Tallahassee, FL - Hostess cupcakes and twinkies may be disappearing.. but there are plenty of pastries to take their place!
I should know.. after all, the latest "Art, do my job" had me slinging the batter and frosting the goodies at a little place called Lucy and Leo's Cupcakery in Tallahassee!
Who doesn't like cupcakes? They're your own personal pastries- just big enough to satisfy .. and small enough that you won't totally blow your diet! This little cupcake shop in Tallahassee was inspired by an even smaller one in England.
Jean Bates, a Co-owner of Lucy & Leo's Cupcakery says
"In London, in Notting Hill, we found a tiny pastry shop and they were cranking out just cupcakes."
She was vacationing at the time with friend Paula Lucas and they got a glimpse of their future that day.
So when they got back home.. they got to work. Lucy and Leo's cupcakery was born-- named after Jean's dog Leo and his girlfriend next door!
"We borrowed people's kitchens and we were assembling at Railroad Square on a card table," says Jean.
Like a cupcake in the oven, the profits started to rise. After a few months they opened this place on Thomasville Road near mid-town.
When i arrived, they found me an apron and put me right to work filling cupcake pans with banana batter.
Head baker Carol Christensen is a genius when it comes to creating a better batter.. but even she's not perfect. Says Carol, " the reason we're making this batter right now is that I messed it up the first time! "
But Carol's too humble. The owners love her batters for everything from the classics like red velvet.. to gluten free and vegan versions.
Our banana cupcakes were ready, and I couldn't resist grabbing one and wolfing it down!
Carol spotted me and playfully chased me out of the kitchen with a rolling pin.
The cupcakes I didn't eat were ready for frosting.
Co-Owner Paula Lucas and I whipped up some butter cream frosting using real Madagascar vanilla bean. It's a much thicker and richer version of the usual vanilla bean extract. Paula started expertly frosting some cupcakes and asked me to give it a try.
But I wasn't so great at it. My first attempt ended with gaps in the frosting and a too-pointy top! But as I got better I was able to finish an entire small tray.My dreams of making this my second career were shattered when i asked Jean what she'd do with my masterpieces.
" I think we're gonna chop 'em up and give 'em away for samples," she said.
Jean says an appearance on the Food Network's 'Cupcake Wars' helped put Lucy and Leo's on the map when they came in second.
But it was a thief that really put the frosting on the cake.. taking their company car right out of the driveway!
"..With my logos on it. They took it for a joy ride and used it for an armed robbery. But it was great for sales!"
So do the folks at Lucy and Leo's have any advice for those of us baking our own goodies during the holidays?
Head Baker Carol says "Have fun with it. Don't take it seriously. Make a mess. Try different things.
It's supposed to be fun!."