HAVE A SWEET TOOTH? AND LIKE BEER?!
The balance of school and work is a common challenge that many have experienced but DI student Misty Birchall took it to a whole new level when she decided not only to work but to start her own business! Her business actually came about completely by accident. While working at a tech company in the accounting department, Misty became known as the best baker in the office and thus was in charge of making cakes for people on their birthdays. Misty loved this role and when it came time to bake a cake for a coworker who loved beer, she decided to get creative and researched making a chocolate stout cake. In the process she noticed that she could not find any other beers that were used for baking. That is when she came up with her very own recipe made with Guinness®, Irish Cream frosting, and Jameson® whiskey chocolate ganache. She had extra batter which she turned into cupcakes and gave to friends. It was not only well received, it was a huge hit! Everyone started suggesting she sell them. She shared them with the North Park locals at the popular bar, Toronado, and as they say, the rest is history.
Misty took to developing her Pubcakes as she would an interior design project: she started with research. She studied what beer styles pair well with which foods and then she looked up the recipes to break it down into specific ingredients. This is how she developed some of these beer inspired cupcakes: Stone Portzilla, Top Ten Cake, Beer for Breakfast, Cup O' Hefen and Punkin Vegan. The most difficult to create was the Top Ten Cake which uses Karl Strauss® Tower Ten IPA. IPA's are generally better with spicy foods, not desserts, but Misty wanted to cover all the beer styles so she was determined to figure out a successful combination of flavors. She ended up creating a spicy filling of cayenne caramel as well as cherry buttercream frosting with ancho chili powder on top. It turned out to be a winning combination. With all of her Pubcakes, Misty didn't want to create anything that was overwhelmingly sweet. She feels that most cupcakes are heaped with frosting creating a sugar overload. As with her interior designs, Misty is big on balance and this becomes obvious when taking a bite of one of her delicious desserts.
So how does Misty balance all of this while going to school? It's not easy. Misty, like other working professionals, is taking advantage of DI's evening program. She spends her days doing homework and administrative work for her company, then goes to her night classes, and when classes end she heads straight to the kitchen she rents and bakes till four in the morning! This is her routine 3-4 days a week. Time management is one of the many skills she has learned at DI that has helped her in this endeavor. Misty explained that after putting in a full day she can easily feel tired but as soon as she gets in the kitchen it is pure bliss and "That tells me I'm doing the right thing."
You might wonder how Misty got to DI. After serving six years in the Navy, Misty decided it was time to pursue her dream of becoming an interior designer. While researching a number of interior design programs, Misty felt that "DI blew away all other schools." She knew she made the right decision soon after she arrived and met the other students. As she put it "Oh my gosh! I found my people!"
Her love for interior design and Pubcakes has many overlaps. Besides the obvious creativity, research and care that are involved, Misty's design education has helped in a number of other ways. For example, Misty compared the process of designing her website to designing a series of project boards. She also never considered herself as much of a drawer but with the help of Laura Crouch, Drawing and Composition instructor, and Ann Parker, Quick Sketch instructor, she was able to utilize her design education and experience to develop the cupcake icons which you can see next to each recipe on her website. She is also using the skills developed from her school projects to design her ultimate retail location! Plus she loves making people happy, "when you create something you love, you want to share it with other people." In this way, making Pubcakes and designing a space is very similar. "Watching people try my Pubcakes and seeing the reaction when someone walks into a space you design...that's why you do it...putting you into a product for other people."
Misty, who is due to graduate at the end of next year, looks forward to making Pubcakes even more profitable. From there she plans on creating a Beer Bar Pubcakes Shop to eventually spread to other major cities.
Misty was invited by XETV6 local news to participate in Cupcake Wars to air in the morning of September 20th-24th. Only five local cupcake shops were invited, and after only two months of being a fully established business, Pubcakes is included in the top 5! Stay tuned to the Design Institute of San Diego FaceBook Fan page for more information.
You can find Misty's tasty treats at:
Toronado 4026 30th Street, San Diego, K&B Wine Cellars, The Tispy Crow 770 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
Misty also makes Pubcakes for parties, weddings, etc.
Find out more at Pubcakes website: http://pubcakes.com
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