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Candace Nelson

The Womens Conference

How She Empowers Others

Pastry chef Candace Nelson comes from a long line of culinary luminaries. Her French-American great grandmother was renowned for the distinctive desserts she made at her San Francisco restaurant during the 1930s and her own mother shared a similar passion for cooking. After graduating from the professional pastry program at Tante Marie's Cooking School in San Francisco in 2002, Candace started her own custom baking business, specializing in handcrafted special occasion cakes. However, having been raised in the tradition of her French relatives, Candace felt that dessert should be a daily pleasure rather than an indulgence reserved for the occasional celebration.

This philosophy inspired Candace and her husband, Charles, to open Sprinkles Cupcakes, The Original Cupcake Bakery. Eschewing traditional cake recipes, Candace carefully developed each recipe specifically for the delicate nature of cupcakes, using the best quality ingredients available-sweet cream butter, pure Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and Callebaut chocolate. The result? A deliciously sophisticated spin on an old-fashioned classic. Or simply put, a moist, delicate cake topped with rich, creamy frosting.

Since opening in the heart of Beverly Hills in April 2005 and Newport Beach in August 2006, Sprinkles Cupcakes has created quite a stir, leading "The Insider" to report on the "diet dilemma that threatens to blow up Hollywood!" From media mega-stars, such as Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey, to serious epicureans, Southern Californians can't get enough of the sweet, pint-sized confections. Legions of frenzied Sprinkles addicts form lines out the door and cupcakes fanatics from around the globe make pilgrimages to these chic little bakeries. Sprinkles Cupcakes is replicating its successful formula nationwide with bakeries in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and Palo Alto, CA, Dallas, TX, and Scottsdale, AZ.

In the meantime, to help feed the nation's Sprinkles madness, Candace developed a line of Sprinkles cupcake mixes that were launched nationally through Williams-Sonoma and Sprinkles stores in January 2007. Already a customer favorite at Williams-Sonoma, Sprinkles red velvet cupcake mix was rated as "excellent" by preeminent New York Times food critic Florence Fabricant in her February 2007 article about red velvet cakes.

Candace's cupcakes have been featured on The Food Network's "Unwrapped," "Good Morning America," and "The Oprah Winfrey Show," as well as in numerous publications, including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and The New York Times.  Having quickly distinguished herself as the nation's foremost cupcake maven, Candace's baking tips have been published on the Oprah website, she has been a guest judge on the Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay and a speaker at USC's Marshall School for Entrepreneurial Studies.