Imagine waking up one morning to be told that your entire life, built on “Birthday Bruce,” raspberry glazed cookies, and sprinkling those things with technicolour shards of sugar, was an illusion, never to be repeated; banned from existence. This is what has happened to Get Baked, a Leeds bakery — which went cake-viral once, closed, reopened, and went cake-viral again — and it is now duty to relay this tale of sprinkles, woe, and “the man in a boring tie.”
On Friday 1 October 2021, Get Baked, owned by Rich Myers, received what he would later describe as “a lovely visit from Trading Standards on Friday after someone reported us for using what are apparently illegal sprinkles.” Those sprinkles, manufactured in the U.S., most commonly adorn two cornerstones of the Get Baked offer: the “Birthday Bruce,” which involves a 24-layer chocolate cake (Bruce) covered in sprinkles (Birthday); and raspberry glazed cookies. They are illegal in the U.K. because one of their ingredients, E127, erythrosine, is “only approved for use in the U.K. and E.U. in cocktail cherries and candied cherries,” per a Trading Standards statement to the BBC.
Myers had to wait a week between visit and fatal decision for his sprinkles to be tested for the aforementioned additive. And when relaying the news of Trading Standards’ final decision on 11 October, he offered a simple rejoinder to the idea that Bruce and the cookies could simply be showered in the comparatively pallid, insultingly spherical multicoloured pellets produced on this fair isle:
British sprinkles just aren’t the same, they’re totally shit and I hate them.
I am extremely passionate about sprinkles.
He then elaborated. Typesetting Eater’s own:
Anyone who’s into sprinkles will know what I’m on about.
Sprinkles you can get in this country are totally shit.
They look wank,
they bake wank.
Birthday Bruce will never be the same again.
I’ve genuinely lost sleep over this. Not to mention the Raspberry Glazed Donut Cookie
The drama took the leap from Facebook to the world at large thanks to, at least in part, a tweet from @viqqyy, which explained the state of things with a precision this writer can only admire:
this bakery in leeds is having an absolute mare because someone reported them over using illegal sprinkles and it’s just so fucking funny to me pic.twitter.com/pvljZUERl4— vic (@viqqyy) October 12, 2021
That this saga is playing out on Facebook is especially pleasing, given that most food world media now lives on Instagram and TikTok and most food world drama plays out in Notes app screenshot apologies. Just as one of the key appeals of sprinkles is nostalgia, to the point that videos of people mixing them around idly have carved out tranches of those platforms, there’s a certain je ne sprinklez quoi added to the way it’s playing out on Zuckerberg’s first, and most evil child. And it’s by no means all bad for Get Baked: the groundswell of publicity has coincided with the introduction of a new online ordering system. Myers even admitted this morning, 14 October, that “this feels like too good of an opportunity, publicity wise, for us to miss.”
Still, the most compelling unknown remains. Who reported Get Baked? Despite U.K. sprinkles’s inferiority, it would take a keen eye, a major grievance, and most likely both to identify sprinkles as contraband and then have the wherewithal to tell Trading Standards about them. Who conducted, in Myers’s words, “the man in a boring tie” to Get Baked’s premises? He thinks it’s “Dan,” a customer who left a bad review shortly beforehand. The world will likely never know. Whoever they are, they will never the be the sprinkles to his Birthday Bruce.