We're big fans of The Cupcake Bloke, aka Graham Herterich, here at F&W HQ, so we're extremely excited to see the new Pride-themed range of products that will be available in store throughout June.
The Bakery by The Cupcake Bloke, which is located in Rialto, Dublin 8, is a local favourite, serving up delicious bakes, Irish storecupboard staples, and much more. While all of Herterich's products are winners in our eyes, The Bakery is well-known for its cupcakes - they're in the name after all! Every month, Herterich introduces four uniquely flavoured cupcakes that run throughout the month in The Bakery and as June is Pride month, the four new cupcakes are LGBTQIA+ themed.
During Pride month, many organisations, companies and individuals celebrate the rights and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, intersex, queer, and asexual people through awareness campaigns and demonstrations. For some, this is a gesture of solidarity, but Herterich, who is a gay man, is determined to go further with his support, which is why a percentage of sales from the Pride-themed cupcakes will be donated to BelongTo, an Irish organisation that has supported the rights of young LGBTQI+ people between the ages of 14 and 23 since 2003.
"Before the Marriage Equality Referendum passed in 2016, we had been supporting the Yes Campaign," Herterich says. "Then once that went through, Daithí [Herterich's partner] and I thought about what still had to be done and we realised that education of young people was a big thing, which is why we like to donate to BelongTo."
"I was very lucky that my family was hugely supportive of me, but it's not like that for everyone, it's still a struggle for some," Herterich continues, explaining his decision to support BelongTo. "I know it could be a lot harder now for young people to come out, with the pressure of social media and everything, which is why BelongTo is so important. As well as the cupcakes, we will have literature about BelongTo and a QR code so that customers to make their own donations in the shop too."
View this post on Instagram
Not only do the cupcakes in question look completely delicious, but each also has a specific meaning. The first is the Pride Piñata, which is a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting - Herterich explains that while this treat may look plain, it represents that it's really what's inside that counts as upon biting into the cake, a shower of multicoloured Smarties will be revealed at the centre.
The next cupcake is named MILK after activist Harvey Milk. Made with cereal milk and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, this cupcake is an appreciation of all the hard work that activists around the world have done to advance LGBTQIA+ rights.
The third cupcake is called Mixed Berry and takes inspiration from the trans pride flag, which is pale blue, white and pink in colour. To represent the flag, the cupcake is topped with frosting in the same colours, plus a colourful chocolate and sprinkles sweet.
Rounding out the selection is a lemon, gin, blueberry and thyme queen cake - when combined, the first letters of each ingredient spell LGBTQ, an obvious nod to those that Pride supports.
View this post on Instagram
In addition to these gorgeous cupcake, Herterich plans to release a special product each week this month, with a percentage from each also contributing to BelongTo. Although these products haven't been released to the public yet, we can exclusively reveal two of the upcoming releases with our readers.
Herterich has won four Blas na hÉireann awards for his tea brack loaves, including a gold medal in 2020 for his fig and walnut tea brack, so creating a rainbow-themed brack was an obvious decision for the baker. From next week, June 7 2021, the 'What's the tea?' brack will be available in store at The Bakery, made with various dried fruits and nuts to represent the rainbow flag.
The name for this brack refers to a word that originated in drag culture, specifically Black drag culture. Originally spelled as T, short for truth, the word tea has evolved online to denote gossip. In naming this brack What's the tea?, Herterich is both honouring the terms roots in gay and drag culture, while also playing on words. For more info on the interesting history of the word tea in popular culture, click here.
The following week, beginning June 14, a jar of homemade caramel sauce will be available in store alongside the Pride cupcakes. Displayed with a swatch of rainbow fabric on the lid, this product is meant to symbolise that there is always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - Herterich says that even though things may seem tough right now for some members of the LGBTQIA+ community, he firmly believes that things will always get better.
READ MORE: Perfect Irish picnic recipes
View this post on Instagram
In the wider community, there has been a lot of talk about companies 'rainbow-washing' during Pride. This new term refers to the way in which many large companies often display Pride flags or release rainbow-themed clothing collections (see Target, Amazon, boohoo and many more) without actually honouring or supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in ways that count - donations, changes to policy or internal structure, etc. By contrast, The Cupcake Bloke is a small Irish business that follows through on its commitment to celebrating Pride by honouring the origin of the movement and donating money to BelongTo.
While many associate Pride with colourful parades, its origins stem from the Stonewall riots of New York during 1969. At the time, The Stonewall Inn was one of the only remining gay bars in New York due to a policy installed by the then-mayor that closed others. Undercover police officers raided the bar on the night of June 28 1969 in attempt to shut it down, but patrons stood their ground and resisted. Over the next few nights, prominent members of the community, including Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, along with activist groups fought back. Since 1970, LGBTQIA+ have marked the even of the Stonewall riots, which further morphed into Pride parades and celebrations.
This, according to Herterich, is key for organisations to remember when celebrating Pride month.
"It is usually a party, but it's really all about supporting the meaning of Pride and remembering the work that was done to get us here," He says. "I remember the first significant Pride parade that took place in Dublin in the 80s. It was held to remember Declan Flynn, a man who was murdered in Fairview Park for being gayin 1982. It was held to remember him and protest what happened."
Although the hospitality industry is known for its difficult nature, Herterich says that he has had a wonderful experience working in Irish restaurants as a gay man.
"I was so lucky, my first job after college was at Mount Juliet and the support from management was amazing," He says. "This was 20 years ago and I was out, which wasn't as done then, but I always felt happy and supported. This led to me creating our tiny family in The Cupcake Bloke. At one stage, we had every letter of LGBT represented on our workforce and it was such a diverse group that we were so lucky to have working with us. I really think that by being yourself and putting yourself out there, amazing people will find you."
To help Herterich and his team support BelongTo, drop by The Bakery by The Cupcake Bloke at 461 South Circular Rd, Dublin 8 over the next month to purchase some of the Pride-themed bakes.