JavaCupcake Note: This is the third post in the “Ask the Baker” series featuring interviews with bakers and bakery owners! Click here to see the complete list of bakers being interviewed. Check back every Tuesday for a new interview!
Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you do in the cupcake world and how/when you got started.
founded by Carrie Nickerson and David Menestres
Cups of cake are a very small part of our business. We are custom bakers who bake just about anything. Cake in cupped form is just a useful way for serving great cake in a pre-portioned fashion.
Photo from IndyWeek.Com and by Jeremy M. Lange
What was the biggest challenge in starting your bakery/baking business?
Finding backers that can provide the type of support and money that we need has been our hardest ongoing challenge. Maintaining full control of our creative vision is the most important thing to us.
Any business tips you can share that has made your bakery a success?
Be creative. No one will pay for something they can buy from a local supermarket. Use as many local products as you can and forge relationships with local foodies. If you can make the foodies happy then the rest are easy. Find a banker you can work with and an accountant you trust.
How much time did you spend planning before you decided to take the steps to make your bakery a reality?
Very little. Most of your planning time needs to be spent working on great, original recipes which is an ongoing process. Stasis is not a good thing. Evolution and ingenuity are what drive all successful businesses.
How much time does it take to run your business? More or less than you anticipated?
Running a business is a constant thing. If we’re not baking we’re thinking about new recipes, supplies we need, and the next few days, weeks, and months. It’s rare to spend more than an hour to two a week when we’re not thinking about or doing something business related.
What type of tools, gadgets, and gizmos are necessary for fantastic cupcake production?
Tools, gadgets, and gizmos are all shit. You need a few mixing bowls, some measuring cups and spoons, a few cup cakes pans, and a pastry bag with a few tips. If you can make something awesome with minimal equipment then you will be golden.
How much is made from scratch and how much is purchased pre-made?
We make everything ourselves. Freshness is one of the most important consideration in a quality baked good. Pre-made items have too many chemicals and preservatives that will do nothing to enhance your cake.
How do you get your cupcakes all the same size?
Do you have a Vegan Chocolate cupcake recipe?
We have vegan options, gluten free options, and other options for people with dietary restrictions.
How do you make the icing just the right sweetness?
Use less sugar.
Did you always have a passion for baking?
Learning to cook and bake is fundamental to life. You are what you eat.
How do you come up with new, creative ideas for decorating cupcakes? With the internet and easy availability of so many recipes and decorating ideas, how do you come up with new and unique recipes that someone else hasn’t already done?
We’re creative people and come up with everything we do (or maybe we just play creative people on TV). Many times they come about as a result of a random conversation with someone, from a great cocktail at the local watering hole, or from whatever is fresh at the local farmer’s market. Listening to your own cravings is an excellent source of inspiration.
With the internet and easy availability of so many recipes and decorating ideas, how do you come up with new and unique recipes that someone else hasn’t already done?
Everything that can be done has been done and will be done again. Most of what’s easily available is shit that isn’t worth recreating so you can save yourself the time.
What’s your favorite part of cupcakes?
How can you be around all that yummy and not eat it all up?
Lots of cycling.
Would you bake me a cupcake that wouldn’t make me gain any weight please?
No. Your weight issues are your own to deal with.
Do you ever get tired of the site or smell of cupcakes?
Can I live in your kitchen and be your personal taste tester?
No that position is already taken by the gimp we keep in the floor.