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Cupcake Yum Yum Launches Pop-Up Bakery

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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Scarlett Kilzer has known for years that she wanted to work in the food industry, but only recently did she merge two trends together to form her new business, Cupcake Yum Yum. As the name implies, the bakery focus is on mini cupcakes and treats, and the retail aspect is done through the “Pop-Up Retail” concept that we’ve seen emerge in Columbus over the past few months with stores like Repertoire in the Short North. We recently spoke with Scarlett for a Q&A session about her new bakery business.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about who all is involved in this new business?

A: This is a family/employee owned business. My husband, brothers, sisters and I have wanted to open a business together for a long time:

  • Scarlett Kilzer- foodie/recipe writer/photography/management
  • Paul Kilzer- business/promotions
  • Erika Klink- branding and logos
  • Brothers: Casey- Research and development/ organic and all-natural ingredients
  • Nate, Jon, Bart- bakers and delivery
  • Sisters: Sam, Liz and Erin- bakers, catering, handmade sugars, caramels & fondants
  • Kids: taste testers

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about your personal and professional background?

A: While I was attending OSU for opera I worked for Chef Hartmut Handke of Handke’s Cuisine in the Brewery District. I worked there for a couple of years starting out in the coat room and ending up catering and working in the office with Chef Handke. I got to observe a high end restaurant in action and knew I wanted to work in the food industry. I kept singing, got married, had 3 kids and finally decided to do something with food. Not having the time to go back to school, I decided to teach myself about the chemistry of baking. It took me about a year to do all my research, travelling to NYC and Chicago to taste some of the best cake out there.

Q: So that led you to starting Cupcake Yum Yum? How did the concept come about?

A: I knew I wanted to make cake but in what form was the question. I started out making wedding cakes. I honestly got bored doing the same type of cake over and over. My husband teases me that I like really tiny things. So, I changed my business plan and started baking cupcakes. I really love to cook and wanted to incorporate unique flavors into what I was baking. We wanted our customers to be able to order and taste all of our fun flavors and we knew they would get too full if we made regular sized cupcakes. So now we make two-bite cupcakes which are wonderful for weddings and special events AND fits right in with my “tiny” fix!

Q: So where did the Yum Yum name come from?

A: My dad came up with it. He was in a band called the Ohio Express in the late 60’s. One of their most famous songs was Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (I got love in my tummy). So, to give props to our dad, who is still playing in Germany, we kept the name.

Q: So what drew you to the “Pop Up Shop” retail concept? Another facet of the “tiny” concept?

A: Since we are using a commercial and catering business plan we don’t have a retail space. While doing research in NYC we came across a Pop Up Shop for clothing. It was a light bulb moment! Why not do this with cupcakes! It’s fun to change venues and keeps our overhead down. It’s been so fun and we’ve met so many great people.

Q: Do you think certain areas of Columbus are ripe for more Pop-Up retail opportunities?

A: I think the Short North is a great area for this! I hope to see more businesses join us in this concept!

Q: Are you planning on using the Pop-Up Retail model as a stepping stone to a more traditional brick-and-mortar retail store?

A: We’ve seen so many Pop-Ups in New York and Chicago. I think this is the new trend. For sure it’s a stepping stone for us. We want to grow our family business to be a staple in the Columbus market.

Q: What are your thoughts on those who say that cupcake are a waning trend and that other foods such as pies will become more popular in 2011?

A: We’ve seen food trends come and go but cupcakes are a part of American culture and the cupcake “trend” is just now hitting Columbus. There is just something about eating a cute, tiny, Orange Creamsicle cupcake. It takes you back to your childhood. I guess Cupcake Yum Yum will never grow up!

Q: Orange Creamsicle sounds great. What other flavors do you specialize in?

A: We are really big on not putting “junk” in our cupcakes. We have a lot of kids in our family and feed them the most unadulterated ingredients we can find. Why not do that for our customers? We use organic, natural and local-in season ingredients. We have fun, unique flavors and are always working on new ones. I would say one of our most popular flavors, believe it or not, is Spiced Maple Bacon. Just think breakfast. Our most popular flavors in The Swirl (peanut butter and chocolate), PB&Banana, Zing Me (coconut with fresh raspberry center), Red Fire Chocolate (cayenne & cinnamon) and Vanilla Square (organic vanilla bean cake and frosting). That last one tastes like ice cream.

Q: You mentioned to me previously that you have something special in store for Valentine’s Day this year. Can you tell us more about that?

A: While the weather is cold and not conducive to strolling around the Short North we’re moving to Hilliard in February and will be back to the Short North in early spring. We’re going to do a Valentine’s Day Pop-Up at a small venue called Kitamu Coffee in Hilliard. We’ll have frosting shots, specialty Valentine’s Day drinks, entertainment and of course, cupcakes. You can pre-order online for pick-up at Kitamu or pre-order for Saturday, Feb. 12th free Valentine delivery (a box of 16 or more).

Our Valentine flavors include Ma Cherie (chocolate cake with a bourbon soaked cherry center and chocolate-cherry frosting), Zing Me, Chocolate Kisses (rich chocolate cake, Italian buttercream dipped in ganache) and Pink Velvet (raspberry pink velvet cake with a lemon center and cream cheese frosting).

More information can be found online at www.CupcakeYumYum.com.

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