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Grand Opening Set for Sweet New Business

Couture Cupcake Café and Gelato Bar will hold its grand opening April 13.

Fancy a Jimmy Choo? Or how about a Betsey Johnson?

Those aren't just designer brands. At Couture Cupcake Café and Gelato Bar, they're also gourmet cupcakes featuring organic and imported ingredients. The Jimmy Choo features Belgian chocolate chunk cake with chocolate icing, while the Betsey Johnson cupcake is a Black Forest cake stuffed with cherries and topped with chocolate icing.

"We like fashion and our cupcakes are well-dressed," said Cathi Volante, owner of Couture Cupcake.

Couture Cupcake will celebrate its grand opening tomorrow, April 13, from 6 until 10 p.m. The shop will be closed during the day to allow Volante and her staff of pastry chefs to bake. Visitors at the grand opening will then get to taste samples of the cupcakes, along with gelato, smoothies and coffee. The shop is located at 20771 N. Rand Road in Kildeer, next to Smash Burger and Best Buy.

The concept for Couture Cupcake came from a suggestion from her three children. Volante used to bake with her parents, and she regularly bakes with her children. They often watch cupcake shows together on the Food Network.

"My daughter says, 'Why don't we open a cupcake store?'" Volante said. Instead of jumping right in, she and her children baked some cupcakes and then the children went out to sell them around their neighborhood.

"They came back with $70 and I thought, there is a market for this," said Volante.

She and her children started formulating recipes, often taking their old recipes and adding a modern twist.

"We thought of things we love," said Volante. For example, she took the popular Boston Cream and French Silk pies and made them in cupcake form. There's also a PB XXL for those who enjoy peanut butter cups. For her Red Velvet cupcakes, Volante took her dad's recipe and folded Belgian chocolate curls into the batter.

"I really thought of each flavor as how I'd want it to be," said Volante.

The chocolate is flown in once a week from France, and Volante and her staff shuck their own vanilla beans.

Volante also aims to incorporate fun elements to her cupcakes. Some cupcakes are filled, like the Lemonchello with its lemon filling. Others, like Pink Diamonds, are topped with a dusting of edible glitter.

There are also cupcakes geared toward men, called Man Cakes. For example, the PSYCH pineapple upside down cake is inspired by the TV show "Psych." There's also a Deep Dish cupcake featuring pepperoni, a savory icing and a crusted parmesan wheel.

Volante said all of her cupcakes are available in full-size cake form. Her shop also makes special occasion cakes, including for weddings, along with sculpted cakes. Volante said she made a roller skate cake that actually rolled.

She noted that many of the cupcakes are nut-free. As the parent of a child with a nut allergy, Volante said she and her staff are very careful and even maintain separate work stations when using nuts to avoid cross-contamination.

And when customers buy the cupcakes, they're getting fresh treats, Volante said. While many shops bake the day ahead, "we're just the opposite. We come in at 5 a.m. and bake for the same day." The staff then bakes small batches throughout the day.

There are also lots of other goodies at Couture Cupcake, including gelato imported from Italy and Dillanos organic coffee from Seattle.

"It is really superior to anything around here," Volante said of the coffee, which has already developed a devoted following since Couture Cupcake opened weeks ago.

Check out Couture Cupcake's entire menu on their website.

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Kate April 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM
They also do fantastic gluten free cupcakes....so delicious!! The gelato is excellent too!!

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