I have to do serious research. It has come to my attention that one of my characters in the new story I’m working on insists on being a cupcake baker. This means one thing: eating lots of cupcakes.

I found Cake Couture Cupcakes only a couple of miles away from me. It’s like Sprinkles, only BETTER. Yes, you heard me right. These cupcakes are smaller, but moister. The frosting is buttercream and delicious. I had their peanut butter fudge, which was a peanut butter frosting over fudgey goodness. My favorite combo is always peanut butter and chocolate, but most of the baked items or ice cream tastes like an idea of peanut butter, not actual peanut butter. This tasted like real peanut butter and was capped with a sliver of peanut brittle.

The store is tucked away in an nondescript strip mall near the Holy Trinity Church, which is how I found it. I think the community’s called Aina Haina; I could be wrong, though. Just when you think the store is closed and you can’t find it, you have to go back into a little nook near a surf shop and an ice cream shop, and there it is.

The cupcakes are attended by beautiful, thin young women wearing black, as though they are ready to put Chanel makeup on you instead of selling you a cupcake. Each cake is nestled in a wooden holder inside the counter; the store is kept cool and closed off, the counter seems to be open to the back.

Ethan had a vanilla cupcake and Kaiya had a cookies n cream. I did not get to taste either because they plowed through so fast. I naively thought that they would only eat half, which has been the case at every other cupcake store we’d ever been to. Not so. These were perfectly sized and not too sweet.

Yet, this cupcake store did not satisfy my character. I am interested in Hawaiian flavors used in baking. They’re everywhere here. At Foodland, they sell passion fruit cake; cake with guava filling; and Waialua cake, which as far as I can determine is a Hawaiian coffee. Gotta research that.

Anyway, I searched some more and found what I was looking for: Cake Lava. Cake Lava is a specialty bakery in Kailua, combining delicious tropical flavors with gorgeousness. Each cake is a spectacle, and their flavor combos sound divine.  How do they come up with their flavors? I’m particularly intrigued by “Broke da Mouth,” described as:

Vibrant colored mango cake with mango Li hing mui curd and cream filling.
Li hing mui is a sweet and salty dried plum powder found throughout Hawaii.
Another cakelava original. So Local, this cake will broke da mouth!

This is what I’m talking about. This is what I wanted for my character.

I e-mailed the proprietors and got a callback the following day. On Sunday, I get to go check them out, ask them questions, do research for my next novel.  I can hardly wait!  Of course, I shall not take any pics nor reveal any of their secret recipes; but I do hope to get a sense of the work that goes into designing flavors and the general baking process.