Food & Drink » Three-Course Spiel

3 questions with Michele Carney, cupcake queen

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Floating on a cloud of fluffy cupcakes and yogurt swirls, Michele Carney — originally from Louisville, KY — planted her Southern shoes in Charlotte at the tender age of 7 years old. Harnessing a passion for family and sweets, Carney traded in her 9-to-5 corporate job and became the CFO of a friend-owned cupcake and yogurt café, Divine Cupcakes and Yogurt, located in the Dilworth community. As a devoted mother, the opportunity to work in an environment dedicated to smiles and sweets was a simply divine opportunity.

Creative Loafing: Is there a reason for the heavenly or enchanted alias behind the "Divine" name?

Ah. This is my favorite part of the entire venture. Our mission is reflected in our name. The definition of "Divine": of or pertaining to God; of superhuman or surpassing excellence. Our core mission at Divine Cupcakes and Yogurt is to be an expression of love through heavenly tastes that surpass excellence and make the soul smile — when the soul smiles, the world is a better place.

As a new establishment, what are the most common obstacles you and the staff are encountering and overcoming?

"Vegan, please?" "No, no. I said, 'cream cheese.'" The road to clear and precise communication has been a fascinating journey, on many levels. For instance, we discovered quickly that if we're not careful, an order for 12 carrot cake cupcakes with frosting of cream cheese gets translated into "doz cc cups" with a scribble that looks like "vegan, please." BIG DIFFERENCE. Luckily, the fix was easy. We have streamlined our ordering system so that all orders are clear and precise from the moment they are received by our front person through the following stages of baker, decorator and then back to the customer. We will not settle for anything less than perfection. Providing it has been anything BUT a perfect process, but we're getting there!

Which treat are you hopelessly devoted to, cupcakes or yogurt?

Oooh, that's a toss-up. When I crave decadence, I reach for the "whole enchilada" of the cupcake world. Italian Cream is my current favorite although, with so many new creations coming out of the kitchen, the "fave factor" changes frequently. When I've reached my limit of dreamy decadence, I go for the vegan, gluten-free and/or diabetic-friendly cupcake. The idea of dessert without sugar, butter and (regular) flour took me a minute to warm up to. But the first bite sealed the deal. Frozen yogurt is a beautiful thing in and of itself. It's smooth, creamy and low fat.

Ginger is my current favorite frozen yogurt flavor. It's tart, but not in the crinkle-your-face-sour-patch-kids kind of way. It's light and refreshing. And I'm shameless with the White Chocolate Macadamia. I swirl it into my coffee every chance I get.

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