I discovered LePetit Cupcakery by accident last Sunday while going to the Artists and Fleas flea market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Chrissy was kind enough to give me a box of cupcakes, which I promptly devoured in the subway. I'll be back on Sunday to try more and give a taste test report, but check out her interview and the innovative way she's using fundraising site Kickstarter to save up for a popup shop.
The photos below are by me; see more on their website and Facebook page and blog.
Name: Chrissy Barnes
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: LePetit Baker/Owner
When did you start LePetit Cupcakery and how did you decide to focus on mini cupcakes?
LePetit was born about a year ago while I was working at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Almost daily I would head home with an arm full of herbs and not know what to do with them. So I began making cupcakes with them, everyone I knew started demanding them from me, and thus LePetit was born. I only ever had a mini cupcake pan so I just went with it. Plus, big ones can really be just too much. You really get the perfect bite with a mini one. And you can get multiple flavors in your belly this way!
Where can customers find you?
LePetit is online and available for catering and delivery at www.lepetitnyc.com. We can also be found live and in person every Sunday on N 6th Street in Williamsburg between Bedford and Berry on the sidewalk in front of Artists and Fleas. Also keep an eye out for our Thanksgiving holiday Pop-Up shop. Location TBD.
Which are your bestselling cupcakes, and why do you think that is?
The MapleDateBacon ones usually go pretty fast at the market. I think people are more curious than anything. I once had a guy buy 150 of them right off the table! Other than the bacon, every week I try and bring a different seasonal flavor...whatever looks good at the Farmer’s Market and there’s just something about fresh fruit that draws people in.
How do you come up with your flavors, and do you do seasonal cupcakes?
My flavors are generally born from what’s in season. I try and use my botanical knowledge when thinking up flavors like carrot and caraway, they’re in the same plant family, so they complement each other nicely.
You told me you specialize in alcohol-based cupcakes. Can you tell us more about that and if people get buzzed from your cupcakes?
Haha. Well, you can surely get some sort of buzz from our cupcakes, maybe not the buzz you’re looking for! Before working in Horticulture, I was a bartender. I appreciate a good cocktail and I certainly appreciate a good cocktail cupcake. You can taste the booze but it’s complemented nicely with savory, salty and spices to not be overpowering. Popular flavors are the Dark & Stormy, Champagne & Lavender and LeMudslide.
Do you do custom cupcakes and if so, how far in advance do you do them?
I will do custom cocktail flavors. If you fancy a mojito, I can throw together a Rum, Lime and Mint cupcake in no time. I really like when people order custom cocktail flavors and make me get creative. I try and stay away from custom pairings such as chocolate and vanilla or peanut butter and jelly...that kind of thing. I find it terribly boring.
What’s been your favorite cupcake order to work on?
I made 500 mini margarita cupcakes for a Mexican restaurant (Taco Chulo) on Cinco de Mayo. It really captured what LePetit is all about...partying!
What’s next for LePetit Cupcakery?
We are currently in the process of getting a pop-up shop for the week prior to Thanksgiving. The location is TBD but it will definitely be in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The plan is to make gift boxes with flavors like Bourbon Pecan, Pumpkin, Chai, Rum Apple Cider (you get the picture). These will make amazing gifts to your host, or eye popping spreads at your own Thanksgiving table and really allow you to get multiple flavors in your belly after eating all that turkey (or ToFurkey!) You can help get our Pop-Up shop funded by donating here via Kickstarter.
And now for some personal questions...
How often do you eat cupcakes?
I eat cupcakes a lot. But not anyone else’s. I just eat mine a lot.
What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?
SUGAR RUSH! When you get a moist, crunchy, sweet, salty bite all in one, it’s magic.
What's your favorite type of cupcake?
Personal favorite is a secret cupcake that we make. We bring it to market every once in a while during the summer months. It’s a peach and vanilla cake, with vanilla buttercream and topped with candied pecans. I’m a southern girl and it just tastes like home.
How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?
Cupcakes are pretty up there. I actually don’t have too big of a sweet tooth. Every now and again I crave ice cream, but always fruity flavors.
Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?
Funny you should ask! LePetit is launching its “Mason Cakes” this Fall. They are bigger cupcakes crammed inside of Mason Jars with layers on filling and frosting. People always ask me for bigger cupcakes. This way, you can eat a little and save the rest for later. You can even throw it in the bottom of your bag and there will be no mess! Then, you have a cute little jar forever to remind you of how awesome that one day was when you carried around a cupcake and ate it all day long.
Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?
I bake every single cupcake that leaves this kitchen. LePetit is ramping up to hire some holiday help, but I am so picky about my cupcakes that even then I will probably still bake every tiny treat.
What's your first cupcake-related memory?
My mother worked with the deaf. She taught sign language. I can’t remember where we were, but my sister who was maybe 5 at the time went up to a def woman that my mom worked with and in sign language “said” “I LOVE ICE CREAM” and I was so sad because I wanted to sign that I loved cupcakes but I didn’t know what the sign was for cupcakes. :(
What's the most fun you've ever had with a cupcake?
Sitting out at the cupcake stand, every time a dog walks by and goes nuts trying to see or smell or eat a cupcake...that’s the best! It gets me every time.
Do you have anything else to add?
Just thanks and stop by the cupcake stand and get a cupcake and say hi!