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HappyCakes Cupcakery Finds the Sweet Spot

HappyCakes Cupcakery began satisfying Morehead City’s sweet tooth even before co-owner Angela Diaz formally launched the business with her daughter-in-law, Kaylee. “We had a lot of friends encouraging us to go into business,” she says. “When we started, I was the science behind it and my daughter-in-law was the creative one. She came up with most of the interesting recipes, and I made them work.”

HappyCakes first opened for business online in September 2012, offering their cupcakes by delivery only. “We started very small, making maybe about four dozen cupcakes a week and working out of our house.”

From the kitchen to the television

Then the pair applied for the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in early 2013. They were selected to compete, and appeared in an episode in October of that year. “It was just such a crazy, fun experience,” Diaz notes. HappyCakes took first place honors, moving them to the national stage.

“Needless to say, the business exploded – it was just insane,” Diaz says. To meet demand, HappyCakes relocated to a temporary location in a friend’s downtown Morehead City restaurant while they looked for a permanent home.

Finding a new spot that’s just right

Diaz’s daughter, Amanda, joined the team, and after 6 months, HappyCakes moved into their own storefront in May 2014. For the new, permanent HappyCakes location, they wanted to “create a cool space,” says Diaz. “From the very beginning, we all wanted to go with a vintage look,” she continues, “and we loved the industrial look. I didn’t even know it had a name: vintage industrial.”

HappyCakes offers about 50 flavors they rotate weekly, along with several specialty and seasonal flavors. “Everything is baked fresh. Every cake, every filling, is made the same day,” Diaz notes. “No food colorings, no artificial flavorings—everything we do is all natural. When we do our sweet potato cupcake, we get sweet potatoes, bake them in the oven and puree them – nothing is canned. We don’t even really use extracts because they tend to taste artificial.”

HappyCakes Cupcakery is not the first business Diaz has opened, having already started another area enterprise with her husband. “This is our natural setting,” she says. “It’s just a way of life for us.”

As their business continues to grow, the owners intend to expand to meet increased seasonal demand during the summer months. Plans are already underway to bring additional staff on board, and they are considering installing another oven to increase the shop’s output capacity.

Cupcakes and compassion

Giving is another essential element in HappyCakes’ company philosophy. “There was never any question,” Diaz says. “From the very beginning, we decided to give 10% of everything we make to someone less fortunate or someone who needs it.”

This holds true both in Morehead City and further afield. The partners donate to Wipe Every Tear, a charity dedicated to rescuing girls from the international sex trade. “We wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says. “We just want to give back.”

With a high-demand product and a magnanimous company worldview, it’s safe to assume that HappyCakes Cupcakery will continue to enjoy sweet success as part of the Morehead City economy for a long time to come.

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