Bolingbrook girl has sweet dreams for her cupcake business
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News May 30, 2012 2:24PM
A sampler platter of Cupcake Maniac cupcakes. Ashly Hamilton, 12 of Bolingbrook owns and operates the cupcake service. Submitted Photo
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:35AM
BOLINGBROOK — Pink lemonade. Burger time. Trophy. Blueberry Pop Tart. Marguerita.
These are just some of the warm-weather cupcake and cake-pop flavors 12-year-old entrepreneur Ashley Hamilton offers as part of her year-old business, Cupcake Maniac.
“I have many different cupcakes and I’m always adding to the list of flavors,” said Ashley, who will attend classes at Wilton this summer to fine-tune her fondant skills.
Other summer flavors include raspberry bliss, strawberry lemonade, pina colada, strawberry lime, watermelon, lemonade fizz. The mysterious “burger time” is actually a chocolate and vanilla twist.
Cold-weather combinations are chocolate mint with a peppermint creme filling, white chocolate raspberry with white chocolate hard frosting, caramel with apple pie filling and caramel frosting, pumpkin pie with caramel cheesecake filling and pumpkin pie frosting, black forest cherry cordial, hot cocoa, death by chocolate, peanut butter kisses, sugar cookie and eggnog.
During Christmas, Ashley’s most popular varieties were Santa’s favorite (chocolate with mixture of candies) and reindeer flight (oatmeal caramel). Last December, Ashley filled up to nine customer orders a day. The largest — 12 dozen — went to a single family.
“On Christmas Eve, my mom told me I had another order. I was ready to give up,” Ashley said. “But she was only joking.”
One such customer was Kelli Rizzo, a volunteer at Brookfield Zoo. Twice, Rizzo has ordered three dozen of Ashley’s cupcakes. At Christmas, it was reindeer flight and Santa’s favorite topped with paper animals. For Valentine’s Day, Ashley added red sprinkles to the top of red velvet cupcakes.
“Everyone couldn’t believe how moist and flavorful the cupcakes were,” Rizzo said. “They kept coming back for seconds and thirds.”
Ashley had always enjoyed baking with her mother, Karen Thacker, but her interest accelerated around age 8, when Ashley started accepting baking requests from other family members and their friends.
Last year, Ashley considered expanding her pastry services into a regular business. Thacker, who, with her husband Steve owns and operates SNK Sales, a buyer and reseller of consumer goods, encouraged Ashley to follow her dreams.
“I believe it’s always best to work for yourself than for someone else,” Thacker said. “She might as well get started young.”
Although Ashley enjoys all types of baking, she decided to focus on cupcakes, since they’re small and she could easily scale orders up and down. She then created and added cake pops, a cupcake on a wooden stick to resemble suckers.
“Cake pops can be difficult and messy, but in the end, it’s so worth it,” Ashley said.
Ashley sells her cupcakes for $15 a dozen and can create any celebratory theme the customer desires. Delivery is available for a nominal fee. No order, Ashley promises, is too big or too small for her attention.
Order by calling 415-5-MANIAC or email email@example.com.
For more information, visit Ashley’s website at www.cupcakemaniac.vpweb.co or find Cupcake Maniac on Facebook.