home SWEET home: Q&A with at-home baker, Jacki Chinosi

Jacki Chinosi in her kitchen

Jacki Chinosi in her kitchen

Dreams are often formed in the comfort of one’s own home. For Jacki Chinosi, her home is where the dream has stayed. Five years ago, Chinosi realized she had a knack for baking cupcakes, really good cupcakes, that her friends and family alike could not stop complementing. “Every time we had a family gathering, I’d experiment with a different kind of cupcake,” she said. “And each time someone would come up to me and say that it was the best cupcake they’d ever eaten. It kind of got the wheels turning.” Chinosi formulated her own recipes and techniques and now bakes cupcakes for parties out of her home.

Have you always been interested in baking?

Yes, as a kid my mom and I used to bake together all the time. She was always making things for church functions and for holidays and I always remember wanting to help. It was fun. I also really liked putting ingredients together and seeing how they created something delicious.

When did you start experimenting with cupcake recipes?

It really started about five years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I was constantly craving cupcakes and so I figured instead of spending lots of money on gourmet ones or going through the hassle of trying to find a good place to go, I’d make them myself. So I went online and looked things up and added my own spin on recipes I thought I’d like and it kind of just worked. I made my husband and my sister-in-law try them and they loved them and they’re my harshest critics so I knew if they liked them, others would too, which is why I started bringing them to functions and things.

Do you plan on opening your own cupcake bakery one day?

I mean, would I love to do that? Yes. Do I see that happening any time in the near future, no. I only say that because I have four kids now and I’m constantly busy with them and I can’t imagine opening a bakery because that’s like another baby. Honestly, baking out of my house is easy and just as efficient as having my own business. I get to choose when I work and who I work for and I can make sure that whoever needs me to make cupcakes for them gets exactly what he or she wants because I am able to focus on only that specific order.

So for people who dream of owning their own bakery one day, would you advise them to start off at home?

If you have this dream and you don’t have the opportunity to open your own place, starting at home is great. You obviously don’t get to reach out to as many people as you would if you had an actual bakery but it’s a great way to get experience and learn the tricks and trades of cupcake baking because you get to do it at your own pace. You always have to start somewhere and I think that there could be worse places to begin than at your own home.

Any at-home tips for novice cupcake bakers?

My best and easiest tip is a trick for box mixes. They usually call for oil and water in the recipe but if you substitute the oil for butter and the water for milk, it ends up much more moist and rich and it tastes like you made it from scratch. I hardly do this because I make all of my cupcakes from scratch but when I want to whip up something quick for the kids, I’ll do this. It’s a great secret.

What makes your cupcakes unique?

Everything I bake is made in my own home. Not many other bakers can say that! Also, they’re delicious and relatively cheap. Since I make them mostly for my friends and family, I don’t charge that much. I do it because I love it, not to make a profit. I think that could be considered pretty unique too!

Do you think the cupcake craze is here to stay?

Well, all I know is that everyone I talk to about cupcakes talks so much about how “obsessed” they are with them so needless to say, I think they’re here to stay. There’s so many varieties, there is literally one for everyone.

What do you think most people would say is the hardest part about cupcake baking?

For me, it was frosting! Frosting a cupcake is so difficult the first few times! Maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist, but I messed up a hundred times before I got one right. For people just starting out, I would definitely think that making them look pretty is the most difficult thing ever. Watch a lot of videos and read things about frosting and just do as you see, that’s the only piece of advice I have. Practice makes perfect!

What is your favorite part about cupcake baking?

The smile on the faces of the people who eat them. There’s nothing like seeing someone bite into something you made and smile. It makes it worth it.

Chinosi does not have a website nor was she comfortable with listing her phone number on the blog. As of now, she only accepts orders from friends and family or referrals. She hopes that one day, she can have a bakery and really test her skills.

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