Love of Baking Key Ingredient for Cupcakery’s Continued Growth
You don’t have to spend much time with Alyssa Logan and her mother, Julie Blackburn, to feel the love between the two of them. Their bubbly personalities are infectious as they tell stories by finishing each other’s sentences. They put that same love and personality into each and every cupcake they make in their gourmet cupcakery and bakery, ’83 Sweets. Logan started ’83 Sweets with her mother in 2010 as an online business. Then the duo opened up shop along U.S. 23 in Lucasville, Ohio, in 2012.“It’s been awesome,” Blackburn said. “We have fantastic customers who have become our friends.”
The name of the bakery comes from 1983, the year Logan was born. The cupcakery has an ‘80s theme with the more than 83 cupcake flavors sporting fun ‘80s-related names. There’s Little Red Corvelvet, a red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting; the Uncle Buckeye, a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle; and White Wedding, a white almond cake with white frosting, named after Logan’s favorite Billy Idol song.
“I chose the ‘80s theme because it was unique, fun and something I could make personal, as well as relatable,” Logan said. “I was born in the ‘80s and my old soul never left.”
The ‘80s also are when Logan developed her love of baking. “That is when I was a small child and had the fondest memories of learning to bake with my grandma who was my sole inspiration,” she said. Logan’s grandmother, Norma Jean Schwartz Brandenburg, passed away in 1999. One of Logan’s most prized possessions is a cookbook Brandenburg gave her when she was 10. On the inside cover is an inscription which reads, “Alyssa, Good cooks start young. Love, Nana.” Nana would no doubt be very proud of what Logan and Blackburn have accomplished through their bakery as the duo wake up early each morning to make approximately 700 cupcakes a day both for sale in the shop and to deliver to special events around the area. “It’s the handmade quality of our products and the ingredients that set us apart,” Blackburn said. “We don’t try to skimp. There is real fruit in that cake or real vegetables. We pick it, chop it, all of that.” “We don’t ship ingredients in from other locations. We wouldn’t be so stressed if we did,” Logan said with a laugh.
As rigorous as the day-to-day baking can be, that’s nothing compared to the duo’s most stressful baking occasions – their two appearances on the Food Network reality competition show “Cupcake Wars.” “Wars” featured four bakers from across the country competing for a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at a major event. Blackburn agreed to be Logan’s assistant on the show if ’83 Sweets was selected to appear, not ever thinking they would be picked. “When they called, I was like, ‘What? They’re not calling us,’” Blackburn said. But the show was calling them, and the pair appeared on the July 2012 episode featuring Tony Hawk, finishing second. Once the episode aired, the calls to place cupcake orders started pouring in. However, Logan and Blackburn were unable to fill any of the new orders because they were already on their way back to California to film another episode. “We got all this attention after the show aired, but we didn’t have the chance to bake anything,” Blackburn said. “And we couldn’t tell anyone.” This time, in an episode that aired in October 2012, the mother-daughter combo came home victorious, winning the right to showcase their cupcakes at a special fan event for singer Cody Simpson. “It was highly stressful,” Logan said, “but it was fun and life changing.”
After the “Cupcake Wars” experience, the duo decided it was time to open up a shop. “We’ve been in this building for three years,” Logan said. “We lit a fire and that fire has not died down in three years.” The duo is expanding its shop and Logan has a dream of taking her business one step further by opening up a food truck. “I’ve been wanting a truck since day one,” she said. “On a hard day at work, you could come to the truck and get a cupcake. It could change the mood of the afternoon.” ’83 Sweets does make cakes and other sweets, such as brownies and macaroons, but their number one priority is cupcakes. “We believe in quality over quantity,” Logan said. “We put everything we can in that one cake.”
Logan and Blackburn also are very proud to support their community through their work with such charities as the American Red Cross and Sierra’s Haven. “We believe in our community,” Blackburn said. “It’s a great area to do what we do.” “We want to pay it forward,” Logan said. “We try to be there for the community as much as they are for us.”