A sweet, springy cake, smooth frosting and colorful sprinkles -- a cupcake can be so pure and simple. That's how Porche Lovely, owner of Church of Cupcakes, likes to keep it. Her congregation worships cakes made from scratch with local, organic and sustainable ingredients, which are sacred to Lovely. See also: - Lovely Confections reopens as Church of Cupcakes - Best Conscientious Cupcakes - Lovely Confections Bakery - Cupcake Wars champ Doron Petersan on Sticky Fingers' Sweets
Church of Cupcakes got it start as Lovely Confections, which Lovely had been running for four years when she decided it was time to change the name. (But don't think her own moniker is new: Porche Lovely is her given name.) "I've always had this focus on using organic, sustainable, humane ingredients and nobody really knew it," she explains. "One thing that changing the name let me do is our ten commandments, which highlights our dedication to the type of ingredients we use and the methods in which we make stuff, and really everything that's important to me in my business."
Before she even dreamed of having a cupcake business, organic, humane ingredients were a part of Lovely's life. "I remember learning in high school, in physics class, that matter is neither created nor destroyed, it just changes form," she says. "On a scientific level, that really kind of supported what I thought about how we're really all kind of one."
Lovely has enjoyed baking since she was a kid, but losing her corporate job in 2004 gave her the chance to pursue it as a career. "I took that opportunity to go to Johnson & Wales to study baking and pastry," she says. "There I learned a lot about working in a professional kitchen. Then I got the opportunity to work at Cherry Hills Country Club for about a year or so, and that really taught me large-scale production."
But she got her inspiration for her bakery from an unlikely source. A fan of Sex and the City, Lovely was watching the episode where the characters are sitting in front of Magnolia Bakery, when she began thinking about cupcakes as a business.
But Lovely didn't want to promote baking business as usual, because she disagrees with some of the common practices. "I just didn't want to have a bakery, that was never my dream because I didn't want to have to do it the way that the industry tells you you need to do it," she says. Buying pre-made cake mixes and buttercreams from a catalogue just isn't her style. "One place is selling cakes that are already baked, filled and frosted," she adds. "And bakeries are passing them off as something they made. I would never feel right about doing that."
A small-scale cupcake shop allows Lovely to make the kind of product she wants, without compromising her integrity. "I don't want to use factory-farmed eggs and factory-armed dairy, and all this other stuff that I think is really bad for people and for the animals and for the planet. I feel really, really good about what I serve people," Lovely says. She only uses ingredients -- such as pasture-raised eggs and aluminum-free baking powder -- from suppliers she has researched. She never uses synthetic flavors or colors; even the sprinkles are naturally colored.
"What we do impacts other people, and what they do impacts us, so it's kind of like a big circle," she says. "And I think using ingredients that are raised with respect and that respect the earth in a certain way are better for you on a level that's not just caloric." She keeps an open kitchen so that customers can see that she has nothing to hide, that they're getting what they're promised. "It's not just talk," she says.
Taking a break from a fast-paced life, eating a cupcake can be a serene, almost religious experience. "It really is something so simple and so pure," Lovely says. "That it's just a cupcake, that really kind of freezes time for people and gives them that break," Lovely says.
And Lovely plans to keep her business simple. She has no plans to expand, because she likes to oversee all the production, to make sure the product is always up to her standards. "I don't want to make a million mediocre cupcakes," Lovely says. "I don't want to be a mega-church."
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Signature flavors like Bee-titude and Pillar of Salted Caramel are available daily, and the Church of Cupcakes offers a changing weekend and holiday menu. To find out what the Church's offering will be, visit the Church of Cupcakes website.