BROOKSVILLE — Carrie DeLorey recently gave up her job as a medical assistant in Clearwater to rear her three children, ages 15, 11 and 4. But the 35-year-old Spring Hill woman wanted to find something she could do from home to help replace her regular paycheck.
DeLorey and her mother, Dolores Caraway, had always baked theme birthday cakes, even highly decorated wedding cakes. Both Food Network junkies, the pair were taken with the show Cupcake Wars.
Why not cupcakes from home? DeLorey thought.
"There is a rave about cupcakes," said Caraway, 60. "Maybe it's the individual size. People can get their own flavor without buying a whole cake."
Mother and daughter gave their idea a test run, setting up with 340 cupcakes one weekend at an intersection on County Line Road.
"Cars pulled over," Caraway said. "People sat there and ate the cupcakes and told us how good they were.
"We said, "Let's try it (beyond the corner).' "
DeLorey and her husband, Jamie, took in two foster children, leaving little time for the kitchen. But by then Caraway was hooked, though she said, "I didn't know I'd be doing all the baking and piping."
With Caraway in the lead, the women stopped by the county fairgrounds to check out possibilities at the weekly flea market there. They heard about the upcoming Hernando County Fair.
A deal was struck, and this week's fair marks their first foray beyond their neighborhood as the Hip-Hop Cupcake Shop.
Their sign at the fair advertises, at $2.50 each, such sweet flavors as Green Grasshopper, Strawberry Shortcake, Red Delicious, Nancy's Spice, Chocolate Lover's Dream and Coconut Supreme.
"Green Grasshopper and Strawberry Shortcake, definitely," said DeLorey, who contributes by piping on the butter cream frosting whipped up by her mother.
The grasshopper is a chocolate mint cake with pastel green mint icing and chocolate sprinkles atop. The shortcake is strawberry-flavored yellow cake and frosting. The recipes are Caraway's, baked in her home kitchen.
The cupcake stand seems to be in a good spot on the fairgrounds, two booths from the fair office and two slots away from a purveyor of specialty coffees. But Caraway wishes they were closer to the entrance gate, where other food stands are gathered.
"People come by eating funnel cakes (from the main row) and say, 'I wish we'd known.' "
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.