Johnson, forty-two, says he's been interested in baking since age six, when his mother taught him to make his first batch of cookies. He came back to it after twenty-one years as a landscape designer left him searching for an occupation that wasn't so hard on his knees. "I had come across a small bakery that sold small cupcakes about three years ago," he says. "And I thought, why not open up a shop that just strictly sells cupcakes? I'd seen bakeries just come and go, and I didn't want that to happen to my bakery, so I was looking for some kind of niche." That bakery in Birmingham became his first Cupcake Station in 2006; this is the second.
Johnson makes twenty-five varieties of cupcakes every day. He cooks from scratch using his own recipes, which include a carrot-cake cupcake with freshly shredded carrots, pineapple, coconut, and cream-cheese frosting; a moist vanilla-bean cake frosted with milk chocolate; and the Michigan Bumpy Cake, a dark chocolate cupcake with white cream bumps, dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. Regular-size cupcakes are $2.75. Most are available in a miniversion for $1.30.
Johnson also does one specialty cupcake each month. November's Great Pumpkin cupcake has cream-cheese frosting and cinnamon sugar on top.