Yup, I’m definitely coo coo for cupcakes.
There’s something about those little morsels of confectionery heaven that always seems to lift my spirits.
I’m sure almost every lady out there (even men secretly – admit it!) will agree with me on this one.
3+ years ago, I was frantically planning my very first baby shower for my firstborn daughter, Ava, along with my sister and mother and one of the main things I just had to have perfect for my shower was none other than the focal point and always talked about centerpiece, my cake!
At the time, my vision for the perfect cake was not the typical shower-themed 1, 2 or 3 layer cake, but something a little different. Something that was exceedingly in demand and prevailing in events – a cupcake tower!
Knowing me, Type A-researches on everything-all must be perfect type of gal, I scoured the internet, reading reviews and of course, asked dozens of friends and family members if they knew of any fabulous bakeries that would deliver the goods and most importantly offer a cake that isn’t overly sweet. You see, I love sweets and desserts but I don’t have much of a big sweet tooth. I cannot stand the taste of too much sugar or cakes with frosting similar to the store-bought tasting variety. Yeesh. You know what I’m talking about.
Alas, I stumbled upon a quaint family-owned bakery, tucked in the lovely and bustling neighborhood of Streetsville (a neighborhood I frequently haunt due to their adorable shops!) during a hot August day after stopping in for a gelato (which they also offer on top of their cupcakes/cakes).
I decided to take home a 6 pack of their classic cupcakes and give my “testing panel” a shot at them.
And that, my friends, is where my love for Swirls Cupcakes blossomed.
Since ordering my baby shower cupcake tower + top cake from them in October 2008 (which was a BIG hit), I’ve since gone to nobody but Swirls Cupcakes to create my family’s special cakes.
|Clockwise from top left: Baby Shower Cake, My Birthday Cake, Ty’s Champagne Bday Cake, Ava’s 3rd bday cake|
Along the years, working with swirls with my custom cakes has been so pleasant as I built a great friendship with Katherine and Chuck (owners of Swirls) and have entrusted them to always deliver. And they always do!
Their story is a lovely one.
In 2001 Chuck Bascon met his now wife, Katherine (from Mississauga) and the long-distance love affair began. In September 2001, New York was devasted and the stress of the city went to maximum levels. Chuck began to take a look at his life — what did he love, where did he see himself, how can life be better? Chuck realized that he loved to bake and he always wanted to own his own business. Soon afterwards Chuck and Katherine got engaged, and the plans for a new life in Ontario began.
Chuck moved from the Big Apple to Toronto in 2004 focused on opening up Swirls — a gourmet cupcake shop. In New York, cupcake shops like Magnolia (from Sex and the City fame) were popping up every where. Before moving to Toronto Chuck had quit his job and entered pastry courses at the Institue of Culinary Education (ICE) in New York. With Chuck’s passion, skills and the New Yorker ”Go-Getter” attitude Swirls opened its doors in Streetsville, Ontario in August 2005.
After a successful 4 years Swirls opened their second location in Etobicoke in September 2009.
I also had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Katherine and ask her a few more personal questions:
1) Where did your love and passion for baking begin?
Chuck grew up in a bakery owned by his grandfather and later by his parents. From growing up in this environment he has always loved baking and cooking. Even though Chuck worked in finance for over 11 years he decided to move forward with his love of baking and start the bakeshop.
2) Give me an idea of what an average day is like at Swirls?
In the morning we prepare cupcakes for retail sales and early orders. Throughout the day we are meeting with customers, and taking orders via the telephone and email. We continuously bake and finish cupcakes and cakes to make sure we keep up with the walk-in sales. At the same time we are preparing fondant/gumpaste figures for custom orders, checking inventory, ordering products and keep on top of the finances. Your mind is always on the go.
3) When is your busiest time of the year?
Our busiest time of year is April – June for Easter, First Communions, Confirmation, Graduations, Showers and Weddings, and September – October for Weddings.
4) What do you see for Swirls in the next 5 years?
In 5 years Swirls is targeted for further expansion, including a couple of new projects in the next year.
5) I know you have young children and still try to maintain balance with work-life. How do you do it? And do you have any tips for other busy mom/dad entrepreneurs and business owners that are trying to achieve that balance?
Chuck and I set goals early on — both personal and financial. This helped us focus and steer our decisions. When we started the store we did not have children yet and we worked very hard to push the business forward. When our first daughter was born we became even more motivated to be successful for our family.
My brother, Jon, joined the business and was able to successfully manage the Streetsville store when we expanded our second shop in Etobicoke. We also hired more skilled people during the expansion. By having great people working with you helps to achieve the business goals while maintaining family goals for any entrepreneur.
6) What’s your favourite cupcake flavor?
My favourite cupcake is Marbleous Swirl — I love chocolate. Chuck’s favourite cupcake is the Still-a-Vanilla. I guess opposites do attract.
|Swirls Classic & Custom Cupcakes|
How adorable are they?
What I love too about Swirls Cupcakes is that they are a nut-free facility and their products are all nut-free!
They offer 8-10 delicious variety of cupcake flavors ready for picking and choosing at any of their 2 locations in Streetsville and Etobicoke.
On top of their scrumptious cupcakes, they also do custom orders & cakes, artisan gelato and other baked goods like paninis! Yum!
Oh, and did I mention how ridiculously affordable their custom cakes are? And their cupcakes are also perfectly priced for how big and yummy they are.
You have to try them for yourself! I’ve compared them to every other cupcake I’ve had elsewhere, including very famous ones in the states (no names mentioned) and seriously, nothing compares.
They are the best in my eyes.
You can read more about Swirls at: http://www.swirlscupcakes.ca.
And also make sure to like them on Facebook and tweet with them on Twitter for news, updates and more giveaways!
**YUMMY GIVEAWAY ALERT**
Thanks to Katherine and Chuck Bascon, the owners of Swirls Cupcakes, I am giving away THREE six packs of their regular sized Classic Cupcakes (customization not included).
Quick entries via rafflecopter below.
If you are in the GTA area and want to sample some of (in my honest opinion) the best cupcakes in town, enter and share this contest for more entries!
“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~ Ernestine Ulmer