Curiouser and Curiouser – Gee Witchalls finds herself in magically transported to another realm
Halfway up the main street in Redruth is something rather special, tucked away behind a shop front that hints at the magic inside. If you appreciate great cakes, or the work of C. S. Lewis, you’ll be in for a treat. If you like both, this place will be your idea of heaven.
Curiouser Creations Cupcake Café is the culmination of years of hard work for owner Rebecca Olver. A lifelong Alice in Wonderland obsessive, her career in cake decorating happened almost by accident. An artist and sculptor, Rebecca was working at Poldark Mine teaching pottery classes, when a friend turned to her for help with a wedding cake. Being well versed in sculpting clay, she agreed to have a go with icing, and the result was such a success that her cake making business, Curiouser Creations, was born.
Rebecca started off with a tiny studio, making cakes to order. She explains “it was just somewhere people could come in and have a look at pictures [of our cakes] and have a chat. More and more people were coming in and appreciating the space, what we’d done with it, then we got offered this place and we thought, let’s just run with it and see what happens!”.
The café opened six weeks ago, and though Rebecca says they are still finding their feet, the reception has been hugely positive: “We had 80 people queueing outside on opening night, we got through over 100 cakes in 3 hours, sold out of everything plus gave away a whole 3D flamingo cake which served 40, plus some larger cakes! We really weren’t expecting that for a tiny café in Redruth!”.
So, why Alice? It’s probably the first question for a lot of people. “I love it because it’s so weird and wonderful, and now there are new Disney interpretations so it hits all generations, and it’s a bit of escapism which we all need, especially with what’s going on in the world. Most people who come in say that they don’t feel like they’re in Redruth anymore” says Rebecca. I have to agree.
When you walk into the shop it’s like entering another realm, and you’re instantly swept away with the magic of it all. The attention to detail is incredible – right down to the lettering on the signs and the hidden trinkets on the walls – it all looks exactly right, all carefully considered and artfully placed, nothing left to chance and all adding to the impression that you really are in Wonderland. Even the tiny, scalloped and bejewelled spoon that came with my Cheshaccino (a signature coffee with pink and purple foam and plenty of sparkle!) made me grin like the drink’s namesake.
The café serves light lunches, their own crazy version of afternoon tea with heart shaped sandwiches and themed cakes, really delicious cupcakes in themed flavours, with a regular ‘cupcake of the week’ too. This is full on commitment to a theme, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the heyday of Manchester’s Fab Cafe. It really is very impressive stuff, and it all creates an immersive experience. Rebecca and her team have done everything they can to make it as different as possible to anywhere else you’ve been, and you’d have to say they’ve succeeded.
She explained that “some of the more mature ladies that come in regularly say it’s not even a connection with the book that draws them, it’s the fact that it’s like a secret garden – they associate it more with escapism than Alice. It’s hopefully a destination – we’ve had a few people from Devon and Somerset come down, and a lady from Essex. It’s really nice that people are enjoying it. One local lady came in and said that she found it was a good place to bring people from support homes where she worked, because there’s lots to look at and keep their minds occupied, so people are using it as a relaxing space. Yes it is tiny but I think that adds to the atmosphere of it being secret and hidden”.
It’s worth taking a moment here to point out the recent resurgence of Redruth as a centre for arts and antiques, after taking a beating for many years (as with so many places in Cornwall and Nationwide). The town is THE place to go for retro and vintage shops – “this end of town especially” Rebecca points out, “there are nice antique shops like LaBelles, we seem to have the more sort of art deco places this end, plus there’s a new art gallery and a few other cool little places… when you mention Redruth or Camborne to most people they recoil in horror, but it seems to be changing, I think it’s on the up. We had the mayor at our opening and he’s asked us to get involved with the council committee, to be a part of the movement to uplift the entire town. It would be good to achieve that, it could be such an incredible quirky place to come if it carries on like this.” Well Curiouser Creations is certainly leading the march on that one, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more unique spot for tea and cake. Did I mention how good the cakes were? Because they’re REALLY good – but don’t take my word for it, head to Fore Street and enter the rabbit hole to see (and taste) for yourself!
The café is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm and can also be open by appointment. Larger groups are advised to book because of the limited space, and you can see cake examples and contact Rebecca with queries about ordering via Facebook: