Bricks & Mortar: Merry Cupcakes

By Diane Leyman

Merry Cupcakes is a brand new (and very cute) addition to Fitzroy’s busy Brunswick Street. It was launched by owner and baker-extraordinaire Mary Lin at the start of October, and is quickly becoming a popular spot to pick up a sweet treat (or two).

Mary studied nutrition and dietetics at university, and after graduating and not being able to find employment in the field, decided to start up her own business. With the help of her parents, who have strong business backgrounds, she found an empty Brunswick Street shopfront and brought friend Tim Cruickshank on board to design the branding and cafe fit-out (Mary’s only specifications were to incorporate her favourite colours, red and blue, and to make it cute). After working on her menu and launching with a successful preview night, where all of the cupcakes were sold within an hour and a half, Mary was ready to open up her doors.

Cupcakes and good nutrition might not initially go hand in hand, but through her studies Mary started learning how to modify recipes to make them healthier, and began to dabble and experiment in baking. Offering up a healthier alternative for those in search of a sweet treat is essentially what's at the heart of Merry Cupcakes, and so Mary uses a fraction of wholemeal flour, incorporates fruit and vegetables and uses less sugar, which means that her cakes are healthier and contain less saturated fat than regular cupcakes. All of Mary’s cupcakes are also vegan-friendly, and she has gluten-free recipes in the works too.

If you’re wondering whether this all means Mary’s cupcakes are less flavourful than their full-fat compatriots, you’d be very wrong. In the name of good, honest reporting my boyfriend and I sampled a couple of Mary’s cupcakes and I can assure you they were delicious (we tried ‘Beet It’, a red velvet cupcake made with beetroot and cream cheese icing, and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, a strawberry cupcake with strawberry buttercream). They were moist and rich, with very tasty icing. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Mary has plenty of flavours to choose from, but will also be changing up her menus every season and creating ‘event’ cupcakes every so often too (such as a pumpkin cupcake for Halloween). Event catering will also be available, so check Mary’s Facebook page for details (a website is also on its way soon) or pop by in person at 261 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Diane Leyman is a freelance editor, proofreader and project manager with more than six years of experience working in non-fiction illustrated trade book publishing. She has a passion for all things design, and writes a design blog called Notes to a Further Excuse. She also likes taking photographs, crafting, drinking coffee and obsessing over mid-century homewares.