Jeff Martin first rose to prominence as one of the competitors on the TV series “Cupcake Wars.” Founded in 2009, his wildly popular Smallcakes bakery chain bakes and frosts 18 varieties of signature cupcakes daily, as well as special-edition seasonal treats. Now, with 120 locations around the U.S. and two in the United Arab Emirates, he’s expanded the offerings at his “neighborhood bakery” concept beyond cupcakes to brownies, cookies, and his latest addition, ice cream — with the help of Carpigiani equipment.
Smallcakes is known for making exciting flavors of baked goods, and that same adventurousness now extends to its ice cream selections. “We take what we’re known for — our great cupcakes — and incorporate them into our ice cream,” Martin says. “We just don’t do boring ice cream. We make cupcake-infused ice cream. We do red velvet ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream.”
“We tested out a few other machines, and the Carpigiani really produced the consistency
Martin is a perfectionist when it comes to the texture of his ice cream. “I’m not a huge gelato fan,” he says, “and I’m not a huge fan of the old-school, rock-hard ice cream. What
we’re producing is right in the middle, and the machine has a lot to do with that. We tested out a few other machines, and the Carpigiani really produced the consistency I envisioned.” Martin currently has 12 Carpigiani LB100 batch freezers in his Smallcakes stores, with plans for another 20 to be installed soon.
Martin has high marks for the Carpigiani sales and service team. “These machines are very easy to install, very easy to work with. When we’ve had to call for service or get questions answered, it’s been very easy. They don’t make you feel like an idiot when you ask a question. I work through Kami Poppen a lot and she picks up the phone on weekends, too,” he says, adding that Carpigiani has been “very easy and very good to work with.”
Carpigiani Director of Sales Kami Poppen thinks Martin has found the formula for ice cream success with Smallcakes. “Smallcakes is the kind of customer you love to work with,” she says. “They are a fun business that’s open to trying new things that expand their menu. But they stay focused on their core theme of cupcakes. Jeff is always thinking about what he can do next to continually improve Smallcakes and bring it to the next level for his customers. The addition of ice cream bars in his new flagship location is proof that Smallcakeswill continues to be a top cupcake chain by offering a wide variety of choices while keeping it fun and creative by allowing customers to customize their own ice cream bar. And working with a rep like
Kevin Herndon of B&J/Peerless really makes it a team effort.”
In his own words, Martin is “super-excited” about his next Carpigiani machine: the Fantasticks 4U, installed in November 2015 in his newest concept, Decadent Coffee and Desserts, located in an upscale neighborhood of Overland Park, Kan. With more of a bistro feel, Decadent is aimed at the traditional “mom-and-kid” crowd during the day and an adult clientele at night. “I’m like a little kid at Christmas,” he exclaims. “It’s a machine that you can do so many different things with. I’m going to do everything I possibly can do with it. Initially, we want to do custom ice cream bars. But my mind is thinking, ‘What can I do with this? And I want to do it all.”