Two sisters in pink chef hats are the brains and the brawn behind an intriguing new enterprise at The Mall at Partridge Creek.
The CupCake Kitchen, in a corner space adjacent to the bocce-ball court, has been attracting attention since it opened on April 1, just two years after LaShondra Oglen, 29, persuaded her sister, Charnell Scott, 27, to join her in the enterprise.
Oglen, then a pastry chef at the MotorCity Casino with nine years of service behind her, was strolling through a mall when a random thought struck her. “Why are there no cupcakes?” It really was as simple as that.
Oglen, who says she had been baking at home and professionally “all my life,” decided to remedy the situation. She taught her sister — a businesswoman who managed apartment buildings — how to bake, and the two joined forces, found the location, and financed the project themselves.
The sisters take turns arriving at 5 a.m. each day to start baking in the glass-enclosed kitchen that allows customers to see the cupcakes in progress. They use all-natural ingredients, including real butter and sugar. Their days are long, lasting until 11 p.m. or even midnight, since they decided to keep the shop open for people leaving the nearby movie theater and restaurants. A little dessert never hurts, even after lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang’s.
Oglen and Scott’s cupcakes are available in no fewer than 67 varieties, with 16 to 18 types available daily. All are from Oglen’s recipes. She experiments, she says, until she achieves the right taste.
You might think that one of the more exotic flavors — perhaps Boston cream, Key lime, or dulce de leche — was the toughest to come up with. Not at all. It was plain old strawberry.
“I spent three months trying to get it right,” she says. “It was too moist, too dry, too sweet.” But she finally got what she feels is the right combination, and calls it Berry Berry Good.
Each cupcake has a name. There’s the Gingerbread House (gingerbread cake topped with whipped cream and cinnamon), the Orange Sherbet (orange zest cake with orange buttercream frosting), and the most popular so far: the Neapolitan, made with a blend of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate batters with vanilla buttercream frosting.
The cupcakes come in two sizes: regular ($2.75) and mini ($1.45). There’s also a menu of sandwiches and soups self-served to the 22 seats at tables near the cupcake display.
So what do they do with the leftover cupcakes at the end of the day? “There aren’t any, Oglen says. “Really. We’ve learned how to bake just the right amount.” That means 60 dozen. And they start all over again the next day.
The CupCake Kitchen
The Mall at Partridge Creek
17410 Hall Rd., Clinton Township
8 a.m.- 10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 8 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun.