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.