Downtown Fullerton cupcake shop, Hapa Cupcakes, serves gourmet cupcakes with an unusual twist. They se
rve cupcakes infused with alcohol.
Hapa Cupcakes is a little shop full of sweet desserts. Walking into the shop the devotion and love for the cupcakes the shop has is immediately felt. Each cupcake looks like a work of art with no Oreo chunk or M&M out of place.
Hanayo Martin and Akemi Lee-Simpson started Hapa Cupcakes and Cakes in 2011 and have been in Fullerton for the past two years. It started as a strictly online business and would deliver to customers but the two decided to expand and moved it into a physical location. They also expanded from cupcakes to cakes, cookies, truffles and cake pops.
The pair take on different roles at the shop. Lee-Simpson takes on the business side of the company and Martin takes on the baking side.
“She’s [Martin] been baking since she came out of the womb,” Lee-Simpson said.
Making cupcakes is something they thought would be fun. They both love cupcakes and Martin has a knack for baking. This led them to decide to open a cupcake shop.
“She [Martin] loves cupcakes, I love eating them,” Lee-Simpson said
The word Hapa means to be of mixed race. Martin and Lee-Simpson, who are both half Japanese.
“We thought what encapsulates who we are and also our cupcakes are mixed with alcohol so they’re hapa too. We thought it would be a fun thing to embrace everybody’s mixedness,” Lee-Simpson said.
Martin and Lee-Simpson decided to open the shop in Fullerton because they are local. Martin attended Cal State Fullerton and Lee-Simpson went to Fullerton College.
“We really wanted to be in Orange County, we wanted to be somewhere fun, somewhere local and we just love the Fullerton vibe. It is just a fun area,” Lee-Simpson said
The alcohol in the cupcakes is baked out and will not cause any intoxication. Some of the alcohol infused varieties include Chocolate Whiskey, Chocolate Coconut Rum and Kahlua Mocha Cupcake. Only about 30 percent of the varieties are infused.
“The infusion really brings out the flavors, so if you love chocolate the Chocolate Whiskey is probably our number one seller. We have a Strawberries and Champagne that people love too and the champagne makes it really light, re
ally bubbly, really fluffy and people really love that cupcake,” Lee-Simpson said.
Another reason the duo believe their shop sets them apart from other cupcake shops is they are always inventing new flavors. They had a Cap’n Crunch flavor and are now offering Girl Scout Cookie flavors with Thin Mint and Samoas varieties.
“We are always inventing new fun flavors,” Lee-Simpson said.
Eight months ago they added gluten-free and vegan cupcakes to their menu. The shop also offers cakes and wedding cakes and some are also alcohol infused.
Hapa Cupcakes and Cakes were featured on an episode of Cupcake Wars in 2013 and described it as stressful but fun.
Even though the infused cupcakes may seem that it would bring in more adult customers than children according to Lee-Simpson it is half and half.
“Obviously the alcohol infused draws the adults in, but we have so many gourmet flavors. We have a Chocolate M&M kids love the cupcakes,” Lee-Simpson said.
The most popular infused cupcakes are the Chocolate Whiskey and Strawberries and Champagne. The top selling gourmet cupcakes are the Chocolate Oreo and Birthday Vanilla.
A goal that Hapa Cupcakes and Cakes have for their business in 2016 is to open a second location.
Hapa Cupcakes and Cakes are located at 105 W. Amerige Ave. They can be reached at (714)576-4272.