If you’ve gone looking for baking supplies in the past month to try out those sourdough or focaccia recipes that everyone’s been baking, you might already know that baking ingredients have been in short supply. Something about being stuck inside indefinitely has awoken the domestic maker in us all.
But our amateur creations are nothing compared to Nadine Levin’s. She baked 4,000 cupcakes last month. The owner of the Pipe Dream Cupcakes truck and five-time BONS winner made the thousands of confections in her kitchen, by herself, for healthcare professionals battling this virus on the front lines.
When Levin is running business as usual, her cupcake truck can be rented for events or festivals or found in Andover or North Andover centers typically Wednesdays through Saturdays. She’s also available for special orders and catering. When Governor Baker shut down non-essential businesses in late March, Levin had to find something to do with her extra ingredients.
She donated all her extra-supply cupcakes to Lawrence General Hospital, and by then, baking ingredients were getting hard to come by. “I wanted to donate more but I didn’t have any of the ingredients anymore,” says Levin. “Getting eggs and milk and all that was super expensive, so that’s why I started Cupcake Crusaders.”
Launched on Instagram on April 3, the Cupcake Crusaders initiative allowed Levin to partner with the community to continue donating cupcakes. “Crusaders” could send money to Pipe Dream via Venmo, allowing Levin to buy ingredients. “The community really rallied around me and donated money so I could get all the supplies,” says Levin, “And my goal was to donate my time.”
And donate her time she did. “I pretty much closed for the whole month of April,” says Levin. “I got a lot of people wanting cupcakes and I pretty much turned them down and said, ‘No, this month I’m donating.’” Business operations were put on hold while she churned out cupcakes for nurses and doctors.
“I use two or three mixers at a time,” explained Levin, “so it works. I have a system in place, and it’s been great for the past month. It’s been fun, it’s kept me busy, and it’s occupied my time in a good way.”
Folks from the community helped Levin get cupcakes to healthcare workers by volunteering to drop them off at their family member’s unit, or their unit. And Levin would bake lots of extras to give to other floors, spreading the love as much as possible. “It was a great network and a great community where everybody was willing to deliver them,” says Levin.
After donating sweets to over 40 different hospital units, Levin starts back up with semi-regular business this month. She’ll be doing contactless delivery to North Andover residents and those who live within a five-mile radius of Andover Center. Anyone else can pick up their orders at Pazzo Pizza in Andover. Check Levin’s socials @PipeDreamCupcakes for more information about when she’s accepting orders.
“Once I sell out a day, I’m adding a day, so I just added May 7, and that’s looking like it will sell out soon. So once that sells out I’ll figure out my next day,” she says. Check Instagram or Facebook for her ever-changing menus, and place orders by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.