Cupcakes in the Court of Queen Esther
When it comes to delectable delights, Queen Esther's Cupcakes makes edible art something to drool over with finely garnished cupcakes. What originally started as a need for supplemental income has evolved into an at-home business that sometimes gets its owner recognized around town as Queen Esther. The idea evolved quickly as Esther Oppong, the royalty behind the cupcakes, took a skill she had, reached out to people she knew, and pushed until she made her idea a reality.
Little Works of Art
Seeing delights such as a peanut butter banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting, a snippet of honey, and a peanut butter cookie garnish, or the seasonal lemon blueberry cupcake with tart lemon cake, real blueberry fruit and blueberry cream cheese frosting quickly calls to customers. Oppong's easygoing personality, laughter and smile are the real Queen Esther.
Initially, the Queen Esther behind the cupcakes was baking just for fun, creating what she called “little works of art,” when people started approaching her with interest in purchasing her treats. Her initial question was whether or not to rent out a space or work from home. After hearing about Texas Cottage Food Law, which allows baking and selling from home as long as she followed guidelines and put allergenic information on her products, she decided to work from home.
“I started with cupcakes because they are what I knew and I knew I could make them,” Oppong said. “People keep asking for cakes so I keep on baking them [cupcakes].” Oppong laughed as if amazed at how far she has come.
Launched on March 1, 2016, her business heads into its second year maintaining a mission to give back to the community. Oppong donates a portion of everything she makes to a program called Refuge for Women, which provides aftercare for trafficked and sexually exploited victims. She chose to donate to this nonprofit faith-based organization because she wanted to do more than bake cupcakes: She also wanted to leave a legacy.
Oppong feels lucky to have two jobs she loves. In addition to her home baking, she also works as an academic counselor at the University of North Texas. She takes problem solving and other skills from her day job and applies them to her baking to make every customer's experience special.
“My goal is always to create something beautiful, and memorable, and that it tastes as good as it looks.” Oppong said. “Cupcakes are inexpensive to make and they are bite size and they can be little works of art all on their own. It was neat getting to see myself rise to the occasion.”
Developing the Queen of Esther Brand
Oppong discussed the biblical roots of her name, and how her dad was teaching a bible study about Queen Esther around the time of her birth. Initially, Esther was thinking “Fit for a Queen Cupcakes,” until a friend advised that people need to know who she is and advised she include her own name in her business.
After Oppong decided to start her business, she talked with coworker Tanya Sanchez who mentioned that when she thought of Esther in relation to her food, she thought of a crown and a woman holding a cupcake. Oppong presented this idea to Marli Creeach, part of a graphic design couple that goes to her church, and out came the vision suggested by Sanchez.
“I remember the day it was completed and she sent me the final one,” Oppong said. “My heart just wanted to burst because that’s it! That`s it! That`s the one!”
The royal treatment is a part of the experience that Oppong wants her customers to have. She wanted it to be an indulgence, something elegant and luxurious.
When creating a new cupcake Oppong works with three main points: flavors she enjoys, things that sound appetizing, and surprises (these can be inside or underneath the cupcake) such as the Oreo playfully incorporated into her Red Velvet Oreo cupcake.
Oppong puts special attention into garnishing her cupcakes. She believes that people eat with their eyes first, and she wants people's mouths to water at the sight of her cupcakes.
Oppong tries to get as much information as she can with each client's order so she can make her work special, sometimes even including a birthday or graduation card.
Oppong typically sells her cupcakes made to order in minimum batches of six cupcakes. She also sets up shop at the Denton Community Market where she sells her goodies individually. Delivery isn't offered unless it's a bulk order for a large event, like a wedding. Oppong likes people to have faith in her and her product by seeing where she works in her clean home space. The price is $3 a cupcake with a minimum of six in an order. Bulk pricing is available for large orders.
With orders prepped inside a box with a clear lid, customers can "eat with their eyes" immediately after picking up an order.
Oppong loves getting to meet other locals and small business owners, and going to the community market and seeing what she calls some of the great artists of Denton. She is proud to be a black owned business in the community.
“Being a black owned business is a really cool thing because there are not that many," Oppong said, expressing hope to see the black business owning community grow.
For more information on ordering cupcakes visit Queen Esther's website, Facebook, or Instagram.
Queen Esther logo designed by Shekinah Arts
Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers