Wednesday, February 4, 2009

c u p c a k e : l o v e : s t o r y

Welcome to my blog Sheryl's Cupcakes. I simply adore baking cupcakes and these are my stories.

I pondered and pondered on different names for my dream cupcake bakery (that I'll open one day) but couldn't come up with something that stuck. So that's why I named it Sheryl's Cupcakes. Something simple..short..sweet. When that name pops into my head in a dream I'll have one night, I'll rename for now it's Sheryl's Cupcakes. Tin drew the logo for me one day, late at night when I was feeling moody for some reason and then sent it to me on MSN Messenger...I think it's adorable.

I have a real fascination with cupcakes that all started a few years ago when I went on a trip to New York. Before my trip to NYC, cupcakes to me were just a sweet treat from a bakery. I didn't think they were anything special and to be honest the cupcakes from the bakeries here in Melbourne are very standard, dry, unexciting with icky icing. Even the ones at Michels Patisserie are pretty gross..dry and tasteless. I bought once bought one from there so I could give it a try and it was also raising money for Breast Cancer but when I took that first bite I was rather disappointed, I should have just donated my money instead. There are, however a few other dedicated Cupcake shops in Melbourne, which I will touch on a bit later on.

So my fascination with cupcakes came about when I went to NY and I went on the Sex and the City tour bus, they took us to several different locations in NY where SATC scenes have been shot. They took us to the Magnolia Bakery and if they didn't show us the scene where Carrie and Miranda were eating cupcakes I wouldn't even have remembered it at all. So the tour guides told us about the Magnolia Bakery and how popular their cupcakes were and how they sold over 10,000 cupcakes a week. They then gave us a cupcake each for morning tea which were made by Magnolia's sister bakery (since they were so popular at Magnolia they couldn't cater for large groups and usually you can't buy more than a dozen). Then came my first bite of a real cupcake. And yes it was good...they were so simple, pretty and so much better than any other crappy amateur cupcake I had ever eaten in my life. It was moist, buttery with a delicious vanilla aroma and a sweet buttercream, I was impressed.

Then my curiosity for cupcakes started to grow... I wondered how one little cupcake could cause such a big craze in the States. I mean I knew that obviously the Americans love their food...and when I mean food I mean fast food, greasy food, sweet food, fried food, chocolates, super sized sodas, candy, all things in artificial cherry flavour (which is my favourite flavour by the way and yes I know it tastes like the panadol syrup we used to take when we were young.. I still love it). It was extremely hard to even find a supermarket that sold fresh fruit or veggies, perhaps I was just looking in the wrong place. I started reading up on cupcakes and recipes on the net, I have been following Cupcakes Take The Cake blog for a couple of years now, it's my favourite favourite blog on cupcakes and just like how most people have this one website they must visit every single day (whether it be the
news or manga) this is mine. And oh how wished I would get my cupcakes featured on their blog one day, my wish came true this year when they featured my Happy New Year 2009 Cupcakes! I was ecstatic.

I think it was almost a year after I ate my Magnolia cupcake that I tried to bake my own cupcakes. I used the Magnolia Bakery recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes and used my mini oven (cos my big oven was broken back then) along with my hand mixer. They didn't turn out that great but I brought them into work and everyone was giving me praise about them. And I'm not a great cook nor have I really baked anything in my life. I thought wow that was easy and it was actually really fun. Messy but fun.

So my love for cupcakes grew and grew...any chance I would get I would bake cupcakes. Everyone at work knows me for my cupcakes and whenever I send an email around that I've brought cupcakes in, they disappear within minutes. I mean it sounds corny to be bringing in baked goods into work, especially when you're an IT Consultant and expected to be professional...but I think it creates a fun atmosphere and when it's a team environment we all need to co-operate and share, it's helped me build relationships with a lot of my colleagues. So even though some may think it's weird move to make in bringing baked goods, food to work in case you don't look professional enough for a promotion, it could possibly be true in some aspect but I don't care because I really don't intend to be a consultant for the rest of my life. Sure the pay may be great but my real passion and drive is to bake! Just like some might have a passion for dancing, singing, acting, painting and have made a real living out of it. My goal, that I am working towards (and not just dreaming about anymore) is to be able to bake, create new and amazing cupcake flavours, construct amazing looking cupcakes using my creativity and not work! I think life is too short and so this blog is helping me to keep moving towards this goal of mine.

My first step is the Sandown Chinese New Year festival that is going to be held this weekend. I intend to make 200-300 cupcakes. I don't plan to make a profit but it is more like a learning experience for me. And to those that have bought a cupcake and are now reading this blog. THANK YOU. Feel free to drop me a comment or feedback on my cupcakes.




  1. Hi Sheryl,

    I just stumbled across your blog while trying to find information on selling baked goods at local markets. Much of what you mentioned in earlier entries rang true with what I am going through at the moment.

    I am based in Brisbane and share your passion for baking. I hope to set up a small business selling my goods at markets in Brisbane. I had planned to bake the goods from my home kitchen, however after spending a day (most of it spent listening to on-hold music) chasing the Brisbane City Council, I have discovered that I need a food licence and registered kitchen to be able to sell the baked goodies.

    I was wondering if you baked your cupcakes from a commercial kitchen or from home. As I am just starting out, leasing a kitchen is probably not feasible given my budget. I am really excited about getting this business up and going and very determined to make a go of it. Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated!



  2. Hi Jess,

    That's great you've decided to start selling your baked goods, it's the first step!

    I'm in the final stages of getting my home kitchen registered and yes, the council tends to take their time getting back to you. I have left them many messages with no call backs but you just have to keep pestering them..nicely. For the markets, I have to bake my cupcakes in a commercial kitchen - luckily one of my mum's good friends own a bakery close by so I'm able to borrow their kitchen for a few hours when I bake. Although as you can imagine, it's not as convenient as baking at home. I've also had to get a permit from my local council to sell them at the markets.

    You will need to contact the Council or read up on the website about starting food business from home. It should tell you what regulations you need to comply with and what you'll need installed in your kitchen. For example, in Victoria we have to install a hands-free automatic hand basin.

    You may also need to complete a Food Safety Supervisor course and obtain a certificate but again you'll need to check with your local city council. I've also had to create a Food Safety Program for my home business and update the records whenever I bake.

    The council tend to charge yearly fees for food registration at home and also permit to sell food at the markets...hopefully Brisbane charges a lot less the Victoria.

    It sounds like a long winded process but you just need to keep at it and keep contacting the council. My advice is, prepare yourself to be persistent with this as it won't take a week. The council may drag it on for a month or two (it's been two for me!) but perhaps you might get lucky and have someone who's really responsive. My guess is that they normally prioritise the larger food premises like restaurants first before they bother with small home businesses *sigh*

    Well all the best and I really hope that helps!

    Thanks for reading my blog
    x Sheryl

  3. Hi Sheryl,
    I used to work with you at BE and someone sent me the link to your site/blog/cupcake pics. Well done, they look amazing!
    Congratulations on Cupcake central as well.
    The site looks gorgeous.
    Take care.
    xxx, mish.

  4. Hi Sheryl

    I too have a great passion for baking - I took my first decorating course a little over a year ago and I'm hooked! There's nothing more rewarding then making people happy with food you have lovingly prepared and decorated. I just wish I could do it full time!

    I have a question regarding registering your home kitchen (if it's ok to ask) - you mentioned installing a hands free automatic sink but what (if any) were the other requirements? I've heard of people needing a separate fridge for their supplies, etc but would be interested to know what your council requirements were. My current kitchen is not suitable for registration (given I live in an open plan townhouse with a cat)! My husband and I are currently looking to buy a new house so I am hoping we can find one with a garage, shed or bungalow that may be appropriate for fitting out with a kitchen. Of course, we will have to wait to see what area we end up in before I can start contacting councils to find out what their requirements are.

    Any help you could provide would be greatfully received :)


  5. Hi Sheryl
    Have you lived the dream and started you cup cake shop??

    1. Hi Shane, Thanks for your post. Yes I have indeed. I'm actually in the middle of publishing my first cook book writing my thanks and acknowledgement and feeling very very lucky to be where I am today. My business has turned into not one but two cupcake stores with a third on the way.

      Anything is possible, if you believe in yourself!

      x Sheryl

  6. Wow... was thinking of getting some side income, baking and selling at markets but didn't know that there is SO much regulations to comply with.. bake in a commercial kitchen?

    Love your cupcakes!! Had them at my friend's wedding last Oct and it was SUPERBLY delicious! Love your icing that was sweet but not too sweet!

    My hubby who isn't big on sweet food loved your cupcakes that he had second serving which is very rare!!

  7. You know, I'm not sure whether you still read this side of blog because you move your blog to the cupcake central but I just need to tell you how HUGELY inspiring this blog for me. I just stumbled upon your blog this week and I read all your post from first to last because it's so inspiring to read about how you first dream on making baking for a living until now that I've read that you have your own cupcakery and even publish your own cupcake book! Your post makes me realize that whatever you're dreaming, as long as you work hard and have a passion for it, it can come true! Thank you, thank you so much :) I'm a designer and dreaming to have my own wedding invitation design house someday, and I WILL work hard to achieve it just like you did :) Please, keep up the wonderful work that you do and keep inspiring others.

    Love from Indonesia!

    1. Hi There! Yes I still get comment notifications now and then and so happy to see that people are reading my blog and my journey so far. Yes anything can happen when you put your mind to it - never take NO for an answer. I truly believe if you're doing what you're meant to be doing with your life, you will never fail because every mistake you make brings you closer to success. I've had my bad days but I've had very super amazing days that I wouldn't be experiencing had I not ventured out to do what I've always wanted to do my whole life. Wishing you all the best on your journey and believe me - the hard work, sweat and tears will pay off. x Sheryl

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  10. Hi Sheryl,

    I liked your post very much. I hope that your business must be doing great. How was this new year?, you must be celebrating 6th birthday of cupcakes central. :)

    I also run a online cake delivery portal(, delivering cakes across Jaipur (India). I am also working on a blog related to the portal and trying to make it informative so that everyone like to read.

    Would like to continue reading your blog.