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Plush Cupcake Boutique finds ‘sweet and unique’ spot inside Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor

Ypsilanti entrepreneur brings cupcakes, nostalgia to Ann Arbor mall space

Mini sample cupcakes at Plush Cupcake Boutique in the Briarwood Mall. (Sarah M. Parlette)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Although her Plush Cupcake Boutique spot in the Briarwood Mall is new, owner LaFawn Pughsley has been baking since 2012.

The latest addition to the Ann Arbor mall, the small cart decorated with shelves of shiny cupcakes and cake slices has only been open for a month.

An extension of Pughsley’s Ypsilanti business, Plush Party Palace, the opportunity came for the entrepreneur to bring her cupcakes to the Ann Arbor community in the form of a small cart offering mall patrons “sweet and unique” cupcake treats and cake slices.

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes sit are displayed on the Plush Cupcake Boutique cart.

Why cupcakes?

“First of all I have a sweet tooth and that’s how I really got into it, “ Pughsley said reflecting on how her grandmother and aunts would bake around the holidays and during family gatherings.

“And my cupcakes and cakes, they have that old school southern feel with a twist -- is what I would call it. And so, I enjoy eating really, really good cupcakes and then I get a great joy out of seeing other people enjoy delicious cupcakes, cakes and everything. ”

The owner of Plush Cupcake Boutique said that she really wanted to offer something that has a more nostalgic feeling that her customers can feel deep down.

“Cakes and cupcakes, it’s just one of those sweet things that hits the spirit and hits the body, and makes the mouth feel good. And so that’s why I just love it - I just love to see people enjoy nice, delicious cupcakes.”

Her personal favorite to eat is the Death by Chocolate cupcake -- a rich dark chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate ganache, topped with chocolate buttercream frosting.

She also has fun with the chocolate peanut butter cupcake -- a dark chocolate cake with a creamy peanut butter-infused frosting, topped with a mini peanut butter cup and dark chocolate drizzle.

But for those feeling adventurous, Pughsley recommends her sweet potato cupcake or cake. She said that it’s a popular flavor that disappears whenever she has it on the cart.

Currently, Plush Cupcake Boutique offers Pughsley’s signature cupcakes as well as cake slices in a variety of flavors like mint chocolate chip, vanilla, strawberry and red velvet; however, as the business ramps up for the holidays, Pughsley plans to bring in holiday treats like sweet potato pies and small cupcakes in mason jars designed as grab-n-go gifts.

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Cupcakes on the cart are individually wrapped and displayed.

“Sweet and Unique”

For Pughsley, her cupcake boutique is more than just its flavors. It’s about helping people get through their days.

“No one can turn down cupcakes,” she joked. “ Cupcakes just make people happy. One of my tag lines is ‘Thank you for allowing us add a little bit of sweetness to your day.’ And that’s it. We just want to add a little sweetness to your day.”

With a slogan of ‘sweet and unique,’ she said that she didn’t want to recreate the wheel (or the cupcake), but that she tries to find the best ingredients. She also likes giving her cupcakes a bit of twist by adding extracts that elevate the flavors.

Eventually, Pughsley also plans to add allergy-sensitive treats such as gluten-free cupcakes. She considers the restrictions a challenge -- and she likes a challenge.

“Another one of my passions is actually teaching younger girls how to bake and different things like that, and you know, try to hone in on some of the entrepreneurial things that they may have in their spirit to do,” Pughsley said.

She plans to reach out to younger community members and encourage them to blend their passions and skills to help them realize and achieve goals.

LaFawn Pughsley stands in front of her Plush Cupcake Boutique cart.

Operating out of Rosie’s Community Kitchen in Willow Run Middle School, Pughsley also plans to offer baking classes soon. The first classes are anticipated to start in December so as to help people feel confident in their holiday baking.

Cupcakes at Plush range from $3 to $3.50 each and cake slices are priced between $4 and $5.

Plush Cupcake Boutique is located within the Briarwood Mall and operates from Monday to 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is near the food court in the center of the mall.

Briarwood Mall is at 100 Briarwood Cir.