From Baking Memories to Cupcakes for Gayle King: Q&A with Michelle Kupiec, Owner of Kupcakes & Co.

If you follow us, you already know that Kupcakes & Co. (Elkridge, MD) is one of our favorite cupcake spots. Not only do they produce a consistently delicious cupcake, the employees are friendly and helpful, the selection is beyond amazing, they are always looking for ways to expand their offerings and improve, and they take every opportunity to give back to the community.

(New cupcake flavors: French Toast in the back and Black Cherry in the front.)

Our first visit was back in the winter of 2011, during their Cupcakes with Santa event, and it was love at first sight. During our frequent visits since then, we’ve gotten to know the “family” including Michelle, whose hands on approach, kindness, and enthusiasm is no doubt one of the reasons that we are always greeted with a smile from the Kupcakes’ team.

We wanted to get to know Michelle a little better, so she agreed to answer some of our questions. We hope you enjoy getting to know her and Kupcakes & Co. better too!

Michelle_wGirlsYou are very involved in organizing fundraising events throughout the year. What are some the organizations you support and why do you think it is important give back to the community?
We support the Blossoms of Hope Foundation of Howard County. This is a foundation that helps women who are struggling and coping with breast cancer. We have created a special, Blossoms of Hope cupcake that we give back 50% of the sales to during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. We also help out at their Pretty in Pink event in April as well. Another foundation we support is Team Fight, The Ulman Cancer fund for young adults. We have created a Team Fight cupcake that we bake for them for their Blue Jeans Ball and give back a portion of the proceeds to that as well. We also have a huge fundraiser called Kupcakes with Santa when we donate 100% of the profits back to the Howard County General Hospital, where one of my twin daughters spent 5 years. Our weekly donations of cupcakes go to the Route 1 Homeless Shelter, The Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and the Love Mission of Howard County. These people would never have the opportunity to try our cupcakes, so it feels wonderful being able to give them some of our sweet treats each and every week! We feel it is so important to give back to our community and help those in need. There is always going to be a time in our lives that we need the support from others and at Kupcakes & Co. giving back is a huge part of what we are all about.

On your website, you talk about baking with your mother while growing up. What is one of your favorite baking memories with her?
My mom is my inspiration, my hero, my best friend! She and I always had so much fun baking in the kitchen together.

My most memorable experiences with her are baking our famous pound cake. It was super delicious, from scratch and we always had fun, laughing and carrying on in the kitchen! We used to say that no matter what, if we were in the kitchen together, we could get through anything! She also used to let me experiment with ingredients all of the time and never minded if some of my creations turned out a little crazy! She was super supportive of me then and continues to be everyday!

You also mention that you began baking with your daughters from an early age. What were some of the first things you taught them in the kitchen, and can you offer any tips for other parents who’d like to start baking with their children?
Allie and Amanda always loved being in the kitchen baking with me! We baked Christmas cookies together from scratch and I used the same recipes that my mom passed down to me. Sugar cookies were their favorites because they could be so creative and make such a mess. They would spend hours making and rolling out the dough, then cutting out the cookies and finally decorating their masterpieces. We also loved to bake sweet treats for all of their teachers – it was such a tradition that the teachers could not wait for their gift from Allie and Amanda each holiday because they knew they were going to be baked with love! The tips I would recommend would be to have PATIENCE, allow for lots of creativity, don’t mind the mess and by all means…have FUN 🙂

(Wedding cake and cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

What is your favorite tool in the kitchen?
My favorite tool is my cupcake scoop. The reason is that we have tried hundreds and hundreds of cupcake recipes and my scoop is just a daily reminder of how far we have come! Each time we try out a new recipe, the same excitement is there for me: How will it turn out? How can I make it better? How will everyone like it?

You recently began expanding the line of baked goods you offer at Kupcakes & Co. Besides cupcakes, what is your next best seller?
Our gourmet cookies are huge sellers at Kupcakes & Co. My daughter, Amanda, who attends the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) shared with us one of their secret CIA recipes for Sweet & Salty cookies and we can’t bake then fast enough. Also, our Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies are great sellers as well – that recipe was given to me from my very best friend, who lives in Maine. It has been in her family for years! Biscotti, coffee cake and scones are also yummy treats we sell. I also have to mention that we are selling so many cakes now. We have such talented bakers/pastry chefs at Kupcakes & Co. and we are getting more and more calls everyday for cakes. We average about 8 cakes a weekend – some very simple and some very elaborate!

(Fun and beautiful decorated cakes. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

Do you have any other goodies you are working on that you can give us a sneak peek of?
We are coming up with seasonal goodies all of the time. We just introduced our spring Lemon Wedding cookies and our cupcake clients seem to love them. Also, for Easter we made sugar cookie sandwiches, shaped liked bunnies and filled with ganache. We just had a client ask us to make cannoli for her wedding this summer, and we said, “No problem!” We are really expanding our sweet indulgences and are proud of the feedback we get from our customers.

With so many wonderful flavors already, how did you come up with the idea to offer an additional boutique line of cupcakes?
We have almost 70 signature cupcake flavors that we are very proud of. Our customers have been asking for filled cupcakes for a while now. We really worked very hard on this concept and decided that a Boutique line of filled cupcakes would be a perfect complement to our signature line. Since we use only the finest ingredients, we knew they had to have the WOW factor and we could not be more thrilled by the comments and feedback we get from our customers! We try and surprise our clients right before our newest 3 flavors come out and have them guessing the flavors. Our newest 3 Boutique cupcakes debuted last Friday and Saturday, right before Easter and the theme is PIES! Oh yes, they are going to knock everyone’s socks off! We are super thrilled about this.

(Current line-up of Boutique Cupcakes including Coconut Cream on the left, Key Lime on the top right, and Boston Cream on the bottom right. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

We have to ask…what is YOUR favorite cupcake flavor?
Well, I have a few for sure… but my most favorite vanilla based cupcake is our Keylime. I love the tangy and fresh key lime buttercream and I have such fond memories creating it with my dear Amanda! My most favorite, chocolate based cupcake is Salted Caramel. The sweet & salty taste complement one another so well and I love the richness of the chocolate cake! My most favorite Boutique flavor is definitely, Brownie Batter – one taste and you will know why! The gooey brownie center and brownie buttercream is pure bliss!

(The retired previous line-up of Boutique Cupcakes, including Michelle’s favorite: Brownie Batter in the front.)

Lastly, you’ve had a lot of neat things happening at Kupcakes & Co. Can you share with us some of your favorite or most exciting orders?
Some of our favorite orders include all of the baby reveal cupcakes and cakes we do! The parents to be come in so super excited to give us a sealed envelope with their sonogram in it and we wait until they leave, then open it and scream…BOY or GIRL! We then stuff their cupcakes with either blue or pink buttercream and we are also so thrilled to be a smart part in all of this excitement.

We have had two very thrilling deliveries in the past two weeks. One was to NYC for a Premiere Party for Andrew Jenks, an amazing young filmmaker who produces and is on his show, “World of Jenks.” He showcases the lives of teens struggling with something and gets real with them on each episode he does. He also just wrote a book on his amazing life and it was his birthday as well. He ordered our cupcakes to help celebrate at his party and we were thrilled to be  part of it all! We made custom cupcakes for him in his favorite colors (ORANGE AND BLUE FOR THE NEW YORK KNICKS!) with his favorite NYC sayings!

Last weekend we did another delivery to NYC, this time a special secret delivery to Gayle King, Oprah’s bff. Her assistant editor of O magazine is the daughter of the doctor that delivered my twin daughters, Allison and Amanda! Dr. Davis came to Kupcakes & Co. and asked if we would deliver cupcakes to Gayle, thanking her for all that she does for his daughter, Arianna. We of course said, “SURE!”

(Photos taken by Kupcakes & Co. during their most recent delivery to Gayle King in NYC. Photos courtesy of Kupcakes & Co.)

We got to meet with Arianna and she was very interested in “our story” and how much paying it forward we do. She texted me later to say that Gayle LOVED all of the cupcakes (we brought her 4 dozen to share with her staff) and her favorite was the Pancakes & Bacon! She also mentioned that she would definitely like to keep us in mind for stories that may fit into one of O’s magazine articles one day on Women in Business!

We want to thank Michelle for taking the time to answer our questions. We always love seeing a business who genuinely cares about the community and their customers grow and succeed. If you stop in, please tell them the Crusaders say hi!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)