The Fashionable World of Cupcakes

By Melissa Bykofsky

A Queens cupcake shop owner created a line of cupcakes inspired by her favorite shoe designers. 

The couture cupcakes of Cupcakes in Heels in Bayside, Queens. Photo by Melissa Bykofsky.

Baker Jenny Lee has a passion for fashion but a talent for baking. She named her latest creation, an eggnog-flavored cupcake, after the famous shoe designer Jean Paul Gaultier.

This limited addition treat is on sale at Lee’s couture cupcake shop, Cupcakes in Heels, until Dec. 31.

I first came across the shop last winter when I was strolling down Bell Boulevard in Queens. The giant stiletto on the awning and holiday-centric window display drew me in. I was shocked to see such an extensive collection of colorful cupcakes on a block known for local bars and restaurants.

Of course I was easily persuaded to try a cupcake, or two. I chose “the Burberry,” a strawberry cupcake filled with fresh strawberries, and “the Bottega Veneta,” a pumpkin spice cupcake with spiced whipped cream frosting. I was tempted to eat them on the spot, but I saved them for my commute on the Long Island Railroad (the Bayside station is just up the block from the cupcake shop). The creamy texture and sweet flavors brightened my trip back into Manhattan.

Lee opened the shop with her husband Wing in July 2011 after running a successful online catering business for four years.  Their online following grew too large for the couple to keep baking the cupcake and specialty cake orders in their home kitchen. They chose the Bayside location to expose their hometown to the world of gourmet cupcakes.

Specialty cupcake shops line the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and are expanding uptown with chain brands like Baked By Melissa and Crumbs. But finding a similar shop in Bayside is less common. The couple’s idea to give their cupcakes a theme is one of a kind in the area.

“Most of the inspiration for the shop is from Jenny. Her two loves are baking and fashion so she married the two and dressed up the store and the cupcakes,” Wing Lee told me. The small shop’s walls are lined with shelves of specialty coffee and shoe-themed cupcake stands sit on display in the window and on a shelf behind the counter.

A pair of Christian Louboutin heels might be too much for my student budget, but I would shell out $3.25 for the designer-named red velvet cupcake at Cupcakes in Heels any day.

 *Cupcakes in Heels, 43-19 Bell Blvd., between 43rd Avenue and Northern Boulevard, Bayside, 718-415-2009.



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