“I dream about cupcakes,” said Sara Hannel, owner of the cupcake business Flour Power, as she adds marshmallows to the top of the daily cupcake, S’mores.
The made-from-scratch cupcake features a chocolate cake filled with marshmallow cream, topped with chocolate buttercream icing dipped in crushed graham crackers with toasted mini marshmallows and squares of a Hershey’s chocolate bar.
Hannel, of Washington, began selling cupcakes this past April at the Washington Farmers’ Market.
“People were in love with them,” she said, adding that customers loved trying new flavors each week.
During her first season at the market, Hannel strived to create four new cupcake recipes each week. She would have a theme each week, such as cookies, cocktails or “man flavors” like beer and bacon.
“I think about flavors that taste good together, and I think about ways to incorporate it into a cupcake to where it’s not just putting a topping on a regular vanilla or chocolate cupcake,” she said.
For example, margarita cupcakes have lime and tequila actually baked in to the cupcake. Lime salted frosting is added to the cupcake.
Hannel now bakes and sells her cupcakes through Big Boy’s Grilled Subs & Wings, located at 919 Jefferson St., She started the business in August. The daily flavor is posted on Facebook.
Hannel grew up baking. As an adult she baked treats for friends and family and work functions.
“My favorite book was ‘Mrs. Field’s Best Ever Cookie Book,’ ” she said. “I baked every recipe cover to cover when I was in middle school. It was my favorite thing.”
Hannel also remembers doing a book report on Mrs. (Sally) Fields, whose success story is Hannel’s overall inspiration for her business.
“She’s always kind of been an idol of mine. She went against the grain and made cookies popular,” she said.
For other inspiration, Hannel looks through old recipe books and visits international food stores. Alcohol, she said, is an untapped flavor source that has gone over well.
Baking was just a hobby until Hannel lost her job in January.
“I was thinking of ways that I could do something that I’ve really always wanted to do,” she said. “I think it was a big turning point, both professionally and personally. I’m getting to be creative and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Her husband, Matthew, encouraged her to start baking and selling cupcakes online. She began selling cupcakes on Facebook, at facebook.com/GoFlourPower. Her next step was to get affiliated with the farmers’ market.
“I thought it was just going to be a hobby. It’s just really taken off,” she said. “I get to wake up every day and do what I’ve always wanted to do. Baking is so much fun for me.”
Though she enjoys baking many treats, Hannel said she decided to focus on cupcakes because they’re fun.
“You can do anything that you want with a cupcake. You can turn any dessert that you can possibly think of into a cupcake,” she said. “They’re small, they’re easy to eat and they make people happy.”
Hannel said she enjoys trying new ingredients, creating new flavors — and of course, watching people’s reactions as they eat one of her cupcakes.
Hannel’s current goal is to launch an online cupcake store outside of Facebook.
This spring, she hopes to open a cupcake shop of her own in Washington and eventually hopes to branch into savory flavors.
Hannel offers desserts for special occasions, such as parties, work functions, weddings or birthdays.
The full menu is located on the Facebook page and is available at Big Boy’s. Those who want to order can do so at Big Boy’s, message on Facebook, or call Hannel, 314-630-8865, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is a flavor a customer wants, but doesn’t see, Hannel said she enjoys a challenge and takes requests.
“It makes me feel great to know that the community really enjoys the treats that I make,” she said.