GC: Yummy Finds offers customers sweet treats, eats for any occasion
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Address: 402 Salem Road, VictoriaPhone: 361-485-2285Website: Visit Facebook.com and search for Yummy Finds Eatery and Cupcakery for more information.
It's hard to believe that a part-time nurse with a full load of classes on her way to a biology degree in pre-med would have time to bake and decorate cupcakes on the side. But for Courtney Figuerova, she was able to turn a hobby into a living and is continuing to share her sweet treats with the Golden Crescent today.
In November 2009, Figuerova was employed as a part-time assistant at Yummy Finds, which at the time included the sale of antiques and cupcakes, helping make icing and decorating cupcakes.
While juggling the cupcakes and textbooks, she worked in the intensive care unit at DeTar Hospital Navarro, too. A job, she said, she wouldn't mind returning to when the time is right.
But after a few months of working at Yummy Finds, in February 2010, she said the owner of the store decided to leave the business and gave Figuerova a chance to keep the store open. Since then, the store has eliminated the antique sales and specializes in cupcakery.
"The public really grasped the idea of cupcakes because it's so different to Victoria," she said. "It would have been sad to see the store close."
Now, Figuerova works at the bakery full-time as the baker and owner, rarely finding time for nursing. She employs a small staff. She said it wouldn't be possible to run the store without their help and hard work, and the support of her friends and family.
"I'm thankful to have really great employees," she said. "God brought me here, and it's been a very cool learning experience. I'm always learning something new."
The Cake Boss of Victoria
When asked if she ever imagined herself in the position she is in now, the 29-year-old replied with eyebrows raised high and a surprised look and an extended, "No."
She reminisced about a trip to ColorTyme, when one of the employees there said something to her that caught her by surprise.
"He called me the Cake Boss of Victoria. And I never thought about that. I'll never be like the Cake Boss, he's so awesome. But it made my day," Figuerova said.
She also added that as a child she was never really interested in the visual arts.
"I was a gymnast when I was younger," she said. "I had no idea. I have been very blessed for it to come this far."
Despite her lack of artistic background as a youngster, she has developed a knack for designing cupcakes and specialty cakes and was able to mold it into a profession.
"It was a holiday hobby that started a couple years before I got into the business," she said.
Everyone loves cake
In two years with Yummy Finds, Figuerova has made everything from wedding to Sweet 16 cakes to hundreds of cupcakes for large parties.
Her reputation for delicious and decorated treats has even landed her a chance to cater two large-scale Victoria Symphony events - each event included about 350 to 400 cupcakes.
"They were uniquely decorated for the symphony," she recalled. "The first year they had four different flavors and the second year, they had two flavors."
While baking and decorating cupcakes is a slightly different process than decorating cakes, the baker has streamlined her work to a routine.
Even with an extra three sets of hands, she said they stay pretty busy.
"Once the baking is done, it can take about 15 minutes to decorate, but it depends on the work involved. It could take several hours sometimes," she said.
The kitchen stretches about 10-feet wide by by 15-feet long, complete with a single convection oven that bakes all of Yummy Finds' confectionery delights and a long stainless steel prep table that allows Figuerova and any one of her employees to tackle two tasks at once.
On a given day, Figuerova may be icing a multi-tiered cake while Amy Whynott, 32, may be filling cupcake pans with a creamy batter.
"I didn't have much experience before this other than baking at home," Whynott said. "I used to do some baking with my mom."
Figuerova encourages customers to come with decorating ideas in mind, and art is always helpful. Whenever there are times that she isn't familiar with characters or images, she'll reference Google and the Internet to spark her creative side.
As soon as customers set foot into the quaint little blue, home-like building on Salem Road, a glass case shows off the variety of baked goodies concocted by the self-taught baker and her crew of employees.
"I work together with the employees to come up with new ideas," she said.
Figuerova, Whynott and the others stand proudly behind their collaboration of flavors and the original flavors that have stayed on the menu since Yummy Finds opened.
On different days of the week, Yummy Finds will rotate the flavors to include anywhere from a handful to a dozen kinds of cupcakes to try.
The store sells three sizes of cupcakes including the mini cuties, yummy and the jumbo yummo, which Figuerova describes as twice the size of a standard cupcake.
"Right now, my favorite is the Honey-bee, which is a vanilla-based flavor," she said.
She explained that each recipe is made from scratch with specialty ingredients - never from a boxed mix. Other flavors include red velvet, carrot cake, butterscotch, strawberry delight and peanut-butter chocolate.
Since Figuerova's takeover of Yummy Finds, it has not only expanded its menu to include specialty cakes, but also lunch.
She said the menu uses all Boar's Head meat and cheese products and that everything is made in house. It also offers gluten-free dishes for customers.
"Right now, we offer chicken salad, a shrimp salad and hot sandwiches including panini sandwiches," she explained.
Eventually, she would like to include breakfast and dinner at Yummy Finds and incorporate Wi-Fi and a small wine menu.
"We want customers to come in and enjoy themselves and be able to relax," she said.