It sounds like an episode of reality TV—a construction worker and a championship wedding planner team up to open a cupcake café and the frosting flies! While not yet the subject of cable programming, John and Karin Hlywiak—the husband and wife owners of JJ’s Rockin’ Cupcakes in Massapequa—have found their sweet spot, and it’s all cupcakes all the time.
After years of orchestrating wedding celebrations, Karin was convinced the taste of cupcakes served at the trendiest receptions left something to be desired. Her contractor husband, John, always enjoyed baking so she recruited him to build a better cupcake.
“He started making cupcakes, and we tweaked them, and after three months he nailed it,” says Karin.
John’s first creation was Espresso Chocolate Chip with Hazelnut Frosting. As he built the menu, Karin built the business by organizing blind taste tests with her top clients. Soon, the business was on the rise, and John traded in his tool box for bakeware.
Karin says a JJ’s Rockin’ Cupcake is “all about the flavor,” and the Plainview couple finds inspiration in everything from comfort classics to sophisticated sweets. Just try to resist a menu that features selections like Holy Cannoli, French Toast, Triple Chocolate Threat, Peppermint Patty, Luck of the Irish or Pumpkin Spice. If you’ve got your own exotic cupcake craving in mind, the Hlywiaks will design cupcakes on request, and will soon feature a build-your-own bar where customers can fill, frost and top their own signature cupcakes.
If you’ve got your own exotic cupcake craving in mind, the Hlywiaks will design cupcakes on request.
Because the Hlywiaks are committed to preservative-free baking, cupcakes are baked in frequent batches, and only the freshest remain on the shelf. You’ll likely spot John and Karin in a flurry of activity, decked out in frosting-flecked aprons that resemble Jackson Pollock artwork. Even the walls are decorated with cupcake-themed art, including a display of cupcake collages designed by students at the nearby Unqua Elementary School.
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While full-sized cupcakes dominate the dessert menu—alongside cheese cake, banana pudding and gelato—weekends are reserved for “Mini Madness.” On Saturdays and Sundays, look for a cavalcade of bite-sized cupcake cuties available in JJ’s top flavors. My sampling platter included Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion (a chocolate cupcake filled and topped with creamy peanut butter mousse, a Reese peanut butter cup and milk chocolate ganache drizzle), Funfetti (a vanilla cupcake and rainbow explosion), and Sweet and Salty Surprise (a pretzel bottomed chocolate cupcake dipped in dark chocolate ganache with pretzel crumbs, caramel and ganache drizzle). With a full selection of minis and more than 20 flavor options, you can rock the entire menu without a shred of guilt (in theory)!
JJ’s Rockin’ Cupcakes plans to offer evening hours for those who want to end their day on a sweet note.