As a countdown to the upcoming New Times Cupcake Battle at the 2011 Las Olas Wine and Food Festival on April 29, Clean Plate Charlie interviewed owners of the participating bakeries.
We emailed Heidi DePante, president of Spiked Bake Shop. DePante writes that her cupcakes are designed around classic cocktails by combining alcohol with baked goods. Bottoms up!
Clean Plate Charlie: How did the bakery get started?
Heidi DePante of Spiked Bake Shop: My husband, Matt, is a professional chef who went to culinary school. He spent several years working in some of the best restaurants in New York City. Ironically enough, he did not study pastry and is actually trained in French culinary arts. One night while baking some sweets for a catering event that my husband was doing with a friend the following day, we decided to add alcohol to a cookie batter to see how it would taste. It turned out delicious! Soon after, we started trying all sorts of different flavor combinations and handing them out to friends and family. We received great feedback from everyone, and that's when the light bulb sort of clicked -- hey, we can make a business out of this! So shortly after, we decided to pack up our small apartment in Manhattan and move to where we grew up in South Florida to start Spiked Baked Shop.
What is your signature cupcake or customer favorite cupcake?
I would say our customer favorite cupcake is probably the Top Shelf Margarita with the Irish Carbomb coming in a very close second place. The margarita is made from our vanilla batter and the classic ingredients of a margarita drink, which are tequila blanco, Grand Marnier, citrus, and salt. If you love chocolate, you'll love the Irish Carbomb. We use our chocolate batter and add the classic ingredients of an Irish Carbomb, which are Guinness Stout Beer, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Jameson Whiskey. The combination of bitter and sweet makes this one really good.
Will the signature cupcake be used for the cupcake battle?
After a long debate, we decided to go with our customer favorite, the Top Shelf Margarita. I think the margarita is extra special and surprising to people since we ask them if they would like their cupcakes with or without salt. The usual response we hear is something like, "Ummm, salt on my cupcake?" Yes, salt on your margarita cupcake... trust us.
What's your game plan for the cupcake battle?
We follow a mantra of "prepare properly, work smart, and for heaven sakes, DON'T DROP THE CUPCAKE BOX ON THE WAY INTO THE BATTLE!!!"
Why do you think your bakery will win the battle; what sets your store apart?
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We believe that what we make is very, very good and really think the entire concept is uniquely different from everyone else. Our menu is very simple and is designed around classic cocktails and alcohol combinations that we re-create into baked goods. Our signature menu has 12 flavors that you can have made into any of our sweets, which include cupcakes, brownie bites, and cake pops. If you want to try an Irish Carbomb cupcake, an Irish Carbomb brownie bite, and an Irish Carbomb cake pop, you can. We think that's something no one else has done before, and we hope the idea works and people love it as much as we do.