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Cupcakes are her calling

'Playing with flavors' wins local woman the cash she uses to open her own store.

August 20, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com
  • Annette Starbuck at her soon-to-open cupcake story named Goodie Girls, holding the tiny hat she wore to the Kentucky Derby after winning Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, on Friday, August 19, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Annette Starbuck at her soon-to-open cupcake story named…

Every day she looked at the quaint red brick building across the street from where she lived.

“I thought, ‘Man, if I was ever to open a store, that would be the cutest building ever,’” said Annette Starbuck.

Then, Starbuck won Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and the $10,000 winnings are helping make her sweet dreams come true. She’s getting ready to open Goodie Girls Cupcakes in that red brick building she had admired at 415 E. Broadway in Glendale.

Starbuck won the premiere episode of the series’ third season, filmed this past spring. She said she was surprised to win because she had been operating an online cupcake business for only eight months when she was picked for the show.

In the final round, she went up against a contestant who owned three cupcake stores and had eight years of experience.

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“It was surreal,” she said.

But Starbuck’s 1,000-cupcake display celebrating the Kentucky Derby brought home the top prize. One of the judges said it was “one of cleanest displays” ever created on the show.

It featured a horseshoe design with four varieties of cupcakes topped with loads of fresh fruit. Starbuck’s favorite was a blueberry-pancake cupcake, which was made with buttermilk cake, blueberry filling and maple French butter icing.

In the center of the display were vintage trophies filled with fresh roses. Above was a replica of the Derby’s logo, with “137” displayed in red numbers, commemorating the 137th running of the Churchill Downs event. The grass was made with a natural moss material — not artificial turf, which her competitor used.

Starbuck’s display was taken directly over to the Derby’s red-carpet event, where celebrities such as Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo and Salt-N-Pepa, as well as Food Network chefs Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, enjoyed her delectable creations.

“After I won, people started calling like crazy, so I thought, ‘I’d better open a store,’” said Starbuck, who now lives in Pasadena.

She hopes to open Goodie Girls Cupcakes in early September. The Glendale store will be a retail site, with the cupcakes being baked in a large kitchen in Pasadena. She said expansion plans may be in the future if her first store is a success.

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