Pin-Ups in Pinnies

When an eager schoolchild, hundreds of years down the line, asks what the 2000s were like, history teachers will nod their heads sagely, consult their weighty encyclopaedias and say: “The 1950s, minus the downtrodden housewife and the abject fear of communism.” It’s true – just you try and deny that there’s a vintage revival going on everywhere, from fashion and home cooking to what’s on TV.

Of course, it’s not exactly like the 1950s. There’s no Cold War, we have faster cars, colour television, oh and women can actually go out to work without being accused of neglecting their womanly duties. Instead, people are taking the decade’s best bits and giving them a thoroughly modern twist, like Alex – owner of Manchester-based catering company Pin-Ups in Pinnies that dishes up highly alcoholic cupcakes and cocktail jellies with a 1950s twist, all served by as-tasty pin-ups like Ginger La Rouge and Lady Wildflower.

The company – which also delivers cupcakes to your door, whenever you’re gasping out for a sugar high – was launched at the end of February with a fantastic party at legendary Manchester jazz club Matt & Phreds, a particular favourite of Alex’s because of its extensive cocktail list and buzzing atmosphere. “Pin-Ups in Pinnies was born out of one woman’s passion for baking, vintage and great customer service. Oh, and booze,” she says. “I love the 1950s, from the fashion to the music. It was a time when women were very feminine and glamorous and I think cupcakes sit perfectly alongside this image. I also think 1950s dresses work great for us cake-eaters – they hide all manner of sins!”

Which is probably just as well, considering the range of flavours Pin-Ups offers. You can take your pick from strawberry daiquiri, pina colada, Sailor Jerry, ginger and lime, spiced cider, chocolate and Baileys – whatever tickles your pickle really. Quite likely, you’ll have a hard time deciding so going for the most popular one – cherry and ameretto – or Alex’s personal favourite – absinthe – might be a good idea.

Since the launch extravaganza – which saw vintage aficionados and cake-lovers come along to quaff champagne, stuff their faces with cakes handmade by Alex and be thoroughly entertained by “sultry songstress” Em Brulee and burlesque star Sherry Trifle – it’s been a busy time for Pin-Ups. They’ve been booked by the Indoor Classic Car Show, queen of the 50s Cath Kidston and have been heard chatting about cake and whatnot on BBC Radio Manchester.

So what’s next? Apart from world domination (obviously), Alex – who’s also a professional burlesque performer, appearing as Fanny Divine around the UK and Europe – will be shooting a 2013 Pin-Ups in Pinnies calendar, intends to expand the merchandise on offer to include more home-baking and vintage ware and has plans to add more pin-ups to her books so she has a network of starlets around the UK.

Given that this cupcake company’s only really just come out of the oven, it seems to have captured the imagination of Manchester and beyond very quickly indeed. Here’s hoping it never goes stale.

Do you like your cupcakes with a bit of the 50s on the side or do  you think the mix, like vanilla and sausages, doesn’t really work?

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