west coast customs

Cupcake the backup dancer to cakes

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My favorite TV serie is the Cupcake wars in which 4 bakers compete to make cupcakes with best taste and presentation. 3 rounds eliminate a contestant. The 2 finalists create a 1000 cupcake display. The winner gets to showcase their cupcake presentation for a major event and win $10,000. That’s what the show about but now I would like to talk about one of the very sympathetic jury member, Candace Nelson, the owner of the Sprinkles cupcake shop.

The creation of the Sprinkles

In 2002 Candace Nelson then 33, and her husband Charles Nelson (from Oklahoma, 38), both investment bankers, visited Candace’s sister in New York and tried the cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery(Sex and the city made them famous). Candace believed that it was “time for cupcakes to stop being the backup dancer to cakes” while Nelson remembered, “I get the cupcake thing; cupcakes are awesome. But we were like, ‘The cupcakes aren’t that great. They could be so much better and really could taste a lot better'”. They took it upon themselves to create a better cupcake; over the next two years, they developed over 20 cupcake recipes. Although starting a cupcake bakery was a “high-risk venture” and the bakery business was in a four-year no carb decline, the Nelsons pursued their dream. Their “sleek, minimalistic” store was designed by an architect from Vienna and the logo and packaging were created by a former Martha Stewart employee.

On April 13, 2005, they opened Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery, at Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. The first day, the cupcakes sold out in three hours, and 2,000 cupcakes were sold the first week.

Since Sprinkles has 10 locations throughout the United States, with plans to open in 15 more cities including London and Tokyo. The Nelsons also started a traveling “Sprinkles mobile“, a Mercedes Sprinter van designed by Sprinkles architect Andrea Lenardin and built by “Pimp My Ride’s” West Coast Customs. In 2007 the company developed a line of cupcake mixes sold exclusively through Sprinkles and Williams-Sonoma stores in the United States and Canada. In February 2011 Sprinkles released an iPhone app that features free cupcakes and virtual gifting.

Celebrity endorsement

Sprinkles has gained many celebrity endorsements. Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Tyra Banks, Katie Holmes, Paris Hilton, Blake Lively, Ryan Seacrest, Tom Cruise and Jake Gyllenhaal are among its customers.

Barbra Streisand was one of Sprinkles’ first customers and introduced Oprah Winfrey to the brand by sending her a box of cupcakes. Only eight months after opening Sprinkles, Charles and Candace received a call from Harpo Studios that Oprah needed 300 cupcakes for her studio audience in Chicago the next morning for Breakfast with Oprah, wherein she showcases her favorite delicacies. The couple managed to catch an overnight flight, and the cupcakes were featured on Oprah’s show. Soon after, sales in their Beverly Hills location increased 50%, to 1,500 cupcakes daily. Sprinkles played a role in Tom Cruise’s courtship of Katie Holmes (well). During the Christmas of 2007, the Cruises sent out boxes of holiday-themed Sprinkles cupcakes to their close friends and associates.

Ingredients

Candace is described as having a “sophisticated” take on the classic cupcake, using ingredients like sweet buttercream, pure Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, and Callebaut chocolate. She also creates offbeat offerings like vegan and gluten-free cupcakes and even dog-food cupcakes (with joghurt). The cupcakes are baked daily and are free from preservatives, trans fats and artificial flavors..

My favorites

My choice might fall on these cakes because of my patriot feelings toward Belgium since most of the major ingredients of Candace’s cupcakes are the Belgian chocolates.

Black and white cupcakes

Sprinkles Black and White cupcakes create a harmonious balance between Belgian dark chocolate cake and creamy vanilla frosting. As the proverb goes, two parts united together give rise to something better!

Chai Latte

You’ve been saving up for an exotic escapade to the Far East where you plan to gaze upon the Taj Mahal while sipping traditional Masala Chai tea. Until your travels take you to India, enjoy a Sprinkles Chai Latte cupcake! This aromatic cake is spiced with a warm blend of cardamom, cloves, anise, ginger and cinnamon and topped with sweet Chai frosting. So colorful and breathtaking, you may have stumbled upon the 8th Wonder of the World!

Chocolate Coconut

Angels add their touch to devil’s food with Sprinkles Chocolate Coconut cupcakes! This sinfully tempting Belgian dark chocolate cake is topped with divine coconut cream cheese frosting and fluffy coconut shreds. A match made in heaven, you’ll travel to the ends of the earth to find one!

Carrot cake

Children may run upon hearing a vegetable has made its way into their cupcake, but do you know the secret? Carrots’ hidden sugar content make them a baker’s ally! This cupcake recipe blends fragrant spices with freshly grated carrots and toasted walnuts. Coated with a generous heap of cinnamon cream cheese frosting, you might even convince the kids to eat their vegetables!

Christmas is a great opportunity to give a try for them! Enjoy!

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