During my visit to Oklahoma City, Okla., I noticed several bakeries around town. This piqued my sweet tooth, and I started inquiring about the best cupcakes in the city. After receiving several referrals for Sara Sara Cupcakes, I made it my mission to sample its delicacies before departing for home. Along the way, I enticed several colleagues to join me on my quest. And, so it came to be, on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, that we all piled into the hotel’s area shuttle – a stretch limo! (thanks, Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel!) – and headed for Sara Sara Cupcakes.
Just a few blocks away from the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum in downtown, Sara Sara Cupcakes is housed in a quaint house tucked away on Ninth Street. As we emerged from the back of the limo, I was struck by how welcoming the bakery looked with its muted yellow walls and small covered porch. This welcome was extended by the staff as we made our way inside.
Here, we were greeted not only by the staff, but also by shelves of decadent cupcakes with tempting names: crimson and cream, count rockula and blueberry honey. I wanted to sample them all, but I restrained myself, settling for a Thin Mint cupcake (yes, based on the famous Girl Scouts cookie) and a chocolate cupcake with chocolate butter cream frosting. My colleagues chose their own favorites, including cherries jubilee.
We took our treats and headed out to the front porch to indulge our taste buds. Someone had brought along a bottle of wine, and our snack run turned into one of those picture-perfect moments that seem far to rare: good friends sharing a simple pleasure on an idyllic day without a care in the world.
Added to this, the cupcakes were divine. Everyone shared their chosen flavor with the others, so we all could sample a variety of flavors. There wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. Although my Thin Mint cupcake was perfect as is, I did find the perfect complement for it: a glass of ice-cold milk from the indoor milk bar.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Toni Hoffman, the owner of Sara Sara Cupcakes, brought out a coconut cream cupcake on the house. We thanked her profusely, and encouraged her to submit her baked goods for “Cupcake Wars.” She caught us off guard when she replied that she wasn’t in the business for the money or the fame. Turns out, she was honoring a promise to her 18-year-old niece, Sara.
One day, as Toni and Sara were baking cupcakes, Sara told her aunt that one day they would open a bakery that specialized in cupcakes. After discussing it briefly, Toni promised Sara they would, indeed, open a cupcake bakery. However, Toni promptly forgot that promise the next day when Sara suddenly passed away from cardiac arrest. It would be three months before Toni seriously reflected on that promise.
Late one night, Toni was watching “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as the host pointed out why he loved living in Los Angeles: all of the city’s cupcake bakeries. It was then that Toni realized that she could turn her promise to Sara into reality. Of course, she didn’t really know how to do that, but she was determined to learn. And learn she did: about setting up a commercial kitchen, making cupcakes for the masses, running a business and all the little intricacies that come with being a small-business owner. Sara Sara Cupcakes opened in 2008, and has been baking up a storm ever since.
Toni didn’t have to share her story – or her coconut cream cupcake – with us that day, but she did. By doing so, she turned a near-perfect day into a beautiful memory that honored not only her niece but also Toni’s generous and caring nature. I think Sara would be proud.
Sara Sara Cupcakes
7 NW 9th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102