When that sweet tooth cries out for a little indulgence, is just the place to go. Since opening on Manatee Avenue in October, co-owners Shirley Stewart and Jodi Ennis have quickly established themselves as the mavens of all things cupcake in Bradenton.
“To get something different, we’re the first and only place you can go in Manatee County,” Ennis said
Frosted Over is not just any bakery. It is a “cupcakery,” meaning that it specializes in the art of the cupcake and its derivatives, which include mini-cupcakes, cake pops, cake pop-ups and whoopie pies. Frosted Over’s product range may not be as broad as that of other bakeries in Bradenton, but what it does, it does very well.
No request is too difficult or outlandish for Frosted Over’s adept cupcake artists, who say they have been commissioned to create everything from cupcakes decorated to resemble leopard thong-clad rear ends to elaborate lollipop-sized, three-tiered wedding cake pops.
In addition to selling fresh cupcakes, the store makes donations to local schools such as Manatee High School, nursing homes and first responders, such as EMTs and firefighters.
Frosted Over’s entire staff consists of Stewart and Ennis, as well as part-time baker, Stephanie Killian. The three women work around the clock to bake and decorate cupcakes from scratch to keep up with a surprisingly high demand, selling approximately 1,000 cupcakes over the five days per week when the store is open for business.
“If you’re going to have a problem as a new business owner, you want that problem to be trouble keeping up with the demand. That’s our problem, and it’s a problem we’re very happy to have,” said Ennis.
Judging from the quality of Frosted Over’s moist and flavorful cupcakes, one may be led to assume the team spent a lot of time perfecting their recipes. However, that is not the case.
“We make all the cupcakes from scratch, and some of the recipes we just make up as we go along,” said Ennis. “Other times, we just experiment with recipes we find until we perfect them. Since we opened in October, we have made about 200 different flavors. In January, we finally narrowed it down to a selection of the highest sellers, but we’re still always trying new things.”
Red velvet, Ennis and Stewart agreed, is by far the store’s best seller. Other favorites include chocolate-chocolate, carrot and cream cheese, lemon, peanut butter and Oreo. On any given day, the case at Frosted Over carries a dozen flavors, including two weekly specials. This week’s specials are cherry and a banana-pineapple creation called “hummingbird.”
Ennis, a lifelong baker, learned the craft from her grandmother, and Killian studied the culinary arts at Kaiser University. Stewart, however, tied an apron on for the first time in her life less than two years ago after a bout with breast cancer caused her to re-examine her priorities.
“We like to joke that she just fell out of bed one day, bumped her head and decided to start baking,” said Ennis.
Having worked in childcare for the duration of her career, Stewart – who still owns and operates and is contracted by Happy Cubs America – said she was looking for a way to begin transitioning out of the daycare industry.
“My kids can tell you – I never, ever used to bake. But cancer can make you rethink your life,” Stewart explained. “I didn’t know what I wanted to transition into, but I knew I wanted to do something different. I started baking cupcakes and this just kind of happened.”
Stewart was in the planning phases for Frosted Over when she ran into Ennis at a craft store in August. Ennis and Stewart first met when Stewart cared for Ennis’ son at her daycare approximately twenty years ago. They remained friendly acquaintances for two decades, but never had any plans to go into business together – at least not until the fateful day in August when they ran into each other and Stewart told Ennis about her idea for a cupcake shop and discovered that Ennis shared her enthusiasm.
Ennis recruited the assistance of her husband to remodel the interior of the 5120 Manatee Avenue location. The building, which Ennis said was originally a large open space, now features a kitchen, a lobby with seating and a separate party room – a popular spot for birthday parties where children can decorate their own cupcakes.
Frosted Over opened two months later, in the first week of October.
“I wish there was a more fascinating story about how we got started, but it really did just kind of happen,” Stewart said.
In just four months, the cupcake shop gained an impressive following – primarily from Bradenton residents tired of driving out to Sarasota to get their specialty cupcake fix.
“It’s just really fun here,” said Stewart. “Every person who comes in here smiles. Cupcakes just make you smile.”