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Go Ask Mom

Love of baking turns into cupcake business for Cary mom

Posted May 13, 2012

Jen Strain has always been a baker. As a child, she perused her mother's Betty Crocker cookbook for the next cake or cookie.

Her life would take her in a different direction for a time - working in the corporate world and teaching yoga, but still baking for fun.

About a year ago, Strain, a mom of three in Cary, began looking for an outlet. She'd been a stay-at-home mom for about five years. After hearing the praises when sending her cupcakes to her husband's work, the nursery at gym and elsewhere, she decided that maybe her life-long hobby should be her job too.

Jenny's Cupcakery launched in August, featuring all kinds of flavors including traditional vanilla and chocolate, along with Tahitian vanilla and strawberry red velvet, her own creations.

"It's been an adventure," she tells me.

Strain makes the cupcakes from her home kitchen, providing treats for everything from birthday parties to large gatherings like weddings. She delivers and also sets up a booth at the Cary Downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. And she's branched out beyond cupcakes to include cakes and cake pops.

Strain strives to include as many organic and locally produced ingredients as she can. DJ's Berry Patch provides strawberries. Spahr's Farms grows the sweet potatoes, carrots and eggs that end up in some of her cupcakes.

And she also provides gluten free and vegan options. She said it's been heartbreaking to see her own children's friends, who have gluten or lactose allergies, not able to enjoy the cake at birthday parties and other celebrations.

Offering options for them too has been a bonus to running her own business, she said.

"I found that, for me, that's been the most rewarding part," she said.

Strain will be offering a dozen cupcakes to a lucky winner in our Month of Mom contests. So stay tuned for that.

To learn more about Strain and her cupcake creations, watch my video. Check her website for details.

6 Comments

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  • snowl May 14, 2012

    All well and good. But really, baking cupcakes is i.m.o.....'a piece of cake'. My daughter makes them for all the time for her college friends, it seems to be a yummy fad. Good luck!

  • tbk May 14, 2012

    Don't forget that most real "Bakeries" started in someone's home kitchen...by people who are doing the thing they loved and that the people around them love to eat the goodies they make!

  • justcommonsense May 14, 2012

    I would have no problem with buying from a home kitchen. After all, they do feed their families from them. Also you may want to remember that most home bakeries etc are going to be much more particular about sanitation, storage etc simply because their name and reputation are on the line. Not to mention the fact that they don't have a huge corporate insurance policy to fall back on. Yes, they do have to be licensed and carry some insurance..but it's different than a large corp.

    Besides, a home baker isn't going to add a lot of other ingredients and chemicals to their product.

    Yep, I'd much rather buy from the "home" baker than any grocery or chain baker any day. Usually tastes better.

  • tbk May 14, 2012

    Go Jenny! Got to be NC!!

  • tbk May 14, 2012

    It doesn't matter what grade they have, the restaurant can post 100 and the workers still refuse to use proper hand-washing. I wouldn't eat out of just any kitchen but I wouldn't base my decisions on who graded them.

  • LuvLivingInCary May 14, 2012

    i would never buy from a home kitchen, they are evaluated by the department of agriculture which is a very easy sanitation grade as opposed to the one we see the restaurants go through. most people don't know there is a difference.