Sweet! The big business of cupcakes

When Kate Carrara got her law degree, no one though her recipe for success would be cupcakes.

"I started off telling people I might want to leave the law and go make a cupcake business," Carrara said. "To which everyone said, 'OK, she's really gone off the deep end.'"

As CBS News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason reports, in 2009 the Philadelphia lawyer quit her job and started Buttercream International, selling cupcakes from a truck.

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"I wanted to make something that was literally happiness personified," Carrara said.

Carrara is part of the cupcake craze sweeping the country. The Food Network even has a TV show, "Cupcake Wars."

"I do watch 'Cupcake Wars,' every episode," said Jeanne Rian of Newark, Ohio. She also quit her job to start a cupcake business in her kitchen.

"I wanted to be able to stay home with my daughter and make a career out of something I'd loved to do," Rian said.

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Cupcakes are becoming a big business. From her small kitchen Rian recently filled an order for 800 cupcakes.

Jason Bauer started Crumbs with his wife Mia in 2003 with a single New York store. They now have 35 stores in six states, and have created a $30 million a year business selling gourmet cupcakes.

Despite its 1090 calories, Bauer said the blackbottom cheesecake brownie cupcake is "Incredible. And you will not regret one calorie of it. I promise you."

There are still only about 400 cupcake shops across the country. "To put that in comparison there are 9,000 Dunkin' Donuts," Bauer added.

Bauer wants to expand to 200 stores. This month, "Crumbs" will go public, selling stock on NASDAQ and hoping to avoid the fate of that other bakery - Krispy Kreme - which over-expanded and forced some franchises into bankruptcy.

This isn't a passing fad?

"If I had a dollar for every time I'd been asked that? I'd be very wealthy right now," Bauer said.

If these entrepreneurs have their way, it's not just the cupcakes that'll be rich.

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"