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Blooming Cupcakes: More than Just a Cupcake Store

Mystery Diner • Aug 1, 2018 at 9:09 AM

The level of creativity you can find in East Tennessee is truly amazing. This from somebody who has trouble drawing the stick figure in a game of “Hangman.” Recently, I discovered one of our area’s artistic talents is occupying a storefront just off the North Roan Street "Strip" in Johnson City. Ms. Marcia Carufel is her name, and her artistic medium is not clay, or canvas or even marble. It is cake and icing.

Exterior

Blooming Cupcakes & Cake Artistry is the middle storefront (Suite 107) of the shopping complex at 1914 N. Roan St. Carufel maintains a deceptively minimalist image to her shop's exterior, like the sign naming her business over the front door. Then there is the simple sandwich-type chalkboard out on her sidewalk that advertises the day's specials of cupcakes as well as regular and special blend coffees. Your parking spot is convenient, each one just steps away from Carufel’s front door.

Interior

Inside, Blooming Cupcakes is a feast for the senses. The decor is assuredly "Southern Chic." Tables and chairs of dark, beautifully carved woods, ditto for the sideboards and other cabinets that are placed just so along walls hung with lovely prints and paintings. Right next to the front windows, Carufel has a neat little "snug" setup of easy chairs and couches, each equipped with comfortable deep cushions, just the place to enjoy your cupcake and coffee while watching the passing scene out front. The wall behind the display cases has two chalkboards, each showing a variety of different coffee blends to tempt your taste buds. Just to prove the “cake artistry “ part of her business name, there are several full-sized sculptured cakes displayed around the room, each one a remarkable still life created by Carufel's artistic genius. The aromas from the cupcakes on display and the coffees bubbling away merrily is downright alluring. Add to this a mood music playlist made from Classic Pop and … well, why wouldn't you come in, eat a cupcake with your coffee and sit a spell?

A Cupcake Sampler

It was my dining partner who spotted Blooming Cupcakes when we were out one afternoon. Curious, and at the same time both of us wanting something sweet for a mid-afternoon energy boost, my dining partner took my hand and led me through the front door. Saying "Hello" to Marcia Carufel is a delight. You soon realize that, as the artist in residence, Carufel does not see you as a just another customer come to purchase her wares, but as a new friend and neighbor who has dropped by for a visit. Our particular visit had come as Carufel, just now wearing her cake artistry hat, was busy constructing an owl-themed birthday cake for a customer’s precocious 12-year-old daughter. Carufel was concerned the cake’s decoration would look too juvenile. My dining partner said not to worry, the young lady in question would be totally enchanted with her birthday cake. Thanking my dining partner for her assistance, Carufel joined us out front at the display case. The cupcakes on display inside are made in several different cake colors, each topped with its own color-coordinated dollop of pastel-shaded icing. Best of all, Carufel’s colorful cupcakes are priced around $2.75 apiece, which is very good value for cupcakes of this quality and yummy-ness.

Lemon Chiffon cupcake

I was immediately drawn to the lemon chiffon cupcake; fresh, moist yellow cake wearing a cap of golden sunshine. Splitting the cupcake, I gave half to my dining partner and kept half for myself. From my first bite, I was immediately struck with how well the lemon permeated the yellow cake foundation. Tartness? Yes, along with the flavoring of lemon zest and … is that the merest hint of lemon-flavored Limoncello liqueur in there? If my dining partner didn’t mind, I sure didn’t. Delicious, and a great way to jump-start our taste buds.

German Chocolate cupcake

My dining partner was taken with a German chocolate cupcake made from chocolate devil’s food wearing a halo of caramel coconut topping and a healthy spoonful of white icing for its lid. The devil’s food cake was both moist and firm, so it didn’t crumble away or get sloppy when you picked it up. My partner, being a fan of German chocolate cake in all its forms, greatly enjoyed the caramel coconut topping, while finding the white icing lid a bit too sweet for her liking. My dining partner suggested to Ms. Carufel that she switch to adding more of the caramel-coconut frosting to the cupcake instead of adding white icing to it. Carufel thanked her for her suggestion and said that she would give it a try on the next batch.

Orange Delight cupcake

The orange delight cupcake was also moist; definitely orange-flavored and orange-colored cake topped with a swirl of buttercream white icing. The orange flavoring of the white cake foundation worked very well, giving it a very pleasant tropical taste, with overtones of lemon and lime, plus a brief sour orange note that emphasized the cupcake’s citrus origins. The white icing also had a nice orange flavor to it, more from a liqueur than from orange juice or orange zest. Overall, my dining partner and I welcomed the Orange Delight cupcake’s refreshing astringency after the delicious but still cloying depths we plumbed with the German chocolate cupcake. It got the two of us ready for our final cupcake choice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake

The chocolate & peanut butter cupcake had been calling my dining partner’s name ever since she walked through the front door. Beginning one more time with chocolate devil’s food cake, Carufel draped a robing of peanut butter icing all around the top of the cupcake. This was followed with a layer of swirled chocolate mousse, making this our first double-topped cupcake ever shared between my dining partner and myself. Sitting on top of the chocolate mousse was an amuse bouche: a home-made chocolate & peanut butter fudge ball. My partner and I enjoyed the flavor of the devil’s food very much; we both liked how the combination of chocolate cake and peanut butter icing was balanced by the chocolate-y smoothness of the mousse. I would comment on how the chocolate & peanut butter fudge ball tasted, but my dining partner got to it first.

Conclusion

Our impromptu tasting trip at Blooming Cupcakes & Cake Artistry was a lot of fun for my dining partner and I. Marcia Carufel creates some of the loveliest and (best of all) tastiest cupcakes ever; each is truly of “artisan” quality from a friendly lady with real artistic talent. My dining partner was so taken with Carufel’s creations, she took a box of Blooming Cupcakes home with us. Being from my dining partner, there is no higher praise than that.

Blooming Cupcakes & Cake Artistry

1914 N. Roan St., Suite 107

Johnson City

461-0038

Mon 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Tue –Thu 9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Fri-Sat 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Closed Sunday

Available on Facebook, social media & at

www.blooming-cupcakes-cake-artistry.business.site

Credit cards accepted

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