1. Business

Graphic designer finds cupcake side business fun

Where multiple-tiered cake towers once reigned supreme now stands a rival that for some brides and grooms is a staple: cupcakes.

"Little pieces of art," said Laura Maddrey, owner of Cupping Cakes, a 3-year-old side gig the graphic designer started when the cupcake craze caught on.

Maddrey, 34, lives in Carrollwood, where in her kitchen at home, she bakes the Cupping Cakes orders of "six to six hundred" that she delivers within the Tampa Bay area, including throughout Pasco County, to weddings and birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, First Communions and corporate events. During "cupcake season," which ends when spring brings hot weather back, Maddrey bakes batches she sells at outdoor markets.

Popular cupcakes are the lemon blueberry and the double chocolate, Maddrey said, and "people go crazy for the Elvis": banana cake topped with swirled peanut butter, chocolate icing — and bacon.

Maddrey's penchant for making creative cupcakes started with art when she did as a kid.

"I was always very crafty," she said, "and found that cupcakes made the most of my talent."

She uses her talent today to bake "smart" cupcakes — transported in reusable, recyclable containers. In light of allergies or other health concerns, she can swap traditional milk and flour for almond milk and flour and certain oils for applesauce. She bakes the cupcakes with fresh, local ingredients and tops them with edible decor, like strawberry slices or flowers made from pineapple — "something you don't feel bad giving to your kids."

It's a lot of work, but for Maddrey, the work is worth it.

"I enjoy being creative," she said. "Measuring things down to the ounce makes my brain happy."

For information about Cupping Cakes, visit online.

SMALL BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE: There is a Small Business Roundtable from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday at the SMARTstart Business Incubator, in the Dade City Business Center, 15000 Citrus Country Drive, Suite 103, Dade City. The roundtable is a peer-to-peer mentoring group open to CEOs and business owners to build relationships and gain insight from peers. A roundtable will be held the first Monday of each month. For information, call Krista Covey, SMARTstart director, at (352) 437-4861 or email

NETWORKING: The Trinity Positive Business Network meets at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Tony Nalli at (727) 858-7907.

Arleen Spenceley can be reached at or (727) 869-6235.