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Monday, May 20, 2013

Sweet Dreamer ♥

Today I am going to share a different kind of recipe with you.....

My true cupcake story.  It's my 2 year anniversary as Amanda Cupcake .You've asked me for my story, and I've never posted it in my own words anywhere. I've been featured in many articles, but this will be my version. The entire story.

 While there is a beginning, there is no end. I am on a continuous journey  in this cupcake world.  I hope me sharing this with you today helps you in some way-to follow your path, your dreams, or maybe start your own version of a cupcake mansion! 


me..in my first days as Amanda Cupcake


The Sweet Dreamer ♥
(I was given this name by Fox Cities Magazine, see the article here)

I haven't always been Miss Cupcake.  In fact, my real name is Amanda Wright. I've lived many lives before arriving at my superhero name:  Amanda Cupcake.   I was born and raised in Waupaca, Wisconsin, but I've visited many places since. I think I'm still a baby in the cupcake world, because I've only been Amanda Cupcake for 2 years and there is so much more I want to do (Cupcake Franchise?! Cupcake Product Line?! Cupcake Recipe Book?!)  In the past 2 years  I've baked thousands of flavors of cupcakes (I have about 60,000 cupcake photos in storage from just the past few years).

Fox Cities Magazine described me this year as a "tutu donned superhero persona who is a mash up of four things-a pinch of Dr. Seuss's whimsy, a dash of Lucille Ball's humor,a sprinkle of her inner child, and a splash of Ellen Degeneres's dance moves".  That was the perfect description of what I have always wanted Amanda Cupcake to be.


Props to my brother Cliff for my non-conventional cupcake career!  When we were teenagers,(in the nineties-before the days of the cupcake trend) I baked him a birthday cake and cupcakes to match.  (I thought my baked creations were goofy, but he loved them). After Cliff received my first cake and cupcakes as a gift, he "hired" me as as his baker for every birthday going forward. He said that I was doing something unlike anything he'd ever seen done with confectionaries before.  I never forgot his compliment, but his words got lost for awhile in my big dreams of becoming a famed fashion designer.  Like Betsy Johnson. I've always loved her carefree and wild spirit in her designs.

a cupcake high heeled shoe,  my fashion knowledge in my cupcakes♥



I've been many things. A cute little office girl.  A cosmetologist.  A customer service representative.  Almost..a wife.  But I have this thing called a "God Voice" that has never been wrong.  And this  inner whisper told me that I had a really special calling, something having to do with fashion.  So I packed my bags and followed my dreams 2000 miles away from Wisconsin..to Los Angeles, California.  I lived there for 8 years, working as a product developer in the fashion industry.  I traveled the world to Hong  Kong, Paris, and Italy for inspiration. Most of the time I spent in California I was an employee for Billabong USA, developing junior girls clothing for Pacific Sunwear.

While living in California, I started to seek out another side of myself. I call it my "glitter heart" now.  I went to Saddleback Church and joined their PEACE program (a missions program there..where I could travel to other countries and help people).  But something stopped me.  I felt that little "God whisper" within and it told me that there was a different mission for me.

my glitter heart ♥



After about six years of living in California, my big California Dream started to fade.  I was exposed to black mold and it made me fall ill for a long time.  During this time, my dad was admitted to the hospital and he almost died.  Shortly after my dad recovered, my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.  I kept flying back and forth from California to Wisconsin to see my family. 
 
There was always some gigantic challenge. One thing after the other facing me for about a year and a half.  That's when I started baking again for solace.  I baked for people in my office, my roommates, small parties.  I never saw anyone react the way they did when I made cupcakes.  People would jump up and down, and squeal..like they won the lottery!


After a year and a half of struggling with my own illness, my dad's brush with death , and my mom's Parkinson's diagnosis, I decided the smartest decision was to cut off my fast paced life in California and come home to Wisconsin. I needed my family. They needed me. And I needed to find balance again. 

Before I left, my boss at Billabong sat me down and said,
"Amanda..more than anything, I see you dressing cupcakes instead of people. I see you starting your own cupcake empire, delivering cupcakes in a cupcake mobile, wearing an apron or a tutu.  I think this is what you need to do."

Me and my little assistant Hanna (in tutus at the WDUX Home Show in Waupaca)


So when I moved back to Wisconsin, I started to do research on baking.  My cupcakes had always been pretty before..but they tasted overly sweet.  I wanted my cupcakes to taste great and be pretty too!  I  scoured the internet, met with, and learned from some of my favorite teachers:  Cupcakes Take The Cake blog, I am Baker, Bakerella, and the owner of MORE in Chicago on Michigan Ave.   All amazingly talented bakers and/or business owners.

 I loved the idea of being a PERSON instead of a location.  I wanted to be real, someone people could relate to.   So I named myself Amanda Cupcake.  She was the re-invention of myself, the new healthy woman, and I've discovered now that she is the genuine me.

As I baked and baked..and baked, I began to heal. My parents were happy watching me too. They were my first fans, and are my biggest supporters/fans now. (My mom loves to stand in the front of my shoppe and visit with people when I am super busy).

My dad..with a cake I made him for his birthday


I shared my cupcakes with people in my community. I'd knock on doors and arrive with free cupcakes (sprinkled with glitter) for people who were sick or unhappy.  Glittery cupcakes made them smile, sometimes cry (in a good way).   I'd never leave without giving them a hug that I have now branded a "Cupcake Hug."   

Whenever I delivered cupcakes, I made a new discovery.  It wasn't *California* that would make me feel successful and joyous again.  It was doing something that I loved.   I was able to express myself creatively...and help people too.  So maybe this..was my mission.  My glitter heart. And it didn't matter where in the world I was, I didn't need to travel to another country.  I could reach out to people all over the world through my blog, in my community, and on Facebook through bright, sparkly, happy cupcakes.  I was on my way to being a cupcake fashion designer, and a cupcake philanthropist.  Yes, that does exist in my world. I call a cupcake philanthropist a Cupcake Superhero.

Cupcake Hug!


"When you connect with people unselfishly, business has a way of boomeranging back."



In 2011, Amy Simpson (the owner of Simpsons and at the time..she was the owner of a small restaurant - Cronies -  in Waupaca) discovered my cupcakes. I delivered pancake bacon cupcakes to her, and after eating them, she was hooked.  She offered to rent Cronies to me when the restaurant closed at night so I could start business baking "officially" as Amanda Cupcake.   I was known as the girl who would bake out of Cronies restaurant all night.  I'd leave after baking, and in the morning..yummy cupcakes would appear on the counter (if you were lucky-they sold out quickly).


My first famed cupcakes....were S'more Sparklette Cupcakes! (click here to check out the recipe).   Cupcakes Take The Cake (one of my inspirations) featured me on their blog, and I was ecstatic. I danced with joy announcing to my friends and family all over Facebook, and in my house, that one of *my* inspirations was featuring my cupcakes!

S'mores Sparklette Cupcakes


 Right after, Waupaca County Post asked to interview me.

And in the same week..Fox 11 Good Day Wisconsin asked me to air on a Saturday, showing all of Wisconsin how I bake cupcakes inside of a jar!  Once I debuted on TV once, I discovered my true love for TV demonstrations. It was really fun to share my passions with the world.  I established a friendship with the crew at Fox 11, and have returned many times to air with my friend Amy Hanten on Fox 11 Living With Amy.  I've discovered that making cupcakes on TV (along with teaching kids at schools) is my favorite thing to do in my career as a cupcake artist.

This  was my second time on Good Day Wisconsin!  A friend took this photo of her TV.



My cupcakes weren't quite making me enough $$$ so that I could survive on cupcakes alone. It takes a long time to establish a business and be a financial success. Especially anything involving food.  I was working a second job at a Nursing Home as a cook.

On a randomly wonderful night, Cupcake Wars called me. I was sitting in my scrubs..in my car after my shift at the Nursing Home and received a voicemail from a Cupcake Wars Casting Agent in California. They wanted me to audition. I was just so overwhelmed with joy that I was hyperventilating! Maybe..this could jumpstart Amanda Cupcake !!

I auditioned for Cupcake Wars and you can see it here on youtube. It was a blast.  I never heard back from Cupcake Wars.. but now I think I know why.  I'm a little more Cupcake Love than Cupcake Wars. I am a big fan of Cupcake Wars, and their concoctions have always taught me that *nothing* with cupcakes is impossible...but I think the producers may have seen the same thing I do now too.  If I'm going to be on TV, I'd like my own little Food Network-esque show where I can dress up in fun glittery costumes and aprons..and share cupcake recipes with the world.  Maybe someday!?  

"They" say everything happens for a reason though.   Even though I never made it on the show, you can imagine...once the town of Waupaca heard about the call from Cupcake Wars, I started receiving more cupcake orders than ever.  The call from Cupcake Wars launched my business to a whole new level.   I was able to quit my job as a cook and make cupcakes my full time *everything*.  So thank you, Cupcake Wars!!!!


I was so busy baking, I'd pull all nighters. I had so many cupcake orders sometimes I'd be up until Cronie's opened at 7am.  I'd bake until the wee hours of the morning, and make deliveries during the day. I taught classes, visited schools to share my growing cupcake knowledge, and  I visited with cupcake fans over breakfast.  Somewhere in there I'd sleep-but not often.  I was grateful for the plcae  that had given mea start..but I needed a new baking home if I was to grow into the Amanda Cupcake I always envisioned.  So I prayed-that if this was the right thing for me, and if I was supposed to make cupcakes my mission..that I'd find a new kitchen of my own to make my creations in.


Jane and Dave Mulroy own a farm house on a biodynamic farm - Irish Acres in New London, Wisconsin.  Jane Mulroy has always had a vision here. To create a farm where the community can come to grow their own fresh crops.  She envisioned farmers markets here, wheelchair gardens, and more ♥  But she needed something a little more alluring than just plants to lure people in to her vision.    I wonder if she knew that it would be .. Cupcakes?! ♥

A party at The Cupcake Mansion ♥ (do you see the glitter walls in the background)?


I was at the WDUX Home Show in April 2012 as a food vendor.  Jane Mulroy was looking to rent her empty farmhouse to someone when she stumbled upon my cupcakes. I was wearing a brightly colored tutu and eye glitter, bright and happy cupcakes surrounding me.  Jane was immediately hypnotized by my sparkly cupcakes and it was there that she knew what she wanted to turn her empty farmhouse into.  A cupcake shoppe that I would name...The Cupcake Mansion.

Jane and I met many times to make sure our visions were in line with each other, and I had to be convinced that this opportunity wasn't too good to be true.  So I signed a lease with her, and upon signing the lease..she converted the 1848 farmhouse into a licensed kitchen and cupcake shoppe. 

During the 6 months I was waiting to move into the farmhouse, I was catering several weddings, pulling endless all nighters at Cronie's, and just waiting for the day I could step into my new kitchen...my new life.  I had come a long way.  And I was ready to start my next chapter in my cupcake kingdom.  I decided to call my new place..

The Cupcake Mansion.  A Destination.
Follow Your Heart.


On October 20th, 2012..I opened the Cupcake Mansion as a retail shoppe.  500 people showed up to my grand opening.  I was crying all day long - in happy tears - like this was my wedding!
People traveled from everywhere to visit me at my cupcake mansion.  I sold out of cupcakes within an hour and a half.  It was a day filled with sweetness. Not just because of cupcakes and sugar.. but because of the love I was given back from people who appreciated my work.  I am still blown away thinking about it all.

The true reason behind my cupcake obsession:  Is my love for others.  I bake little pieces of my glittery heart in every cupcake and hope that I might be doing something to change someone's life. Even if it is for a day.  People ask me why I share my recipes?  I think that hiding them is old skool. I learned from so many others, so why not help others?

But I am  not going to cover this story up with glitter to make it pretty. My cupcakes do that for me.




Chasing your dreams..and making them work day in and day out-is not always a glamorous or easy feat. You've asked me how you can start your own cupcake business.

Here are some of my beliefs if you want to become your own cupcake superhero:

1.  You must LOVE what you do with every bone in your body.
2.  You have to have FAITH that it will all fall into place as long as you work for it.
3. The first few years are the hardest, but also can be the most bittersweet. It's the time when you start to build your business character and make new friends.
4. Baking from scratch in the beginning isn't a necessity, start by doctoring up cake mixes since they are fail proof. Then move on to the true science of baking. ♥ 
5. Frosting is way better made from scratch than purchased in buckets.
6. And on the technical side of things...Find a great bookkeeper..so you can focus mainly on the baking..and the bookkeeper on your numbers.  




So many nights my shoes and pants are full of glitter and frosting and cake batter.  I have a little bit of a belly since I've *really* started baking (my California six pack is history and now I am more pin-up cupcake curvy than an athletic toned California hottie). I am often so sleepy on Saturday nights that I fall asleep at 7pm. .  But to me.. it's all worth it.   I've discovered my mission now.  And it's to help save the world...one glittery cupcake at a time.

Cupcake Pin Up ♥ Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Cupcakes!

This story doesn't have an end. This is the beginning.

 I'd love to dance with Ellen Degeneres on her show, cupcakes in hand!  Or deliver cupcakes in a cupcake superhero cape to children at The Children's Hospital and give them a Cupcake Hug.  I'm determined to throw sprinkles and cupcakes from a Cupcake Shaped G6 Jet over the world.   I truly believe the world would be a happier place if cupcakes and sprinkles fell from the sky ♥ I look at nothing as impossible. In my world, it could all be conquered through cupcakes!

10 comments:

  1. Happy 2nd Birthday!!! :) You are amazing!!

    PS... I just have to say I love that all your cupcakes have glitter on them!!! hehe I always know they're yours when I see a pic online! xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much Betsy :)))) xoxo cupcake hug to you! maybe one day..I'll get to meet you and share my glittery cupcakes with you!

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  2. Amanda Cupcake, you are truly an inspiration to me! I have been in the process of starting my own cupcakery in small town PA for the past year. I have 2 small children that "help" me bake from my tiny kitchen, all while I fantasize about the day I will have my own storefront. I recently got in touch with a local business owner that is willing to rent me her kitchen at night to bake...I am over the moon:) I feel like I am finally moving in the direction of my dreams. I LOVED reading your story!! It made me feel that with hard word, determination and most of all LOVE that we really can make the seemingly impossible, possible! Congratulations on your 2 year anniversary! Best Wishes! Kristy

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    1. lol... I just realized that it sounds like I employ 2 small children to help me bake...just to clarify they are my babies and by "help" I meant they throw flour everywhere and make a total mess haha;)

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    2. Thank you so so much, it is wonderful to hear this because in sharing my story i was hoping that it would give motivation to at least one person to follow their dreams. :) You'll have to keep me updated on your baking, I always enjoy seeing photos of my cupcake friends'creations :)

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  3. Somehow, i always cry! Your impact is amazing and you have a glittery heart of gold my dear! Im so glad i found you and not just Because of your recipes!

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  4. Your story still inspires me after two fabulous years, my darling Ms Cupcake!! Love you and your gorgeous creations!!

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  5. You are the most inspiring, interesting, and overall fabulous woman. I've never read your blog before and came across it while searching for cupcake recipes. I love baking and decorating cupcakes. It makes me oh so happy. You've made me believe anything is possible. Thank you.

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  6. This is the beginning, iam waiting. :)


    Sindonews

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