TribLIVE

| AandE

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Le Cupcake Shoppe uses small snacks to hit the sweet spot

Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review - Le Cupcake Shoppe on Capital Avenue in Brookline uses all natural ingredients to create miniature cupcakes that owner Alexandra Hagen learned as a child Tuesday, November 12, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review</em></div>Le Cupcake Shoppe on Capital Avenue in Brookline uses all natural ingredients to create miniature cupcakes that owner Alexandra Hagen learned as a child Tuesday, November 12, 2012.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review - Le Cupcake Shoppe on Capital Avenue in Brookline uses all-natural ingredients to create miniature cupcakes that owner Alexandra Hagen learned as a child Tuesday, November 12, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review</em></div>Le Cupcake Shoppe on Capital Avenue in Brookline uses all-natural ingredients to create miniature cupcakes that owner Alexandra Hagen learned as a child Tuesday, November 12, 2012.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By William Loeffler
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
 

A sign on the wall behind the counter at Le Cupcake Shoppe reads, “Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts.”

Few would argue, especially if they've sampled the lovingly crafted confections of owner and baker Alexandra Hagen. Miniature cupcakes are the coin of this tiny realm in Brookline, whose exterior is the color of lemon icing. Hagen creates legal intoxicants in flavors that include maple bacon, tiramasu, cookies and cream, salted caramel, hot chocolate and s‘mores. The miniature cupcakes are $10 per dozen; $30 per dozen for standard-size cupcakes. She also creates cake pops and varieties of whole cakes in butter cream and fondant.

Hagen graduated from Duquesne University in 2011 with a degree in entrepreneurship and marketing. But her real passion was forged during her Bethel Park girlhood, where she learned the sweet science of baking with her mother, Suzanne. Her career as a professional baker began after college, while she worked as marketing and events coordinator for Cadillac Ranch Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, she built a following on her Facebook page, where the likes multiplied.

“I would post pictures of things that I would make,” Hagen says. “I never thought it would be something that I would sell. It was just something that I always loved to do. Friends and family would say, ‘Can you bake for my baby shower and so-and-so's birthday?' That's when it really stared.”

She says she uses no chemicals and preservatives but sticks to natural ingredients such as Madagascar vanilla, pure extract, real butter and fresh fruits. Le Cupcake Shoppe features six to eight varieties of miniature cupcakes and two to four different flavors of cake pops. The menu changes weekly. Hagen recently added chocolate pistachio shortbread cookies. She even makes sweet dog treats in assorted flavors.

Her shop hugs a steep cobblestone street above West Liberty Avenue, a few doors up from local legend Fiore's Pizzeria. The pink-and-white interior has the cheery bustle of a workshop at the North Pole.

“Brookline is so for small business,” she says. “I definitely wanted to find a place between the city and suburbs.”

Robert Coccaro owns the space, which once housed a talent agency that booked clowns and magicians for children's parties. He was impressed enough with Hagen's savvy and ability.

“She puts so much time and only the best, highest-quality ingredients,” he says. “As a matter of fact, for the first few meetings, she was bringing all these different flavored cupcakes. I brought them home and my family said, ‘These are delicious. You should give this girl a shot.' ”

Hagen's imagination is hardly limited by the Lilliputian format. For the catering side of her business, she creates colorful, multi-tiered cupcake towers, cartoon characters and bright-red trucks that are dear to the heart of every little boy.

Le Cupcake Shoppe, 109 Capital Ave., Brookline. Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays- Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon- 4 p.m. Sundays. Details: 412.254.4295, www.lecupcakeshoppepgh.com

William Loeffler is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wloeffler@tribweb.com or 412-320-7986.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
  2. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  3. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  4. McCutchen, Pirates cruise to interleague victory over Twins
  5. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  6. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  7. Steelers’ Bell unsure why NFL reduced his suspension
  8. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  9. Quaker Valley grad chips in for Penn State baseball, named summer league all-star
  10. Pirates notebook: Melancon bails out Watson with extended outing
  11. Plum High School teacher held for court on charges of intimidation