Cupcakes are sweeping the nation as a popular sweet baked good that satisfies the cravings of consumers who are demanding irresistible flavors and the convenience of single-serve items. Panaderías are recognizing the importance and profitability of cupcakes, as more are introducing their own versions of cupcakes that appeal to both Hispanics and non-Hispanic customers. Cupcakes now come in traditional Hispanic varieties such as tres leches.

Panaderías like Panadería Super Mercado Aguascalientes in Lexington, KY, create unique cupcakes that are turned upside down and covered with coating chocolate and Bavarian cream and topped with a cherry. This offers a great example of how panaderías can put their own signature on this important trend.

In the competitive world of selling cupcakes, simple frostings and sprinkles will not win you sales over the cupcakes shops. Frost your cupcakes with many bright colors to make them pop and draw the eyes of your shoppers. Use your cake decorating staff’s skills and abilities to set your cupcakes apart from the competition. Encourage your cake decorators to create textures and designs that give your cupcakes an artistic element not necessarily associated with a traditional cupcake.

When decorating your cupcakes, think of them as small, individual decorated cakes and make adjustments for the smaller medium. Making small figures and flowers out of fondant makes a great addition to a cupcake; it stands out to consumers and presents the opportunity to raise price points. Use designs that might be too complex to fit on a single cupcake as a marketing strategy. Use a single intricate design to decorate a dozen cupcakes and sell those as one item. Treat a dozen with one large design as a cake that’s already cut.

Target children and their parents for marketing, but don’t limit yourself. Remember that cupcakes are often served as treats for office parties, family picnics and other adult occasions. Have creative cupcakes geared toward these occasions as well as children’s themes. Regardless of the themes you offer, make sure that your cupcakes get noticed by decorating them with vibrant artistic designs.

Upsell the Customer

Let the overall market in your area dictate where you’ll price a basic cupcake. Then as the decorations get more elaborate, create a second and third tier of pricing. Base the tiered pricing on the time and labor involved in the decoration, as well as the materials, especially when creating fondant pieces.

Tiered pricing appeals to a broad range of shoppers without alienating any consumer demographic. At the same time, the tiered pricing system provides an upsell opportunity to the customer who comes to your bakery shopping for a certain price point, but becomes impressed with the more ornate, higher priced items. Often a consumer will start out with shopping for a more competitively priced lower-tier cupcake, but can then opt for a higher-priced item once they see the design. While it might take some time to establish tiers and price points, it will work to your benefit over time.

Decorating Ideas
Blooming cupcakes — Attach a flower made from royal icing or fondant to the top of cupcakes using a lollypop stick.

Snowflake cupcakes — On blue icing, decorate with white fondant or chocolate pieces shaped to the form of a snowflake.

Panda bear cupcakes — Pipe on an icing panda face and use black or brown round candies for ears.

Spider cupcakes — Pipe a spider’s body on top, then use skinny string black licorice to make the legs.

Ghost cupcake — Place a muffin top or round cookie on top, cover the mound in white icing, shape and decorate accordingly.

Golf ball cupcake — Place a fondant golf ball and tee atop a green iced cupcake.