The Untold Truth Of Georgetown Cupcake

They first opened on Valentine's Day of 2008 at a small shop in Washington D.C, baking a few hundred cupcakes a day. Since then, sisters Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne and Katherine Kallinis Berman have become one of the most successful (and enduring) cupcakeries in the country, with the muscle to make at least 25,000 cupcakes a day, and shipping millions of the bite-sized morsels across the United States every year (via YouTube). They've also become bestselling cookbook authors, and stars of a TLC reality TV show, DC Cupcakes (fun fact: the show featured the conception and creation of Berman's nine-foot-high wedding cake, made up of more than 5,000 cupcakes, per Inside Weddings). 

They may no longer be on television, but unlike many other cupcake chains which limped to their end when the cupcake trend faded, Georgetown Cupcake continued to grow. The sisters have kept their promise of using premium ingredients and have truly gone from strength to strength.

The sisters said goodbye to their corporate jobs to start Georgetown Cupcake

It might be difficult to believe, but neither Lamontagne nor Berman kick-started their cupcake careers by going to culinary school (via The Washington Post). Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne has a degree in molecular biology from Princeton, while Katherine Kallinis Berman went to Marymount where she pursued a political science degree (via Inc). Both packed up their corporate jobs to start what they had originally planned to be a bespoke cake service, selling cupcakes on the side (via Startup Grind). "We had a very frank conversation with each other, and we said are we really going to do this, are we really going to spend the rest of our life wondering 'what if'," Lamontagne tells CNBC (via YouTube).  

Leaving their successful careers was only half the battle. They opened their doors during the Great Recession so the girls could not get bank loans: "We ended up having to max out all of our personal credit cards, and use up our personal life savings, which is not a conventional way to start a business," Berman says. 

The sisters' parents were not excited about Georgetown Cupcake

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their parents were left concerned about their life choices: "Starting a business was not encouraged in our family," Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne tells StartupGrind"Our parents insisted we go to college, work for large companies, or go into medicine or law. Our father said 'people in our country are trying to get out of the bakery and go into big business and science. You're doing the opposite!'" Their mother did come around eventually and even helped out on the opening weekend (via CNBC).

Georgetown Cupcake's sisters kept their family close throughout the process, so much so that they used their grandmother's recipes: "When we started Georgetown Cupcake we wanted to use our grandmother's recipes because we had this great base of recipes that she used for her cakes'" Lamontagne tells CNBC.

But the sisters also decided to amp up the recipes by using the best ingredients that they could find. "We wanted to make our cupcakes gourmet. We wanted to use the very best ingredients, and we wanted to bake from scratch every single day".

The recipes at Georgetown Cupcake have a story

Grandma's recipes may be at the heart of Georgetown Cupcake, but the store's flavors are inspired both by the sisters' travels and their life experiences. For instance, Katherine Kallinis Berman revealed that the cupcakery's salted caramel flavor was inspired by the flavors of dulce de leche, which she fell in love with during a trip to Argentina. Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne, on the other hand, claims her "all-time favorite flavor" is the chocolate hazelnut cupcake, because it combines different textures, while the Lavender Earl Teacake is a symbol of the bond between the sisters. Lamontagne says she created the flavor for her sister's bridal shower: "Katherine's favorite tea is Lavender Early Gray, so I wanted to create a new, personal flavor, just for her. It was so good, that we immediately added it to our spring menu" (via AOL). 

Lamontagne's molecular biology degree also eventually came in handy because, as she tells StartupGrind, she has a more scientific grasp of baking and why ingredients need to be ordered and added in a particular way.

Did someone say bedazzled KitchenAid mixers?

Those of us who love baking and who have ever used a KitchenAid mixer before won't be surprised to know that Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne love their KitchenAid mixer too! They love the brand's classic mixer so much that they have them in every single color (via AOL). Other than these classic colors, Georgetown Cupcake has one other thing that features in every single one of its stores, and it's all thanks to the way Lamontagne chose to mark a memorable occasion. 

"The first KitchenAid mixer we ever bedazzled was for my bridal shower. Sophie got it as a gift. We collect KitchenAid mixers in every single color, and she wanted to get me one that no one had," Berman told Young Hollywood. The result: a mixer bedazzled with pink Swarovsky crystal. "After we got one, we decided to have one in every single store" (via YouTube).

Georgetown Cupcake is committed to giving back

Georgetown Cupcake is more than just a business, it's also a charitable platform for Sophie Kallinis Lamontagne and Kate Kallinis Berman, who are actively involved in community-based activities. The brand is a partner of the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Mid-Atlantic chapter, as well as two DC charities aimed at helping children with serious or life-threatening problems: Hope for Henry, and Heroes against Childhood Cancer.

But the sisters are most proud of playing a part in an initiative called Operation Cupcake, which has managed to send over 60,000 cupcakes to U.S. military servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The project was undertaken with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Berman puts it: "'s been one of the greatest things we've ever done and we've been able to give back in a way that I don't think we really understood that we could" (via Washington DC).