Cupcakes with heart: San Francisco bakery uses local ingredients, donates to charities

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Artisan cupcakes are part of a growing trend, in cities across the country, and it turns out, they’re not just delicious, and beautiful. Cupcakes are a booming business.

Kara Lind is the daughter of a dentist, and wasn’t allowed sweets growing up.  But that didn’t stop her from eating sweets, and loving them

She was an advertising executive in San Francisco with Conde Nast.  She says it was a glamorous job. She traveled around the Northwest, with fun clients, and a big expense account.

But she traded in all in for flour, sugar, and a payroll. She went to pastry school and started Kara’s Cupcakes. She says for her, it’s about the art of design, and color, combined with taste.

As she carefully squeezed red frosting onto a heart-shaped cookie, she described the feeling she gets in her bakery.

“You get into a Zen of painting, and it's almost like coloring," she said. "You know all those coloring books we have now, and in the end, you get to eat it" 

And a lot of people wanted to eat her creations. She opened her first shop in the Marina in 2006, and could not keep up with demand. They  ran out of cupcakes, on a daily basis. On Valentine’s Day, they had to shut the door, saying they had to bake more, and will open in a few hours. as the frantically tried to re-stock, people continued to bang on the windows and door.

She now has nine bakeries and shops all over the Bay Area, including Emeryville, San Jose, Palo Alto, Walnut Creek and Napa, where they sometimes mix a nice cabernet, right into the batter.

Lind prides herself in using all local ingredients, including C&H Sugar out of Crockett, Guittard Chocolate, based in Burlingame, and Diamond Crystal Salt, and Giuosto’s Flour of San Francisco.

Lind also makes cupcakes that are vegan and gluten free, and every month, they have a cupcake that gives back to the community.

This month, they are honoring the art hearts of San Francisco with beautiful, edible images. The proceeds benefit Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.