Tuesday, April 21, 2009

msp magazine!

yay! they finally put this up on the web!

Sheela Namakkal
Photo by Stephanie Colgan
March 2009
By Abby Van Ness

Who: St. Paul native Sheela Namakkal, an energetic baker known affectionately by many as “The Cupcake Lady.” She runs her own baking and catering business, Miel y Leche, and sells delectable treats at Mitrebox, The Golden Fig, and Triple Rock Social Club.
Photo by Stephanie Colgan
Fate Would Have It: In 2006, Namakkal decided her true calling was to open a business of her own, so she enrolled in classes at Hamline to earn an MBA. “I was in business school, and all I did was bake. I would bring baked goods to my classmates and my professors. I went for a year and a half, but just got too busy. The business was blowing up, and I thought, ‘I could study for class or I could book these three weddings.’ ”
Name Game: “I gave the business a name in spring 2007. It’s actually kind of funny: I always wanted a cat named Milk and a cat named Honey—one white and one caramel-colored—but I wanted to do it in Spanish because it’s cuter, so it was Miel y Leche.”
Cupcake Chaos: A mutual friend connected Namakkal with the owners of Letterbox, a cozy stationery shop in Uptown. Together, they launched Cupcake Saturday. “It started really quietly,” she says. “Then we got reviewed, and it just blew up.” When Letterbox closed in late 2008, Cupcake Saturday moved to Mitrebox.

Fun with Flavor: Not one to shy away from inventive flavors, Namakkal has prepared nearly seventy varieties, ranging from Red Velvet to Mexican Hot Chocolate to Raspberry Lemonade to The Elvis—a banana cupcake topped with peanut butter-marshmallow mousse and a crispy piece of bacon.
Trial and Error: “I like doing wacky flavors and I love it when clients want to do wacky flavors. I’ve done stuff that I think is awesome and maybe, like, three other people think is awesome—like the peanut butter and pickles flavor. That did not go over well with most.”
Not Just Sweets: Namakkal’s business has expanded to include a full catering menu, including antipasti, breads, quiche, skewers, and salads. “I am looking for a space to open my own little bakery/cafĂ©. That’s what I really want to do. I want people to go everyday and find something fun and cool.”


Ericka Bailie-Byrne said...

Awesome sauce!

(The comp of that photo is driving me ca-razy, though! ;)

Sharyn said...


Karen said...

Horray for Sheela!

Tina Vega said...

Very cool.