Inside a chic storefront in downtown Tacoma is the stuff that dreams are made of – if you happen to dream of bright, bold and delicious cupcakes, that is.
The Hello, Cupcake Bakery first opened in 2007, and changed hands in 2014 when Allix Zemcik took over the business. “I’ve enjoyed baking since I was a kid, but my interest really developed shortly before I started working at Hello, Cupcake,” says Zemcik. “At the time, I was working at a job I didn’t really enjoy, which led me to spend a lot of time thinking about what I did want to do. Baking was what came to mind, so I started to pursue it as a hobby.”
That hobby resulted in the fresh, baked-from-scratch-daily cupcakes that locals love today. The self-taught baker shares some tips for South Sound Talk readers who are interested in getting their hands dirty — with flour, of course. “The book I started with was called I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking by Alton Brown,” shares Zemcik. “It’s an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn the basics of the science behind baking.”
She adds, “Other than that, I would just recommend a lot of practice. When I first started, I baked something at least once a week and was always looking for new recipes to try.” Her interests and growing knowledge led her to Hello, Cupcake. When she started, it was simply a second job for her. After four years, she bought the shop.
The truth is that pretty much everyone loves a good cupcake, and the goods at Hello, Cupcake are top notch. Every three months a majority of the menu changes with new flavors being introduced, but vanilla, chocolate, carrot and red velvet cupcakes are so popular they are always on hand.
Overall, red velvet is the most popular flavor year-round, but some seasonal cupcakes such as cookie dough, salted caramel and pink champagne really get locals mouths’ watering when they hit the display case.
Why is there such a fascination with these sweet, handheld goodies? Zemcik says, “I think cupcakes are so popular because they’re simple without being boring. They encompass all the indulgence and fun of a cake in a package that’s easier to eat and transport. The individual serving size also makes them perfect for sharing or just for treating yourself.”
So what flavor is next? We tried, but could not get Zemcik to spill the sugar. “We will be launching a brand-new flavor in September,” says Zemcik. “I can’t say what it is yet, but I think people will be excited about it.” New flavor ideas come from a variety of sources, says Zemcik. “Sometimes I come up with the ideas, but a lot of times the ideas come from employees or even customers,” she says excitedly.
The former substitute teacher, who lives in Puyallup with husband Stephen and daughter Averie, says she loves doing business in Tacoma. “I love being part of such a diverse and vibrant community. I don’t actually live in Tacoma, so working at Hello, Cupcake has given me the opportunity to really explore and get to know the city,” Zemcik says. “I love how supportive Tacoma is of small businesses and even how supportive small businesses in Tacoma are of each other.”
We asked Zemcik, who is around these delightful delicacies constantly, if there is any flavor that she finds the most tempting. “It’s so hard to pick just one,” she laughs. “My favorite on our current menu is cookie dough, but I’m also really looking forward to our fall menu flavors like pumpkin and chocolate peanut butter.”
This business owner gives back to the community in a variety of ways. Hello, Cupcake has 11 year-round employees and two seasonal employees, donates cupcakes and gift certificates to a variety of charities monthly and has offered its support to several local charity events such as the March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction March for Babies, Esteem Outreach, Relay for Life, Mended Little Hearts of Puget Sound, YWCA of Pierce County and the Avery Huffman Defeat DIPG Foundation.
Hello, Cupcake also offers catering for events including weddings with delivery, stand rentals and display set up. If you are interested in ordering wedding cupcakes, you can schedule a tasting by calling 253-383-7772 or checking out Hello, Cupcake’s website.