Friday, December 03, 2010
Sweethearts collaborate to create really cool cupcakes
The Wirtz couple creates fun and fancy desserts.
Courtesy of Hello My Sweet
Cupcakes assembled on Oreo crumbles to resemble a pumpkin patch
Courtesy of Hello My Sweet
Cupcake shaped to resemble a Thanksgiving dinner entree, complete with stuffing and greens
HUONG FRALIN | Laker Weekly
Chocolate cupcakes with peppermint butter cream icing and gingerbread with lemon buttercream
HUONG FRALIN | Laker Weekly
Heather Hagler and Jason Snyder of Wirtz opened a cupcake business together a few months ago.
In the epic battle of Jason Snyder versus Laffy Taffy, Snyder has emerged victorious.
He and his fiancee, Heather Hagler, launched a cupcake business a few months ago, specializing in fun designs that use candies and cookies to create 3-D toppings. Snyder said Laffy Taffy is a staple in this emerging cupcake style because when the candy is melted, it can be shaped into designs that hold when cooled. Problem is, it's sticky stuff.
"It does stick to just about any surface that you try to roll it out on," said Snyder. "When you warm it up and melt it, it tends to bond to things."
Snyder tried flattening the melted candy on everything he could think of -- parchment paper, glass, wood -- but it kept sticking. The taffy even stuck to the rolling pin.
Finally, Hagler had an epiphany: Nothing sticks to silicone. With her silicone baking mat in his arsenal, Snyder won the war.
The Wirtz couple uses Laffy Taffy in a variety of their cupcake creations, including a few on their garden-theme menu. It features cupcakes topped with chocolate butter cream frosting and crumbled Oreo cookies to resemble dirt. For the vegetables, the pea pods are sour apple Laffy Taffy and the peas are lime Skittles. The taffy also provides the greenery for the garden's orange Starburst carrots.
The garden idea came from the book "Hello, Cupcake!" by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Snyder's daughter gave Hagler, a dessert-making enthusiast, a copy for her last birthday. The book is filled with creative cupcake ideas.
"I guess it inspired her so much that one day out of the blue, she said, 'We are going to have the cupcake business,'" recalled Snyder.
With that, Hello My Sweet was born. Hagler said she's always trying to come up with innovative and creative things she and Snyder can do together and the cupcake business seemed a perfect fit.
"We picked our favorites out of the book," said Hagler. "In doing those, we've learned how to do more."
They've been coming up with their own ideas, sometimes on the fly. After swearing off the daunting task of creating heads of lettuce for the garden, which involves coloring corn flakes green and assembling the "leaves" carefully in a bloom, Snyder came up with the idea of using caramels to make potatoes. When dusted with cinnamon, they look freshly dug from the earth.
Hello My Sweet offers a variety of themed cupcakes, including ones for the holidays. For Thanksgiving, the couple made turkeys complete with candy corn beaks, feet and feathers; and owls with banana Runts for beaks and Oreos and M&M's for eyes.
Hagler said Hello My Sweet makes more than fun, themed cupcakes; they make fancy mini cupcakes, too. Breakfast blend -- French toast cake, maple butter cream frosting and crispy bacon bits -- and Classically Trained -- double vanilla cake, vanilla butter cream frosting and sugar pearls -- are two of many.
"When it comes to a gathering of adults, they much prefer the small gourmet flavors as opposed to the big, cute cupcakes," said Hagler. "In order to succeed in this area, we need to cover our bases on both sides."
Hello My Sweet's seasonal holiday flavors -- chocolate with peppermint butter cream, gingerbread with lemon and eggnog with brandy -- will make their debuts Saturday at The Little Gallery's annual holiday open house. Snyder said the brandy is the real deal, so this flavor is for adults only.
Snyder said when making cupcakes, he and Hagler use an assembly-line approach. She makes the cakes and icing; he makes the cute decor. Hagler said Snyder is very detail-oriented.
"Jason and I are both creative types," she said.
They're also perfectionists, said Snyder, which can lead to trouble in the kitchen.
"We butt heads," said Hagler. "In the end, it's a benefit; during the process, it's a hindrance."
The solution sometimes is to stay on opposite ends of the kitchen, said Snyder. Their hours working often are early or late, as the couple tries to work around their children's waking hours.
"We do a lot of work at night after the kids go to bed," said Hagler. "There have been some occasions where I have gotten up at six to start baking before everyone gets up as well."
That could change in the future. Although the couple said they have no desire to operate a retail store with regular business hours -- their business is order-based, with 15-mile delivery included -- they're keeping their options open.
"If the need arises, we could always explore the possibility," said Hagler, adding they may expand beyond cupcakes as well.
With no store overhead, Hello My Sweet's prices can remain low, said Hagler. Mini cupcakes are $1, regulars are $2 and jumbos are $3. A minimum of a dozen is required per order. For now, Snyder and Hagler said they're content working from home as they fight sleep and taffy to create what Snyder calls "awesome cupcakes."
For more information about Hello My Sweet, call 719-2896. hellomysweet.me