The star baker behind San Anselmo-based Baked Blooms, Sarah Thongnopneua, is appearing tonight on the premiere episode of Food Network's Cupcake Championship. Baked Blooms specializes in elaborate cupcake bouquets, and Thongnopneua will be competing for first-ever Cupcake Champion prize of $10,000.
Thongnopneua moved to the Bay Area from her native England at the beginning of the last decade to be closer to the man she met interning in San Francisco and whom she married in 2002, Clay Thongnopneua. Sarah grew up baking alongside her mother in Settle, a town in North Yorkshire, as she tells the Marin Independent Journal. And the idea to try making cupcake bouquets — which she calls bespoke "bou-cakes" — came from some bakers in the UK in the last decade.
Thongnopneua began by making the bouquets for friends and family events, and her skills led people to tell her to go into business. She spent five years working in Silicon Valley before leaving to raise her three boys, and Baked Blooms grew out of her stay-at-home mom hobby. She officially started the business in 2016, and her cupcakes feature floral designs, succulents, unicorns, and more.
The offer to go on the Food Network show came after a casting director spotted her colorful Instagram account. And while she never really wanted to be on television, her husband convinced her it was a "no-brainer" and great for business.
She sells custom bouquets — small ones of 7 cupcakes for $45 and large ones of 24 cupcakes for $100) — by phone or through her website, and typically needs 48 hours advance notice.
See some examples below, and tune in to Cupcake Championship tonight at 10 p.m. to see if she won.