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Crofton Local Turns Job Loss into Successful Cupcake Business

Princess Pea Cupcakes offers homemade cupcakes that can even be shipped in a jar across the country and still maintain their fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor and freshness.

Caramel Coconut Cupcakes. Credit: Annie Shaugnessy
Caramel Coconut Cupcakes. Credit: Annie Shaugnessy
Crofton native Annie Shaughnessy faced her worst professional fear in March 2014 -- termination of employment -- and turned it into a new career.

At the time, she had been working as a contractor, developing online and management-based training systems. After packing up her office, heading home and spending days searching for new employment with no real leads, Shaughnessy was urged by a former co-worker and friend to turn her love of baking into a marketable profession.

Shaugnessy launched Princess Pea Cupcakes, LLC on March 28. The cupcake company, based in Shaugnessy’s kitchen, offers custom, homemade cupcakes with Italian buttercream following Shaugnessy’s philosophy that everything tastes better when it is made with fresh ingredients, tried and true recipes and a love and passion for the process and product.

“I grew up in an Italian family,” Shaugnessy told Patch. “Cooking is something that Italians do, not only for sustenance and nutrition, but for social affairs. If there’s two people, we cook for an army. My roots are tied into a culture and family that’s based on food as entertainment and culture.”

“All of my favorite childhood memories are centered on cooking my Grandmother’s kitchen,” Shaugnessy said. “Every holiday and family gathering gave me the opportunity to listen to stories handed down by the women in my family and served as my education for cooking delicious and savory comfort foods.”

Shaugnessy took her own spin from cooking savory foods and began baking after discovering that not everyone could always eat five pounds of pasta. She branched out to baking, beginning with cakes, learning how to make fondant and various batters. Regular-sized cakes became cupcakes, something much smaller and more contained.

The rise of Princess Pea Cupcakes on the market came as a shock to Shaugnessy; she was booked for almost every weekend in the summer within a couple of weeks of launching the website.

For those with loved ones living across the country, Shaugnessy has also found a way to ship cupcakes that will always retain the freshness and flavor that they have straight out of the oven -- flash-freezing.

Customers are able to order and ship cupcakes in a jar. Cupcakes are taken straight from the oven, and while thile they are still warm, frosted and vacuum sealed into glass jars, then immediately frozen. Because the cupcakes are caught right when the moisture is still inside the jar along with all the natural flavors, all of the moistness and flavors remain in the delicacies until the recipient is ready to eat it.

“The people in California says you open them up, literally they’re still frozen, stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and they still taste fresh,” Shaugnessy said.

The cupcakes can either be eaten right away or frozen for another two months. Princess Pea’s Gourmet Popcorn Poppies also has a similar freshness. The kettle corn remains soft and gooey even after shipping and refrigeration.

The company is named after Shaugnessy’s daughter, Adrianna Parrillo. Princess Pea is a play on the fairy tale Princess and the Pea and representative of her daughter’s middle name.

“I wanted [the name] to be reflective of who I am,” Shaugnessy said. “I’m kind of a girly girl. I wanted to keep that whimsical side. I also wanted something that’s very personal.”

Princess Pea Cupcakes, LLC was asked to join the Crofton Chamber of Commerce Monday, June 30. Moving into the future of the company Shaugnessy expressed she does not want to have the business in an actual store.

“I don’t want to have a brick and mortar bakery,” Shaugnessy said. “My talents are best served in a kitchen. We do have a mobile truck. The intent is that we will remain an online and virtual storefront and keep doing the mobile truck.”

Shaugnessy spends her days in her office -- the kitchen.

“My contract ending was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me professionally and personally,” she said.

The business operates out of Shaughnessy’s Crofton home. Contact her at 410-721-3783 or princess_pea@princesspeacupcakes.com.
Princess Pea Cupcakes July 01, 2014 at 09:35 PM
Princess Pea now also offers Gluten-Free Cupcakes! :-)

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