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Passing the Torch

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Rebecca Clanton-Lewis

If you’ve read this blog, visited my shop, eaten one of my cupcakes, or if you know me at all, you know that The Cupcake Cowgirls is my baby. It is the culmination of my passion, talent, years of hard work, and wildest dreams all rolled into one. I’ve shared with you my highs and lows in the food industry- from making it to the top and winning Cupcake Wars to experiencing hardships I couldn’t have imagined, both in my professional and personal life. Business deals went wrong after I began franchising The Cupcake Cowgirls, nearly destroying the brand I worked hard to create. That, and the loss of my sweet Momma in April of 2015, made me question my priorities and life-goals.

But I didn’t crumble under the pressures of life. I had worked too hard to throw down my cowgirl hat and walk away from my dream. I adjusted my priorities and took on a new outlook- one that incorporated what really matters in life rather than the glamour I had originally envisioned. Losing my mom taught me to cherish the little things…things like family, traditions, a perfectly baked cupcake with REAL ingredients, and that lovely dirt road that brings me home to my husband each day. I have so many blessings in my life, not the least of these being two amazing grandsons and another grandbaby arriving in April. I simply want time to enjoy them and my husband.

 

My husband has been my rock. After nearly thirty years in manufacturing, my super “man’s man” found himself smack dab in the middle of a cupcake world. He went from building trucks for our troops to whipping up Swiss meringue buttercream that could rival Julia Child’s own work, and boy did he take a beating from his fishing buddies- along with a new nickname around the fish camp: “CUPCAKE”! They even had a shirt monogrammed! After being a huge part of The Cupcake Cowgirls, he is heading back to the industry he knows best. Still, I’m sure there will be days when he misses the sound of that KitchenAid mixer winding down after the perfect marshmallow frosting was mastered. He really did perfect that fluff!

Of course, through every twist and turn through these last few years there has been The Cupcake Cowgirls. The cutest little shop you’ve ever seen and the tastiest cupcakes you’ll ever savor. But just as my dreams once evolved from building a cupcake empire to simply enjoying MY shop alongside my family, those dreams have evolved once more.

I have learned that real life doesn’t mean having just one dream, but rather that your dreams grow and change just as people do. Accomplishing one goal doesn’t mean you’re finished- just that you can set even better ones for yourself. I dreamed of being successful in the food industry, of winning Cupcake Wars, of owning my own brand. I accomplished those dreams through my blood, sweat, and tears. And, of course, through the support of my amazing family. Now I have different dreams. It is time to move on to another industry: my marriage and family, the greatest joys in life. My dream job has evolved from being the best baker in Texas to being the best housewife I can be and enjoying the ones I love every single day.

I will always love The Cupcake Cowgirls. Love it so much, in fact, that I searched for a year for the best person to receive the torch I am passing.  I met Tina in February of this year and there couldn’t be a better fit if I searched for ten more years. There she was, a first-time customer who stood at my counter and actually cried because my dream shop was also her dream. It is decorated exactly as she would have chosen and the cupcakes are a delicacy that only a true baker and cookie-master like herself could appreciate. I’ve written before about using only real, quality ingredients in my products, and Tina not only understands this but delights in it.

So I am passing the torch to the perfect person to continue my legacy. She has all of the passion that I once had for the food industry- the passion that I will now be channeling into my family and home.

Know that I don’t make this decision lightly or quickly. I love ALL of my customers- each and every one of you have been a true blessing to me. You have helped make my dreams come true, and I know you will support me in my pursuit of new dreams. Don’t be sad- rejoice with me! I found the one person that will treasure what I have developed and will love you, my customers, the same way I have. Please, continue to support me and The Cupcake Cowgirls by supporting Tina. This industry and this brand are hard work, but there is no one better equipped to take my place.

You may be asking what’s next for me now that I’ve decided to pass the torch to Tina. You may say “What will Rebecca spend all of her time on now that she isn’t making our favorite cupcakes?” Well, besides six children, two grandchildren (soon to be three!), the little piece of heaven we call “home”, thirty-two chickens, dogs, cats, and shiplap going up in my laundry room…

I may just find time to write that cookbook.

 

My late sister always did say I could write a book about my life story, and maybe I can.

But cookbooks are just so much more useful, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in cupcake cowgirls, cupcakes, family, love, priorities, real cake, texas, torch

Cupcake Currency

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Rebecca Clanton-Lewis

This week started like other weeks usually do. I baked my cupcakes and I interacted with customers. I drove my cupcake van and I purchased supplies. I ran The Cupcake Cowgirls like normal, accepting money in exchange for my delicious product. My cupcakes are still as popular as ever!

And then I made a trip to the bank. I had to make a cash deposit, as all honest and hardworking business folks do. I handed the teller my cash and waited patiently as she began the transaction. Little did I know, this would be no ordinary visit to the bank.

Imagine my surprise as the teller looked me, startled, and said “I’m sorry; we can’t accept this $100 bill,” I blinked in confusion as she went on to explain: “It’s counterfeit.”

Counterfeit?

I was shocked. It was fake money? How could this have happened? Well, regardless, now that $100 of hard earned cash is on its way to the Secret Service in Washington, D.C.

Did someone actually come into my cute little cupcake shop and use a fake bill to buy themselves a treat? It gets my blood boiling just thinking about it. I could understand if you were hungry and needed to buy some food for dinner. I could understand if you needed to feed your children, one way or another. I could certainly understand if you felt trapped and were just trying to survive.

But my cupcakes are a luxury item. Divine little treats, extra bites of pleasure to those that feel deserving of a little indulgence. They are certainly not a necessity!

Or are they? Have I cracked the code? Have I discovered the secret to cupcake-baking at its finest? Have I made the cupcakes that cease to be an occasional treat and instead become a basic need for dessert lovers of Texas? It has, after all, always been my passion to produce a product that people simply couldn’t live without. Wow. Who knew that my little shop would inspire people to print their own money- just so they could get some cupcakes! I’ve really gone and done it now.

My mind reeled with these thoughts as I drove the cupcake van home from the bank. And then my brain took it a step further. Why not make lemonade out of lemons?

If they could do it, so can I! I could print my own money- call it “cupcake currency” if you will- and kids could earn it through good behavior. Good attendance in school, excellent grades, outstanding citizenship, and volunteer work- these and other activities of similar quality could earn cupcake currency.

I could start a currency revolution!

I realized that the fake $100 bill didn’t have to ruin my day. It didn’t have to be a solely negative situation, tarnishing my experience of owning The Cupcake Cowgirls, because I could use the dishonesty of some unknown person to fuel my creative thinking.

What better way to turn a negative, disappointing situation like that counterfeit bill into something worthwhile?

So, dear cupcake consumers, what do you think? Can “cupcake currency” be the latest, greatest thing in Cypress? Can we motivate our kids to step up to the plate and do amazing things by rewarding them with the cupcakes that people seemingly can’t live without? The sky is the limit and the cupcakes are the reward.

And honestly, can you think of a better one?

Posted in community service, counterfeit, cupcake cowgirls, cupcakes, currency, cypress, money, texas

The Lost Art of REAL Cake

Posted on July 30, 2015 by Rebecca Clanton-Lewis

Let’s take a moment to talk about cake from a box. There probably isn’t a single person left in America who hasn’t made or eaten these cakes. You know the kind: a basic yellow cake smeared with chocolate frosting right out of a can. Have you ever read the ingredients in these products? Next time you shop, I challenge you to just glance at the back of a cake-mix box. You will find that most of the words are unfamiliar, and some you won’t even be able to pronounce. What does this mean?

It means don’t eat it.

In my early youth I baked from Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker, but after spending a summer with my grandmother as a girl I learned the art of baking from scratch. Only the best would do for us. We used Valrhona Cocoa Powder, Plugra European style butter, King Arthur flours, whole organic milk, and farm fresh eggs. These real ingredients, these basics, made cakes so delectable that anyone would be amazed at their simple beginnings.

These are MY VERY OWN CHICKENS!

 

 And then there was fondant. Where simple yellow cakes with chocolate canned frosting used to be sufficient for a birthday party, now kids use sites like Instagram and Pinterest. They want big, beautiful creations that take hours to make. They want the ability to share the perfect photo of a cake shaped like their favorite movie character or game symbol. Yes, I have made cakes using fondant. In fact, I have a portfolio full of beautiful cakes that are gorgeous enough to get me back on The Food Network, but the taste is nothing I would ever want to eat.

How does fondant work? Well, you take these delicious, tender cake layers and stick them in the freezer. They must be frozen so you can do things like cut them into all sorts of creative shapes, from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for boys to the latest Disney princess for girls. Not to mention cakes for adults- think of that perfect groom’s cake shaped like a beer bottle or a football helmet. And then you roll out this gummy, plastic-tasting goo to cover the frozen cake, a cake that was already frosted with your amazing frosting! Not to mention the dyes needed to accomplish these looks. Red number five, black, dark blue…the amount of dye it takes to achieve the striking colors on fondant cakes is enough to turn anyone’s stomach. It looks pretty, of course, but the taste is mediocre at best and just plain terrible at worst. So, what is it that you have created?

You have created a centerpiece. You have made a beautiful, photo-worthy cake that will be plastered all over the internet within minutes. Sure, the shares, comments, and likes feel great, but who wants to actually eat the cake? Isn’t that the reason for baking a cake in the first place, to be eaten and enjoyed? It may be lovely, but after you cut one piece of it the look is lost. Kids abandon the table, and their cake, after just one bite. The whole purpose for baking seems moot at that point.

So what can we do? What does The Cupcake Cowgirls do?

We go back to the basics with vintage, wholesome, pronounceable ingredients. We use flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Easy enough, right?  Real food, magnificently prepared, that tastes delicious.

 

 I can pronounce all of these ingredients!

 

 Nothing artificial about this...real AND delicious!

 

Do yourself a favor and get vintage style cupcakes. Tell your family that it’s time to get back to the basics. Throw out the fondant, the boxed mixes, and the canned icing. Just say no to Minions, Minnie Mouse, and Transformers. Let your paper plates, napkins, and other decorations display these icons and let your cake exist to be eaten.

 

 Cupcakes are not a fad.They have been around for many years and are here to stay.

 

Eat real, vintage cake again.

The Cupcake Cowgirls…where you can have your cake and eat it, too!

 

 

Posted in basics, boxed cake, cake mix, cupcake cowgirls, cupcakes, fondant, natural, real cake, texas, vintage

cupcakes, dirt roads, and mommas

Posted on July 23, 2015 by Rebecca Clanton-Lewis

After winning Cupcake Wars, I felt unstoppable. I had this talent- this raw, unbridled passion that I couldn’t contain to myself anymore than I could have contained a wildfire. So I kept baking, and I kept creating. My hard work once again came to fruition when I opened The Cupcake Cowgirls. Some wonder, why cowgirls? What is a cowgirl?
 
She is full of grit and determination. She is me.
 
We were a hit. My product spoke for itself because people know when they find the real thing and my cupcakes are certainly that. Their popularity was, like me, unstoppable.
 
And just like a wildfire doesn’t go unnoticed, the popularity of The Cupcake Cowgirls didn’t either. It took no time at all after my first shop opened before I was approached about franchising. The growing demand for my product was undeniable, and the idea of sharing my passion with an ever-widening spread of people was something that excited me, to say the least. I said yes, plans moved forward, and before I knew it, The Cupcake Cowgirls was a franchise.
 
It was a disaster.
 
They say “oil and water don’t mix”, but I know this to be a false statement when it comes to baking. You need both, and it’s ok that they are two different substances because they each work in their own way to make the end result perfect.
 
I quickly learned that franchising is not like baking. “Oil and water” is the perfect way to explain the relationships that unfolded, and it was not smooth sailing to say the least. I picked the wrong people. Some were vengeful, some weren’t a good fit, and some were just plain cheaters. Worse than all of these things, however, was that the integrity of the cupcakes suffered. I had hired experienced bakers and on paper they had everything they needed to make a product fit for The Cupcake Cowgirls. But they weren’t me.
 
In the end, I realized that no one would do it like I would. It wasn’t just about being good at baking. It wasn’t just mixing the right ingredients, reading the recipe correctly, or being creative enough. It was about love. A love that was instilled in me as a little girl after it was passed down from my grandmother to my mother, and then to me. Love that shows in each and every cupcake I create. I realized that no one could possibly pour the kind of love that I do into my product. Love makes my cupcakes what they are, and nothing can substitute for that.
 
So maybe for a while the greatest thing I could have imagined was to have cute cupcake shops all over Texas. Now, maybe not. While that dream was big and exciting, it also sucked all of my time and energy away from more important things.
 
I lost my wonderful, sweet momma on April 1st, 2015. The loss left me heartbroken, something I still feel daily. I look back and regret the time I spent trying to build a cupcake empire, time that could have been spent with her. She was proud of me, of course, extremely proud. Proud of my talent, proud of my passion, and proud of all the things I was accomplishing- franchises included. But maybe the time I spent with those people would have been better spent with her. After all, she was the one who taught me how to do this amazing thing that other people wanted to share in without fully understanding what it takes.  

 
I miss my mom every minute of every day, and yet I know her legacy has not ended because she is alive and well in the creativity that is in me, the creativity that we once shared. I feel her presence with me every time I create- every time I pour my love into another batch of happiness. 
 
It took a disastrous attempt at franchising my store and my product for me to adjust my priorities. So now I drive the cupcake van down a dirt road every day (and the van sure looks like a cowgirl drives it-pardon all the dust!) This dirt road leads me to amazing things, things no cupcake empire could have ever provided. It leads me to my husband, a man I had always dreamed of and who my momma sure loved. It leads me to happiness. It leads me to love.


 
I am changed. I am happy with the little things and I focus my time on what matters most: my sweet husband, our amazing children and grandchildren, our lovely dirt road, memories of my sweet momma, and, of course, cupcakes.
 
Always cupcakes.

Posted in cupcake cowgirls, cupcake wars, cupcakes, cypress, franchising, love, moms, texas

New Website

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Lacey Maynard

 We are launching our new website and we are extremely excited for you to see it.  The shipping is not used right now so if you order something online it will have to be picked up at the store.

 

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