11.23.2009

Fueling the cupcake craze


What’s the color of bubblegum, sounds like a sock hop and smells like strawberries and cream?

It’s Bettie’s Cakes, Saratoga’s latest cupcake café to open in the Downstreet Marketplace, and it comes with a retro twist.

In the newly renovated space at 454 Broadway, customers can cure their sweet tooth in authentic-looking vinyl booths while a jukebox plays ’50s tunes. Soda pop, root-beer floats, soft serve and, of course, freshly baked cupcakes are served by “Betties” — waitresses wearing saucy hairdos and colorful aprons.

Owner Lorraine Murphy is the lead “Bettie,” and works alongside her husband, John, and her 13-year-old daughter, Shawnee, in the shop.

She says her purpose through the cupcake café is to “try to bring back a wholesome feel and glamour of the ’50s” by appealing to families and children.

“It’s about family coming together to have that quality time,” she said Sunday as the café filled up with parents and their small children clamoring over their favorite flavor of frosting.

The couple said Saratoga is, to them, a prime spot for such a specialty business.

“A lot of people are addicted to cupcakes,” Murphy said. “The kids can come in and virtually design their own cupcake.”

The Murphys, who live in Clifton Park, have established themselves as entrepreneurs in the area — Lorraine as an artist through her pinup photography makeover service, First Impressions
(Note: Avoid visiting this site while at work ... you might get some raised eyebrows) in Clifton Park, and John with Core Physical Therapy in Guilderland.

They run Bettie’s with pastry chef Molly Hartley and a small crew, who produced about 1,000 cupcakes of all sizes Saturday for the store’s grand opening.

Message cakes for special occasions and birthday-cake-sized cupcakes are available in addition to cupcake sundaes, mini cupcakes, cookies and themed merchandise designed by Murphy.

Another facet of the business is a mobile cupcake café the Murphys plan to set up in Guilderland this December. Hot drinks and baked goods from the Saratoga shop will be sold out of a restored 1963 double-decker British bus, which could travel throughout the region from event to event, Murphy said.

Bettie’s Cakes is open from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call 894-1179.

Above: Kera Wasserback, one of the "Betties," shows off some cakes during the shop's grand opening this weekend. Photo by Erica Miller.

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