- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- A SWEET TOOTH’S BEST FRIEND : Jan Evans and Al Oseguera are peddling the good stuff in Grover Beach.
Capitalizing on childhood nostalgia and the sweet, frosted joy of baked goods, stores exclusively selling cupcakes have become something of a 21st century trend. And Lickety Split Cupcakes in Grover Beach is happy to be on the bandwagon.
Jan Evans and Al Oseguera—whose shop is only weeks old—have already made a name for themselves and are mind-spinningly busy. But they want to make it clear they’re not a couple. Nope. Just friends. However, they fight like a married couple when they’re shopping, and Al complains, “It doesn’t make it easy to get a girlfriend.”
Their beautiful platonic friendship (built on the best principles) brought the shop to fruition. It is just as much Jan’s talent as Al’s belief in her that formed the business.
“She came to me and asked if it was possible, with the money she had, to start a cupcake store,” he said. “I said yes, knowing it wasn’t possible. I said yes, because if I told her the truth, she wouldn’t have tried.”
Then, as if believing in her wasn’t enough of a blessing, Al built the entire inside of the store. A contractor for the past 15 years, he did $50,000 to $80,000 worth of work to complete Jan’s dream. With the wholesome excitement that comes from creating something with your own two hands, Al explained how he built the kitchen and shiny counter, installed a glass front to the counter, and meticulously finished even the wainscoting.
The shop has a sleek, modern feel with undeniably crisp taste. Black tables, matching benches, and armchairs are arranged around the room. Behind the spotless counter, cupcakes are arranged on a pyramid of colored boxes. A rack in the corner displays an array of high-end cupcake-themed aprons.
Rotating 28 flavors, Jan bakes around 11 cupcake types a day. Staples include chocolate and yellow cake with vanilla or chocolate frosting, bubblegum, and red velvet—plus a “healthier” option, like a recent dried-cranberry-embedded creation with a swirl of raspberry frosting on top. Jan also has a small following generated by her homemade baklava and cheesecakes.
For years, friends and acquaintances requested Jan’s baking for birthdays and parties, and they even recommended she make a business of her services. Her cupcakes are light, and the flavor exceedingly rich. A southern recipe calls for buttermilk, hints of cocoa, and requires vinegar to interact with the baking soda, bringing out the fullness of the red dye.
But what noticeably sets these cupcakes above others is their consistency, their smooth, fine texture. The reason: Jan sifts the powdered sugar three or four times. She reveals this little secret, one of many discovered during years of experimenting.
“I use pure, organic ingredients when I can and emulsion oils,” she said.
This is particularly evident in the not-too-sugary cream cheese frosting that tastes of its ingredients, not chemicals.
Without measuring or machine use, Jan bakes every batch by hand. The outcome guarantees that every cupcake is unique, even if imperceptibly so.
The shop is open for baby showers, birthday parties, decorate-your-own-cupcake days, and cupcake clinics, which allow a limited number of kiddies into the kitchen to measure, scoop, bake, and frost their own batch.
Lickety Split Cupcakes is at 1544 Grand Ave. (right past 14th St.) in Grover Beach. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 481-3255.
The California State Parks Foundation’s Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup at Montaña de Oro State Park takes place April 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are needed for trail maintenance, eucalyptus containment, and understory restoration. For more information, visit calparks.org.
Central Coast Healthcare Alliance (CCHA) is presenting, “Healthy Heart—Healthy Mind ... Exploring the Link,” on March 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The forum is held in the Conference Room at the San Luis Obispo Library. Admission costs $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, contact David Goldeen at 801-7128.
Intern Alycia Kiley compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send ideas for consideration to Strokes@newtimesslo.com.