Once a food buyer for Mrs. Fields, and then a sales executive for Canon and Xerox, LuAnn Lukenbach had always dreamed of starting her own business. “I used to host annual tea parties for my girlfriends; one year I thought I’d try cupcakes since they were coming into vogue,” she recalls. “I created five recipes, and everyone loved them. My business idea was born.”
LuAnn’s Cupcakes (luannscupcakes.com) started in the Lukenbach home. “I had an agreement with my husband that I wouldn’t go into debt, so we started really small,” she says. As orders started to roll in, the Lukenbachs’ kitchen soon became cramped with “three refrigerators and a big old oven,” so LuAnn took over part of her husband Lucky’s radiator shop in Silver Creek, outfitting it economically with equipment from Recycle Utah and KPCW’s classifieds show.
Now Lukenbach works with 20 regular recipes, all handwritten and kept in a blue plastic binder. Recurring favorites include the signature Strawberry Shortcake cupcake (made with fresh berries); the Chocolate Dream with fudgy frosting; and the Sassy Margarita, a vanilla cupcake with lime filling and lime cream-cheese frosting sprinkled with sugar and salt.
“Perhaps the sweetest aspect of the operation, however, is the Lukenbachs’ personal touch. They do deliveries (for $15) themselves, dropping off their confections in white window boxes tied with a ribbon. Lukenbach takes a photo of each smiling cupcake recipient and texts it to the sender, cooking up double layers of happiness.
Lukenbach keeps adding new dessert choices to her repertoire, as well, such as cake truffle pops, gourmet shortbread, salted caramel cookie bars, and brown butter glazed doughnuts. “That’s the fun part about the job—trying out new things,” she says.