With a fresh raspberry nestled on top of a 2-inch-high swirl of vanilla bean buttercream frosting, the Parisian Cupcake’s lemon raspberry cupcake looks scrumptious. And the taste — lemony cake filled with raspberry preserves — does not disappoint.The new South Hill cupcake bakery is just barely large enough for cupcakes and a cash register. Watch for the signs or you might miss this minute retail shop, located in the basement of owner Stephen and Melody Pugh’s home near Manito Park. The cupcakes are baked offsite in a commercial kitchen, but somehow the shop still mysteriously smells of vanilla.
“With the economy the way it is, it just made sense to grow organically to meet the demand,” says Melody of starting out small. She and husband, Steve, left the medical profession in favor of a fun business where they could balance work and family life. “Eventually we want to get a shop where we can bake and have seating,” says Steve. In order to have freshly baked cupcakes, they plan to be open just three days a week in the beginning.
Choose from regular flavors like Death by Chocolate and Very Vanilla and rotating flavors like summer strawberry and mint chocolate chip. Come early, warns Melody, as they plan to bake in small batches. (They sold out in 2 1/2 hours on opening day.) Cupcakes are $2.50 each, or $23.50 per dozen.
“I’ve always loved cupcakes,” says Melody, who has been baking and saving cupcake recipes since she was a young girl. Standing in front of a miniature Eiffel Tower painted on the store’s pink interior, Melody explains that the Parisian Cupcake’s name was inspired by her French mother.
The cupcakes are sold from a refrigerated display case and are best enjoyed at room temperature, when the frosting softens and the flavors develop. The Pughs suggest leaving the cupcakes out for an hour or two before serving. If you can wait that long. (Kirsten Harrington)
Update: The day we published this story, we saw a sign posted on the door of the Parisian Cupcake declaring that they would be closed for two weeks while they awaited permits from the county. Go here for more.
In the Raw
Thanks to new legislation and a new produce delivery company called Fresh Steps, in Blanchard, Idaho, customers can slurp down all the unpasteurized, raw cow and goat’s milk they desire.
“I was searching and searching for a raw milk source,” says Melissa Iverson, who co-owns the business with her husband. “Then I found Royal Highlands at the Kootenai Farmers Market. It turns out they’re one of the only certified raw dairies in the region.”
Iverson purchases raw goat milk ($3 per quart) and Jersey cow milk ($2.50 per quart) from Royal Highlands Farm in Oldtown, Idaho, and sells them in her weekly produce boxes. But the dairy products are just some of the few items that make Fresh Steps produce boxes unique.
They also provide coffee beans ($12 per pound) from Bean Peddlers Roasted Coffee, a company in Bayview, Idaho; wildflower honey ($4.50 per eight ounces) from Greenbluff Honey Farm in Mead, Wash.; and produce from the Iversons’ five-acre family farm. And it comes right to your doorstep if you live within the city limits of Athol, Spirit Lake, Rathdrum, Hayden, Dalton, Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls. Customers living outside these delivery zones can pick up their boxes from one of five drop-off locations.
“I’ve been feeding my family organically for several years and I had this passion to share it with other people,” Iverson says. “I didn’t feel like there was anything else in our area providing fresh, convenient, affordable food.”
So the entrepreneur set out on her own. The business purchases seasonal certified organic fruits and vegetables from a wholesale company in Eastern Washington.
The customizable boxes are delivered year-round and can be catered to special diets (like the Paleo diet) and allergies. Prices range from $22-$43 and are limited to seasonal produce. Mixed produce means everything from beets, celery, kale, squash, onions, apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and lemons. Eventually, the business hopes to offer cheeses and grass-fed meat.
“Eventually, we’d really like to keep expanding and become a one-stop shop for our customers,” Iverson says. (Jordy Byrd)