NORWALK, Conn. — What's the secret to making a perfect cupcake? Rafael Ramirez, owner of Rafael Cakes & Sugar in South Norwalk, says you must follow the recipe exactly.
"There are no shortcuts in baking. You can be creative when you're cooking dishes like steak and pasta," said Ramirez of Norwalk, who opened his business four years ago.
"But baking is a science. It's very specific. If you do something different and change the ingredients slightly, you will get a totally different product."
Ramirez, a third generation chef, knows his baking. He learned from his grandmother Rita in the Dominican Republic.
"I was baking since I was 8 and sold my first cake at age 13 through my grandmother's business," he said, adding that his grandmother still bakes. "I grew up helping her in the kitchen and learned her recipes and talents."
Ramirez sells cakes, coffee and pastries in a variety of flavors in his shop, which is around the corner of the Maritime Aquarium. All of the cupcakes are filled, and the flavors include confetti, cannoli, coconut, passion fruit and carrot.
He also gives cooking classes to bakers of all levels. "Classes are seven weeks long. We bake, we fill and we ice the cakes," he said.