“Who doesn’t love cupcakes?” That is what Cherries Cupcakes’ owner Sherry Nash and her sister Carrie Chapin are asking, as they promote the new bakery at 150 South Main Street in Newtown. It is “Everything Cupcakes,” inside the bakeshop, where the little cakes are the only bakery product to be found.
Cherries Cupcakes opened March 20, with Ms Nash and Ms Chapin overseeing the production in the kitchen, and counter manager Robin Esposito keeping customers happy in the front end. The response has been “wonderful,” they said.
“Everybody who comes in and looks at the cupcakes can’t help but smile,” said Ms Chapin, “and then buy one.”
“We’ve always baked at home. I worked years ago at Chesebrough-Ponds in Trumbull, in the food division, making new food products,” Ms Nash said. After a break from the working world when her children were young, she decided she wanted to get back in the food business.
Her sister had also reached a time in her life when her children were older, and having run corporate cafeterias and worked for wedding venue sites, Ms Chapin knew that she enjoyed the food business. Her background in accounting is a boon to the fledgling business, as well.
“Cupcakes are big, all over the world. We were ready for a new adventure,” Ms Nash said.
The business is a family business, with their parents, Nancy and Bill Harkins, driving in from Ansonia to help wash dishes, and their high school aged children pitching in on the weekends. One or both of the sisters is always on site during the store hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 am to 5:30 pm.
The name for the specialty bakery is derived from a combination of the sisters’ names, and also from the signature topping that goes on select cupcakes: a maraschino cherry. But not just any red maraschino cherry; the sisters have a variety of differently colored and flavored maraschino cherries that add the finishing touch to the made-from-scratch cupcakes.
“All of our cupcakes are handmade daily,” said Ms Nash, and then retracted that statement: “No, we’ve been so busy, it’s more like they are made fresh hourly!” Thirty pounds of AA butter each day goes into the making of the buttercream frosting that is swirled over each cupcake. The cupcakes might be drizzled with high quality Belgium chocolate or threads of paradoxically sweet yet salty caramel.
Cherries Cupcakes uses only fresh apples, never canned or frozen, in making the cupcake that looks to be the hometown favorite, to date. The Grandma’s Apple Crumb Cupcake is a big seller, featuring a cinnamon crumb topping over a cinnamon vanilla frosting.
“Our signature cupcake is doing well, too,” said Ms Nash. “That’s the Chocolate-covered Cherry Cupcake.” The cupcake itself is cherry flavored, with cherry frosting drizzled in chocolate and finished off with a chocolate-covered cherry.
One popular cupcake that does not get the classic buttercream frosting is the chocolate ganache cupcake, topped instead with the sisters’ own rich and silky Callebaut chocolate and cream confection.
Customers are discovering cupcake flavors they do not find elsewhere, like the fresh lemon cupcake with lemon frosting, said Ms Nash, and appreciate the quality ingredients that go into the cupcakes. Cherries Cupcakes uses only Valrhona cocoa for the chocolate cupcakes, Callebaut Belgian chocolate for frosting and toppings, and Madagascar vanilla to flavor the vanilla cupcakes. Fruit cupcakes use only fresh fruit. “With everything fresh, it makes a big difference in the end product. Top quality ingredients mean you get a top quality product,” said Ms Nash.
Even the Red Velvet Cupcake uses only a minimal amount of natural red food coloring. The red color gets a head start from the interaction of the chocolate and buttermilk in the batter, said Ms Chapin.
Customers will find nothing other than cupcakes in the display case, but they will find cupcake novelty items for sale at Cherries Cupcakes. Necklaces, lip gloss, knitted caps are cupcake themed, while other small items, like a dump truck ice cream spoon or a sparkly tiara, are perfect birthday favor gifts for the one-stop birthday party shopper.
Special occasions shine when cupcakes take center stage, said the bakers, but a special cupcake stand makes the party memorable. Cherries Cupcakes stocks a variety of easy-to-assemble cardboard cupcake stands for any special event. Birthday children will be thrilled to have the cupcakes hidden throughout a princess’s castle or riding atop a tractor-trailer. A Peter Rabbit-themed carousel is ideal for a baby shower, and use the flower bedecked birdcage stand as a centerpiece at a bridal shower.
Cupcakes are extremely popular for children’s birthday parties or other celebrations for young people, said Ms Chapin, as there is no muss or fuss involved. “You don’t need a plate, a fork, or a knife to serve cupcakes,” she pointed out. Everybody gets his or her own personal cake, and there is no arguing over who gets which decoration on the cake, either, she laughed.
Cupcakes can be purchased individually at Cherries Cupcakes for $2.75; six for $15; or a dozen for $29. For orders of two dozen or more, the store requires a three-day notice. Orders of two dozen or more are sold by the dozen of a single variety, or customers can elect the “baker’s choice” for a variety of assorted flavors. Customers are encouraged to stop by to see the various types of cupcakes available, or call 203-491-2502 to place an order.
“People are excited for something new in town,” said Ms Nash, “and we love it!”
Cherries Cupcakes is at 150 South Main Street, Newtown, across from the Citgo station on Route 25. The bakery is open 11:30 am to 5:30 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. For information or to place an order, call 203-491-2502.