All about cupcakes in the Waco area

What About Cupcakes offers a variety of flavors and designs for single-cupcake carryout or larger events. Photo credit: Rebecca Fedorko

There are some sweet deals to be had when it comes to cupcakes in Waco. However, while there are several places to find bakeries that sell cupcakes, only two places focus all their attention on cupcakes: What About Cupcakes and Mrs. Thompson’s Most Wonderful Cupcakes.

What About Cupcakes was started in 2008 by Laura Hill. At that time it was the only shop of its kind in Waco, one with a narrow focus on cupcakes.

“We only do cupcakes, we aren’t a full service bakery,” Hill said. “As far as I know, we are the first and only cupcake shop, exclusive.”

Hill has been baking for over 20 years. Her mother loved to bake, and it became a sort of family tradition. It wasn’t until Hill had her first daughter that she began to think about starting her own business.

“We had a little one and thought it was something that would be better as far as working my own hours and having enough time at home with her,” Hill said. “I wanted to be my own boss and not have to worry about working someone else’s hours.”

Owning her own business meant Hill could make as much time for her children as she wanted. It also meant she could pay the bills and do something she loved at the same time. Her shop, however, ended up making a lot more money than she had anticipated.

“I wasn’t really in it to make a lot of money,” Hill said. “I was just in it to have something to pay all my bills and pay the people who work for me, but it turned out to be way better than that.”

Hill said she wanted her business to specialize in one thing rather than be a full-service bakery. She decided against cakes, preferring to work with something smaller. Cupcakes seemed like the perfect option.

What About Cupcakes is a first-come, first-served style bakery with alternating daily flavors. They sell three sizes of cupcakes—mini, regular and jumbo—as well as sugar cookies. Their weekly menu is a mixture of long-time favorites and specialty flavors.

“Our specialty is to rotate our flavors every day,” Hill said. “Monday through Saturday we have two specialty flavors that we do every day.”

Austin sophomore Kassidy Woytek said What About Cupcakes is her favorite place to go for cupcakes.

“The first time I had them was at a Zeta event,” Woytek said. “One of our symbols is a strawberry, so we always bring strawberry cupcakes. One of the main things people talk about at our events is how good the cupcakes are.”

Woytek said Zeta Tau Alpha always caters their cupcakes from What About Cupcakes, and they even have two members working there. Her favorite cupcake is the strawberry, which Hill said is their most popular flavor.

“I’ve tried other flavors, but I always come back to strawberry,” Woytek said.

The five unchanging flavors for this week are strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, Oreo and peanut butter. They also have a flavor called hummingbird, which is a banana cake with coconuts, pecans and cinnamon. Hill said it is a fairly common flavor of cake that used to be very popular but has become less well-known.

“A lot of the young people don’t know what it is, but your grandmother and your mom probably would,” Hill said. “It’s just an old cake that’s been around for forever.”

The store makes deliveries and will caters events. However, once they are sold out for the day they close shop so larger orders need to be called in early or made specially.

What About Cupcakes is located on N. 25th street and is open at varying times after 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Although What About Cupcakes is, as Hill said, the shop that sticks to cupcakes in Waco, there is a food truck that specializes in the sweet treats.

Lois Thompson started Mrs. Thompson’s Most Wonderful Cupcakes several years ago as an out-of-home bakery. She had originally been baking just for her friends’ and family’s events, but kept hearing that her cupcakes were good enough to sell. That led her to begin selling cupcakes out of her own kitchen. Eventually, her business grew so much it was hard to keep up with it in her home. That, in addition to needing to pay for her daughter’s schooling, pushed Thompson to consider other options for her business.

Thompson was driving her daughter to school when she saw the food trucks on University Parks Drive. She was inspired by the versatility of the trucks and decided that was where her business should go.

Mrs. Thompson’s Most Wonderful Cupcakes is focused on creating delicious cupcakes with quality ingredients. Thompson said she never uses lard in any of her recipes, preferring thick cream and butter to make her frostings. There are 36-38 flavors that cycle through seasonally, although they usually keep the staple favorites, strawberry, chocolate and cookie dough, on hand.

Some of Mrs. Thompson’s signature flavors are Mexican chipotle chocolate, strawberry lemon and maple bacon. Being so close to campus, only a few blocks down University Parks Drive, makes Mrs. Thompson’s an easy stop dessert stop for hungry Baylor students.

“I really like their cupcakes,” said Cypress Junior Aparna Sarode. “My favorite is the cookie dough cupcake. I go there pretty often with my roommates, and it’s a nice place to hang out, especially in the evening when the lights are on.”

Although her business is still small in size, Thompson said her cupcakes have not only been a hit in Waco, they have made a nationwide impact.

“We have people from all over the country come here and say, ‘This is the best cupcake I’ve ever had,’” Thompson said. “It’s a real privilege to have that many people say such great things about us.”

Mrs. Thompson’s Most Wonderful Cupcakes is located at the corner of Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive and opens at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday—unless, of course, they sell out early.

“There are so many trucks in Waco, but we are glad to be one of the first and we think we are one of the best,” Thompson said.