Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cupcakes & Small Town Iowa

So 2 weeks ago I spent the weekend in Elkader Iowa. I will be honest.....I so excited to FINALLY get to meet a gal that runs a cupcake shop in Dubuque. So lets get to the good stuff!!


These are from All Things Sweet Shop in Dubuque. Check out their Facebook page!! So I was super excited to meet Jenn (owner). We have been talking on and off for a while. She has been a great support while trying to decide if I should take the Minnesota job or not. I admit, I miss baking & coming back to open a store front is NEVER out of my mind. Even while I was visiting her she was all support! Now lets get to these beautiful cupcakes! So I got a variety because I had hungry boys back waiting for me. My favorite....muddy farmer. See the little pigs & cow sprinkles!!! But honestly & I told her not to let this go to her head......they are all wonderful. I try to go into any cupcake shop I see & am picky. I analyze them from frosting to cake to look & these all passed my test. Needless to say there was a bite or 2 out of each one...sorry guys!! They are a small & cozy shop that also sells cupcake liners, cookie cutters & lots of other fun stuff. There is not a sit down area but they are along a great street of shops, great to eat & stroll!! 

I also found out there was a newbie in Dubuque that had only been open a few weeks, Candle Ready Cakes. They are in your face new, store front, white & bright. I didn't like that when I walked in, cupcake shops should be cozy & inviting......but that could just be me! Now I wasn't as impressed with this store. I stood up front waiting to be waited on for almost 5 minutes. Yes I completely eyeballed in detail all the cupcakes. They were a little messy and dry on top on several of them. I just got one and it was ok, but not great. Maybe their other flavors are better, I only got 1 & the pictures I took are on my phone.....I am lazy & they are staying there.

So there you have it an Iowa cupcake shop review!!! I am researching some Minnesota shops so look for those to come soon!

Miss you guys!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicago Cupcake Review

As most of you know we were in Chicago over the weekend. One of my goals while we were here was to get some pictures & try a few of the small shops. We hit up 3, Molly's, Sprinkles & Phoebe's Cupcakes. All but Sprinkles are smaller shops, Molly's has 2 locations, Phoebe's 1 but they are moving soon!

I thought it would be fun to show you guys some pictures & do a small review of what we got! 

Lets start with Phoebe's as it was our first stop & we haven't been there before.

Its a small shop but very cute. They are in the process of moving so I will be going back when we come out in August. We got a brownie peanut butter cupcake, peach, salted caramel & pancakes & bacon.

Peach: the cake was amazing although I couldn't put my finger on if it was yellow or white. BUT the frosting was very artifical flavoring.
Pancakes & Bacon: Didn't try, we gave to a friend. But it was a maple cake with strips of bacon on the top
Salted Caramel: white cake soaked in caramel with a light caramel frosting. It was good but needed more caramel. I am a caramel freak so I was hoping there was a filling!
Peanut Butter Brownie: The darn hubby got most of this. Chocolate & a light peanut butter base. Had a light pb frosting. OMG lets just say it was good but I am excited to make it even better!! Look for this to be added to our flavor list soon! I can't get enough.....

I am excited to go back to their new shop. I wasn't 100% in love with everything as I don't like to use flavorings if I can use real fruit, ect but they had some fun flavors. Keep watching this week as we go though all the reviews!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The World Of Facebook

I started the Facebook page as the start of getting the bakery out there in the real world. It was really scarey to push the publish button that night it went live. Since then it has turned into a fun place to interact with customers and people I don't even know!

We will continue to make it interactive with contest, polls, ect. It is the 1st place new flavors come out since it is a fast way to get it out. I hope to continue to add to people that "like" us!!

So on that note if you are looking at our website head on over to Facebook and "like" us. It is fun and a great way to keep up with us!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Store Front Ideas/Goals

So we have this wonderful picture that was drawn by Jennah, which came at the perfect time to me because it is just screams some of my ideas for the store front. How you ask......here is my goal for this business.

So to begin with....we are looking in Boone. I did a lot of thinking on this and we may not be as busy as a store front in DSM we also do not have the overhead that we will in DSM. And really when you are doing something youBUT the main reason I restarted my goals, there is a reason my husband & I moved back to Boone when we started looking for a place together. We love being in a small town, we didn't like a 30 minute drive to get to the gym or anywhere else during the morning or after work hours. It just wasn't us. I have always wanted this business to feel like a small family business no matter where we open, a personal relationship with my customers is important to me & Boone I am able to keep it that way.

So lets get into the looks & feel of the store. I want a cozy & fun place for people to come & hang out. Mix & match tables & chairs, maybe a booth or 2, internet of course, no couch type seating because of frosting, its hard to clean! I want to have a framed place for kids to hang pictures and a place to show off local events. I would love to have some board games for both adults & kids. I would like to have a display area for fun cupcake items to buy & a small candy area for old fashion/odd/fun candy.

Now the yummy stuff! We won't be just selling cupcakes, I want to play on the "sweets" part of our name. So with that said we will offer hard ice cream, smoothies, coffee/specialty coffee, pop, ect for drinks. There will be something else but we better not let all the secrets out! Cupcakes we will have 5-7 flavors with 3 being classics daily. We will also offer a cookie of the week & bar of the week (may turn into a daily change also). Not sure yet on the food part or not. Hours 10-7:00 may stay open later on Friday & if there are school functions going on(we always went to DQ after concerts & I would love to add another place for families to go to). Monday-Saturday days open.

So that is kind of what I am planning, not everything because we have to have some surprises! I love the idea of having birthday decorating parties & hope to have enough room to do that. Can't wait to see what this year brings!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Well we made it 1 year! How exciting & how fast time has gone. We will have tons going on in March & hope to make it a giant party all month long. Please if you haven't like our facebook page as that is a great place to  keep in the loop!

Here are our specials in March.....its a pick your own special.

  • 1. 12% off your order
    2. Buy 1 dz cupcakes get... another dz for $12.00 (must be the same flavor as you ordered). Can be used on all flavors, also if you order 3 dz all can have a 2nd dz for $12
    3. For every $50 you spend get a $12.00 gift card for future use

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Iowa Home Based Bakeries: Know Your Facts

So it came up today about being licensed & insured as a home food vendor. I AM! I got my food license before I even opened. I am also insured. It is important to me to run my business the right way. From the 1st idea I had in doing this I started my research. I am proud to be both, do they cost me money....yes. How is it not worth it though!

Now here are some crazy facts about the rules in Iowa. As a home bakery I don't need a food license. You need one to resell your products (like to NWG or Fareway). So keep in mind when you buy from a home bakery, there are NO regulations for them to be inspected. A ton can go on in that kitchen that you don't know about. Food illnesses are not hard to create.

Home bakeries are plenty in Iowa, I see new ones pop up all the time. What makes me cringe is there are no inspectors going into these homes. No one to see the conditions people are making these baked goods. Do they have a door to keep pets out, is the refrigerator the right temp to keep milk & egg products fresh, did they change a diaper on the counter (ok gross but you get my point)????? If you get inspected you offer your home at any point for another inspection besides your annual to renew.

Know your facts and be picky about who you buy from......you wouldn't eat dinner at a place you knew didn't pass the inspection. Don't buy baked goods from someone just because they are cheap, or new, or you know them. If they don't have a food license & insurance question their ability to be serious about their business.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Love is in the Air

Wow it is our 1st Valentine's Day & it's fun!! I love how everyone is excited to give the perfect give to show their loved one how much they mean to them. It's mushy & overdone sometimes but its the best! I am that person always wanting to get the perfect gift, its better than getting anything for me just seeing the face of who is getting it. So onto the news of the month!!

1. Valentine's Day Specials: Mix & Match 6 pack for $9.00. This includes chocolate with either chocolate or strawberry frosting, almond, or red velvet. You can get directly through me OR order through Northwest Greenhouse's NEW website if you need flowers too. Flowers & cupcakes are a pretty good combo!


2. February 11th we will be at the Purple Crow for Birthday Saturday!! If your birthday is in February you get 10% off your order. Great place to support a local small business AND get your Valentine's Day gift.

3. February 11th we will also be at Miss Emmalynn's Vendor Fair/Bake Sale. Money will help the family during their upcoming medical expenses. To find out more click the link below. Cupcakes will be donated for the bake sale by us along with many other great people!!


4. This hasn't been released......we will be also be at the Boone Homeshow February 24-25th! There will be a food & wine vendor area with samples & info on each business. More info to come later!!

This is an exciting month and next month is our 1 year anniversary!!! Thank you for all your support & check out our facebook page!