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Sugar, spice and living the sweet life

The cupcake bakery trend takes root in the Santa Clarita Valley

Posted: December 16, 2009 10:28 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Genine Baldree displays some of her pecan-topped red velvet cupcakes. Baldree recently opened The Cupcake Tree bakery, the first all-cupcake store in Santa Clarita. These popular specialty stores have been an increasing trend in Los Angeles.

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The recession may have left many with a sour taste, but Genine Baldree is living the sweet life.

The Newhall resident is the owner of The Cupcake Tree, which marks its fourth week of business today.

Every week, the shop goes through roughly 35 pounds of butter and 60 pounds of sugar, to produce anywhere from 600 to 700 cupcakes, she said.

Located next to the Edwards Cinema in Canyon Country, Baldree’s shop offers 15 different flavors, in addition to several seasonal specials.

“We’ve been warmly welcomed,” she said. With a grand opening that coincided with the opening of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” Baldree said there was a long line of teenage girls at her shop.

The shop exudes a crisp, welcoming feel. A former design student,

Baldree saved money by drawing up the designs for the bakery, which is done up in black and green.

Handmade, colored lights from Asia adorn the windows, the sugary scent of fresh-baked goods hangs heavy in the air and rocking chairs sit at the ready.

Cake-baking was passed down to Baldree from her mother and grandmother, and she originally focused on wedding cakes. She adapted a number of her recipes to develop The Cupcake Tree’s menu.

Among those flavors are the top-selling Southerner, a pecan-topped, red velvet cake; a German chocolate cake; and the Rockstar, a frosted cupcake topped with Pop Rocks candy.

She also offers every flavor, except German chocolate, as gluten-free.

With an eye for quality, Baldree uses organic carrots for her carrot cake recipe, Madagascar vanilla, white cane sugar instead of powdered sugar and no shortening or preservatives. She bakes small batches throughout the day.

Quality comes at a cost. Baldree’s cupcakes range in price from $2.95 to $3.25 each.

A resident of Santa Clarita Valley for five years, the mother of three — “They’ve all entered the phase of (liking) cupcakes” — said the niche she picked was a no-brainer.

“This market has not been touched at all,” she said.

In the first year of business, she said, her goal is “to be fully established as Santa Clarita’s first and original cupcake shop.”

Indeed, while cupcake bakeries have cropped up throughout the Los Angeles region, Baldree’s shop brings the trend into the Santa Clarita Valley.

While there were natural concerns about launching a new business venture in a recession, she said “people are still willing to buy their kids a cupcake.”

The Cupcake Tree is located at 18836 Soledad Canyon Road. For more information call (661) 251-9866 or visit www.thecupcaketreebakery.com.

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