Student makes money during college in a unique way

Timara (Starkey) and Trey Stelling’s wedding cake. Photo from Mary Siems.

By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-chief

What started as a way of raising money for Nazarene Youth Conference in 2007 has turned into a unusual way of making money.

Mary Siems, senior biology-chemistry major, started baking for NYC, and she now runs a small business called The Charming Cupcakery out of her mom’s kitchen.

“I bounce ideas off my mom a lot. She’s kind of my assistant to bake and clean up because I do it all out of her kitchen,” Siems said.

She made the cupcakes for this year’s Heartpal, and she also makes cupcakes, cakes, cookies and goodie baskets for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. Adapting the goods to the event requires some creativity.

“If I know [the customers], it’s really easy to come up with something they would like. Also, if they have an idea of something they like, then I can run with it. It’s kind of an outlet for me to use my creative side, I guess,” Siems said. “A lot of them kind of have my own little style to it. I really like pretty things, delicate things, and to make them unique.”

Some of her newest flavors include dark chocolate espresso and blackberry champagne. She comes up with her ideas for unique flavors by bouncing ideas off her mom, searching Pinterest, talking to people about what they like and experimenting with what she has in the pantry.

Blackberry champagne is one of Mary Siems’ newest cupcake flavors. (Photo provided by Mary Siems)

“It’s like you start with all these simple ingredients and then you can make something that looks so cool. It really is like artwork in a way. If you’re gonna make just like brownies or something, you can’t do much with it, but if it’s like a cupcake or cake, you can make it something so cool and so pretty,” Siems said.

Balancing her coursework and baking business can be stressful at times, requiring occasional late nights and somtimes turning down order requests.

“Just this past week I pulled an all-nighter. I had two tests that day, and after class I went straight to the store, bought all the stuff and stayed up ‘til 5:30 in the morning to get all that order done! But I got it done,” Siems said.

Siems describes the Charming Cupcakery as a “season in [her] life” and a “unique way to make money while in college.” She will be starting medical school in the fall and will not have time to keep operating it.

Mary Siems bakes cupcakes, cakes and more for special occasions through her business, The Charming Cupcakery. (Photo provided by Mary Siems)

“I’ve been really kind of depressed about that fact,” Siems said. “One day maybe I’ll open up a bakery, a real live one when I’m retired from being a doctor someday.”

Editor’s note: Click here to see Mary’s classic buttercream recipe.