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The Kupcake Factory 

click to enlarge When it comes to happy hour, almost everyone has a vice of choice. Some people unwind over gin and tonic. For others, it's cupcakes.
  • When it comes to happy hour, almost everyone has a vice of choice. Some people unwind over gin and tonic. For others, it's cupcakes.
  "We have occasional happy hours," says Claudia Melgar , owner of The Kupcake Factory (800 Metairie Road, Metairie, 267-4990; 819 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 464-8884; 6233 S. Claiborne Ave., 267-3328; www.thekupcakefactory.com). "We will call one on Twitter if we're having a slow day. It's definitely a popular thing."

  When I visited Kupcake Factory, a line of professionally attired customers were picking out cupcakes: red velvet versions topped with swirls of cream cheese icing, wedding cake cupcakes flavored with almond and topped with vanilla buttercream icing, and strawberry cupcakes garnished with fresh fruit.

  "We use farmer's butter and the heaviest possible cream," says Melgar, who dovetailed her love for baking into a successful business in 2008. "All our cakes are buttermilk-based and made from scratch. There's nothing we have that is pre-made."

  A rotating roster of flavors keeps customers checking the website to see when their favorite is scheduled to return. "The regulars are definitely looking at the menu, and we do change flavors with the seasons," Melgar says. "For fall, we're bringing back pumpkin and peach strudel, and adding to the lineup a pineapple upside-down cupcake."

  All the cupcakes are baked fresh daily at The Kupcake Factory's Metairie location. "We bake to sell out, because we are baking daily," says Melgar, who donates unsold cupcakes to area hospitals, women's shelters and police departments. She also offers day-old cupcakes for $1 off the original price. "Day-old cupcakes will be a little more dense, but some flavors taste better the next day — chocolate, banana, any of the fruit flavors intensify a little."

  Cupcakes sell for $2.50 each, with discounts for bulk purchases. Melgar also offers custom fondant cakes and soon will be adding cookies, cake balls and brownies to the menu, but she says cupcakes will always come first and foremost.

  "Cupcakes are great things for social gatherings — everyone can cut them up and sample the different flavors," she says. "It's a fun thing to do for sure."

At The Kupcake Factory, cupcakes are baked fresh daily from scratch.

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