When Valley native Katie Thompson graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, she thought her degree in marketing and her 3.8 GPA would open doors. It didn’t.
Discouraged but not defeated, Thompson combined her passion for baking with a desire to open her own business, and Cupkates by Kate was born.
That was in 2009. Today, the 24-year-old’s home-based catering company is growing. She says corporate accounts, such as Neiman Marcus and Harley-Davidson of Las Vegas, are her cake and frosting.
Most of her recipes came from her 77-year-old grandmother, who lives in Maryland. “She’s just the best Southern cook in the world,” Thompson says. “She’ll send me recipes in the mail … [and] we just do variations to turn them into cupcakes, and put a more contemporary twist on them.”
In addition to individual cupcakes, which sell for $1, Thompson also offers cupcake bouquets ($48), cupcake kits (unfrosted cupcakes with bags of frosting, sprinkles and fairy dust, from $30) and tea parties, complete with whimsical dress-up clothes, mismatched vintage china and treats.
Her signature treat is the CupKate (pink velvet with green cream cheese frosting). She also bakes eight types of cupcakes for dogs, called PupCakes. The peanut butter and bacon variety is her dog’s favorite. “It smells really good, but it tastes really awful,” she says.