Little Miss Cupcakes opens in BGWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Indulge in one of Little Miss Cupcakes’ treats and you might have almost as much fun as Angela Bowen and her daughters do making them.
You’ll see this when you walk through the doors and step foot on the black-and-white tile. Amid an interior of pastels and Elvis memorabilia, retro car parts and street signs, Bowen and her crew are busy behind the counter.
They are molding shapes from sugar and stirring together cake batter.
Aug. 7 was opening day for the family’s Downtown Bowling Green location, 133 E. Wooster St. They made about 20 dozen cupcakes and had a couple dozen left. Bowen expects a typical baking day to yield about 30 to 40 dozen.
“We’re wild,” said Bowen’s daughter Rachel.
Her mother giggles and recalls some of the stranger requests they’ve received. Multilayer zebra print cake? No problem. Edible fishing lures? Sure.
Here, anything goes, even if you walk in wanting whiskey as an ingredient. The family-run business has a growing repertoire of 40 different flavors, and the case is filled with at least eight every day. This includes banana split, red velvet, Almond Joy, margarita, peanut butter, s’mores and maple bacon.
And of course, there’s always the staple: Oreos. Bowen’s 13-year-old daughter Stacey Cooper-Bowen crafted the Oreo cupcake. Piled atop an Oreo base sits a hunk of vanilla cake, stuffed with Oreo pieces and finished with an inch-and-a-half high mound of cream frosting. Just peeling back the paper wrapper releases a scent that might only be reproduced if you stuck your face in a cookie jar.
This little cake laid the foundation for the shop. While Stacey’s mother baked custom cakes for friends and a few clients from her home kitchen, Stacey entered her Oreo cupcake into the Portage River Festival in Elmore in June 2011. She won first place.
“She said, ‘Mom we should open a cupcake shop! I could do my cupcakes you could do your cakes,” Bowen said.
They opened a shop in the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green in November 2011. With a small convection oven and a tiny kitchen, they started taking orders for weddings, baby showers, birthdays and other festivities. But, Stacey said, as stores in the mall continued to close around them, it was time for a move.
The new shop took a couple of months to set up, requiring endless days of installing flooring, running electrical wiring and plumbing and ordering baking equipment from as far as Florida. Bowen also scoured flea markets and garage sales to give her shop that 1950s feel.
Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes cost $1.75 and gourmet cupcakes cost $2. A dozen costs $20. The shop also sells cake pops for $1.75, Rice Krispies Treats “dips” for $1.75 and smoothies, milkshakes and coffee drinks for up to $4.50 depending on the size. Hot dogs and sandwiches are also on the menu, costing between $2 and $3.50.
The mother-daughter tradition began in Bowen’s childhood. Bowen helped her mother make chocolate candies as a young girl, and those memories drove her to continue baking. She held on to many of those recipes anad combining them with her own experiments became therapy — a relaxing break from her job as a hospice nurse.
Bowen uses some of her mother’s recipes for frosting. But as for most of her concoctions? She won’t follow the books. Anything you try at Little Miss Cupcakes is the result of trial-and-error: Bowen and her daughters mix ingredients that they think will work. Sometimes, they don’t. But they’ll keep trying until they get the perfect formula. Coca-Cola cupcakes are in the works.
“I love the creativity of it. I love when we get wacky orders,” Bowen said. “And everyone’s happy — cupcakes make people happy.”
Stacey wants to continue the tradition when she grows up.
“Hopefully,” Bowen said, looking at her daughter with a grin. “This will all be yours someday.”