If you think the Bluffton bakery Cupcakes 2 Cakes looks charming enough to be in a Lifetime movie, you wouldn’t be alone. It seems a Lifetime film crew agrees.
The bakery, located in Berkeley Place near Cinemark Theater off Buckwalter Parkway, was used as a filming location earlier this year for an upcoming television romance titled “The Royal Bake Off.”
Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDB.com: “The rivalries of bakers Allie and Marily intensify when the royal prince of Samavia rolls into town looking for a royal baker. When Allie and the prince hit it off, it seems he might be in the market for more than just a terrific cake.”
While the release date for the movie hasn’t been announced, the owners of the Bluffton bakery are launching some romantic ideas of their own in the meantime, shifting the focus of their business from primarily a custom-order bakery to a dessert bar.
“Custom orders were great, but I wanted to increase the foot traffic coming into the building,” explained Erica Ashby of Okatie, who operates the business with her mother, Linda Ashby, and daughter, Kaiya Medrano.
“We’ve expanded our lines. We’ve expanded our hours,” Erica said.
Cupcakes 2 Cakes started as a home-based business then moved into a Berkeley Place storefront in late 2021. The bakery shut its doors temporarily in July before reopening Aug. 1 with a refreshed purpose.
“We made the decision to shut down and rebrand,” Erica said, “partly because I wanted to change the aesthetic and the feel of the business, and I wanted to change kind of the direction in which we were going.”
Now, Cupcakes 2 Cakes offers at least 13 flavors of cupcakes on any given day. Customers also can choose from 10 or so different pastries or order cake slices and even Jack Frost ice cream.
“Of course, we still have our decorated sugar cookies and then our gourmet cookies,” Erica said.
Everything is done in small batches, she explained.
“We don’t use a lot of dyes. We don’t use extracts and emulsions. We use natural flavorings for our cupcakes. ... We put out our pastries, and when we are sold out, we are sold out for the day,” she said. “We don’t keep anything in the freezer.”
The trio of bakers hasn’t stopped creating extravagant celebration cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, and they use an edible ink printer to create logo cookies for corporate events.
New to the menu, though, is an expanded lineup of drinks.
“We do more coffee, more tea, more funky drinks like our cotton candy lemonade, our Shirley Temple floats, our bourbon coffee.” The bourbon coffee is non-alcoholic; it uses coffee beans aged in whiskey barrels from The Grind Roasters.
Cupcakes 2 Cakes has started opening in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays and soon will add a menu of special dessert and drink pairings available during that time.
“After the movies, couples, singles, family members, if they’re looking for something to do after dinner, after the movies, they can come in and grab a mocktail that we will set up to pair with a specific dessert so that it’ll be a type of an experience.”
Customers can expect the evening hours will feature the same creativity evident in the current cupcake menu.
“We try to do out-of-the-box flavors,” Erica said, listing habenero peach, elote street corn, or chicken and waffles among some recent offerings.
“We tend to do kind of a crazy flavor each week, and people love us for our creativity,” she said. Holidays are particularly fun because the bakers like to take a theme and run with it.
Right now, they are learning all they can about beverage pairings.
“We’ve been hiring mixologists and baristas, and we’ve been attending classes just to get a better understanding of the chemistry and everything that’s involved with actually making drinks,” Erica said. “We want to do something that’s the show, fancy cocktails, smoked cocktails ... creative stuff.”
If you go
What: Cupcakes 2 Cakes
Where: 108 Buckwalter Parkway, Suite 2C, Bluffton
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.