Since opening its doors in February, the bake shop at 133 E. Chestnut St. has been surprising and delighting customers with creations that are, to say the least, unusual.
Specializing in cupcakes, owner Megan Schroeder and her crew roll out new flavors every week — some sounding like they were invented in a laboratory.
“We really explore all kinds of weird things,” Schroeder said. “That’s what makes us unique.”
The mouth-watering creations have included such combinations as almond cake with vanilla buttercream; brandy-flavored cake with plum jam; coconut cake with pomegranate buttercream; and chocolate cake with crushed chestnuts.
Hopscotch customers also have experienced pistachio pudding cake, champagne cake, and a cake made with chai tea.
When they want to push the envelope further, Schroeder and her team borrow favorites like Cheetos cheese snacks, Heath candy bars and Lucky Charms breakfast cereal. Or they throw in such surprises as bacon, graham crackers, potato chips and pepperoni.
The shop makes cookies, too, as well as special-order custom cakes for birthdays or other occasions.
Customers are packing into the Burlington sweet shop, at times waiting in line to try new cupcakes with such head-scratching names as “Yumstick,” “Funky Tail,” “Reindeer Snack” and “The Raven.”
“It’s super fun,” customer Sarah Guard said.
Another customer, Stephanie Daniels, said she appreciates finding a young entrepreneur with a talent for creating something delicious. As a Hopscotch regular, Daniels said: “I’ve never had a cupcake here I didn’t like.”
For Schroeder, 38, the bakery comes as a new career adventure, following some earlier endeavors that, for her, seemed to fall a little flat.
From Burlington to Vegas and home again
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The Town of Burlington resident graduated from Burlington High School in 2000, then picked up a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She worked in a few different jobs before getting involved in designing video games.
The video game industry took her to Las Vegas, but she later decided to return to Wisconsin and look for a chance to become her own boss.
She began tinkering with baking in the kitchen. Soon, a cake-decorating class showed her how to exercise her artistic skills. That was followed by stints at a few bakeries, before she decided to open her own place.
When she heard that a candy store was shutting down at 133 E. Chestnut St., Schroeder signed a lease and converted the space into Hopscotch Cakery, borrowing the “hopscotch” name from an old peanut butter cookie recipe. The business opened its doors on Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day.
Schroeder later hired Josie Palmer, a former teacher, who now works in the kitchen alongside the Hopscotch founder.
Palmer said she and Schroeder work together well, and they enjoy dreaming up experimental cupcake ideas.
“I love it,” Palmer said. “It’s fun, and I get to be creative — and eat cupcakes.”
The business has grown so quickly that Hopscotch Cakery already is expanding.
Schroeder has leased an adjoining storefront that is being vacated by a photography studio. She plans to transform the new space into a kitchen, and to reorganize the original location to offer customers both a larger inventory and some new ideas, such as donuts, muffins and coffee.
The expanded Hopscotch Cakery should be ready by spring.
Schroeder said she knew Burlington needed a bakery, but she had no idea her place would catch on so quickly. She approaches the idea of expansion with a mix of excitement and trepidation.
“It definitely feels overwhelming,” she said. “It’s kind of crazy.”