These cupcakes take the cake!

Remember when cupcakes were just something your mom baked as a classroom treat for your birthday? The cupcake universe has expanded greatly in recent years. Cupcakes are chic, cheeky and creative confections.

3 Stark County women, 3 thriving businesses

Remember when cupcakes were just something your mom baked as a classroom treat for your birthday? The cupcake universe has expanded greatly in recent years. Cupcakes are chic, cheeky and creative confections.

Where slices of cake are unwieldy, cupcakes are portable desserts. Even the design possibilities are appealing.

A trio of ambitious and imaginative young women who love to bake have launched successful gourmet-cupcake businesses from their home kitchens in Canton and Massillon. Coincidentally, the three look enough alike to be sisters.

Read on for their stories. A word of warning: Descriptions of their products may make you drool.

QUEEN GEORGE’S CUPCAKES

Custom cupcake decorating sets Queen George’s apart

When it comes to cupcakes, Jordan Goos certainly has a flair for flavors. One of the most popular items on her Queen George’s Cupcakes menu is a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel filling and chocolate buttercream frosting, sprinkled with sea salt.

And then there’s the cupcake with a double-stuffed Oreo baked inside, with crumbled Oreos atop the vanilla buttercream icing. And the Key lime one: A graham-cracker crust, Key lime cream filling and coconut frosting.

Nonetheless, custom cupcake decorating is her declared specialty.

“The thing that really sets me apart from anyone else locally is my intricate fondant designs,” says Goos, 26.

She likened fondant to a kind of sugar-based Play-Doh that can be formed into flowers, zoo animals, monogrammed wedding hearts — almost anything. “For my son’s birthday, I made all the Mario Bros. characters,” she says.

In addition to baking and decorating gourmet cupcakes, Goos is the mother of a 4-year-old son, and a full-time home-care nurse with Northeast Professional Home Care.

“It’s a challenge having another job. I’ve had to back off,” she says of her baking business, launched last November. “My highest volume time is definitely around the holidays, when I can easily do five or six orders a weekend, five dozen apiece.”

Baking is most of all a labor of love for Goos.

“It’s more about the pleasure of doing it and the reactions of people than the money — especially when you’re doing everything fresh and the batches aren’t so big,” she says. “There’s a lot of overhead in the beginning and absolutely no profit.”

Her “guinea pigs” for trying new flavors are the women in her sister’s book club.

“It’s not really a book club anymore,” she says with a chuckle. “It’s about the cupcakes.”

Queen George’s Cupcakes, which are standard cupcake size, are $18/dozen for basic flavors and $20/dozen for those with fillings; minicupcakes are two dozen for the same prices. The minimum order is a dozen per flavor. To order, call 330-631-6921 or email info@queengeorgescupcakes.com.

BABYCAKES

Menu boasts 24 varieties of delectible Babycakes

And you think your life is hectic. On Labor Day weekend, said to be a time of rest, Canton’s Natasha Gotto baked and iced 23 dozen elaborate cupcakes for two back-to-back events — a sweet-16 party and a 50th wedding anniversary.

Wait, it gets better.

Not just a busy baker, Gotto, 34, is the mother of four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 18 months. Her home-based business, BabyCakes, launched in May 2010, has taken off entirely by word of mouth.

“I started with friends and family, then I branched out to local beauty shops, which have been good customers of mine, and I just started selling my cupcakes at the Barrel Room in North Canton,” she says. “I do most of my baking during the day. I have a double oven that’s immensely helpful. I’ve had to make 12 to 14 dozen in a day for parties. I make all my fillings and icings from scratch, so that takes awhile.”

Twenty-four varieties of delectable BabyCakes cupcakes are detailed in a mouth-watering menu. Among them are Carrot-top (carrot cake, cheesecake frosting, toasted walnut garnish), Campfire S’mores (double chocolate cake, graham cracker crust, marshmallow frosting, toasted marshmallow garnish), Madame Blueberry (white cake with fresh blueberries, white chocolate buttercream icing, shaved white chocolate garnish).

Others include Boston Cream Pie, Red Velvet, Go Bananas, Snowball, Raspberry Lemonade, Grasshopper, Pumpkinhead and Peanut Butter Bombshell.

“I think the main thing is you can get a great dessert for a small price,” Gatto says. “They’re very decadent. You only need one and you’re good.”

BabyCakes are $15/dozen for standard size cupcakes and $24/dozen for muffin-sized jumbos. The minimum order is a dozen per flavor. To order, call 330-933-9532 or email catering@babycakescanton.com. The website is www.babycakescanton.com.

KRISTINA’S KREATIONS

Bold ‘kreations’ are among Kristina’s most popular cakes

Canton’s Kristina Belliveau earns an A for adventure in her gourmet cupcakes. Among her “kreations” is the boldly titled Irish Car Bomb, a dark-chocolate cupcake flavored with the Irish dark beer Guinness Stout, filled with Bailey’s Irish Cream ganache and topped with Bailey’s buttercream.

Then there’s a sweet-potato cupcake with maple buttercream frosting and a sprinkle of hickory-smoked sea salt. And a French toast cupcake with maple frosting and candied bacon sprinkles.

A favorite cupcake for weddings is vanilla cake with fresh blueberries, and lemon buttercream frosting sprinkled with smoked-lavender sugar.

“It’s a unique combination and so delicious,” Belliveau, 30, says proudly. “Anytime someone comes to me and says, ‘My boyfriend’s favorite candy is Rolos and we’re getting married; can you make a Rolo cupcake?’ I’ll write a recipe for them,” she says. “It’s a really personal experience.”

Some of Belliveau’s most popular cupcakes, her “adult” ones, — Margarita, Kahlua, Whiskey Espresso — have alcohol among their ingredients. “I do a dark-chocolate raspberry truffle with Chambord (raspberry liqueur) in the frosting,” she notes.

When friends dream up flavor combinations, she names that cupcake after them. For Belliveau, who launched Kristina’s Kreations in 2008, baking cupcakes — up to 400 at a time — “is my way to unwind. It’s really relaxing.”

A staff accountant for Carolyn Valentine Co., she says, “When it’s not tax season, I have a very flexible schedule, and my boss is very supportive. I did the cupcakes for her daughter’s wedding in June.”

Many of her cupcakes wind up at soirees in downtown Canton’s arts district.

While she offers standard-size cupcakes, Belliveau specializes in bite-size minis. “They’re super cute and perfect for parties. It allows people to try multiple flavors.”

Kristina’s Kreations is not lacking for business. “I book up fast,” she cautions. “If you want my cupcakes for your event, let me know as soon as you can. I’m already booking into next year.”

Her minicupcakes run 75 cents to $1 apiece, depending on flavors, and standard-size ones are $1.50 to $1.75. Minimum order is two dozen for minis and one dozen for standards, per flavor. To order, call 330-527-5942 or email kristinaskreations@hotmail.com.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass