Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 6:36 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alaska moms, cupcake-makers inspired by TV show

By Suzanna Caldwell
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Those craving cupcakes don't have to settle for store-bought cake mix anymore now that A&K Cupcakes are in town.

Friends and avid bakers Hailey Witt and Rebekah McGlinchy decided they wanted to start a business but weren't sure doing what. After watching a few episodes of the Food Network Show "Cupcake Wars," they decided to start their own cupcake business.

"Any girl loves to bake and make something pretty and watch people 'ooh' and 'ahh' over it," McGlinchy said.

By August, the business was up and going. It's a labor of love for the two — so much so that they named it after their two children, McGlinchy's son Asher and Witt's daughter Katie.

And these cupcakes are not the average bake sale-style cupcakes. No cupcake is too complex for the duo to attempt. They can do traditional vanilla bean or chocolate or more complex ones like chocolate raspberry or pina colada. They try to make the cupcakes with natural products that are local when possible. Despite a broad menu, they are happy and willing to take requests.

Despite McGlinchy's love of cupcake TV shows, she said they aren't trying to copy anyone. Every cupcake they bake comes from research and their own recipes.

For example, the chocolate raspberry cupcake is chocolate cake, filled with homemade raspberry filling, topped with chocolate mousse frosting sprinkled with raspberry-infused sugar. The s'mores cupcake: a graham cracker crust, baked under chocolate cake with an insert of ganache with a marshmallow-like Swiss meringue frosting that's toasted to add that extra s'more taste.

Sometimes it means a few experiments, and some that don't turn out. But McGlinchy said their families benefit from the extras.

Since starting business has been steady.Witt said the holidays were extra busy, with businesses wanting cupcakes for parties and gifts. During that time they started selling individual cupcake boxes.

A dozen standard cupcakes are $25, with a minimum order of a dozen. For mini-cupcakes it's $10 per dozen with a minimum order of three dozen. A&K also does single cupcakes that come in a decorated box, but require a minimum order of one dozen at $3.50 each. Usually they only need one day's notice to fill an order unless it's very large.

Witt said for now the business has been based mostly on word of mouth. They hope to one day have their own store front, or at least rent a kitchen and have a "mini store front" at a restaurant.

"It's so hard with Fairbanks, restaurants come and go," Witt said. "But we'd love to do that. That would be our ultimate goal."