The enthusiasm for her company came across when talking about boxes, of all things. Courtney Forrester, owner of Sweet Cupcakes, has a passion for her product that was palpable when she described the craft boxes for the cupcakes: how the design was not a sticker, but imprinted, and the complementary bows. If the thought she puts into the packaging is any indication of how delicious the cupcakes are, Boston is in for a treat.
After working as the head of public relations for the Four Seasons in Boston and for the Isabella Gardener Museum, and following lots of baking at home, Forrester began to consider the cupcake business. “In order to offer guests I was entertaining at home a dozen different flavors, I would have to make a dozen of the flavor and that became a little overwhelming, particularly also if you were serving a full meal,” Forrester said. When she and her husband traveled the country, she noticed cupcake and other individual dessert shops popping up in other cities, and thought to herself, “Why not Boston?”
This awareness of being a New England company and maintaining sense of its Boston roots are very important to Sweet’s business model. “Where our shops are located-Harvard Square, the Freedom Trail, Newbury St.-we have a lot of local customers,” she said. “But we have a lot of people that are visiting the city, too, and you want to make sure you’re giving them the best impression of Boston.”
Now with five locations scattered across the city-soon to be six with the addition of a new store in Chestnut Hill Square and an online store-Forrester could not be busier. The original mission of the business, however, has not changed.
“We really have stuck to our guns in terms of baking it from scratch every. Single. Day,” she said. “You know, there are times in business discussions that people say ‘Oh, you really don’t have to do that, it tastes just as good the second day,’ but we do, we really are committed to that. And that’s our primary focus.”
A whimsical excitement entered her voice when discussing the actual cupcakes that mirrored the nature of the treats themselves. She explained almost scientifically how one of Sweet’s signature cupcakes, the vanilla-vanilla cupcake, is different from a yellow cake (and is much more difficult than yellow cake, due to the lack of butter and egg yoke) and how it is made with real vanilla beans.
The true sense of passion for the baked goods crept into her voice when she started to tell the story of the red velvet cupcake. “The gal that helped us to decorate the store was from Nashville,” she said. “We had a customer asking us to make it, so she brought in some real southern cookbooks, I mean dog-eared edges. And we just started at trying to create the best and most authentic red velvet cupcake we could in New England.”
This care that goes into each cupcake is especially important to Forrester around Valentine’s Day. One of the most important days of the year for a bakery, a day when Sweet will bake between 10,000 and 12,000 cupcakes, has been in the works since December. This year the store will be featuring a brownie cupcake with a cutout heart and filled with pink buttercream frosting and a strawberry-pink champagne cupcake. Just like everyday at Sweet, Forrester loves sharing in the joy of the everyday celebrations with her customers. “It’s really our day,” she said. “Everything from our packaging to our ribbon to our store is about doing something sweet for someone, and I think it speaks to our product that we are in demand on a day that people are looking to give someone special a little taste of luxury.”