Vendor Highlight | Amy's Cupcake Shoppe
I could spend days talking to Amy Brace, owner of Amy's Cupcake Shoppe. Amy is one of the SWEETEST humans I have ever had the pleasure of chatting with while sharing martinis and fries. Her booming business is featured here today so you can learn a bit more about her, her team, and her tasty treats. And don't let the name fool you, they're more than just cupcakes 😉
AMY'S CUPCAKE SHOPPE | AMY BRACE
Give me a little background about you and how you got the bug to bake!
I have always baked with my mom ever since I was little. We would get together for Christmas cookies with all the ladies of the family, and come up with new fun cookies to make every year. My mom and I always love a challenge with new recipes, and of course watch all the wonderful and ridiculous baking shows. Watching Cupcake Wars really sparked my interest in learning more about the cake aspect of baking, since we mostly always did cookies, and quick breads. After making cupcakes for events, and making my first wedding cake I was hooked. I LOVED getting to come up with new fun flavors, and have been perfecting my recipes ever since.
Now give me a little background on how Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins, MN came about!
My first official year in the wedding business/cupcaking business was 2014. I got to make cakes for my first wedding in February, and later did four more weddings that year. I also did the Minnetonka Farmers’ Market that summer which helped me gain customers. In 2015 it was 36 weddings, and tons more birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and all the other occasion you need to celebrate with treats. After taking over the garage, kitchen, deck, downstairs, and multiple closets in my house, my husband and I decided it was time to look at a store front. We started looking at locations in November and decided on Hopkins. It’s a wonderful small town, and the 1.5 mile commute isn’t too bad either. By June 2016 we were up and running in our brand new brick & mortar on 7th and Mainstreet.
Your menu makes me drool allllll the time. What are the top 3 staff favorites when it comes to what you make over in that land of magic?
My absolute favorite is the Lemon Chiffon cupcake. Lemon cupcake filled with our homemade lemon curd, topped with vanilla buttercream and another dollop of lemon curd on top. Another favorite is our Wedding cake which is an almond cake topped with vanilla buttercream and rainbow nonpareil sprinkles. It’s simple and delicious. The last, but surely not least would be our salted caramel. A chocolate cupcake filled with our homemade salted caramel topped with vanilla buttercream, and another delicious dollop of caramel on top because, you know, why not.
Out of all of the desserts that you make, what do you find to be the most intensive/challenging?
French macarons are still the most challenging. Every batch always seems to be different from the amount the batter is mixed by each person differently, to the humidity in the air ever changing, and messing with the drying time. In the winter we are able to let the macarons rest for about an hour before baking, while in the summer it can be upwards of 3 hours waiting for them to rest. But the best part about them is making as many fun flavors as possible including savory flavors.
You’ve got a pretty kick-ass team of pastry chefs on staff. Give me just a quick snapshot of your bakers and who we can expect to work with
We have the BEST team at Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe. And even though we are small, we are mighty haha. We have two full-time bakers, Jenn and Katie. Katie I met during pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu, and Jenn I met on Instagram! Jenn has owned her own business in California called Fig & Moon Patisserie for 9 years. Her knowledge of cakes and everything pastries far surpasses mine, but together we all bring something very different to the table. Through our life experiences, and constantly learning from each other we have become incredible friends and the best workmates. We would not be where we are if it wasn’t for these two incredible women, and getting to work alongside them is an honor.
As we get into 2018, what are some dessert trends you are seeing in the wedding world?
We have been seeing more and more of everything that isn’t a traditional cake. We have done pies, mini tarts, mini parfaits, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, mini cupcakes, macarons, custom cookies and more. There are more and more allergy-friendly requests as well. Whether it be vegan, gluten-free, or nightshade free. It definitely feels like we have seen it all, and we have made a cake for those who have never been able to get cake before. Getting to make new and fun dessert tables have been so much fun. Everyone has different tastes in desserts, so why not make it fun, and enjoy all your favorite desserts at once!
If a couple wants to book you for their big day, what does that process usually look like when it comes to helping them figure out what to serve. (i.e. consultation, inspiration images, custom cakes, design etc.
We love getting to have couples come to the shoppe for tastings. We offer complimentary tastings with 3-4 flavors of cake/cupcakes, or if they are looking for other desserts, we are more than happy to make those as well. We always schedule at least an hour for tastings, as being rushed on eating dessert would obviously be the worst. Also, having people watch you eat isn’t the most comfortable situation, so we always let our couples enjoy the treats, and politely come over when they are done, or nearly done. Sometimes sugar comas take time to process! We always sit down with our couples making sure we understand their wedding vision. Every couple is different, and has different priorities when it comes to their wedding day. We want to make sure all the details match their vision, and who doesn’t love getting to eat treats while planning their wedding. We find the cake/treat tasting is usually one of the things they are looking forward to the most, and we agree! Whether the couple is on a budget, or the sky is the limit, we have options for them all.
Where do you get your pastry inspiration? (is there a secret world of pastry design that us normal people might not know about?)
Everywhere! Mostly going to the grocery store, and just walking around. There are so many unique flavors when you really slow down and look for them. Usually, we are always rushing to get the shopping done, so we can get back to all the other busy things we have to do, but really slowing down, smelling fruit, finding unique spices, and learning from others unique pairings has taught me to look at ingredients differently. Seeing other people’s creations only makes me want to come up with new fun combinations as well. Pinterest and Instagram of course, but we always love to come up with our own designs, but they are great to learn of new trends on the coasts before they come to the Midwest.
If you were given $100k to do anything with your business, what would you do?
I would give everyone a raise, and get ourselves an official delivery vehicle. Any and everything to make everyone’s jobs easier. During wedding season we could hire another baker to help with all the baking, and hire a professional delivery service to help with our setups. This all would allow us to take on more business, and get our yummy treats to more and more people. And save money in the bank of course because we all have to be reasonable sometimes.
What is the best part about working with couples to plan out their desserts?
The best part is when the couple is really passionate about their desserts. Like I said before, everyone has their priorities when it comes to their wedding day, and when it’s dessert, it’s our absolute favorite! Seeing a couple’s vision for their wedding day come together is all in a wonderful day’s work. The best part is making it easy. We talk through every detail, and make sure they know we will be there, on time, and with delicious treats. The less complicated we can make the whole process, the better.
Where can find Amy's Cupcake Shoppe
701 Mainstreet, Hopkins 55343 | 952-479-7516