We’ve got great cupcakes in this town. We’ve got great ice cream. Now we’ve got… Cupcake ice cream? Yes, Cupcake Royale is now scooping a new line of ice creams inspired by the shop’s cupcake flavors — and, in some cases, including pieces of actual cupcakes.
“I think we’re on to something,” said owner Jody Hall. One of her favorite customer comments so far: “You’ve just raised the bar on ice cream in this city.”
The cupcakes ‘n cream mix sounds less outlandish when you think about cookies ‘n cream ice cream — which, Hall’s research told her, is the country’s most popular ice cream flavor after vanilla and chocolate.
Hall said that customers have asked her about stocking ice cream for years. She had talked with fellow Seattlepreuner Molly Moon for a few years about collaborating on ice cream, but their plans never worked out. Meanwhile, friend and former colleague Kim Malek founded the phenomenal Salt and Straw ice cream shop in Portland, and made a Cupcake Royale ice cream there. The shop couldn’t keep it in stock, and Malek said “You need to do this,” Hall said.
They worked with food scientist Sarah Masoni from Oregon State University, who had also helped develop Salt & Straw’s flavors. Their main advantage was an obvious one: “We have this bakery. We can make these really interesting inclusions,” like a dark-roasted caramel or an infusion of Stumptown coffee or a “Whiskey Maple Bacon Crack” brittle made with Woodinville Whiskey and Zoe’s bacon.
The ice cream base is made by Edaleen Dairy in Lynden, a less sweet mixture than the one most shops use. They’re also selling ice cream sandwiches where cupcakes stand in for cookies, cupcake-“infused” shakes, red velvet waffle cones, and more. Like the rest of the company’s products, the majority of their ingredients will be locally sourced.
Hall is using the equipment from former Chocolate Box shop at 108 Pine St., which she purchased and turned into a new Cupcake Royale location. Between the ice cream line and the new shop, the business has grown from 72 to 100 employees.
“I was super nervous. It’s a huge investment, it’s a huge resource need,” she said. But it’s also a lot of fun. “We want to do a whole chef’s series, maybe a Pike Place Market series,” she said.
Sound wild, or like the taste of success? Either way, they’ve got company. Top Pot is now offering “hand-forged ice cream” in donut flavors like apple fritter.
Photo courtesy of Cupcake Royale