Smallcakes LBI: Warm (and Cool) Place in Beach Haven

Sweet Possibilities!
Jul 04, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Smallcakes is a small wonderland of specialty cupcakes and ice cream.

People discover the tidy shop at 412 Unit C North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, and walk in with a little kid’s “wow” look on their faces.

Spicy Sriracha Chocolate ice cream sparks up this world of sweet possibilities ... but wait, do we want a lemon drop cupcake instead?

“You can also get a Smashcake,” suggested co-owner Donna Doherty. “You get your cupcake and we divide it in half and we put the bottom in that cup, and then you get two to three scoops of ice cream, the rest of the cupcake, and whipped cream.”

A wondrous discovery is the ice cream price – $1.50 for a generously packed cup of ice cream. Cupcakes sent out in a nice box are $4 each.

Smallcakes is a cupcakery and creamery franchise, and the Beach Haven store is the first in New Jersey among 160 franchises.

They specialize in baking made-from-scratch signature flavor cupcakes fresh every day. Plus, 15 flavors of rich and creamy, small-batch ice cream are whipped up daily at each store.

Smallcakes was founded in Kansas in 2008 by Jeff Martin. He has made several appearances on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” and he will visit the Beach Haven store later this summer. The company’s product has been consistently recognized for excellence by many industry publications, including EntrepreneurQSR, and Restaurant News.

For local owners Jim and Donna Doherty, retired from other careers, the Beach Haven store is a fresh, fun venture into making customers smile. Jim had just stirred up a batch of raspberry truffle ice cream in the shop kitchen.

Donna had previously owned a bridal shop in Barnegat; Jim had been in the heating oil business for 30 years and owned a gas station in Middlesex County. They’re both good with kids – he was a teacher and coach at many high schools in that area. She had owned four childcare centers.

They did all the cabinetwork, paneling and pink painting that contribute to the shop’s warm feel. Customers take selfies standing under the painted sign, “Maybe a Cupcake Will Help.”

“The people that you meet are very nice people, and they’re very warm and interesting to talk to,” Donna said.

To see which flavors are the specialties of the day, check the Facebook page “Smallcakes LBI, NJ.” Flavors of red velvet or caramel crunch cupcake, cotton candy or banana cream or Cookie Monster ice cream, there are quite a few creative choices plus the everyday favorites.

“They gave me a book of 250 recipes,” said Donna.

Customer Christina Moresi reviewed online, “Smallcakes owners were welcoming, and helped me to pick the perfect cupcake for snack: Maple Bacon. The whole way home I was thinking about photographing my cupcake, because it was so beautiful. But as soon as I got home, I forgot about photos and ate it. Every fluffy, sweet, moist, delicious maple filled, bacon topped crumb. Everyone needs to go, and see and taste the art of these cupcakes for themselves.

“And bring your puppy, because there are cupcakes for them, too.”

Those cute cupcakes for dogs are called Pupcakes. Carrot cake with peanut butter frosting, they have a milk bone biscuit on top.

Families are ordering mini-cupcakes for parties, and loving the convenience for weddings. Be sure to ask at least one day in advance for all special requests. Ask about delivery locally.

Speaking of parties, the shop has a display of confection-themed children’s items such as an inflatable cupcake lounger, cupcake-making or painting kits, and more.

“We’re making a brand here,” Jim Doherty was pleased to say. “People are coming back because they’ve been here and tried us, and enjoyed it.”

The Dohertys plan to operate the business year-round, but when winter comes, the timeframe will probably be weekends.

For more information, email or call 609-342-0412.

— Maria Scandale

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