COLUMBIA — The Velvet Cupcake opened Thursday on the ground floor of The Tiger Hotel as a gourmet cupcake business.
The store is part of the current renovation of the hotel and replaces the Bleu Market.
On Friday, plates of cupcakes were arranged on shelves in the glass display cases: carrot, hazelnut, s’more, tiramisu, triple chocolate, red velvet, lemon raspberry and sugar-free strawberry shortcake. Miniatures of all kinds were also available.
Each regular-size cupcake costs $2.75, which also buys three miniatures. The Velvet Cupcake serves Starbucks coffee and Tazo brand teas and has six tables for customer seating.
“I wanted to bring something new,” said Glyn Laverick, CEO of The Tiger Hotel. “It’s like a big-city experience right here in Columbia.”
The shop also takes orders for wedding cakes, and one is displayed near the window that faces the street.
Laverick said the cake would change each month, so passersby don’t have to look at the same one over and over.
Cakes also will be tied to fall football games and holidays, such as Valentine’s Day.
Cale Ivy, one of three bakers at the bakery, said he stayed up all night before Thursday's opening day.
Ivy said he has been primarily making cakes for weddings and other parties during the past three years and it is his first time to specialize in cupcakes.
“It is pretty fun," Ivy said. "You can try all kinds of different things on cupcakes.”
Ivy said the the business expects to use 70 pounds of butter, 36 dozens eggs and 150 pounds of flour each week.
“We’re baking from scratch,” Ivy said.
Not all ingredients can be found in local supermarkets. Some chocolates will be imported from Europe, Laverick said.
Finding the right ingredients and developing recipes is difficult yet important. Ivy said the bakers might spend weeks on one recipe. They plan to add seasonal fruits to cupcakes throughout the year.
Decorating is the most time-consuming part, Ivy said. Bakers generally spend five minutes decorating each cupcake, even miniature ones.
To change up ordinary cupcakes, Ivy added orange zest to cream-cheese frosting on the red velvet cupcakes. He also added maple syrup to the frosting on the carrot cupcakes.
With those little twists in each recipe, he said he expects customers to notice a difference.
Ivy said he talked to a woman Thursday who used to drive to St. Louis just to buy cupcakes from her favorite store.
“She said she doesn’t have to anymore,” he said.
Velvet Cupcake provides delivery on large orders and plans to offer an online order form in the near future.
The Tiger Hotel now has the Vault lounge and bar and the newly opened V2 Nightclub in addition to The Velvet Cupcake.