Friday, November 28, 2014

Five Questions With Food Founder: Nicole Duval of Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop

Last week, I attended a Hubspot User Group meeting and I met a bakery owner. Nicole Duval is the founder of Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop.

What was your inspiration for starting Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop?
I fell in love with baking when I was in middle school and many recipes later, my desire to one day open up a bakeshop was born. I also loved the study of business and majored in business administration with a concentration in accounting in college. I spent 10 years working in a variety of accounting positions with the dream of one day opening up a bakery still in the forefront of my mind. In 2013, I finally had the opportunity to pursue this dream of mine. I decided to distinguish my bakeshop by using better-for-you ingredients (organic, fair trade, whole grain flours and unrefined sugars) because I believe there's an unmet need for freshly baked goods that are delicious yet made with nutritious ingredients and are healthier. This originated from my baking for my family. I wanted to satisfy their sweet tooth without all of the empty calories. I thought, there must be others out there who deeply care about the ingredients that go into their freshly made baked goods. I personally have an insatiable sweet tooth but I'm also health conscience so I decided to combine the two which is making irresistible desserts that are healthy.  

How did you come up with the name and logo of your business?
A few years ago my witty husband heard the phrase "Sweet Sassy Molassey!" from a message board and it caught on in our family. He soon began to call me "Sass Molass" and "Sweet Sassy" as nicknames. When I was deciding on a name for my bakeshop, I wanted a name that was personal yet memorable and easy to pronounce. I also wanted a name that was illustrative of my baked goods. I use molasses in many of my recipes because it's a better-for-you ingredient. And that was the birth of Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop.

What websites or apps that you use that are essential for your business?
Word of mouth is essential for my business. Facebook has been great for spreading the word about my bakery once I opened it as friends and friends of friends re-posted my business on Facebook. The Entrepreneur app has provided me with a lot of resources and articles for inspiration and ideas on how to run my business. Before I opened my business, the was very helpful on learning the ropes of what goes into starting a business.   

What's the best thing about having your own bakery business?
I get to do what I love (baking) and manage my own schedule. I also love to spread the word about health and well being, and I get to do that naturally as I am marketing my business.

 What food or drink trend do you think will be big in 2015?
I think exotic and unique flavor offerings, foods that provide health benefits, and desserts in a jar will all be popular in 2015.

Wide eyed Thanksgiving turkey cupcake with candy corn

I know Thanksgiving is over, but this wide eyed turkey cupcake that also calls to mind Halloween with its use of candy corn charmed me, and I thought you might like it. It's by blogger Bitz n Giggles, who has step by step instructions on how to make it.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Carrot Cake From Sam's Club

Sam's Club Daily Chef makes a decent carrot cake for $18. I didn't love the frosting but the cake itself was pretty good. If you are pressed for time this Thanksgiving, you could buy it and doctor it up.  Use a spatula to clear the top layer of frosting and make your own sweet potato cream cheese frosting.  BTW, I took a photo of the cake using the Canon Rebel SL1. I am loving the touch shuttle function of the camera.

Cupcake gelato and Thanksgiving cupcakes by Cupcake Wars winners ConfeXion Cupcakes + Cake

Yes, cupcake gelato is exactly what it sounds like: gelato with cupcakes in it! How delicious does that sound? You can get it plus cute Thanksgiving cupcakes at Cupcake Wars winners ConfeXion Cupcakes + Cake in Pasadena, California, who we interviewed in 2013. And, via their website, you can save $25 on all purchases over $100 through December 21 by using code Hday14 at checkout. They can be reached at 626-486-9977. All photos via their Facebook page.







Friday, November 21, 2014

Help Send Smashbakes to Pastry School

Smashbakes, a cottage food business located in Chino, CA, is raising funds to attend pastry school. The home based bakery is known for their unique macaron flavors, crazy cookie concoctions, and is definitely not your traditional bakery. They strive to create fun, out of the box creations, which has helped them make a name for themselves in a short time.

Though the business is under a year old, Smashbakes has already been featured on Foodbeast for their Fruity Pebble Macarons, and here at CTTC for their Rice Krispies Cakes. Their popular creations such as their nostalgic throwback to the 90's Reptar Bars, as made famous by Nickelodeon's Rugrats, have been featured on That's Nerdalicious.

Smashbakes is hoping to attend the Pro Pastry classes at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories in Santa Monica, CA, which has also famously hosted baking classes with popular bloggers such as Joy The Baker.

Please visit Smashbakes' GoFundMe page to read more about their story!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chili And Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Today I learned how to use the Canon EOS Rebel SL1. I will be taking many food photos over the next week through Thanksgiving and sharing with you on the blog as part of their #BringIt campaign. This is what I had for lunch, chili with macaroni and cheese. My dad made the chili yesterday, but I like to add a little cinnamon, cocoa powder and cloves to give it a Cincinnati chili taste.

Speaking of cinnamon, Mexican hot chocolate is great for this cold weather, and Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes are even better.

Perk Up Cakes and Cupcakes With Herb Crystals

Monday was my sister's birthday and she ordered a chocolate cake from Piece of Cake. There's only a bit left, and I had a slice for dessert last night. Initially, I was going to sprinkle a little sea salt on the slice, but when I saw the hibiscus crystals in the pantry, I decided to go for it. It was delicious! Fresh Origins makes herbal and floral crystals in different flavors including fennel, mint, cilantro, rose and hibiscus.

The hibiscus crystals are a great combination of sweetness and citrus taste.  These crystals are an unusual flavor accent but can used in so many dishes. Add a tangy spark to desserts; innovative topping for lemon sorbet and chocolate ganache.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giveaway: Be The King Or Queen Of Your Domain With Domain.Me

It's official - cupcakes DO take the cake
The most common advice I give to anyone starting a blog is to see if you blog's domain is available and then buy it as soon as you can. Cupcakes Take The Cake was founded by Rachel and me nearly ten years ago. Blogging was pretty new back then and we both had full time jobs. The idea of buying a domain name wasn't first and foremost in our minds. Having your own domain name and hosting give you the flexibility to your website and to develop your online brand. offered Cupcakes Take The Cake one year of free domain, so we now have This is great because it's easier for our readers to find us.

If you want to be the queen or king of your domain, then you can enter our giveaway for one free year of domain registration.
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