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Batter Chatter: Interview with Reina Miller of hello, cupcake in Tacoma, WA

Chocolate chocolate chocolate cupcake

Cakespy Note: This interview also appeared on our Cakespy Seattle outpost!

Let's face it--between the paper-mill aroma and the collapsing bridges, Tacoma doesn't have the best reputation. But have you been there recently? Like whoa. Downtown Tacoma has undergone a massive revitalization and has become quite the budding art scene, what with its gorgeous museums, newly-renovated airy artist lofts, and a thriving UW campus. But really, to the Cakespy crew, the most exciting part of this revitalization is hello, cupcake, a cupcake shop whose wares have been aptly described as "coo-worthy". Walking into hello, cupcake is like becoming a child again: there's no turning back once you're greeted by an intricate cupcake mosaic tile design on the floor, on a crash course toward sugar overload...but then again, why would you want to? The cupcakes are not only adorable but delicious, with a tender, moist crumb and creamy, rich frosting which melts oh-so pleasingly in your mouth (not your hand). Recently, we had a chance to talk cupcake with one of the owners, Reina Miller; here's what we found out about life, love and the pursuit of cupcake nirvana:

Cakespy: What made you decide to open hello, cupcake?
Reina Miller: Developing the idea for hello, cupcake began about four and half years ago after reading a short article in a magazine about cupcakes. The idea of a cupcake bakery sparked all kinds of discussions and brainstorming sessions between my mom, my sisters, and I. Since I have always been the baker in our family, I was immediately engaged with the thought of opening a specialty bakery.

CS: Are you formally trained in baking or are you self-taught?
RM: Coming from a family of six children it seemed like there was a celebration at least every month. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of being in the kitchen with my mom and sisters baking and decorating cakes. Throughout the years I have experimented with baking all sorts of desserts and in the past four years have focused mainly on cupcakes. I haven't been formally trained, but developed all of my recipes by researching and trial and error. It was a long and at times, frustrating process, but I am proud of all of my creations.

hello, cupcake(s)
d any other cupcake shops or bakeries elsewhere in the world serve as inspiration when opening hello, cupcake?
RM: Over the past four years I have been able to travel all over the country and visit many cupcake shops and bakeries. There wasn't any certain bakery that served as inspiration when opening hello, cupcake. Experiencing each shop's unique idea of a cupcake bakery was in itself interesting and inspirational.


CS: Do you sell anything other than cupcakes? Do you think you ever will?
RM: Presently, we offer a variety of cupcake flavors, drip coffee and a selection of bottled drinks. We also have t-shirts, hello, cupcake coffee mugs, ceramic cake plates and other cupcake stands. At this time we have no plans of adding any other baked goods to the menu, but there is always a possibility of that in the future.


CS: Where do you get your recipes?
RM: Some of my recipes have been passed down to me from family; others have started with basic cake recipes that I have developed into my own.

CS: What is your most popular flavor?
RM: It's hard to top a classic, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream has been the most popular from the day we opened. It is followed closely by red velvet, a southern tradition that has found a new home in the northwest.

CS: If you were on a desert island and could only
have one cupcake flavor, for the rest of your life, which would choose?
RM: It is only offered on our menu for a few months during the holidays, but chocolate peppermint is my favorite and I could enjoy it anytime of the year.

CS: What is your favorite non-cupcake dessert item?
RM: At home I still enjoy baking, other than cupcakes, my favorite is classic chocolate chip cookies.


CS: What is the best time of day to eat cake, in your opinion?
RM: Any time is a good time for cake.
CS: In your opinion, what is the most important aspect in making a great cupcake?
RM: For me, the most important aspect in making a delicious cupcake is baking with quality ingredients.


CS: Is there a "correct" way to eat a cupcake in your opinion? Or perhaps an "incorrect" way to eat one?
RM: I don't feel there is a correct or an incorrect way to eat a cupcake. All that really matters is that it is being enjoyed. I like to eat cupcakes with a fork and knife.

CS: What is next for hello, cupcake?
RM: As I am continuing to experiment with different recipes we will be introducing new seasonal flavors throughout the year. Look forward to a local favorite, we will be starting an Almond Roca cupcake soon.

hello, cupcake is located at 1740 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA. (253) 383-7772; online at www.hello-cupcake.com.
Entryway tiles at Hello, Cupcake in Tacoma, WA


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Reader Comments (34)

I can read the hellocup cake interview and the pic and sit her and just drool.
What else can some one living in a anoher coninent do.
If i was living here the hellucup, i will be there every day

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterHappy cook

These look delicious. I'm passing this on to my sis (who lives in Tacoma!) And I'll be sure to visit Hello, Cupcake when I'm there :)

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

Another great batter chatter piece. That top photo of the chocolate with the chocolate chips looks to die for. Like if I eat that right now, I'd go straight to bed with a sugar induced coma. Love it!

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterAran

Those cupcakes look simply scrumptious!!!

p.s. I love the cupcake tile floor too!!! :-)

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterMosaic*Queen

I can't help but love anyone who thinks that it's cake time, any time! <3

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterCeline

I love it when they put the frosting in the middle and leave the outer edges of the cupcake unfrosted. I don't know why but I do.

*note to self, talk to therapist about weird cupcake frosting fetish.

Those cupcakes look insanely good! Congrat's on your success.

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterJen

These cupcakes look wonderful!!! and yummy! x Gloria

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

The frosting in that top photo is making me drool.

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

i so enjoyed that interview! i think partly because i'm a former seattleite, but mostly because of the yummy pictures. . . i dream of opening a cupcake shop. maybe someday.

April 11 | Unregistered Commenterkate

Another interesting interview! I'm so jealous of all the great bakeries you have out there. Not fair! ;)

oooh, great interview!
i sure hope i'm in tacoma someday.


Super sweet interview! I loooove the pic of the cupcake at the top. I'd love to know where they got the square sprinkles.

April 11 | Unregistered Commenterslush

Oh, the tiles are lovely! And well... all the cupcakes are pretty lovely too! Thanks for sharing the interview.

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterIsa

such a lovely store. I love the tiles and the cupcakes are adorable. I would love to open something like that for my macarons and cupcakes.

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterVeron

Just one look at the chocolate chocolate chocolate cupcake at the top of the post and I was swooning. "Hello Cupcake" indeed!!!

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

those look delightful.
I also loooove your illustration, adorable!

I'm fly'n in! Doesn't the tile work remind you of the S-T airport? Your drawing is adorable - makes me want to re-do my daughter's room with a cupcake motif.

xoxox Amy

April 12 | Unregistered Commenterfamiliabencomo

Cakespy, you have the best job in the world. Eating cupcakes, talking cupcakes, drawing cupcakes and getting paid in cupcakes...
If you ever need a second-opinion on cupcakes you can Fedex me a box. :-)

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterZen Chef

Yet another fabulous interview!! that's so wonderful that the cupcake recipes are a combination of family recipes and new ideas; and my FAVORITE part of the post was when Reina said, "Experiencing each shop's unique idea of a cupcake bakery was in itself interesting and inspirational." So true!!

Oh and the very first cupcake photograph, in this post?? drool-worthy.

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

knife and fork!?!?

i personally get a strange satisfaction out of smearing icing all over my mouth as i take a big bite of a cupcake. :)

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Another wonderful interview...
Complimented by wonderful cake spy art work!

Love you guys :O)

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Sins

Would it be inappropriate to say I want to smother myself in frosting from the first photo....?

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterEB

I've recently started a cake appreciaton website
where you can share your photos and recipes. Would love it if you'd post some cakes there! They look awesome!

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterKim

What an amazing collection of cupcakes. Hard to pick a favorite they all look so good!

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
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