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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)

Hmmm... im a big fan of cupcakes since i live in OZ, don't know why... btw have you ever try Japanese cheesecake? check it out on my kitchenfun!

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterTi

HOLY COW that 1st cupcake looks awesome!! :)

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterCherry Runway

I'll have a half doz of the top pic, chocolate on chocolate with choclote sprinkles, please!

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterGeggie

LOVE the tile!

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterCookie Jill

Nice tile.....I wish I can lay tile like that!

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakeLady

Happy Cook: Yes, luckily it's an hour away, otherwise we would be very fat.

Recipegirl: YES! I hope she loves it (if she hasn't already been!). Actually I know she will!

Aran: But what a sweet coma it would be!

Mosaic Queen: Both are works of art--the cakes and the tiles! :-)

Celine: I am right there with you!!

Obsessive Foodie: I have a friend who calls that part "the ears" and she always eats it first. It's like toe cleavage or whatever is sexy right now. That sounded strange I know!

Jen: They deserve all the success that comes to them!

Gloria: They really are!!

Hillary: All of us here too!

Kate: Do it! The world needs more cupcakes.

StickyGooey: Hey, after the crappy weather we might as well have lots of good bakeries to keep ourselves happy!

Meghan: Us too! Call us if you visit!

Slush: Not sure where they did--but there are some great places online that you can find them. I will send a link if I come across one!

Isa: You're welcome--isn't their aesthetic great!?

Veron: It would be lovely if you did!

Cakelaw: I know! Maybe it was a mistake putting that photo first--you almost don't even need to go on!

Banana-head: Thanks! Glad you liked it, and they ARE delightful!

Amy: Oh man, you should totally do a cupcake themed bedroom!!

Zen Chef: Yes, it is a fantastic job, isn't it!?

Veggiegirl: Yes, isn't that one just an absolute work of art!? And it's always so fun to learn about the baker.

Grace: I like to slice it in half and then cut it in fourths. I eat the bottom two parts first, and then the top two, which are suddenly very frosting-heavy!

Sweet Sins: Thanks! Glad you liked the art, too!!

EB: No way, we're right there with you!

Kim: Thanks!

Chuck: Yes, they do all look good--as for choosing, why choose? One of each, please.

Ti: Ooh, that sounds wonderful!

CherryRunway: It was, I assure you!

Geggie: Right on--they're so good!

Cookie Jill: isn't it adorable?

Cupcakelady: Me too!

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Sigh, I can't believe I missed this place when I was in Seattle for my honeymoon... guess I know what this means... Second Honeymoon! Hooray!

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Cupcake

Great article/interview.
Personally, I prefer the Corina Bakery. It is not quite downtown, but it is pretty close. You should try it out sometime if you're in the area.

April 14 | Unregistered CommenterTacomaite

The frosting is absolutely the best. It's really the best I've ever had. The cake, though, is dry. If it were moister, this would be the perfect cupcake!

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
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