The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 25, 2013

Dessert with a melody

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — What do you get when you mix a love of music and a love of baking?

Instant Karma Cupcakes, of course.

The newly opened cupcake shop, located at 507 Second St. in Beckley, names each of its tasty creations after a song.

One flavor, a vanilla cupcake with cinnamon butter cream icing, has appropriately been named “Ring of Fire,” after the famous Johnny Cash song.

Owner Elise Dixon said there are 30 different flavors, all of which have song titles for names.

Traditional flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla and red velvet, are available, as well as some unique creations if you’re in the mood for something new, such as “Angel of the Morning,” which is a French toast flavored cupcake with maple butter cream, topped with crispy bacon.

Music lovers will enjoy paying a visit to the shop, as all of the songs that share their names with the cupcakes are on a looped track playlist.

Dixon said she loves Elvis, so she wanted to incorporate peanut butter and banana flavors into a cupcake, which has been named “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

“We love music,” Dixon said, of herself and Katie Hendrix, the store manager aka “The Chief.”

Hendrix and Dixon have been best friends for the past 13 years and they couldn’t be happier about running the business together.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” Hendrix said. “I’m excited to get up every morning and come to work.”

Dixon couldn’t agree more. “The entire experience has been great, but the best part is getting to work with my best friend every day.”

“The Chief” is in charge of managing the front of the house, as well as making orders; Dixon is in charge of baking. “I love to bake. I learned how from my dad.”

Dixon said her dad, Jack Honaker, has always been an excellent baker, especially of all things sweet.

Her favorite dessert is his triple chocolate cheesecake, which is still a secret recipe he has yet to share with her.

She always liked to bake cupcakes for her friends and family for birthdays and special occasions, and about two years ago, she decided she wanted to turn her love of baking into a business.

After talking with her husband, Danny, they decided, “This could be a thing. We could make this happen.”

And now two years later, here they are.

Once the location became available for rent in April, Danny and her brother Collin helped build everything inside the shop, put lights in, laid tile and got the shop ready for business.

Instant Karma has only been open for just over a week, but Dixon said business is already booming.

She bakes approximately 250 cupcakes each day, and a few days she has even had to bake refills.

The shop can accommodate most orders in the same day, especially if it’s something already on the menu, but Dixon said she’s always willing to make new creations if you have something in mind.

She said many of her recipes just started out as experiments, but over time, they have been perfected.

A friend’s son asked her if she could make something that tastes like smores, and sure enough, there’s now a cupcake on the menu called “Light My Fire,” with a graham cracker crust, double chocolate chip cake and toasted homemade marshmallow cream frosting.

Hendrix said naming the cupcakes was especially fun, and her 9-year-old daughter Dacia even helped naming a few.

They were having trouble coming up with a name for their key lime pie flavored cupcake, so Dacia suggested “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” the song made famous by Kermit the Frog.

Hendrix and Dixon loved that suggestion, so it was added to the menu.

Dixon’s personal favorite song title/cupcake flavor mash-up is the strawberry lemon cupcake called “Tempted by the Fruit of Another,” not only for the play on the words, she said, but for the flavor as well.

Her three boys, Brody, 9, Holden, 11, and Jonah, 14, have also helped out at the shop as well, from washing dishes to helping her realize that alternate dietary choices need to be included on the menu.

She said Holden has some food allergies, so she started incorporating vegan baking into her recipes, as well as gluten-free options.

All the frostings and fillings for the cupcakes are made in-house and all the eggs are cage-free.

Just like the name of her shop, Dixon said she is hoping to spread good karma.

Before her cupcake endeavor, Dixon was a nurse in Beckley for eight years, and she said one thing she misses about her previous profession is helping people.

“We hope to do things in the community though, with food drives or something for Be the Match, which is a bone marrow registry. We would also like to help out with the United Way and the Humane Society.”

Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

A website is currently under construction, but Instant Karma Cupcakes can also be found on Facebook.

For more information, call 681-238-5854.

“These cupcakes are different than you’ve had anywhere else,” Hendrix said. “They’re something special.”

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