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Wandering Over to Windham in Search of "A Cupcake For Later" on Main Street

People traveling to Windham, Connecticut to take a look at the four whimsical eight-foot high bronze frogs that sit atop concrete thread spools on the Thread City Crossing bridge now have a new destination to point their cars towards, a place that will probably have all of the frog-seekers hopping over to check it out once the word spreads about Willimantic's new cupcakery at 798 Main Street.

A Cupcake For Later on West Main Street in Willimantic

A Cupcake For Later opened a mere three weeks ago but they've already become quite the popular spot not just in real life on Main Street but also in the virtual world on Facebook where they've gotten over 600 "likes" as of this writing.  No doubt that number will be climbing up and up as people discover the new shop that offers gourmet cupcakes as well as full-size cakes for all occasions and made Willimantic a go-to destination for this cupcake-loving wanderer on a beautiful Friday morning.

Having heard about the new store via a lot of friends on Facebook and being somewhat of an amateur cupcake connoisseur, I decided that the 17-mile drive from my home in Norwich would probably be more than worth it plus I had this blog as a good excuse to go in search of more cupcakes having already visited both Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop in East Haven and Bleu Squid in Mystic. After all, I owed it to you, my readers, to venture forth and sample the new wares being offered in Willimantic!   It's a tough job but I do it for you so you'll know where the good places to go are!

With my perfect excuse solidly in place, I set out for the home of my high school alma mater ("Then sing, sing together of Windham High forever, thy loyal sons and daughters all are we ...") and soon found myself walking into A Cupcake For Later and introducing myself as I asked for permission to take some pictures and perhaps ask a few questions while I eyeballed the very tasty looking cupcakes in the store's refrigerated cupcake case. Being a self-proclaimed wanderer can really be a sweet thing but enough about me, how about A Cupcake For Later?

The front end of the store

Jim and Cheryl - owners of A Cupcake For LaterHaving been a baker for years and treating friends and family to her delicious baked goods, Cheryl Preston finally took all of the encouragement that those who had been the lucky taste-testers had been giving her and opened a gourmet cupcake shop in her hometown of Willimantic.

Her husband Jim, originally from Ashland, Kentucky and a firefighter and EMT for years, provided the inspiration for the store's name when he opted to pass on dessert following dinner with friends at a restaurant where they had been brainstorming names for Cheryl's new business by saying "No thanks, I'm having a cupcake later."  The rest, as they say, will no doubt be history!

Jim works right alongside Cheryl in making cupcakes of the freshest and finest ingredients that range in variety from a traditional Red Velvet cupcake to breakfast cupcakes like the Zucc Can Do which is a thick zucchini cupcake with walnut bits that's filled with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and topped with whipped cream cheese frosting. Cheryl is always experimenting with new flavors so the case will probably never be filled the same way twice - a definite plus for repeat customers!

PB Lovers CupcakesWhen I asked Cheryl what she thought her most popular cupcake was she thought about it for a couple of moments and then said it had to be her "PB Lovers" cupcakes.

A soft milk chocolate cupcake with a creamy peanut butter filling that's frosted with a fluffy chocolate peanut butter frosting and topped with a peanut butter chip definitely did sound good and they looked awfully darned good sitting under glass on top of the cupcake case, too.

I had walked into the cupcakery telling myself that I was only going to buy one cupcake so to choose wisely but after looking over the available selection, I realized that was going to be a pretty tough thing to do! In addition to the "PB Lovers" there were ...

Tropical Delight Cupcakes

Tropical Delight cupcakes with a royal Hawaiian filling that's frosted with a pineapple cream cheese frosting topped with yellow sugar sprinkles.

Who Wants Sprinkles under the glass and Cinna-Cup to the right

Who Wants Sprinkles cupcakes that have a strawberry cream filling, white butter cream frosting, and sprinkles in both the white cake and on top.  They were sitting next to the Cinna Cups that are another breakfast cupcake and are Cheryl's version of the delicious Cinnabon rolls.

Boston Cream Cupcakes

Boston Cream is a yellow cupcake with a french vanilla filling and chocolate butter cream frosting that is then dipped in a rich chocolate ganache.  

Zucc Can Do - a breakfast cupcake

Of course there were Zucc Can Do cupcakes ... 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

... and Red Velvet cupcakes with their rich vanilla cream filling and whipped cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

A moist Carrot Cake cupcake with a cinnamon cream filling, whipped cream cheese frosting, and roasted pecans sprinkled on top looked awfully good ...

Raspberry Delight Cupcakes

... as did the Raspberry Delights - dark chocolate cake with a white chocolate raspberry filling topped with white chocolate frosting and a plump red raspberry.

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Then there were the Easter specials looking all cute and delicious - Coconut Cream cupcakes with a coconut filling and whipped coconut frosting that were available with either festive Easter "grass" and jellybeans or toasted coconut and Peeps Cupcakes that had a marshmallow filling and frosting that was then decorated with colorful Peeps.

An Easter special - Peeps Cupcakes!

There were a few other choices in the case too and if I was really hankering something that wasn't there already, all I would have had to do was ask and Cheryl would have put something together in the kitchen for me as she did for another customer who didn't quite find what she wanted.

While I tried to make up my mind what cupcake I was going to bring home I took a few pictures of other parts of the store while a steady stream of customers came through the door and agonized over their decisions, too. Nice to see that I wasn't the only one having trouble making up her mind!

Plants and a wedding cake sampleBe the change you wish to see in this world
Sitting area at A Cupcake For Later
Baker's rack with cupcake knick-knacksLife is short ... Eat more cupcakes!
Decisions ...
Decisions, decisions ...
Decisions, decisions, decisions ...
Decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions!

The young man in the first two pictures of customers trying to decide what to choose has apparently made it his mission in life to try every variety of cupcake that Cheryl makes and is already quite the repeat customer.  Bowing to his expertise I asked him what he thought my best bet was and he highly recommended the PB Lovers though he said that they were all so good that I couldn't go wrong with any flavor that I chose.  Gee, thanks - that helps!

While I continued to ponder my choices and Cheryl's sister helped one customer after another as they made their own choices, Jim and Cheryl were busy preparing more cupcakes in the kitchen behind the front counter area. It looked like Jim had frosting the cupcakes down pat and it also looked like he and Cheryl were having a good time and enjoying the busy pace - and it was most definitely busy!

Jim and Cheryl hard at work in the kitchen
Jim refills a frosting bag
Jim pipes frosting on a batch of cupcakes

While I was there a young girl came in with a job application that she had previously filled out and as she waited for Cheryl to take it, I overheard her say to her friend, "This is my dream right here - to own my own cupcake shop someday and make people happy."  Her statement made me think about my previous conversation with the owners of Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop and how it was so similar to the conversation I just had with Jim & Cheryl. From both of those conversations it was easy to see that those who opened a cupcakery did it out of love for baking and the chance to put a smile on peoples' faces.  There's just something about cupcakes that make people smile and I think that's why the cupcake business has taken off like it has.  As one customer kept saying, "Everything is so cute!" and I think that's what appeals to folks when it comes to cupcakes - they're just so darned cute and I don't think they come with the guilt that so many people seem to associate with having a piece of cake. Maybe I'm just grasping at straws - or cupcake liners - and trying to justify my own love affair with cupcakes but that's just how it seems to me; I can certainly vouch for the fact that cupcakes make me  happy!

Speaking of making me happy, what cupcake did I finally decide on?  Well ... truth be told I ended up with a bit more than one ...

I just had to get a couple of cupcakes for later!

Having lied to myself about that whole "you're only getting one" thing I finally ended up choosing a Coconut Cream with Easter grass. a Tropical Delight, and the popular PB Lovers. I admit to having a major weakness for anything coconut and the pineapple of the Tropical Delight sounded really good, too. As of this writing I've only eaten one of the three (and congratulating myself on my awesome willpower!) but I can tell you that the two I haven't eaten smell really good - especially the PB Lovers.

Coconut Cream Easter Cupcake
Tropical Delight Cupcake
PB Lovers Cupcake

The one cupcake that I did allow myself to eat was the Tropical Delight and all I can say is that if all Cheryl sold was the pineapple cream cheese frosting, she'd have a customer for life as it was that good!  The whole cupcake was absolutely delicious - not too sweet at all and wonderfully pineapple-y - but that frosting was killer!  I wonder if Cheryl has given any thought to selling frosting shots like they do at the Bleu Squid??  If so, sign me up for a dozen!

Store front of A Cupcake For LaterAs I took my leave of A Cupcake For Later with my cupcakes carefully packed in their pink bakery box, there were a good number of customers sitting happily at the tables while enjoying their own cupcakes and I could only think that the store was a really good thing for Willimantic which has definitely had its ups and downs since I spent a good part of my Senior year in high school hanging out at a friend's house just down the street past the Frog Bridge. Had A Cupcake For Later been there when Dianne still lived in Willimantic I can pretty much guarantee you that we would have been two of their best customers!

Now even though my word is good - especially when it comes to baked goods - you don't have to just take my word for it that A Cupcake For Later is well worth the drive from anywhere. Should you find yourself in the area and want to get yourself a cupcake or two for later (though you can certainly also have it right then and now should you wish!), there are just a couple of things you need to know - first, they currently take cash only and cupcakes cost $3.00 each; second, if you'd like to place a special order ahead of time you can contact them at (860) 456-2224; third, be prepared to have a hard time making up your own mind about what flavor to get; and fourth, they are open the the following hours:

Store hours on the door

Best wishes to Jim & Cheryl for continued success in your new business; I get the feeling that you're going to feel even more blessed than you already do! Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to wander into the kitchen and see how well my willpower is holding up!


Comments

  1. Dang it woman! Cut that out! Now I may have to make some Red Velvet Cupcakes today. We *are* having company for supper, so I can totally use that as an excuse! Right? Right!

    ReplyDelete
  2. yummy! I would have tried the Peeps one for an extra -sugary delight.

    So, Duchess, would you tell me offline how this lovely shop compares to the one we visited?

    ReplyDelete

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