Yuba City cupcake shop cashes in on trend
Yuba City, meet your first cupcake shop.
Tami Davis, 53, and her daughter, Laurie Porter, 32, teamed up last month to open Yuba City’s first gourmet cupcake shop, Cupcake Magic, last month.
Davis and Porter sell 12-14 flavors a day at their Plumas Street store. Staples include red velvet and raspberry-filled chocolate. Seasonal flavors include pumpkin ginger, gingerbread cupcake topped with a Zinfandel butter cream frosting and a candy cane cupcake slathered with vanilla frosting and candy cane shards.
“People get excited over cupcakes,” Davis said.
Cupcakes have been all the rage all over. They’ve been featured on multiple TV shows, sold on food trucks and featured in cupcake blogs. Grocery stores are selling more and more of them each year and shops have popped up all over the Central Valley the last few years.
Other Yuba City stores have hocked them, including The Cookie Tree and Cakes by Nancy, but Cupcake Magic is the first cupcake-centered shop.
Davis and Porter are trying to catch a wave that started in larger cities.
Cupcakes are selling like hot cakes across the country. Over the last five years, cupcake sales increased between 9 and 13 percent each year, according to the Perishables Group, a Chicago-based fresh food consulting firm.
Porter, at least initially, raised an eyebrow. She knew cupcakes were the new “it” thing, but feared they’d missed the boat.
Her mother disagreed. Cupcakes might be passé in New York, but people in the Yuba-Sutter area would eat it up.
“We’re right on cue for Yuba City,” Davis said.
“Cupcakes are thriving because they meet many current consumer hot buttons — indulgence, single-serve and convenience,” said Kelli Beckel with Perishables Group.
Cupcakes are “old news” in cities like New York and Los Angeles, where the trend started five or six years ago. Now, they’re trickling down to rural areas. “They’re just hitting the smaller cities,” Beckel said.
Cupcakes aren’t new, but paying $3 to $5 for one is, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president with Technomic, a food industry research firm. Eaters are redefining what they’re willing to pay for them, like they did when Starbucks created new expectations about coffee. People then started shelling out $5 for a grande mocha frappuccino.
All of a sudden, cupcakes weren’t something you made in bulk at home or even bought by the dozen. It was something special, a treat.
“It really became a nice, affordable indulgence,” Tristano said.
Cupcakes have weathered the economy well because they are an affordable luxury, he said and eaters don’t have to buy a whole cake to enjoy something sweet and unnecessary.
After the New Year arrives, Davis and Porter plan to unveil their new creation, a Guinness cupcake slathered with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting.