July 15, 2014 at 10:00 PM
MILLBURN, NJ – In the wake of the surprising news that cupcake purveyor Crumbs had filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its 48 shops, TAP paid a visit to Splurge Bakery, Millburn’s own sweet retreat, and checked in with owner Julie Winer.
“It surprises people and makes people sad,” Winer said regarding Crumbs. “Nobody ever wants to see people fail.”
Handling the growth of her own business much differently than Crumbs, who opened up numerous locations very quickly, Splurge has stuck to the single-shop model and is approaching the fourth anniversary of its Main Street location.
“Part of the reason we’re very successful here, is that we bake everything on-site, and everything is baked from scratch,” Winer said. “So we’re different than many other bakeries in that we’re cracking our own eggs. We’re making our own lemon curd by hand. All of our recipes are unique. We’re not adding flavoring to a base recipe to make it a coconut or banana cupcake. We have separate recipes, all from scratch. People like the fact that they can watch the production here (through the large glass wall that looks into the kitchen) and they can see that we’re not scooping out of a vat and adding water to a mix.”
Splurge currently has six bakers on staff. The range of products on offer has grown over the years, and while cupcakes are still popular, Splurge has added new flavors and offers minis and regular sizes. Other popular items include lemon curd bars, honey-pecan bars, cake-pops, brownies, cookies and specialty cakes.
“People also appreciate that we only use the finest ingredients,” Winer said. “We use Valrhona cocoa powder, Belgian chocolate, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, fresh carrots in our carrot cupcakes. There are no chemicals. You can taste the difference and it’s healthier, too.”
Splurge Bakery has become a popular spot for hosting birthday parties, with participants making their own pizza and decorating their own cupcakes.
Corporate logo cookies and photo cookies are an item that Splurge has done a lot of since the start. Winer said she is preparing ideas for college student care packages that would include family photo cookies for homesick students.
With creativity to spare and a welcoming shop with friendly employees, it is no wonder that Splurge Bakery continues to thrive, no matter what the pundits may say about the so-called cupcake bubble.
Splurge Bakery: 105 Main Street, Millburn; 973-379-0740; www.splurgebakery.com; open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except in July and August when they are closed on Sundays.