Leave it to Las Vegans to find a way to apply the city’s “adults only” mantra to cupcakes.
The women behind Pick Your Poison Bake Shop have brought a sinful twist to the childhood treat: booze.
“Baketenders” Taryn Mumpower and Robyn Holt specialize in alcohol-infused cupcakes. There’s a “Margarita,” a tequila cake with lime frosting, sprinkled with salt and topped with a lime wedge. The “Red ‘Wine’ Velvet” is a Shiraz cake with an almond frosting. Their “Jagerbomb” features Red Bull cake with a Jagermeister frosting, and the “Jack and Cake” is exactly as it sounds — a Jack Daniels and Coke cake with vanilla frosting.
Mini cupcakes are called “shots,” and regular-sized cupcakes are “cocktails.” Many come adorned with straws. A dozen cocktails cost $28, as do two dozen shots.
“Cupcakes were getting boring,” Holt said. “We figured Vegas was the perfect place to introduce alcohol-infused cupcakes.”
The friends hatched the idea over drinks downtown and launched their company in June.
Although they hope to open a bricks-and-mortar shop soon, for now they’re doing their baking in a rented commercial kitchen and are operating as an online outlet. All orders are hand-delivered, and the partners aren’t required under state law to have a liquor license because they’re baking with alcohol as opposed to serving it in liquid form.
The ladies happily customize creations — Midori Sour and Stoli Raspberry Chocolate cupcakes are among their most recent endeavors — but don’t ask them to bake a simple vanilla or red velvet cake. They’ll refuse.
“We don’t do anything normal. We want people to come to us for our creativity,” Mumpower said.
For children and non-drinkers, the bakers offer alcohol-free confections, such as “PB&J” (peanut butter cake with a grape jelly filling and peanut butter frosting), “Blueberry Pancake” (a fresh blueberry cake with maple frosting), “Cherry Dr Pepper” (a Dr Pepper cake with cherry frosting) and “Shirley Temple” (a lemon-lime and cherry cake with grenadine frosting and a cherry on top). Taste is the ladies’ first and foremost concern, Mumpower said, followed by presentation.
Mumpower, 26, and Holt, 32, are as striking as their creations. Both look like pin-up girls pulled from a rockabilly calendar. They sport jet black hair, red lipstick and tattoos. Holt admits their looks help their business. Their website features the pair in Bettie Page get-ups, whipping up treats in a vintage kitchen, and each of their cupcakes comes in a signature polka-dot wrapper.
Mumpower, a Las Vegas native, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. She’s the main baker, works as a door host at Okada at the Wynn and has a penchant for Jack Daniels and Stella Artois. Holt hails from Massachusetts, has an MBA, works as a bartender at the Griffin and prefers Jameson.
The pair will be featured Sunday on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” where they will battle three other teams of bakers for the title of best cupcake chef. The show airs at 8 p.m., and Mumpower and Holt are hosting a viewing party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Lady Silvia bar, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Booze and cupcakes are sure to abound.
Pick Your Poison is the only alcohol-infused cupcake business in Las Vegas, and the first local cupcake shop to compete in “Cupcake Wars.”
The company is less than a year old, but Mumpower and Holt already have found success. The women say they recently began turning a profit (although they note it’s not enough to quit their day jobs) and have secured contracts with Marquee, La Cave and Bottles & Burgers. Alcohol companies now give them free booze in exchange for the publicity their cupcakes generate.
The ladies hope to find investors next and, once they open a local shop, take their business national.
“Cupcakes are great because they are recession proof,” Holt said. “They are inexpensive to purchase, they’re fun and nostalgic. We’ve given cupcakes a face lift. I think it’s something that will catch on across the country.”