When you walk through the doors of one of the four fabulous Ooh La La Cupcakes locations in Victoria, it’s hard to believe that owner, Sherryl Andrews, was a nurse for 34 years. Because surely, this was exactly what she was meant to do.
Yet, luckily for island brides, it’s true. After a ‘now or never’ moment in her life, Sherryl opted to reinvent herself by taking the plunge into the world of weddings.
So with the sweetest name in the business, and some of the best cupcakes (and cakes) we’ve ever tasted, what more is there to say about this locally owned and operated boutique cupcake bakery? Plenty, as we found out...
The magic is in the cupcakes
At Ooh La La Cupcakes, the first thing you notice is the charming setting. These boutique cupcake shops immediately make you want to dish up one of many, fabulous cupcakes, sit down with your friends, and then proceed to ooh, aah (and ooh la la!) over the sinfully delicious flavours.
Changing the way you thought you knew cupcakes, Ooh La La goes beyond traditional flavours, treating you to the likes of Twist and Shout, Coconut Cloud, Kiss Me (I’m Irish), Nuttin Butter, Chocolat, Triple Bypass, Monkey Business, Pure Decadence, French Kiss, Pink Ballerina, French Vanilla, and of course the house special, the Ooh La La cupcake. The team at the shop also offer weekly specialty creations such as Cookie Monster!
As part of our research, we had to taste several for ourselves (just another hard day’s work). We tried Twist and Shout, which is a light lemon taste with the surprise raspberry inside. It was delish! But our fav was definitely the house special, Ooh La La, which features rich chocolate with meringue cherry buttercream... *sigh* Just check out all the delicious flavours online here.
Mini cupcakes are favs
One of our favourite products at Ooh La La are the mini cupcakes. They are as devilish as the cupcakes, but are somehow made even cuter because they’re bite-sized. Just think… Now you can have all sorts of flavours in delicious little mouthfuls and not even feel guilty!
Wedding cakes and mini cakes are another popular specialty at Ooh La La. The cakes are pretty, detailed, often set upon beautiful cake plates, and of course, are perfect for weddings. In fact, we included them in a photo shoot for the launch issue of The Wedding Ring Magazine Vancouver Island!
Local photographer, Deanna, of Deanna McCollum Photography, was impressed with Ooh La La. “The artistry in their work is remarkable. I was impressed by their attention to detail, unique designs and perfection in each cake - from the swirls of icing on the tiniest cupcake to the intricate and lifelike sugar butterflies on the wedding cake. Each creation is so pretty!”
Just as important, the cupcakes and cakes taste as good as they look. Ooh La La says they use only uses the finest ingredients - pure vanilla, sweet rich butter and fresh eggs, for starters. Their moist, rich, buttercream toppings melt in the mouth are made absolutely from scratch. Ooh La La tries not to use any additives or artificial ingredients. Laura, a bride who is obviously into details, told us, “ I purchased cupcakes from every cupcake place/bakery I could think of in Victoria just to make sure that I loved Ooh La La Cupcakes as much as I thought I did… And they were by far the best!”
Behind the scenes of Ooh La La
Sherryl is not just creative, she’s the perfect example of an entrepreneur (in 2009, Ooh La La was one of 10 winners in the first “Ten to Watch” contest done by Douglas Business Magazine in Victoria). But she’s also the first to admit that it takes a team of very dedicated and talented people to make the magic happen on a daily basis.
Custom work such as wedding and celebration cakes and custom cupcakes are primarily done by the very talented Bonny Stedman who is from Durban, South Africa. Bonny has a national and international culinary arts diploma from Christina Martin School of Food and Wine, South Africa and will be doing her certification this August in Reno Nevada to become a certified master sugar artist from ICES (International Cake Exploration Society). As Sherryl points out though, “Truthfully she is a master already but is looking forward to having the actual certification papers. She has an amazing eye for detail and can do the most incredible delicate and tedious designs often spending many hours on minute details. If you dream it… she can make it!”
Weddings at Ooh La La: ideas, inspiration & design
Sherryl finds that when it comes to wedding cakes/cupcakes the sky is the limit. She is always trying to find new techniques and looks. That said, Sherryl finds that wedding cakes are a lot like fashion; often designers will show off “way out” designs in their fashion runway shows but the majority of people will tend to buy and wear the more traditional look. And she feels the same can be said for wedding cakes – even though sometimes they get to create something trendy and fabulous, the majority of brides will lean more to the traditional and fabulous! She explains, “We always encourage wedding couples to put their own little spin on their cake design so that it says something about who they are as a couple. We have done everything from Venetian masks and feathers, to fairies on toad stools and everything in between.“
Sherryl finds that the styles of her clients are as varied as the people themselves. Some want that certain something that will set them apart, others want very traditional choices, some even going so far as to even use their parent’s cake topper! Sherryl has worked with straight, gay, young, middle aged and older couples but she finds that one thing remains the same… They are all just as excited about their day – no matter what stage in their life they are.
Sherryl has a lovely attitude towards her weddings. “When it comes to weddings, every wedding is so unique and so are the bride and groom.” She loves meeting with couples, knowing that she’ll get to see what their vision is for one of the most important days of their lives. “Sometimes they have no vision at all [and are looking for ideas and inspiration] and sometimes they’ve had every little detail dancing in their head for years. Either way, it is fun to work them to help them achieve their dream.”
Planning the confectionary
Sherryl starts off a wedding consultation and tasting, which usually takes about an hour and costs $20. This fee is deducted from the balance if wedding is booked with Ooh La La – which the odds are good that it will be.
Some consultations take place via email as well, depending on the couple. Ooh La La has done weddings from England, Scotland, Australia, Dubai and New York to name a few. If you are fortunate enough to be able to have your consultation in person don’t forget you can also buy a sample pack of Mini Cupcakes to take back to friends and family to get their opinion on different flavours. Which will make you extremely popular!
Sherryl encourages wedding couples to wait until about six to eight months prior to the wedding day before starting their consultation process with her. Normally, by that time, the color, dress, flowers and venue have all been chosen – all of which influence your cake or cupcake choices for your wedding day.
During the consultation, Sherryl tries to determine the style and feel of the wedding as well as get to know the couple so that she can help them with their choices. She always appreciates when the couple bring along color swatches, pictures, special toppers or themes that they may wish to have in the design. Laura Taylor, a Sept. 18, 2011 bride, was so pleased with her experience, she told The Ring, “Even though they have multiple stores Sherryl took the time to meet with me and design a cake that was exactly what I had envisioned… She even matched the color of the icing to a color sample I brought in.”
Sherryl points out that often the couple does not make a decision during the first consultation. “Often they are unsure of what they want especially when it comes to flavours of cake and fillings. They often like to go away and think about it a little before making a final decision. We use our mini cupcakes as tasters so that couples can get an idea of what our cakes and buttercreams taste like… There is really no limit to flavours and combinations that can be chosen.”
Within approximately a week following the consultation, Sherryl will send them a quote of what has been discussed via email so that everyone is clear as to the vision. As the wedding nears, decisions will get narrowed down and a couple will put a one hundred dollar deposit to hold their day. Two weeks prior to the wedding, Sherryl has a final discussion to be sure all the details are right and the final payment is made.
Monique McMahen, a July 30, 2011 bride, enjoyed her consultation with Ooh La La Cupcakes. We were impressed with their gorgeous showroom, wonderful staff and delicious cupcakes. In a relaxed, private consultation with Sherryl, we were offered complementary tea and a sample pack of cupcakes while while we browsed through stacks of albums offering lots of ideas. Sherryl was eager to listen to our ideas and help us plan forour dream wedding cake. We didn’t really know what we wanted when we arrived but when we left we were far more excited about our cake-to-be than we had ever imagined!”
And if you are a bride that wants something completely different? Sherryl looks forward to that! “Although the majority of brides choose a more traditional look, we get very excited when a bride gets our creative juices flowing!”
On your wedding day
Brides can send someone to pick up wedding cupcakes or small cakes but if they wish to have set up, Sherryl delivers and sets up all of the weddings. Wedding cakes are always delivered and set up and this is included in the price of the cake.
As Sherryl confesses, “I am a very detail orientated person and have developed a system with many checks and double checks in place. So after approximately 400 weddings under my belt, I have a lot of confidence that we will do the best job possible for our brides. They also know that we pay attention to all of the little things and make sure everything is just right before leaving a set up.”
Laura, who had done a lot of cupcake research for her wedding, was impressed with the service she received before and during her wedding day. “Their customer service is way above others stores that I had talked with in Victoria.”
The best part of the job for Sherryl? “We love to hear back from our couples to see how everything went on their special day. Often we get pictures and little thank you notes and we absolutely love to hear their feedback!”
A few of our favourite things...
• That lots of Ooh La La’s brides are here because they have tasted the cakes/cupcakes at friend’s weddings and were wowed by the look and taste.
• The cake plates! And the whole Parisian motif! The butterfly cake…all of the pretty! It’s a feast for the senses to look around the shops! Wedding Ring photographer, Deanna McCollum, loved the feeling of the Broughton shop while working on a photoshoot there.
• “My first impression of the shop was that they had picked the perfect name for themselves. The shop is classy and cute at the same time, with lots of lovely details.”
• Sherryl’s extremely friendly personality and love for her bridal work! And best description ever from bride, Monique, who called Sherryl a “cake-a-magician”!!
• Sherryl is extremely involved with charities such as Breast Cancer Tickled Pink, Just Desserts SPCA Fundraising Gala, Bras of Broad Breast Cancer fund raiser, Downtown Victoria Light and Cridge Family Respitality Program.
• The miniature fondant covered cakes and miniature tiered cakes must be seen to be believed (and tasted, of course!)
• In 2011, Ooh La La Cupcakes was chosen as one of the “Best in the City” for sweet spots!
Costing out cakes and cupcakes at Ooh La La
Sherryl tries to work with all budgets but some basics do apply. Wedding cakes range from $4.50 - $8.00 per slice depending design and the amount of work it will take to achieve the look the bride is after. Wedding cupcakes vary in price depending on whether they have a lot of custom work involved or not.
Everyday pricing on cupcakes are $30/dozen. Mini cupcakes are $14/dozen. Many brides and grooms pick these up for relatives that have travelled in for the wedding or for one of the special dinners that are planned for the days leading up to the wedding.
Ooh La La brides can also rent cake stands if you purchase a cake from them. They have several options to choose from depending on the size and style you require. There is a rental charge for the stand plus a refundable security deposit.
Details, details, details
• The average bride spends... $400-$600
• There is no tax at present on the cupcakes or cakes but there is tax on stand rentals, delivery and set up fees.
• Deposit required to book: $100 non refundable deposit
• Months to book ahead: 6-8 months
Getting in touch with Oh-la-la Cupcakes