Ok, so we’re not saying that cupcakes are an everyday treat, but Hey Sugar’s decadently yummy confections have been satisfying our sweet tooth since they first opened as Sugar Daddies a few years back. So when they asked us to try out their brand new party concept at Mix, Batter and Bake, we grabbed the kids and got there faster than you can say the words ‘vanilla frosting’.
It’s the brainchild of Hey Sugar founders Dana Jallad and Raed Saqfelhait, who have brought over renowned New York chef Sophia Osman to head up the Mix, Batter and Bake concept and bring her 20 years of culinary expertise to the table. The parties themselves cater to all age-groups, from kids aged five and up, to adults and corporate groups looking for a team bonding session. For the kids’ parties, group sizes tend to be around eight to 10 children, depending on their age and ability, and mums are encouraged to get involved too.
To begin our session in the candy-striped venue, the mums are served up with vast lattes and cappuccinos, while the kids’ party gets underway. With ample staff to keep even the most boisterous groups occupied, the party tunes are cranked up on the stereo (they’ve got different music for different age groups), while the kids decorate their own chefs hats. With hats on, and kids raring to go, then it’s time to start with the serious business of baking.
As the children get stuck in to decorating piles of cupcakes and rolling out swathes of cookie dough, we mums don our own hats and aprons and head to the row of pastel pink food mixers for a masterclass in making Hey Sugar’s famous cakes. We’re each given printed instructions on how to make the perfect cupcake (the recipe is top secret, and only given to those who attend the class, whispers Sophia). But never fear if you’re not a whizz in the kitchen – the lesson is made easy because all of the ingredients are already measured out for you in individual containers at each pristine workstation. Even though the hard work has already been done, Sophia manages to make each of us feel like we could give Nigella Lawson a run for her money, as she offers her encouragement and advice. With cake batter whipped up to perfection, we turn it out into the pre-prepped baking trays, before it’s whisked off to the ovens to bake for 10 to 15 mins.
By this point, the kids have made full use of the decorating supplies – cookies have been cut into moon and star shapes and are turning golden in the oven, while the cupcakes have been frosted into oblivion, heaped death-defyingly high with every colour of sprinkles and sparkles in the rainbow (many of which appear to have been sampled along the way, if the show of neon tongues are to be believed!).
As the ever-energetic staff initiate a game of ‘pin the topping on the cupcake’ with the younger kids, the mums’ cupcakes come out of the oven (looking pretty good, if we say so ourselves). Sophia talks us through how to make the perfect frosting (the trick is a pinch of salt so it’s not too sickly sweet, plus a splash of milk to keep it soft enough to pipe onto the cakes), which we then have a go at decorating with, with mixed, but nevertheless very tasty results to take home at the end of the day.
And that’s the beauty of Mix, Batter and Bake – whether you’re a kid or a parent, and whether you can cook or not, it’s the quality of the raw ingredients that count. The great venue, fun atmosphere, enthusiasm and very yummy cakes come together to make a very memorable day indeed.
Kids’ parties at Mix, Batter and Bake cost from approx Dhs150 per child for a minumum of 10 kids for a two-hour session (inclusive of games and food). They are currently taking place at Hey Sugar, Park Island, Dubai Marina. For more information, call Hey Sugar on 04 397 8427, or visit www.facebook.com/heysugarbakeshopME