Sisters open cupcake shop in Kailua-Kona

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By CAROLYN LUCAS-ZENK

By CAROLYN LUCAS-ZENK

Stephens Media

Cupcake lovers rejoice, there’s a new sweet spot in Kailua-Kona.

Bleu Cupcakery on Henry Street is out to prove all good things come in small packages. Kona sisters and owners Nani and Becky Rivera plan to take the cake with their imaginative indulgences and passionately creative recipes, as well as their pretty party supplies — all with a dash of delight and whimsy.

Their mission is to offer Kona something different and further the growing love affair with the cupcake while adding style and grace to special celebrations. Bleu Cupcakery is now open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Its grand opening is Aug. 11.

Nani, 39, has always possessed a passion for baking and cooking. Growing up, she could be found helping out in her grandparents’ kitchen, learning culinary techniques and cooking whatever she could. Though Nani enjoys dishing out entrees, it’s the sweet petite treats that she loves the most.

“The only reason for dinner is to get to dessert,” she added coyly.

Nani was a hobby baker until Becky, 25, suggested they open a cupcakery and discussions began in October. In fact, Nani has a master’s degree in counseling from Chaminade University on Oahu. However, there was a time when pursuing that degree, Nani considered a culinary career. She applied for and was accepted to Le Cordon Bleu culinary college; hence one of the reasons for their cupcakery’s name. The other reason: Blue is Nani’s favorite color.

Nani began experimenting with her own recipes and those found online, always utilizing local ingredients, such as Original Hawaiian Chocolate, when possible.

Her creations include salted caramel, lilikoi passion, strawberry guava, peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, chocolate chocolate hazelnut, carrot and lemon.

Nani even created special treats inspired by and named after family members: Boo Ba Loo banana, Lannie mint (a chocolate cup with dark chocolate chips topped with peppermint butter cream frosting) and Triton (an homage to good ol’ Neapolitan ice cream). However, her go-to favorite remains the Kona velvet, a Kona coffee infused chocolate cake topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting.

“We put a lot of aloha in everything we make,” she said.

Visitors choose from a rotating daily menu of five cupcake flavors, with the classic flavors costing $2.75 each and specialty flavors $3 each. There are also three flavors — red velvet, vanilla and chocolate — offered everyday. To wash down those decadent choices are milk ($2), bottled water ($2), Italian soda ($3) and 100 percent Kona coffee ($2.50).

For a year, Becky has been running a successful online party supply shop, featuring small glass milk bottles, balloons, flags, old fashioned stripe straws, and cheerfully patterned paper cups and plates. She offers items made by Sugar Diva, Dollyrockets and Paper Eskimo. Several charming products and throwback decor are for sale at Bleu Cupcakery.

The best part for Becky has been working with her sister. She said they’re best friends and know and understand each other so well, including their strengths. The two are always complimenting or balancing each other out, quickly and easily jumping in when needed.

Though it’s been a 10-month roller coaster ride, there’s no one else Becky said she would have rather done it with.

For more information, call 331-BLEU (2538) or visit bleucupcakery.com.

Email Carolyn Lucas-Zenk at clucas-zenk@westhawaiitoday.com.

The sisters thanked their family for the constant support, from the encouragement to the taste-testing and baking. In particular, they expressed gratitude to their uncle and cousin for spending every day over the past five weeks cleaning up and constructing their chic cupcakery.

When the sisters began telling people about their dream, Nani said there were naysayers and others who didn’t quite understand why cupcakes. Nevertheless, the young entrepreneurs persevered.

Her advice to other hopeful business owners: “Just keep moving forward. Never stop. Even tiny steps eventually get there.”