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Ask the Baker – Monica of Two Parts Sugar

JavaCupcake Note: This is the fourth 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!
In this week’s edition, we’re featuring an interview with Susie Miller, owner of Susie’s Bakery. Susie’s Bakery is a local favorite in the small town of Franklin, Tennessee. The bakery has been open for over 10 years and specializes in Cupcakes, cakes, and cookies.

Please introduce yourself.  Tell us a little bit about what you do in the cupcake world and how/when you got started.

It’s me Monica Serratos, owner of Two Parts Sugar, Orange County CA.  I literally never used a mixer until October 2008… haven’t stopped mixing since! I am a mother of 3 first…I have 3 y/o Alicia, 2 y/o Anabelle, and 4 mo old Angelica. I rent a commercial kitchen in Irvine and bake at night into the wee hours of the morning while my girls sleep soundly in bed. I then come home to be a “stay at home mom”…naps are golden. I absolutely LOVE what i do and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Bakery Start-Up Questions

What was the biggest challenge in starting your bakery/baking business?

Finding the time and convincing my husband.

Any business tips you can share that has made your bakery a success?

Hard work, determination (although my husband might call being stubborn), and most importantly a good heart.

How much time did you spend planning before you decided to take the steps to make your bakery a reality?

It just kinda happened….

How much time does it take to run your business?  More or less than you anticipated?

Waaay more! It gets tricky juggling 3 girls 3 and under, a husband and baking.

What type of tools, gadgets, and gizmos are necessary for fantastic cupcake production?

My Kitchen Aid mixer is my god.

Recipe/Ingredients & Baking Questions

What do you consider to be the perfect cupcake? What flavors and textures would it have?

Moist, soft, and held together, icing sweet but not overly so and PROPORTION people…I like a little cake with my icing please.

How many times do you have to “re-do” a recipe before you get it right?

I’m getting frustrated just thinking about it.

What is your favorite cupcake recipe?

Our raspberry red velvets…get’s em every time

How much is made from scratch and how much is purchased pre-made?

ALL made from scratch

What is the recipe for a foolproof cupcake batter? Just a perfect basic recipe that can be doctored with extras to suit any taste?

You wish!

Where do you purchase all those fun different sprinkles you use to decorate your cupcakes with?

OC Novelty in Santa Ana…they rock!

How do you get your cupcakes all the same size?

My other god…the handy dandy ice cream scoop

Do you have a Vegan Chocolate cupcake recipe?

Nope…possibly in the future

Do you have a delicious recipe for a trans-fat-free cupcake?

Desserts should be indulgent…leave your diets at the door please

I love buttercream… what’s your favorite recipe for it?

You wish

How do you make the icing just the right sweetness?

See above

How do you get great control of a pastry bag and make those mile high swirls of perfection on top of each cupcake?


Inspiration Questions

Did you always have a passion for baking?

Baked occasionally, but NEVER pictured myself doing this….always been creative and dabble in making kids clothes, baby blankets, scrapbooking all that kinda stuff…found out I had a knack for cakes/cupcakes

What inspires you the most? Love of cupcakes or love of making things people enjoy?

There really is nothing better than seeing someone’s face light up when they see and taste your creations. I am a huge people person…I sometimes have to check myself, cause I like to add that little extra

Where do you get new ideas for new cupcake and icing flavors?

EVERYWHERE….ice cream flavors, cookies, drinks, you name it

How do you come up with new, creative ideas for decorating cupcakes?

Just bring me a theme and my mind goes crazy

Fun Questions

What’s your favorite part of cupcakes?

The decorations

How can you be around all that yummy and not eat it all up?

I usually do

Would you bake me a cupcake that wouldn’t make me gain any weight please?

It probably would not taste good

Do you ever get tired of the site or smell of cupcakes?

Yes, when it’s 6:00 in the morning, I know my girls are waking up and I am stuck in the kitchen finishing up and order I decided to add a “lil sumin” to that ended up taking way longer than I thought.

Can I live in your kitchen and be your personal taste tester?

Hmmmm…that’s the best part of the job…sorry.