Ever since Arleen Scavone appeared on the Food Network reality show “Cupcake Wars,” drawing customers to her Westlake Village bakery has been, well, a piece of cake.
Scavone, owner of Sweet Arleen’s Cupcakes & Bread Puddings, took home top prize on the show’s July 27 episode, beating out three other bakers during a contest to create cupcakes for the L.A. Film Festival.
“We’ve had lines out the door every day,” said Scavone, whose shop has been open less than year.
She said cupcake sales have doubled, and sales of special occasion treats for weddings and birthdays have tripled. “We just can’t get the products on the shelf fast enough.”
To win first prize, she and head baker Julia San Bartolome had to pass two eliminations rounds and then complete a time test of baking more than 1,000 cupcakes. But quality was a factor, too: One of her winning creations was a buttermilk cupcake with a caramel filling and fudge frosting. As if the treat wasn’t sweet enough, she added toppings of peanut brittle and caramel corn.
Before she began creating her cupcake confections, Scavone crunched numbers as a banker. Today, she continues to head Westlake Village mortgage consulting company OpExNow in addition to running Sweet Arleen’s with her husband, Joe.
She went from banking to baking because, she said, “I finally decided to put my business knowledge to use to share my baked goods with others.”
Scavone spent two years mapping out a business plan and developing recipes for her line of cupcakes and bread puddings – which retail for $3 and $5.50, respectively.
It turns out that when it comes to cupcakes, you can have too much of a good thing.
“We taste everything every day,” she said. “But it’s only fun for the first few tastings.”
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