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.