When it comes to conceptualizing flavor combinations, Audrey Bauer is a mad scientist.
She confesses that if you can dream it, she can create it, and when she rattles off the repertoire of flavor profiles she has crafted for customized creations, you have to remind yourself we are talking cupcakes — and, only cupcakes.
From Doritos and Peanut Butter to Irish Potato, Mimosa, Fruity Pebbles, Margarita and Chocolate Stout, there isn’t a cupcake this adventurous 25-year-old baker won’t make.
“I like the shock factor,” revealed the tattooed sweets’ creator. “I like to do things that are not ordinary.”
So, on a recent weekday evening, I joined the Pottstown-based baker for a baking session, picking her forward-thinking brain between cracking eggs, scooping flour and mixing batter. As if I were in baking school, she speckled our conversation with her go-to tips — including the detail that “sifting is everything,” as she is religiously attached to her sifter during any prep session.
Interestingly so, Audrey didn’t catch the baking bug at a young age, or from an elder family member. Instead, she sought the art of crafting sweet treats as therapy just two years ago, using the kitchen activity as a remedy to mend from a breakup. The first cupcake she ever created was one doubled in peanut butter: a peanut butter cake with cinnamon and white chocolate chips and topped with PB frosting — a combination that was a riff on how someone special in her life ordered their pancakes when visiting Shady Maple Smorgasbord.
Since the whimsical cupcaketeer seeks to personalize each and every one of her orders, I requested that she, on-the-fly, dream up my ultimate flavor, one that represented my personality in a mini-cake. Without skipping a beat, she confirmed that it would have to be vibrant and definitely bubblegum-flavored.
However, I like to pretend another of her latest creations is my personalized flavor, one that I was lucky to try this week — her Pop-Tart Cupcakes. This irresistible mini-cake is built on a pinch-perfect vanilla base, smeared with royal icing, popped with sugar sprinkles, and then, finished with a swirl of fresh strawberry buttercream. After one bite, you will not eat store-bought Pop-Tarts again — I kid you not.
Although she’s willing to bake anything once, she’s also sought after for her take on the classics too. Her “super-secret” chocolate cake recipe (coined “Nana’s Chocolate Cake”) already has a cult following, which you’ll be able to taste-test and join the “cult” on Thursday when she competes at the first-ever Chester County Cupcake Clash. For the record, the fellows of Porsche of the Main Line practically survive on her cupcakes.
As her first cupcake competition, she’s eager to present her heart-felt goods — which she suggests are “all about the cake. Anyone can make a good icing, but the cake is the selling point.” She reveals if her cakes don’t offer the “wow factor” fresh out of the oven, she won’t sell them, as it’s always about presenting the best product she can.
Her high-end takes on bake sale favorites and one-of-a-kind mini-cakes aren’t the only thing she creates. As a child of a portrait artist, her baking and painting skill sets mingle when she crafts cake pops, which she always hand-molds and paints per order.
No cake pop pans are whipped out for this sugary session, and her willingness to tackle any shape or design falls into place again here, as she’s sculpted everything from Marvin the Martian, Angry Birds and Simpsons’ characters, to Phillies-themed pops and ones looking like individuals’ cats.
So, if you spy a twenty-something gal who screams “retro” with her pin-up girl physique at the Cupcake Clash, say hello and get acquainted with Audrey Bauer Cupcakes. She’s redefining the cupcake climate with one oh-so-sweet recipe at a time.
More info on Audrey Bauer Cupcakes is available on her Facebook, by clicking here. The First Annual Chester County Cupcake Clash unfolds on Thurs., Sept.20, 2012, from 6:30 – 9:30 pm, at Radley Run Country Club (1100 Country Club Road, West Chester). More info on how to attend is available by clicking here.