Have you ever seen a cupcake so stunning? That is exactly what the creations of Katherine Halbeck, Founder & CEO of Blooming Kupcakes, look like. Prior to moving to Nashville three years ago, Katherine worked in the medical and legal field for nearly thirty years in various roles, including legal assistant, administrator of a large medical practice and marketing director for numerous imaging centers.
While working as a legal assistant at a law firm last year, the pandemic and ensuing shutdown resulted in the firm placing several employees on a thirty day furlough to help offset the company’s overhead. “During this time, as with most of us, I was restless in the evenings and couldn’t fall asleep worried about the pandemic and what kind of impact this was going to have on my family,” says Katherine. “One evening, I turned to Instagram to distract my mind and started watching cupcake decorating videos. One-click after another, I found myself mesmerized. The following day, I ordered a set of Russian piping tools on Amazon. I figured I had thirty days to keep myself occupied with these tools. Within two weeks of playing with them, friends started encouraging me to sell my decorated cupcakes. I realized I had an opportunity to be creative, have fun and start a small home-based business on the side…and that’s how Blooming Kupcakes was born.”
Katherine says she has always enjoyed cooking and baking for her family and friend, but does not recall baking cupcakes before she started Blooming Kupcakes. “Once I started experimenting with various piping tools, I realized I needed to perfect a recipe that was delicious and unique to our brand. Our cupcakes are dense and truly have a distinctive flavor to them due to the flour blend we use (our proprietary secret),” she says. “I wanted to find a niche in the market and with so many bakeries around, I figured if I focused on one thing, I could do it well and stand out from the rest. Some flowers have taken longer to learn. It took me almost three months to perfect the chrysanthemum. The right amount of pressure versus texture of the buttercream is key. Some flowers like a zinnia came easier and some like a pansy was a bit more challenging. Discovering and trying different piping tools became essential to strengthening my craft.”
Her favorite cupcakes are the ones that come with a story behind it. “That certain flower that brings back a cherished memory or when my cupcakes are purchased to lift someone’s spirit,” she says. “When those stories are shared with me, it lifts me up and gets me even more excited for the next box I create. If you were to ask me what my favorite flower is to pipe, I would have to say roses. Their petals are so delicate and so pretty to look at.”
Katherine returned to work in June just as her business started gaining traction, which meant she was now working two full-time jobs. “I worked at the law firm by day and rushed home to bake and pipe in the evenings,” she explains. “Some days, I worked sixteen to eighteen hour days. My husband, Andy, has joined the business and has taken over all of the baking and frosting preparation so now when I get home from work, I just have to mix my colors and focus on the piping.”
Luckily for all of her cupcake fans, Blooming Kupcakes has become her full-time job as of May 15th. With a mindset of “failure is not an option; success is just a process,” Katherine continues to pursue her newfound love for cupcakes and the art that goes into making them. Her goal is to grow the business and establish a great customer base and she hopes in the near future she can open up a storefront, and even offer piping lessons for aspiring bakers. She encourages others to find something they might have a passion in and pursue it. “Think outside the box, have fun and see where the road takes you. Believe in yourself and don’t give up. Find support groups on Facebook and Instagram. I found so much support, guidance and tips from women all over the world who shared their valuable lessons on things that worked and didn’t work. In turn, when it’s your time, give of yourself to others too so they can grow and inspire others.”