NOT a dessert person…. and yet I read your blog with great pleasure! And I make absolutely marvellous ‘Wähe’… and anything in a pastry…. And I LOVE good black chocolate and have some wonderful memories of Zürcher Chocolatiers!!!

  18. Julia says:

    thanks for sharing this delicious looking place. I will have to check it out sometime!

  19. Secret Santa « Swisstina says:

    […] special part of my day yesterday was visiting the store, A Cupcake Affair (read more about it here) in the Old Town. On Wednesday my friend, Anna, and I went looking for this store, searching high […]

  20. Kerrin says:

    Kiki, aha so the cupcake place is in your old neighborhood then ! 🙂 What a great place to live. Thank you so much for your comment and enthusiasm, and even though you may not be a total dessert person, I can hear how excited you are about a few sweet things !! =)

    Julia, you’re very welcome ! Hope you enjoy when you go…

    Swisstina, thanks for the mention ! So glad you finally found the shop ! 😉

  21. Kristina says:

    Wow, I have to go there as soon as possible!
    Thanks for sharing and curing my cupcake-urge 🙂
    Merry christmas and viele Gruesse, Kristina

  22. Sandra says:

    Just stumbled over this website now and read that there are no chocolate chip cookies in Switzerland… Well, I opened an online shop about 6 months ago and do sell these delicious cookies right here in Swizzy. check out http://www.gourmetcookies.ch
    You guys might want to try and order some!
    Best , Sandra

  23. Jane says:

    Was so happy to try out a cupcake, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting ….. have to admit was a bit disappointed. The cake was lacking a moistness that comes with southern treats! Great idea for a shop, so sweet ….

  24. Kerrin says:

    Sandra, chocolate chip cookies in Switzerland ?! Finally ! =) Thanks so much for your comment, so glad to discover you and your shop. Hope to taste your cookies one day for sure.

    Jane, sorry to hear you were disappointed with the red velvet cupcake there, I haven’t had that one myself. Hope you still enjoyed the shop and perhaps will give it a second shot…

  25. Moira says:

    I tried Mr. Darcy and Barry White – both delicious, what else.

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