On the Line: Hanayo Martin & Akemi Lee of Hapa Cupcakes, Part One
They're badass, and they can bake!
Photo by William Vo
I met the ladies of Hapa Cupcakes at the counter of Green Bliss in downtown Fullerton, around the corner from their storefront. Best friends and entrepreneurs, the duo of Akemi and Hanayo is a united front, having accomplished an episode of Cupcake Wars and launching their line of alcohol-infused desserts.
Why cupcakes, especially ones with alcohol infused in them? Hanayo Martin: Cupcakes are the perfect sized treat, and you can get them in almost any flavor. And adding booze makes it more fun!
Where does the bakery's name come from? Both: Hapa means to be of mixed race. We are both half Japanese, and we mix our cupcakes with alcohol, so we thought we would play off the idea of mixing two different worlds together.
Best culinary tip for the home cook: H.M.: Buy a timer. Sift the flour! Be creative and daring.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best: Akemi Lee: Infusion foods.
Favorite places to eat (besides your own). Both: Mama D's in Newport Beach.
You're making breakfast. What are you having? Both: Fruit, bacon and fiber.
Let's talk about that gender reveal cake. How did you come up with the idea? A.L.: We had a customer asking for a gender reveal cake [Editor's Note: For those that do not know what it is, these are cakes that have either a pink or blue interior when you cut into them.], and instantly we knew it was going to be a hit!
Your earliest food memory: H.M.: Always baking and cooking with my mom.
Favorite meal growing up: A.L.: Curry rice and pizza.
Your best recent food find: Both: Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach. The Mozza caprese with the garlic bread.
How did you choose Fullerton to set up shop? H.M.: It has a very unique, sexy and local vibe that fits Hapa Cupcakes.
What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it? A.L.: Moscato at Twisted Vine.
Most popular flavors on the menu: Both: Chocolate whiskey and strawberries & champagne. Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: H.M.: Escargot with a biscuit on top.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?): Both: Penis cupcakes. And of course, we did it.
How do you come up with your flavors? A.L.: While drinking a bottle of champagne and talking.
Where was your most recent meal? A.L.: Pint House. Had the pastrami burger. Amazing.
One food you can't live without. H.M.: Pizza. Do I need to explain?
Let's talk about your Cupcake Wars experience. What was it like, and what did you learn from it? Both: It was very stressful, but super fun! We learned a lot from other contestants, and we learned that we could do anything-- even making 1,000 cupcakes in two hours.
Hapa Cupcakes is located at 105 W. Amerige Ave, Fullerton, (714) 576-4272; www.hapacupcakes.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.