by Tony McReynolds
Published in November, 2008
Cupcake Station owner Kerry Johnson credits the popularity of his cupcakes to variety and portion control. "If you're having a party with twelve people, you can come in and get twelve different kinds of cupcakes," he says. "People used to go out and buy a cake. You'd end up with half a cake. And you're, like, 'Do I eat this whole thing? Or do I just throw it away?' With a cupcake, you eat it and you're done."
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.
Johnson still marvels at how well the stores are doing. "When I started out, I had no idea it would take off," he says. "Who would have thought cupcakes would be so popular? Not me!"
Cupcake Station, 116 East Liberty, 222-1801. Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. cupcakestation.
[Originally published in November, 2008.]
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