Cupcake challenge

13 July, 2007
Two US entrepreneurs are taking their baking hobby into a business venture with a distinctly American flavour, as Andrew Williams reports
Page 22 
Davids Muniz and Lesniak turned their home baking hobby into a new business venture. "But there's nothing hobbyist about what we do," insists self-proclaimed "serial entrepreneur" Muniz. A couple of professionals who moved from the United States to live and work in London 18 months ago, the pair say they were met with a dearth of US-style home-made cupcakes, sweet pies and fresh tarts.
"We were spending a lot of time making things in the kitchen, and that spilled into supplying the office where I worked," recalls Muniz. "People were saying, 'you should really sell these'. So I came up with the idea of making a business out of it."Latching on to a UK revival of the cupcake, the couple supply a range of cupcakes, pies and tarts to a growing number of outlets across Greater London. Lesniak says the USP comes with featuring ingredients that are little used in the UK. "We've gone out of our way to source ingredients that are used more in America, that we couldn't find here, such as sorghum, a type of molasses used in the Deep South, which has a really rich flavour. We're trying desperately to source shredded coconut," he adds.London-based H&B Foods was instrumental in the firm's early development by sourcing ingredients, he says. "We try different flavour combinations and it takes people by surprise, such as mushroom scones." Cupcakes all have a filling and frosting, such as its lime cupcake - a buttermilk cake with a home-made lime-curd centre and lime frosting, which has been well received."We are very much in the incubation stage where we're building the name and product line," says Muniz, who is exploring the potential for franchising. "We're looking to grow into a shop before the end of the year, and from there, expand the concept out." Going it aloneThe firm: Outsider Tart, based in Chiswick,West LondonThe brief: Developing US-style cakes using authentic American flavours into branded retail outletsProducts: cakes, sweet pies, muffins, scones, tarts and cupcakesSupplies: entertainment venue Profile, London; Richmond-upon-Thames Farmers' Market; East Sheen Farmers' Market; Coffee Affair's outdoor events and Café Belugio in Brentford (from August) Staff: Two, though more staff will be added with the opening of the first shopBackgrounds: David Muniz is commercial director of QSoft Consulting, owners of GaydarRadio. David Lesniak is an architect with his own New York practice. Lesniak also bakes birthday cakes for the charity, Food Chain, a volunteer organisation in Hammersmith, West London.Website: [http://www.outsidertart.co.uk]The pros and consBiggest challengeMuniz: The biggest challenge has been finding suppliers that have exactly what we want, and not to have to hear the words, 'But this is just as good.' The whole concept - and it's where the name came from - is that we're outsiders. We're not from here and we're not thinking along traditionalist lines. To be able to create a business in a market that is unknown to us has been a challenge.Biggest satisfactionMuniz: It takes up every waking moment of our lives. We love showing customers the food that we grew up on, food that's a joy to us, and seeing their reactions. We see no one out there doing exactly what we're doing. Seeing that they enjoy our efforts and enjoy the foods that we are introducing them to is a big satisfaction.



My Account

Spotlight

Most read

Social