Some dessert devotees may be hailing the end of the cupcake, which seems to have wormed its way into every strip mall (and TV channel) in America by now, but that certainly isn't stopping the bakers behind them. After our recent story on cupcake chain Sweet Arleen's Bakery looking to dip its toes into the Denver market, reader response ranged from excitement over more of the frosting-topped treat in the Mile High City to mere boredom with cupcakes: one reader commented, "sorry girl, everyone over here is still tweaking over voodoo doughnuts."
Despite potential sugar saturation in Denver's cupcake market, Arleen wasn't scared. And it seems neither is Heidi Hamilton, the co-owner of Smallcakes Cupcakery in Lone Tree. She's set to open up a second location of the bakery in the Belmar district of Lakewood this September.
See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver
"I don't think it's too saturated yet," Hamilton says of the cupcake market. "It's all about the location."
She believes that the outdoor dining and shopping mini-neighborhood Belmar is just the location for her second store. Hamilton says she often finds herself in the area, and that the district is undergoing a great redevelopment that would lend itself to a cupcake spot. With the Lone Tree store, which she co-owns with her husband Darren, gaining popularity and experiencing a comfortable time financially, the decision to open her second Smallcakes franchise was born out of a simple desire to "strike while the iron is hot," she says.
Jeff Martin and his wife Brandy originally founded the Smallcakes brand five years ago in Kansas City, one of the earliest spots to get in on the cupcake trend. Capitalizing on the lack of the pint-sized treat in the Midwest, Smallcakes grew fast and spread far -- the store now has over 75 locations in the U.S. and just announced plans to open a location in Dubai this year. Martin himself has appeared on "Cupcake Wars" three times, and was featured in a segment about cupcakes on ABC morning talk show, The View.
Every Smallcakes franchise, including Hamilton's Lone Tree location, bakes 15 signature flavors every day along with a rotating selection of three special, more "outside-the-box" offerings each day, including flavors like cannoli, mint julep, Fat Elvis and alcohol-inspired cakes on Fridays.
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With two cupcake shops opening in just under a year -- The Lone Tree Smallcakes opened just last November -- it hasn't taken long for Hamilton to rise to the cupcake challenge. For now, it seems the cupcake is still alive and kicking, and bakers seem to think Colorado's market still has a few gaps to fill. What do you think of even more cupcakes hitting Denver's streets?