Small Business Owner Living Her Dream
Shorewood’s upbeat bakery, Miss Cupcake
The building, previously a coffee/sandwich shop, was renovated into the charming bakery that owner and founder Ashley Weber had always dreamed of. “I fell in love with this space. I walked in and I just knew this is where I should be,” says Weber. Natural light fills the room and a pink wall serves as backdrop to the lovely bakery display counter and cozy seating area. “As a baker, when going into other bakeries, I would always feel, it’s so stark, it’s so cold and it’s not welcoming. But goodies should be welcoming!”
Reinventing the idea of “the bakery” is what Weber is all about, from the friendly milieu to the treats for sale. Weber says, “I think the thing that really makes us different is we offer such a wide variety. I wanted to make sure, as a boutique bakery, we have other goodies; that if somebody, heaven forbid, didn’t like our cupcakes, they have another reason to come in.”
Miss Cupcake offers a diverse array of delights, including brownies and bars, breads, cake balls, powerballs, cookies, breakfast pastries and scones, puppy chow, coffee, cold beverages and caramel corn. Those with gluten or lactose allergies can enjoy cotton candy spun in house, and vegan and gluten-free cupcakes are available by order, with the latter served in store Wednesdays and Saturdays. Miss Cupcake also offers “Man Cakes,”—witty, delicious man-based cupcakes. For example, the Beer Nut cupcake is Miller Highlife cake soaked in more Miller Highlife topped with a vanilla buttercream and then smashed into honey-roasted peanuts. “Man Cookies” are chocolate chip cookies rolled in treats like pretzels, potato chips and bacon. “I find a lot of our repeat customers are men. They’ve got a sweet tooth and we cater to them,” Weber says.
Weber uses local ingredients as often as possible in all her bakery and sells her boutique cupcakes at competitive prices ($2.50 each/$28 per dozen; gluten-free/vegan $2.75 each/$31 per dozen). “I don’t want everybody to have to take a second mortgage out just to buy a cupcake,” says Weber. “But in the same turn, know that they’re not going to be as inexpensive as some of the grocery stores or large box stores. The difference is we actually use real ingredients here.”
Some of her dazzling cupcake flavors include key lime, champagne pear, peach bellini, pink lemonade and cherry, alongside the usual vanilla, chocolate and red velvet. “I get inspiration from anything,” she says. “It’s fun! Cake shouldn’t be so serious.”
Her wildest flavor? “The Stout ’n’ Kraut was the ballsiest one we’ve tried,” she says. “That one’s really good and a customer favorite.”
Catering continues to be a large part of the business and Weber is excited to announce their newest service: Cotton Candy Catering. For any celebration, Miss Cupcake can spin fresh, nontraditional-flavored cotton candy on site. She’s currently working on red wine and beer flavors. “This is a gluten-free, kosher, vegan option. Plus, a little fun fact: a serving of cotton candy has less sugar than a 12-ounce can of soda. So it’s actually healthy—I mean, it’s practically a diet food!” jokes Weber.
Also in the works is an educational program called Camp Cupcake, where Weber will offer children a week-long experience at the bakery, during which they will safely create a healthy goodie each day. “A lot of kids have the dream of opening their own bakery,” says Weber. “I want to give them a taste of that—let them know that this was a pipe dream for me. I was just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary dream and I achieved it. I’m living my dream every day.”