The Road to Sweetness...

A tale of two sissies and their journey to open the Skinnie Minnie Bakeshop.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Things I Do...

For cupcakes: I'm willing to let this be shared even though I think I've never looked more awful in my life. But it's pretty funny, thanks to my father's running commentary. He took another as well where he films the actual taste tests. I'll try to wrangle that one out of him for a future post.



PS, I created a fan page for us on Facebook. And right now it only has one. So make us look a little less pathetic and +Become a Fan!

It's the little things

Very excited right now! After a frustrating day, I just gave us a Google and we actually came up on the first page! Woooohooo!

It seems my efforts to get the word out about us have not all been for naught...or for not...or for nothing? However you're supposed to say it, the deal is SOMETHING worked. Thank you to Digg. I'll keep it up.


Technorati temporary post-please ignore


Sunday, March 28, 2010


And just as I give up and sign into Facebook (my back up for the videos) I get this notification:

Your video "Trials, Take 1: Carrot Cake Cuppie" has finished processing. You can now watch it or select a thumbnail.

This is after I deleted it. Of course...


Trials, Take 1: Carrot Cake Cuppie

It's Sunday and I don't feel like writing. Sebby (aka Dadster, Daddo, Seb-o-Seb, and most importantly Daddy) tried to take care of that by taking some videos of today's escapades. Which were pretty amusing. But alas, they refuse to upload :(. And after more than two hours of waiting for them to, I'm giving up. AND I'm bitter that now it's almost Monday morning!!!!!!

I'll fill you in more appropriately tomorrow, but just to let you know, it was an excellent first day. Very proud of our work. We did three trials of our Carrot Cake Cuppie, one that will be a staple, always available at SMBS.

For now, I need to get back to some writing that actually pays the bills.

Eat our crumbs!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hey Big Spender

So what comes after the first big business meeting? The first big supply shopping trip, of course!

After dealing with a bad cold and a grueling week of work, I'm still working my way through How to Open a Financially Successful Bakery. Nicole on the other hand spent the week researching low-fat baking and healthier ingredient alternatives. When we met up yesterday night for the big spree, she was sounding more like a chemist than a future baker.
"Now what does that do?" I asked as she plucked a tiny box of arrowroot from a huge rack of spices in Chef Central. "Wow, you really didn't do your research," she scolded me. "Arrowroot is a leavener."

"Well, what's that?" I asked. She ignored me.

Some half-assed Google research of my own says that arrowroot is a thickener, which I don't think is the same as a leavener. But I'll debate this with her tomorrow...

This first stop was mainly to pick up some essentials, including a re-usable pastry bag:

And a whisk:
You can't really see it too well, but that little guy had a cute chicky as the handle.

I tried to act as the voice of reason as best I could, but it was hard for even me to ignore the adorable accessories that they had for sale in the cupcake section:

We did manage to get outta there pretty much unscathed. Nicole might beg to differ:
Then came the fun part of the evening...WHOLE FOODS!!!!!!!
Let me just say, we didn't want to leave. The store has a great energy, with an extremely knowledgeable staff, and, get ready for this...a sugar and salt bar!
From raspberry to cinnamon to green chili sugar, the aromas were intoxicating. Then we turned the corner to find a nuts station where you can grind your own butters. I tried the almond and to quote Alka Seltzer, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

We bought a variety of flours and some LEAVENING and sweetener replacements, as well as some alternative thickening agents. All of which are going to help us make our cuppies not a random indulgence, but rather a diet staple. Core competence baby, core competence!

Skinnie Minnie will cater to those who want a healthy, lower-calorie baked good, but don't need it to be wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or most importantly, taste-free.

Trials begin tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Eat our crumbs!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Retail Bakers of America

Just found this. We really need to join:

We also REALLY need to go to the baking expo in Vegas in September! Strictly for business purposes, of course.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to You

I worked from my company's New York offices today, so I could be in the city to celebrate a very special birthday. Twenty-eight spanks go out to "The Nan." Twenty-two years and counting my friend...

So, you DO NOT show up to someone you've known that long's birthday without a cuppie. God was watching down on me when he opened up a Magnolia Bakery stand in Grand Central a few months ago. This morning when my train got in I stopped off there to pick one up for her.

My choice was the aptly named "The Grand Central." It was perfect as that's where each of us needs to go in order to visit one another.

Here's the birthday girl holding her gift.

On top of blue-green icing is a chocolate chip with the Grand Central insignia on it in gold. The actual cake was a marble one.

Happy Birthday Nancy!

<3 Am

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So I've got a few of my creative geniuses working on logos for our soon to be launched "minnie" site...hehehe:)....

And I'm excited by what I see so far!

I'm thinking it should be up and running by the first week of April or shortly thereafter. Then we can most-likely go ahead with our trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I could file an "intent-to-use" app before then, but we'd have to file ANOTHER application after that once the name finally is officially being used in commerce. And at 325 bucks a pop, I think it's wise to hold off. I'm consulting with one of my trademark experts on that one.

So our business meeting ended with Nicole and I sitting on the floor of Barnes & Noble scouring a variety of low-fat cook and baking books. We purchased a few, as well as this book:

How to Open a Financially Successful Bakery, by Sharon L. Fullen and Douglas R. Brown. So Nicole got to take the fun books (the cookbooks) and has been having a ball researching and brainstorming on combinations of a variety of ingredients from alternative oils to flours to flavors and I got to take THAT one. And have been watching my blood pressure creep higher and higher as I read about loans and business plans and "demographic research."

But we haven't been discouraged so far! We're ready to dive head first into the baking experimenting (which should result in a few fights and a few extra pounds) as we need to get our healthier recipes and menus down pat, first and foremost, with the appropriate healthier alternatives. That's a big fat DUH.

We'll be making a visit to Chef Central on Friday night to get the first round of bakeware and ingredients for lab on Saturday. The lab being my mother's kitchen.

We'll also be signing up for a few baking courses at the Institute of Culinary Education come next month, when they post new courses finally.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From Trend to Staple

Thanks Aiden! When CNN starts covering cupcakes you know it's not a joke anymore...

Loving the Pleasantville, NY shout out. I'll have to make a visit to the Flour and Sun Bakery.



I received this email this morning:

Hi AnnMarie,

thank you so much for participating in our initiative and making your blog carbon neutral! Your tree will be planted next month by the Arbor Day Foundation. We thank you for the support!

There are still some trees looking for a sponsor. So if you know some people who have a blog or website, pass it on and we'll make their blogs carbon neutral too!


"Make it green!"-team

I'm going to ask if I could get a picture of it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Soon to be...

Carbon neutral? I'm not sure if this is legit or not, but I thought it was worth a shot. If I don't hear back, I'll assume I've been scammed.

As you can see we have a new addition to our blog (that big leaf at the top of the page for those of you as oblivious as I am). It seems that all I've got to do is write a post about this program ("My blog is carbon neutral"), which was originally started in Germany by the "Make it Green" initiative. I send them a link to it, and they plant a tree this spring for us, neutralizing The Road to Sweetness' carbon footprint for the next 50 years. God, I hope I'm not still writing this blog when I'm 78.

Blogs can have carbon footprints? Apparently...

According to these guys, the average blog gets 15,000 visitors a month, making its yearly carbon dioxide emissions 3.6 kg (8 lb). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems.

Planting just one tree neutralizes that, as the atmosphere can be relieved by an average of 5kg (11 lb.) carbon dioxide every year by planting one tree.

Makes sense to me. Here's hoping it works...


Many Thanks!

I want to give a quick shout out to all the people who have so kindly offered their help and advice thus far, particularly Robert Cooley, creative consultant, photographer, Web know-it-all and all-around nice guy! Check out his skills at


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Sorry I went dark for a couple days. Don't worry, conversations still revolved around all things cupcake but I was spending my free time outside, rather than in, blogging.

That being said, I just want to scream this from the rooftops: IT'S SO GORGEOUS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This weather is making me so happy after three months of snow and darkness. And it gets me all the more excited for our plans for the Skinnie Minnie Bakeshop.

Let me explain our name choice a bit further. It's not just because Nicole IS a "skinnie minnie," and I ASPIRE to be a "skinnie minnie." We want all our offerings to be much healthier than the traditional baked goods so all of us who love cuppies so much can be able to eat them more freely, without (too much) guilt. Because nothing is sadder than an existence not surrounded by artfully frosted little cakes.

Now how exactly we're going to achieve that is the question. That's what we'll focus on today when we meet for our first serious business meeting, which will probably take place sitting on my sister's bed in the room we grew up in. Very VERY serious...

We've got some ideas and we've been compiling a few secret weapons. One element that we definitely want to try to implement in our baking will be the farm-to-table philosophy. So the best way to truly understand that is to start at home, right?

It was Thursday, I believe, when I got lost in my (our!) favorite store Anthropologie. I by-passed the surprising number of cupcake cook and recipe books they had for sale, including the one from Babycakes (which was also a stop on last year's CuppieTour. See a pic on the right of Nicole outside of the NYC shop, about to dive in.) Instead, I picked up a copy of Grow Great Grub, Organic Food from Small Spaces, by gardening extraordinaire Gayla Trail.

The title jumped out at me because I certainly fit that description. The attic apartment I share with my boyfriend and cat is definitely a "small space." So if she can teach me how to get around that and understand the difference in flavor and texture you achieve from ingredients that are in season and come straight from the ground to the plate, then I'll definitely be indebted to this farm-to-table movement.

Well at first flip through, I love this book! She offers very simple how-tos on growing your own herbs, veggies, fruits and more, no matter how much or how little space you have access to or what your budget is. She even offers some pretty mouth-watering recipes and there is actually a page (27) on how to start your own seed beds with just toilet paper tube rolls! Now I just need to get to a Whole Foods soon to pick up some seeds. I want to get started with fruits (Chapter 8).

And oddly enough, the very next day I was greeted with some great news. There is actually a few yards of gardening space on the side of our house, but it was always occupied by the tenants in the 1st floor apartment--who confirmed they've purchased a house of their own and are moving out next month! I'm going to jump on that and ask the landlord if I can take it over once they're gone.

Alright, I'm going to sign off to get ready and get to our meeting!

Eat our crumbs!
A Babycakes cuppie...mmmmmmmm.........

Thursday, March 18, 2010

more TMI

Jesus...these "basic" facts about trademarks are making me go cross-eyed. I'll be reading this for the next 3 days.

It seems though, that we don't need a lawyer, and can file on our own for a small fee of $325.

Does that sound right to anyone?


TMI on TMs

My head is spinning from A to Z with visions of tiny letters in circles and all the warnings and threats and horror stories and laws that can go along with them, from ® to © to .

Here's an interesting link at FindLaw®. Scroll down for a snicker. Funny, but still relevant! (I'd love to know where this one went).

It seems like as far as recipes go, copyright infringement can get a little, uhhh, fuzzy?? Seems like that according to this post from one of our fave blogs Cupcakes Take The Cake.

But I think we're going to take cues from this one, for now, and make one of our main goals to get our chosen name, Skinnie Minnie Bake Shop, registered--and as quickly as possible before any of you snatch it up! Oh, I'm sorry, it's Skinnie Minnie Bakeshop, as Nicole corrected me this morning. OR, as another close friend called it: SMBS. Love that!

If anyone has information or advice to share on the subject, we're all ears. Meanwhile, I'll be working on my application. Do you need an attorney for this? Help!


Deep Breaths

Not gonna lie. My heart is beating a little bit faster after reading this. I'm trying to calm myself by saying this was written four years ago and she has since gone on to open another store in LA! And that our locale will most likely not be dealing with NYC rents. Not that that helps much now-a-days.

Anyway, it's an awesome article, one that Nicole and I will definitely be referencing, I'm sure. Thanks New York Magazine!


Our page background

Doesn't it look like sprinkles? The really teeny tiny round kind?



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Day to Remember

I just want to mark today in my brain. So I can look back and say "I remember it like it was yesterday..."

It was this morning in the shower that I decided (well at this point, technically yesterday morning). The morning of St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2010 was when I decided it was time for us to stop talking and start doing.

For the past few years my sister Nicole has been talking about opening a bakery and calling it the Skinnie Minnie Bake Shop. Because that's what she is...a skinnie minnie. That's us at Sweet Revenge at 62 Carmine St., NYC, on last year's CuppieTour (I'll explain in future posts so stay tuned). That's me on the left, her on the right.

She's a teeny 5-ft.-nothin', 100 and nothin' pound beauty. And I'm...well...not. But that's OK, there's always gotta be some brawn to the brains, right? And over the years, she's added to said "brawn" by slowly bringing me on board with her love for baked goods. ESPECIALLY cupcakes! And eventually her dream of opening a bakery, turned into our dream.

"I can tell you think I'm not serious," I texted her after getting out of the shower and telling her of my revelation. "I mean it."

"I believe u! I was serious about it in the first place," she wrote back.

Well, let's see her put her money where her mouth is. First business meeting is scheduled for Saturday where we're going to get serious about getting serious. I'll let you know what our brainstorming session yields.

But in conclusion, this blog will chronicle our journey down the road to sweetness--what we hope to be a wildly successful bakery that makes people just as happy as those little cups of frosted goodness make us!

Eat our crumbs! (we say that with all the love in the world )