Cupcake interview with Megan Faulkner Brown of Salt Lake City's The Sweet Tooth Fairy

Here's our latest cupcake interview. You can see more of Megan's photos in her Flickr account.

Megan Faulkner Brown and Bailey Betty

Name: Megan Faulkner Brown
Age: 28
Location: Utah
Occupation: Political Consultant, Entrepreneur

How long have you been baking?

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting up to the counter helping my mom make cookies. Growing up in my house, no one was ever too young to help, or learn for that matter. From my mom, I discovered exactly what color chocolate chip cookies should be when they emerge from the oven. I learned just how a brownie should feel as it pulls away from the pan, and the perfect texture for the crest of a golden cupcake. My parents always would tease us and say the reason they had five of us kids was so that we’d do their chores/work for them...and we certainly did. At one point, my parents ran a small side business catering and cake decorating. I remember seeing my sweet dad hovered over the kitchen counter carefully piping lace onto a gorgeous wedding cake. Later, when I was a tween/teen, I worked for my parent’s cookie company- The Cookie Lady. Even later in my teeny bopper years, I worked at the Sunflour Bakery in Newport Beach. My college major was Family Life and Home Economics. While others were taking Calculus, I was in essence taking “Foods.” So in all reality, it is safe to say I’ve been baking my whole life.

Where do you get your recipes from?

They come from all over. Several of my recipes have been in the family for years. Some of them are inspired from great cookbooks and modified to my liking. Others I have straight-up concocted.

How did The Sweet Tooth Fairy get started? How has the business grown since you started it?

The story of the Sweet Tooth Fairy™ is as old as the love of family--because that is where I learned about the magic of sweets/baking. As was previously mentioned, I was quite the helper in the kitchen as a child. I realized quickly that a homemade treat can bring a smile to just about any face. The ability of something so small to brighten someone’s day inspired a love and appreciation for homemade treats that has cultivated into a full-blown obsession.

For years and years, I’d try recipes out and have my family/friends taste the final products. For me, baking is a much heralded creative outlet, so I’d always be the one to volunteer to make so-and-so’s birthday cake or bring cupcakes to the dinner party. I welcomed any opportunity I could get that would clear my mind of my "real job." (I’ve been caught up in the political world for over 8 years.) Through word of mouth, I’d get requests from friends and consequently, friends of those friends who wanted a birthday cake or a housewarming party catered or a dozen cupcakes delivered to their in-laws. It was at that point that I realized my hobby could be my job. I chose a name, got licensed, and hit the ground running. Ever since, the business has been growing at an almost unmanageable rate. It is really exciting.

What makes your cupcakes unique?

Our frosting--which some refer to as “crack”—-makes our cupcakes really unique. I wish I could tell you why the frosting tastes so yummy, but a girl has to keep a secret, right? Another reason is because we employ the "crumbing" technique for toppings. And yet another reason why is because for some orders which require highly custom-designed and themed decorations, we can get pretty crazy with a little fondant, gumpaste, and luster dust.

You offer some unusual flavors such as Cotton Candy and Pecan N’ Toffee. How do you come up with flavor ideas? Do you plan to introduce any new ones?

Our flavors are inspired by sugar in its several forms. Whether it’s an Oreo Cookie or a yummy Strawberry Cheesecake, we’re always trying to tap into the nostalgia people experience when they eat their favorite snack or dessert. We just like to deliver that nostalgia in the form of a cupcake. We’re always experimenting with new flavors and new ways to customize our lil’ cuppies. Keep your eyes peeled on our website for some new flavors we’re launching very soon!

Which of your cupcakes is most popular?

Our most popular cupcakes are our vanilla/vanilla cupcakes and our chocolate/chocolate cupcakes. It’s pretty interesting to see that although we can go buck-wild with funky flavors, the trend is that majority of our customers enjoy the "safe" flavors.

You do a lot of custom orders. What advice do you have for people placing custom orders? How specific should they be in their requests?

We do a ton of custom orders. Truth be told, they are my favorite ones to do because it provides me with an opportunity to get a little more creative. For example, we had a customer in Pennsylvania contact us about ordering some themed cupcakes for their company BBQ they were hosting in their backyard this summer. When I think of BBQs, I think of hamburgers, hot dogs, and watermelon. So why not decorate cupcakes with those on top? The customer loved the idea. So we put them together and shipped them out to her. She LOVED them and reportedly, they were a huge hit at the party.

We welcome and encourage any specifics the customers are willing to share. We just always want to exceed their expectations.

Do you have a favorite custom cupcake you’ve done or event you’ve catered?

Yes! Just a couple weeks ago, we catered a wedding. We were granted full artistic liberty with the design/construction of the cupcake tower, as well as with the design/decorations on the cupcakes. Here was the final result:

One of our other favorites were the American Idol Cupcakes--those were made for an American Idol finale party one of our customers were having. They were a HUGE hit!

American Idol Cupcakes

How many orders do you get in a typical week? How far in advance should orders be placed?
On average, we get about 30 cupcake inquiries a week. We encourage orders to be placed at least 3 to 4 days in advance.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about running The Sweet Tooth Fairy™?

My favorite part about running The Sweet Tooth Fairy™ is seeing a customer’s face light up when they taste our products. And seeing their reaction to their ideas that have come to life on this tiny little confection. My least favorite part is not having enough hours in the day to bake/create as much as I’d like.

You mention wholesale options on your website. Are you looking into having your cupcakes sold in local cafes or restaurants? Do you have plans to open your own storefront?

Currently, we are working with several vendors (from cafes to salons) to get our products in their stores. And the most exciting news yet is that we are just months away from opening a storefront. We are so stoked!

Why do you think cupcakes have become so popular lately?

It seems like we have evolved into a society of convenience. And what is more convenient than the perfect ratio of cake to frosting in the perfect proportion?
Couple that with the elegance and beauty these desserts can radiate, and voila! You’ve got yourself a hot ticket item.

How often do you eat cupcakes?

More often than I should.

What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?

Having the opportunity to totally indulge yourself. It is so worth the extra time on the Elliptical machine.

What's your favorite type of cupcake?

I’m an Equal Opportunity Cupcake Consumer….I accept, appreciate, and celebrate ALL types.

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

Although I’m a major respecter of cookies, cupcakes take the cake!!! ;)

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

Cupcakes are like Mary Poppins...practically perfect in every way. However, if there was a magic formula you could throw in the batter that would make every cupcake rise perfectly, then yes, I’d like to see that.

Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?

Yes, we bake our own.

What's your first cupcake-related memory?

My first cupcake-related memory was of a birthday party of mine. And I think that is the reason why to this day, one of my favorite cake flavors is Betty Crocker’s Rainbow Chip cake mix with store-bought Rainbow Chip Frosting—ironically enough.

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

One of my best friends and I made some lingerie cupcakes for a bridal shower. We had so much fun "designing" the tiny little sexy pieces of lingerie.

Do you have anything else to add?

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my story. I now spend my days building on the magic of my youth and making “sweet dreams come true.” I hope those of you who order our treats, will enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them for you Oh, and I'd love to give a "shout out" to my amazing helpers--all of whom make this business even possible every day -my hubby(Ethan), my brother (Johnny)/the rest of my fam, my cousins (Bryan and Reagan), and my besties (Linds, EJ, Laura). THANK YOU for your help, love, support, and inspiration! xoxo

Some bonus photos - Megan's baby and her cupcake decorated room:

BaileyBetty and the Cupcakes


teejay said…
Do you know what the crumbing technique for toppings is? sounds interesting.
Eunice said…
Hey there. The crumbing technique is sealing the crumbs so it dont get nasty with the rest of the frosting by frosting the cupcake with a thin layer of buttercream. You don't need to worry about the crumbs because this is the crumb layer. Put it in the fridge for 2 hours then when you take it out, you're ready for neat frosting and no crumb nightmares!

Great post, btw! Your baby is adorable, Megan! Wished we knew the secret of great vanilla frosting. :(
I heart Sweet Tooth Fairy. Megan is adorable. This makes me want to go to Salt Lake City...just to try one of her tasty cupcakes.