Cupcake Interview with Jody Hall of Seattle's Cupcake Royale

Cupcake Royale has been making us want to hop on over to Seattle for a frosting visit. This fabulous-sounding bakery has been whetting our appetites since we first heard its name. Stay tuned for their web store, launching at the end of this month, which features the awesome "ask me about my cupcake" pin and "Legalize Frostitution" t-shirt, along with baby clothes, hoodies, and plenty of other cupcake gear. Jody Hall gives us the lowdown on the Seattle cupcake scene, the best ingredients, and a cupcake called "dance party with holly hobbie." We can't resist the allure of Cupcake Royale and we'll be you can't either!

Name: Jody Hall
Title: Owner, Cupcake Royale
Location: Seattle (Ballard: 2052 NW Market St.; Madrona: 1101 34th St.)

When did Cupcake Royale open and why did you open it?

Cupcake Royale opened in December 2003. When I opened Cupcake Royale, I also paired it with Verite Coffee. I knew I wanted to open a cool coffeehouse that was about hand-crafted drinks and great espresso—no short cuts! At the time, the cupcake craze in NYC was in full swing—started by Magnolia Bakery. I wanted to add something special to my business, and Seattle didn’t have anything close to baked from scratch cupcakes. So Cupcake Royale was born! Plus—in Seattle, there’s no milk and cake—it’s all about espresso and cupcakes!

What role in the Seattle bakery scene does Cupcake Royale play?

Cupcake Royale is among the best cake bakeries in the city. We make all of our cupcakes from scratch daily. There’s no oil or shortenings (no short cuts!) so there’s no preservatives. We use only real buttercream and amazing chocolate in our chocolate cakes and frosting. Cupcake Royale is well known in Seattle as certainly the best cupcake in town—and some of the best cake in town.

Why do you think cupcakes are so popular with adults and kids today?
I think cupcakes are popular with both kids and adults because they’re reminiscent of childhood—and they make people happy. And for adults—when you see our case full of delicious hand-frosted (w/ the swirl!) cupcakes, you’re suddenly 13 again. I think our cupcakes are super popular because most people haven’t had REAL cake (made from scratch) and real buttercream. You just can’t buy that in the grocery store (check out their list of ingredients – scary!).

Is there a typical Cupcake Royale customer?

This is a tough one. I think cupcakes have appeal across all kinds. The kids love ‘em—because they’re kid-sized and they’re pink and pretty. The hipsters love ‘em because they’re so delicious and fun. The moms and dads love ‘em because you don’t have to buy a whole cake and have tempting leftovers. Everyone loves cupcakes!

Do you do special cupcakes for holidays or special events?

Yes—we do really fun cupcakes for holidays, of course. Valentine’s Day is our biggest holiday. Nothing says love like a 4-pak of beautiful pink and chocolate cupcakes! Roses and a box of chocolates are OUT!

Do you get lots of wedding orders?

We’ve been doing a lot of wedding cupcakes. We have a cool “5-tiered cupcake tree”. They’re great for weddings because they’re cheery, you don’t have to cut anything, you can customize the colors easily, they make people happy, and they’re FRESH (unlike so many wedding cakes!)

What's the most wild/outrageous cupcake creation you've made?

Hmm—this is a tough one. Our “frostitutes” come up with lots of fun ideas. I’d say the biggest cupcake request is the “areola” cupcake—we make a few of these—upon request only! Who doesn’t love that?

How often do you eat cupcakes?

I used to eat cupcakes every day. I’d say I have one a week for sure. My old expression is “a cupcake a day makes your ass huge” ‘nuff said.

What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?

I’d say the frosting to cake ratio – there’s nothing like it! We put a healthy amount on too. Isn’t that the reason everyone like cupcakes?

What's your favorite type of cupcake?

I love our “dance party with holly hobbie” – vanilla buttercake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles. Behind that is our lemon cupcake—then in a close tie, the lavender (with lavender flower in the buttercream).

How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?

Hmm – I like them when I’m in the mood for something a little sweet. Otherwise, I’m a lover of our raspberry hazelnut scone.

Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?

YES – something to more easily transport the 12-paks (but something NOT plastic!)

What's your first cupcake-related memory?

I’d have to say as a 3 year old for my birthday. My mom made cupcakes for my party—and that was it for me!

What's the most fun you've ever had with a cupcake?

I can’t tell you.

Any other thoughts on the topic?

Hmm – you pretty much covered it!