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Northeast Wisconsin ‘momtrepreneur’ sells cupcake creations at pop-up events

‘I can bring magic and joy to my corner of the world, one little cupcake at a time’

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April 16, 2024

APPLETON – Becoming a mom, Wisconsin native Amanda Rudd said, made her see the world differently than she ever had before.

“It is like I am living life as little Amanda all over again – seeing a lot of things for the first time,” she said.

Rudd – along with her now-seven-year-old daughter Rebel as her shadow – is the entrepreneur behind Amanda Cupcake, an in-home cupcake business located in Appleton.

Though her days are now filled with cupcake batter, frosting and edible glitter, the self-described Midwest momtrepreneur with a California vibe said she hasn’t always been a baker.

“That happened by accident,” she said.

Let’s rewind
Creativity, Rudd said, has always been part of her DNA.

After dabbling in cosmetology for a bit, Rudd said she picked up her life and moved to the West Coast to achieve her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

“I attended FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles (graduating) with a degree in product development in fashion,” she said. “After I graduated, I helped merchandise and design junior girls clothing for the company Billabong. I did that for several years.”

However, when her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Rudd said she decided to move back to Wisconsin.

That’s when, she said, her creative side pivoted – this time designing cupcakes instead of fashion.

“When I moved back home, I needed a bright light, so I created this Rainbow Brite character named Amanda Cupcake (in 2011) and started playing with the cutest new trend – cupcakes,” she said. “Back then, blogging was big, so I started the Amanda Cupcake blog.”

Every cupcake design she created, Rudd said, had a story.

Amanda Rudd said each cupcake she creates has its own story. Submitted Photo

“I started dressing up cupcakes instead of people and ultimately created my fashion cupcake brand,” she said.

For several years, Rudd said she rented the kitchen of a small diner in Waupaca.

“I’d bake my cupcakes at night and sell them at the diner during the day,” she said. “I’d also take small orders.”

It was during this time Rudd said she was recruited by a local television station to become a regular baking guest.

“They had found my recipe blog and loved my brand,” she said. “They asked if I could come on and make cupcakes. That was the beginning of me becoming a regular guest on local TV.”

Rudd said her appearances on TV catapulted her brand, eventually prompting the opening of The Cupcake Mansion.

“People who are now in their 20s tell me about the times they visited The Cupcake Mansion as a kid – that blows my mind,” she said. “To me, The Cupcake Mansion was a place where I made a lot of mistakes and learned what not to do.”
During that time, Rudd said she got married, had Rebel and discovered though an amazing accomplishment, “having a bakery wasn’t for me.”

“I have evolved into a pop-up shop model, where I partner with a local business, and plan a pop-up shop event,” she said. “I come up with a whole ‘line’ of cupcakes, and like an art show, I show up with my edible art. People wait in line to see, buy and eat them.”

Rudd said her business and brand have evolved quite a bit.

“In the beginning, I thought I wanted a bakery,” she said. “I always wanted to be a household name and become this huge Martha Stewart-type character. Now, I know that isn’t what works for Amanda Cupcake. I can bring magic and joy to my corner of the world, one little cupcake at a time.”

Being the name and face behind Amanda Cupcake, Rudd said her biggest hurdle is “I can’t do it all myself.”

“The pop-up shops are a good solution for that,” she said. “I could never run a bakery or a cupcake factory solely based on my handmade art. But the pop-up shops make that possible because they are scaled to about 250-500 cupcakes each time I host an event. Once my product sells out, it is gone. And often I sell out.”

Thanks to Wisconsin’s cottage food law, Rudd said she can create her cupcake masterpieces in her home kitchen, which she said helps her balance Amanda Cupcake with mom duties.

“It is challenging to be a mom, plus run a cupcake business,” she said.

The self-described Midwest momtrepreneur with a California vibe sells her Amanda Cupcake creations at pop-up events throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Submitted Photo

Separating Amanda Rudd from Amanda Cupcake, she said, can also be a challenge at times.

“It’s like Clark Kent and Superman,” she said. “Even though I may look like a living cupcake when I am out there wearing my pink wig and wearing sparkles, there’s a lot more depth to me. I am not just sugar-coated – I am a real person. It’s challenging to separate the two sometimes.”

More in mind
Though she knows having a bakery isn’t the right thing for her, having a kitchen space of her own where she can bake, host pop-up events and host classes, Rudd said is in the cards.

“It has always been hard to find my own kitchen space – the overhead in building a commercial kitchen space is insane,” she said. “I don’t want to take on a lot of debt. Even though I love what I do with the pop-ups, I would love to have my own Amanda Cupcake kitchen space or even a cupcake mobile.”

Since becoming a mom, Rudd said she’s always said that Rebel has been her life coach.

“I am into mental health, and I’d love to work with people on some baking ‘therapy’ or cupcake retreats,” she said. “I can’t do that until I have my own space though.”

Rudd said she has also been branching out into recipe development with a well-known author.

“Last fall, after I developed a cupcake recipe for her rom-com,” she said. “I went on a cupcake and book tour with her. This year, I wrote another recipe for another book she will be publishing. I’ll be going on another tour with her (then as well).”

Rudd said she has also written a children’s book.

“It has been sitting here waiting for me to self-publish for seven years,” she said.

The ultimate dream, Rudd said, would be to have her own cupcake cooking show or to travel from place to place as an inspirational “cupcake” speaker.

“I have discovered through all of my experience that I have a gift of guiding people to create,” she said. “Not just bake or make pretty cupcakes – but to find their creative side. I have a gift to guide people to fearlessly create, play and enjoy color and glitter. My cupcake world is so much more than greige – it’s confetti. And I’d love to share that.”

Rudd said maybe someday she’ll be the “Mrs. Fields of cupcakes” – but for now is enjoying sharing her cupcakes with the people of Northeast Wisconsin.

“I always wanted to be a fashion designer – I just never knew cupcakes would be my models,” she said.

To check out Rudd’s Amanda Cupcake blog, visit

For a list of pop-up event times, dates and locations, check out

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