In May, I wrote a feature article about home baking businesses, and one baker I interviewed was Leanna Mckay of Mckay’s Dessertz. Mckay offered to send us some of her baked goods in appreciation, and after I talked with my mother, we asked for red velvet cupcakes. However, since my mother is sensitive to lactose, I asked if she could make some with cream cheese frosting (the standard on red velvet cake) and vanilla frosting.

A few weeks later, Mckay messaged me and said the cupcakes were done and we arranged to meet at the Martell Starbucks. What I didn’t expect to receive was two dozen red velvet cupcakes—one dozen with white cream cheese frosting and the other dozen with blue vanilla frosting. Each dozen came in its own plastic box, and all the cupcakes had sprinkles on them.

I thanked Mckay profusely and took the boxes home with me. After my mother echoed my amazement about getting so many cupcakes, she promptly took two white and two blue frosted cupcakes out of the boxes and put the rest in the freezer to enjoy for future desserts.

Our Cupcakes

To my surprise, my mother picked one each of the white and blue frosted cupcakes for herself. I received one white and one blue cupcake, too. My mother said she couldn’t tell much of a difference between the cream cheese and vanilla frosting. I told her I found the blue vanilla frosting was much sweeter than the cream cheese frosting.

I tasted the cake without the frosting on both, and the cake looked fresh. However, we found the taste of the cakes, to be dry enough to keep us sipping our iced tea as we ate the cakes. I expected this considering we’re in the driest summer since 1977.  And the dryness of the cakes was going to be an issue bringing the cupcakes out of the freezer.

Mckayz Dessertz red velvet cupcake with blue vanilla frosting

So, I sent Mckay a message asking for her suggestions for getting more moisture out of the cakes. She suggested putting a damp paper towel in our microwave oven, putting the cupcakes on the towel, and then microwaving them for three 10-second intervals. After each interval, rotate the cupcake slightly. She also said that keeping the paper cups on the cupcakes would make no difference in the cakes’ water absorption.

This solution worked for putting moisture back into the cupcake, but it also resulted in melted frosting. Even so, we were pleased with the result and used this solution when we ate the cupcakes for dessert over the next few weeks.

The Verdict

Over time, my mother and I experimented with Mckay’s solution to try to keep as much moisture in the cake without melting the frosting, and we found a solution that works for us.

In our microwave oven, we put a damp towel on a microwave-safe plate, take the paper cups off the cupcakes, and put the cupcakes on the towel. Next, we cook the cupcakes for 12 seconds, rotate the cupcakes slightly, then cook the cupcakes for another 12 seconds. The frosting isn’t melted, and the cupcakes have their moisture back.

Mckayz Dessertz red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting

What’s more, the cream cheese frosting didn’t cause my mother to complain about gastrointestinal problems. So, if you may be averse to cream cheese on your cupcake, then you may want to give a Mckays Dessertz red velvet cake (or cupcakes) a try.

In all, we give a green light for Mckays Dessertz cupcakes. Does Leanna Mckay have what it takes to open her own bakery, as she says on her Facebook profile page? We think so.

Want to Try Them?

Mckays Dessertz is currently operated out of owner Leanna Mckay’s home kitchen in Ione. She makes cupcakes and a wide variety of other desserts, too. Some of her baked goods recently promoted on her Facebook page include maple bacon cupcakes, macarons, cheesecakes, cake pops, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

You can contact Mckays Dessertz with an order and/or questions by either sending a Facebook message from the Facebook profile page or by e-mailing Leanna Mckay.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.