The steep cobblestone ascent of Capital Avenue off West Liberty Avenue at the border of Beechview and Brookline is already known for one food-related landmark, Fiori's Pizzaria. If Alexandra Hagen has her way, it'll soon be thought of as a place to grab a slice and a sweet — at her new mini-cupcake bakery, Le Cupcake Shoppe.
Hagen, a Bethel Park native who studied entrepreneurship and marketing at Duquesne University, has long enjoyed baking, but she didn't always look at it as a business. When she was working partly from home in a marketing job, she upped the ante on her cupcake-baking, and began taking orders from friends for events. After some renovation work, she opened the Brookline shop, with its focus on mini-cupcakes, in early October.
The smaller cupcakes, Hagen notes, have about a third of the calories of their full-sized counterparts. And cost less: $1 each, or $10 for a dozen. But they are just as pretty, decorated with colored icing and sugars. Sometimes she places a mini-cupcake as a garnish atop a full-size cupcake, like a top hat.
"That was actually kind of a hidden talent," she says with a laugh. "My mother is very artistic, but I never had any interest in it."
But the real idea at Le Cupcake Shoppe, says Hagen, is quality ingredients and taste.
"I told my mom that the only way I'd open a business like this was if I could make them taste as pretty as they look."