Unique Eats: "Sweet Cheats" brings creative cupcakes to Cabbagetown

10:02 AM, Dec 22, 2012   |    comments
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Owner Shirley Hughes opened Sweet Cheats in late 2011. But she's not your typical baker.

ATLANTA -- They say the best food is food that's "inspired."

If that's true, Sweet Cheats would take the cake.

Owner Shirley Hughes opened the Cabbagetown dessert shop with her husband one year ago. She says hers aren't your average cupcakes. But then again, Hughes isn't your average baker.

"I get the craziest looks when people walk in and see my figure competition trophies on the ledge," she laughed.

Hughes spent years competing on the national stage, and she knows what it means to have a strict diet. So when a competition was over, she and her teammates would allow themselves a splurge meal.

"We were allowed a 'cheat meal' after we got offstage," she said. "Something that we really wanted for our post-competition."

One year, she decided to make cupcakes for her teammates. Before she knew it, a business was born.

"[My team] really enjoyed it, and that's really who I was targeting. I would go to competitions, not as a competitor anymore, but as a vendor."

Hughes said the long lines and constant orders let her know it was time to go into business. Her shop goes beyond cupcakes, offering a variety of desserts and coffees.

Sweet Cheats has more than 25 cupcake flavors, all inspired by Hughes' own food cravings.

"Strange cravings," she said. "Like wanting raw cookie dough inside of something. This summer we had a green tea, pomegranate, honey and lemon together."

But don't come in asking for just a vanilla or chocolate cupcake. You'll find flavor names like Passionate Kiss, A Lil' Something Different or Sweet & Sinful. And the cupcakes themselves are as intricate as their names.

"There's another dessert element inside of each cupcake," Hughes said. "So you're not just getting cake, you're getting in the middle cookie dough, or you're getting another cookie element inside."

Sweet Cheats is located at 692-B Kirkwood Ave. SE. For more information, visit their website.

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