Review: 41366 Olivia's Cupcake Cafe

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One of the sets that gathered the most interest from the new Friends wave this year is 41366 Olivia's Cupcake Café. I admit I was rather surprised with Friends having another Cupcake Café, considering we had 41119 Heartlake Cupcake Café back in 2016.

I was similarly puzzled with this version being Olivia's Cupcake Café, since Olivia hasn't been associated with many restaurants in the past. But for this version, there's a technology twist, which is ostensibly why Olivia's has taken to baking. Let's see how baking and technology mix in this set.


The front of the box shows the set on full display, with an inset in the lower left showing the gear that turns to move the cupcake turntable that's a central feature of the set. The picture also shows a couple of cupcakes in midair, presumably dispensed by the turntable (or maybe the robot in the centre) but no such mechansm to fling cupcakes became apparent on building the set.

The back of the box shows the set from the rear as well as some insets of the features of the set, including close-ups of the kitchen and the cupcake dispensing machine. Inside the box there are three numbered bags, the instruction book, a 8x16 plate, and a sparkly holographic sticker sheet (as described on the [email protected] website).

The minidolls in this set are Olivia and Emma. With the exception of her head, Olivia is entirely new in this set. She's wearing a blue sweater with bright pink shirt underneath. The sweater is decorated with a cupcake logo that's styled to look like a planet with rings around it, which is quite fitting considering Olivia's affinity for science.

Over the sweater Olivia's wearing a cool yellow blazer, and I'm rather pleased to see that my new favourite LEGO colour is being used for Friends clothing. Olivia pairs the outfit with a short pink skirt over patterned dark blue leggings - the pattern adorably features planets with rings around them. I would love to find leggings like that! Unfortunately the leggings printing is only on the front of the minidoll. Olivia also has a new hair piece, for this set she's wearing a chef's hat.

View image at flickr

Emma looks somewhat familiar but has as new torso - she's wearing a sleeveless top in lilac with a bird pattern in addition to a jean vest. They go well with her purple skirt and blue shoes.

View image at flickr

There are three smaller ancillary builds for the set. The first is a table with a pretty pink umbrella that's only been seen in three other sets - a very basic but effective build. Next is a scooter for delivering cupcakes around Heartlake City. It's a simple scooter with room for only one Friend, but plenty of room for some cupcakes in the back. In this picture you can see a two of the several new parts in this set, a new cookie design with a heart in the centre, and a cupcake decoration in aqua.

View image at flickr

The third smaller build is the most interesting - it's a cupcake dispensing machine. The technique used for dispensing is similar to what was used for the soda dispenser in 41099 Heartlake Skate Park. Cupcakes are fed in the top of the machine.

A tab at the back is pulled back, which allows a cupcake to drop down into the space created. View image at flickr

Pushing the tab forward quickly allows the cupake to be pushed forward. Thanks to a couple 1x2 transparent bricks you can see the cupcakes offered in the machine. The instructions show using two cupcakes in the machine, but of course with the extras included in the set you can build a third, which fits in the machine without issues. I loved this machine in Heartlake Skate Park, and I love it here.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The main build is of course the café itself. It has indoor and outdoor spaces available for the Friends to enjoy their cupcakes. The featured part of the café is the cupcake turntable. There's a cupcake ordering machine on the left where cupcakes can be customized. Presumably then the order is transmitted to the robot in the centre of the turntable, which will then create the cupcake for you. Can't decide? Just select a cupcake as it goes by on the turntable.

The robot on the turntable could be Zobo - at least the top half of Zobo. It's built similar to Zobo is in other sets, but is not named in the [email protected] set description. On the right of the turntable, there's a milk machine, because what goes better with a cupcake than a nice cup of milk?

View image at flickr

The turntable moves thanks to a couple of new pieces, gear wheels in both 4x4 and 2x2 sizes. I know many of you will be most interested in these pieces, so I took a picture of them after they were placed in the middle of the build (the larger gear has a grey ring on it).

View image at flickr

The entrance to the café has a sign pointing to where the door is, and I love that the designer has used the new cookie design for a doorknob.

View image at flickr

The top of the café almost looks like the top of a cupcake itself, complete with a large brickbuilt image of a strawberry. The strawberry includes more new pieces, in this case 1/4 3x3 plates in bright purple.

View image at flickr

Once inside the café, there's a small seating area that features a menu on the wall of all the cupcake choices.

View image at flickr

Behind the counter is where all the action happens, and is suitably detailed. There's a cash register (with money) on one side, as well as a counter with cupcake prep. The kitchen is quite compact, and includes a brick built blender, and a sink. There's also a stove with an oven underneath. The oven is represented by a sticker, which I find odd as there's been an number of sets that have brick built ovens that don't take up any more space. Also included in the kitchen is a wrench, though I confess I'm not sure why a wrench is needed in making cupcakes.

View image at flickr

On a very tall shelf there are some more accessories - cake ingredients, an icer and a whisk. Perhaps they're supposed to be decorations but I think they would be quite useful for Olivia to use while making cupcakes.

View image at flickr


Overall thoughts

View image at flickr

I was a little puzzled when I first saw that there was another cupcake café coming out. However I think with the technology twist the two sets are sufficiently different. I like this set a lot more than café from three years ago - I like the use of the sparkly stickers and I love the brick built strawberry. For the price (335 pieces, $29.99, £24.99), it offers a decent amount of play, especially with the addition of the cupcake dispensing machine and the scooter.

I'm particularly happy that the dispensing machine mechanism has made a comeback as a cupcake dispenser, and the new gear wheels are put to good use with the cupcake turntable. The [email protected] description set says that Olivia was inspired by the sushi restaurants of the tech district. I'm wondering why a sushi restaurant wasn't created instead - I think that would be a marvelous set. Perhaps cupcakes met the preferred demographic.

I mentioned in the review a few of the new pieces used in this set. There's actually several new pieces and some in new colours. Check out all them in the inventory found here. If you're a fan of pastry pieces and cupcake decorations, you'll get a lot of them in this set.

Do you like the new wave of Friends sets? Which ones would you like to see reviewed? Let us know in the comments.

17 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I prefer the previous cafe - I liked it so much I made a modular based on it! It was the window with cake display that sold me on it though.

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By in United States,

Presumably, the wrench is for if Zobo needs repairs!

I love this set and the way it integrates Olivia's special interest in technology into an atypical subject.

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By in United Kingdom,

This is ok but i preferred the old cupcake cafe with Stephanie and Naomi,
Iove the new Light Aqua coloured ice cream topper and Olivia's chef hat...

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By in United States,

I too like the older cupcake cafe better. Ever since the Friends reboot, the sets outside of the subthemes have always seemed half-developed. Many have a solidly awesome idea behind them, but then are missing the details that make the original Friends sets great.

This shop is a good example. Basing a cupcake kitchen around Olivia’s interest with gears, tools, and robots was a great idea. The turntable is most definitely the star of this set as it should be. It looks great and is fun.

Other pros:
—The vending machine looks great and functions well.
—The building’s facade is stunning. A collection of colors for sure, but each is placed in the right spot making a fun cupcake shaped cupcake window and believable door.
—The stickers look amazing.

But then there’s the rest of the set.
—Oddly enough, where I’m not going to say it was a good choice, the sticker oven doesn’t bother me too much. I may not hate it, but it’s still more of a “con” than a “pro”.
—Fitting loads of details smartly in small spaces was always something I applauded Friends sets about in the past (the boats especially), but here we have the whisk and piping bag on an odd ledge.
—Friends has had amazing vehicles in the past. This delivery bike is laughably underdeveloped. I think the pieces used could have been better implemented elsewhere like...
—My biggest complained about this set is the seating area. It’s made of six bricks... well five plates and one brick... You have this detailed kitchen area with eye catching cupcake conveyer system and then a pathetic seating area. Were this a sushi restaurant as MeganL suggested, the seating area could have worked, but here it just incomplete.
—Olivia’s glasses... I’m all for more figures with glasses, but there had to be a better design to go with to make Olivia look like a kid. Especially here with the chef hat, Olivia looks like Olivia’s grandma...

Our household will definitely add this set to our collection because of the smart use of Olivia’s interest. I like it, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

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By in United Kingdom,

I also prefer the last one, but it is not really a fair comparison without taking into account price. That was £40 three years ago, this is £25 now.

I imagine the budget to hit this price point has affected the quality of the build, especially the seating area.

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By in Russian Federation,

Comparing to the 2k16 one, it's acidic trash.

I just read the 2k16 review and what'd you know: «I understand that we can't have every set be 'science-y'...». Lol.

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By in United States,

@mafon2: The most acidic thing here is your comment... I can get not liking the set or preferring the previous one, but I can't fathom how a colorful set like this could inspire such vitriolic language.

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By in United States,

@MeganL: the wrench is for when Zobo inevitably pulls a HAL-9000 and refuses to let Olivia do anything but make cupcakes. “I am sorry, Olivia. I am afraid i cannot let you do that...”

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By in United Kingdom,

Oh dear. All those big educational pushes to get girls into stem subjects and careers and it still goes back to cupcakes! Oh and Olivia dear - do you not know the cupcake market is so totally over. It's vegan handcrafted flapjacks with a flutter of kale on top these days.

(I really fancy a cupcake right now. Chocolate with big swirly butter cream with more chocolate on top.....)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for a great review! Useful set of photos in this one.

I love the tech-twist for this new cupcake cafe; it's a terrifying development, but right up-to-date with how the service industry is heading.

(Bookmum, you should check out some vegan cupcakes sometime! Those vegan bakers can make sweet treats as deliciously sickly as anything else and you can't tell the difference. It's the future, along with robot pâtissiers...)

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By in United States,

Two more thoughts that I just noticed...

I love that the vending machine follows the building’s color scheme: blue on the bottom, with yellow and then pink on top. Those little details are what I like about Friends.

I just noticed the seats outside of the window. Those are a great detail. The set, in my opinion, would be better without the door (even though it looks great for the facade) and indoor seating.

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By in Indonesia,

Of course - the wrench is for Zobo! I should have thought of that....

It occurred to me that I didn't say why I liked this set better than 41119. I think of a cupcake cafe as having a smaller footprint much like this one. 41119 was much larger and seemed a bit big for being "just" for cupcakes.

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By in United States,

Olivia has gone the high tech way to reduce the employees (sadly something that must be balanced now). If anyone is working on a City then sets such as this serve you well, a few more pieces to complete the building (Lego needs to do that more often like Emmet home) and here there, a cupcake store with a visitor from another Lego country.

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By in Turkey,

I like the look of 41119 much better than this one. I find the scooter design very uninspired. I can't even call it simple. Strawberry was nice though.

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By in United Kingdom,

@MeganL ...and the reason I prefered 41119 was because it yelled ‘shop front’ to me - it is just so pretty and as my town is based on the Modular building series fitted in perfectly. The cake carousel and awnings really make it stand out and the red scooter looks great on the pavement! That said the outside seating area was the first bit to go!

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By in Spain,

The scooter is very poorly designed

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By in Netherlands,

@bananaworld: Could it be that I just found someone who shares both my love for Lego an a vegan lifestyle?!...

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