By Sandi Pachuta
21st Century Media News Service
Whether you go to a party for children or adults, cupcakes are often the featured dessert.
Anitria Odum of 4 Every Occasion Cakes & Cupcakes in Philadelphia knows how popular cupcakes are. Odum, a mother of three, is a self-taught cupcake specialist. Her fascination with cupcakes started four years ago, when she was making cupcakes with her daughter. Soon Odum’s friends began noticing her talents with cupcakes. Her friends told her they wanted to purchase the cakes and cupcakes that she would make.
“It all started with one birthday cake that a friend asked me to make,” said Odum. “I put it on Facebook and began that way.” Odum added that she watched videos for decorating cupcakes, and then she began creating her own different types of cupcakes.
“Cupcakes are no longer basic; each cup cake can be specialized,” said Odum. “You can get a dozen cupcakes, and they are decorated uniquely.”
Odum thinks cupcakes are popular because parents who serve them do not have to be involved in cutting a cake.
“A cupcake is like having your own mini-cake, and people seem to like that,” she said.
Odum said that while her clients are still ordering the traditional birthday cake for parties, they are purchasing cupcakes to match the cake. At her bakery, vanilla is the most popular flavor for cupcakes, followed by chocolate; red velvet is the third most popular flavor.
Other unusual flavors Odum offers at her store include marble, Oreo, carrot and lemon-filled cupcakes. Pumpkin and eggnog are offered in fall and winter; strawberry- and raspberry-filled cupcakes are popular in spring and summer.
Joanne Jarin of The Lucky Cupcake Co. in Pipersville, Pa., has been including fillings in her cupcakes since the inception of her business in 2010. Jarin was working as a pastry chef for a local catering company. She decided to branch off and start her own bakery with the primary focus on cupcakes.
“This little town of Pipersville was hungry for a bakery at the time we opened,” said Jarin.
Jarin thinks that what makes her cupcakes special is the fillings as well as the fact that everything that goes into her cupcakes is made from scratch on the premises.
“My clients who have cupcakes at their wedding like that they can give their guests a variety of flavors,” said Jarin. “Everyone likes something different.”
“The basic cupcakes are popular amongst kids,” said Jarin. She noted that the peanut butter cupcakes are popular with the 10-and-up crowd. This particular chocolate cupcake is filled with peanut butter mousse and dipped in chocolate. It has chocolate buttercream icing and a homemade peanut butter cup on top.
Jarin offers six or more base favors all year long, with a total of 78 flavors she can create. Seasonal favorites for spring are coconut cream and lemon blueberry. Summertime seasonal cupcakes that are popular include key lime and strawberry shortcake.
Children can partake in the The Lucky Cupcake’s Sunday Fun Days. On these days, kids can decorate their own unfilled cupcakes by choosing their icing and two toppings. Jarin also hosts birthday parties where the birthday party guests decorate their own double-sized cupcakes.
Lily of the Valley Cupcakery in Glenside features a special Kids’ Corner with the latest cupcake creations. Owners Terrance Baldwin and Rashida Baldwin of Philadelphia opened their cupcakery in January 2014.
Saturdays are Kids’ Corner days at Lily of the Valley. “If the child’s cupcake creation is chosen, they will get their cupcake for free,” said Rashia Baldwin. “We encourage the cupcake creator to bring in their family members to see the cupcake they created,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin selects flavors that kids make on a weekly basis and then starts making them in her regular rotation of cupcakes. Kids’ creation flavors have included: Heavenly Chocolate with chocolate icing, chocolate chips and chocolate ganache; and a peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter Captain Crunch.
Baldwin, a mother of five, started making cupcakes from scratch with her children five years ago.
“I am self-taught,” said Baldwin. “I watched ‘Cupcake Wars’ on TV and lots of cooking channels … I have always loved to cook, and my kids love to eat, and that’s how it all started.”
Baldwin is transitioning out of her job she has held for 17 years in the pharmacy industry with Lily of the Valley Cupcakery. She is also currently finishing up her degree in business management from Pierce College.
What Baldwin enjoys most is creating different flavors that are out of the ordinary. Many of the cupcake flavors come from her own favorite flavors.
“I enjoy mixing different tastes together, such as lemon basil, coconut lime, turkey bacon maple crunch, and chicken and waffles,” said Baldwin.
During the summer, fruit-inspired cupcakes like Baldwin’s berry cupcakes with strawberries, blueberries and raspberry are popular. The standard flavors of Double Chocolate, Very Vanilla and a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing are popular sellers. Pralines and Cream and Red Velvet Cheesecake are also two popular flavors of cupcakes at Lily of the Valley.
Baldwin does not use food dyes in her cupcakes. “I try to make my cupcakes different, and know what sets you apart from other businesses,” said Baldwin. “I like to use ganache and fondant rather than traditional decorations on cupcakes.”
For more information on the specialty cupcake bakeries:
• 4 Every Occasion Cakes & Cupcakes, 1821 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA., 19149. Info:215-722-2250 or www.4everyoccasioncakes.com.
• The Lucky Cupcake Company, 6011 Kellers Church Road, Pipersville, PA., 18947. Info: 267-362-5136 or www.theluckycupcakecompany.com.
• Lily of the Valley Cupcakery, 54 Limekiln Pike, Glenside, PA., 19038. Info: 215-690-4485 or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Of-The-Valley-Cupcakery/534162579956819.