A new breed of cupcake—the Muffcake—is coming to the Arts District. After discovering that she was gluten intolerant, Chelsea Austin, a self-taught baker, created the muffin-cupcake hybrid while experimenting with gluten-free flour. Muffcakes have a dense and moist texture like a muffin, but are sugary-sweet like a cupcake. And yes, she comprehends the innuendo. “Some people are like, ‘Wait, does she get it?’ I totally get it,” she says.
Austin came up with the concept four years ago, but was set back after being hit by a car. The physical challenges have been the biggest hurdle for this one-woman show. “It takes a lot to stand in the kitchen and make everything and be physically afflicted like that,” she says.
Despite her injuries, the San Diego native was working as poker-player Antonio Esfandiari’s assistant in L.A. and Las Vegas while selling Muffcakes and other baked goods on the side. Word of muff is what has led to her being able to finally open a storefront.
Austin is currently looking at multiple properties in Downtown’s Arts District and has all but secured a spot in the area. Upon opening, Austin’s bakery will carry six to eight varieties of Muffcakes, as well as cookies and coffee. She will also have a create-your-own option, which allows customers to select their preferences of cake, frosting and even stuffing. In the interim, you can find Muffcakes at Fruits & Roots juice bar or order by phone (917-202-9406, MuffcakesBakery.com).
Recipes incorporate creative flavor combinations such as ginger zucchini, spiced pear and cinnamon roll. Austin is currently experimenting with goat cheese. “Although I do like to push health consciousness and I do like to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into a lot of my recipes, I am definitely one for indulgence, too,” she says. And not all Muffcakes are gluten-free either, although they still maintain their signature texture and sweetness.
“I take pride in the fact that I make everything from scratch and I process every single piece of my recipes. And there is love,” she says. “You can taste the love.”