ST. ALBANS CITY –– Instead of making a cake for her young daughter’s birthday parties, Christina Howe has always opted for cupcakes – “because they’re easier to hand to kids,” she says – but her cupcakes have never been boilerplate.
After one party, her husband, Jeremy, suggested she open a cupcake shop, but she preferred sewing.
Then, last January, it hit her.
“The light went off,” Christina said more recently, while seated with Jeremy at The Traveled Cup, in St. Albans. “I said, ‘Let’s just do this.’”
On July 1, the Howes started handing out their Fleur de Lis-covered business cards for Champlain Cupcakes.
The Howes bake and deliver gourmet cupcakes from their St. Albans home. Their kitchen was inspector-ready, due to Jeremy’s profession. He is the head chef at Jeff’s Restaurant, in St. Albans, and has worked in the food service industry for 20 years.
Jeremy handles business and production angles for Champlain Cupcakes. Christina is head baker.
“But he can throw down in the kitchen,” she said, pointing to her husband.
“But a baker is not a chef, and a chef is not a baker,” Jeremy added, explaining that a baker’s art requires more scientific precision. “I admire a baker’s talent,” he said. His specialty is meat, and he is developing a much anticipated bacon cupcake.
Currently, Champlain Cupcakes offers seven flavors in three sizes: mini one-biters, regular-sized, and jumbo, which is somewhere between a baseball and softball.
Their most popular cupcake is The Champlain, a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. The Sherman – a nod to German chocolate cake – is named for Christina’s maternal grandmother, Joan Sherman, who turned 90 in September.
“She’s a firecracker, too,” Jeremy said.
Other varieties include: The Oh Clair (a white cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting), The Fun Bobby (a confetti cupcake with buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles), and The Cocoa Colada (a chocolate cupcake with coconut buttercream frosting and shredded coconut).
The Howes accept orders for any event, and any sized event, from small birthday parties and office meetings to weddings and corporate functions. Everything is homemade – no boxed ingredients or shortcuts – and customers can be eligible for free delivery, depending on their location and needs.
As they offer on those aforementioned business cards: “Let us cater to your sweet tooth!”
Champlain Cupcakes is Christina’s full-time endeavor. She previously worked for 12 years at a local medical practice.
Both in their late thirties, Christina and Jeremy are St. Albans natives. She graduated from BFA-St. Albans in 1994. He graduated from high school in Wisconsin. They met after he returned home and wed in 1996.
The Howes want to grow Champlain Cupcakes to storefront potential. Retail sales are in their future.
“We’re open to all avenues,” Jeremy said.
Christina added, “It’s been good. It’s been delightful. And it’s been working.”