Courtney Flynn hated baking—that was until she started a cupcake company. In September, Flynn’s company, Evil Treats Bakery, won Best Bakery in the annual Best of Syracuse readers’ poll conducted by the Syracuse New Times. Flynn’s victory was a little unexpected, and a pretty miraculous feat for someone who would have never imagined funneling frosting onto cake for a living.
Flynn, a Syracuse native and former bartender, began baking in late 2010. “I just started baking one day and I convinced myself to like it by thinking that I was in a lab doing crazy experiments,” she says. “I just kind of did it. It’s weird.”
Much like her sudden urge to bake, Flynn’s business just sort of materialized. On Sept. 3, 2011, Flynn created a Facebook page for her cupcake venture; a Twitter profile, an Instagram account, and an Etsy website store soon followed. The tagline for her fledgling bakery: “Devilishly Wicked and Evil Treats.”
“Devilish” and “wicked” are indeed apt descriptors for Flynn’s products. Some of her most recent creations include the Disembowelment Cupcake, the Exorcist Cupcake, and the Zombie Brain Cupcake. On Oct. 24, Flynn revealed the Pinhead Cupcake via Facebook. The treat, inspired by the English horror film series Hellraiser, features an off-white, gridded top and sparkling silver spikes reminiscent of the franchise’s hellish, soul-stealing antagonist.
Horror film culture was Flynn’s creative catalyst, as she’d always been a fan of the genre and the macabre, artistic sensibility that permeates it. She says she wouldn’t be baking if it weren’t for her love of terror-inducing cinema. “I was like, if I’m going to bake, do something that I originally hated, it’s got to be cool and it’s got to be my deal,” she explains.
Flynn’s favorite horror film is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and as a sign of devotion, she got “redrum” tattooed down the side of her right hand in trickling red ink. Her fiancé Ron Perry, 40, is part owner of Halo Tattoo and Body Piercing. Customers often pick up their baked-goods orders from the shop’s Route 57 location in Liverpool.
“I’ll deliver cupcakes if she wants,” says Perry. “But aside from emotional support and a little financial support, it’s been totally her thing.”
At the moment, Flynn bakes at her home in DeWitt. She takes custom orders via email and sells items like “edible blood topping,” fudge and T-shirts through her Etsy store. There’s no menu, either: Flynn posts available cupcakes to Facebook and Twitter every day.
Despite the seasonal aura Evil Treats might evoke, the bakery is certainly a year-round business. Flynn has a strong web presence and a devoted fan base, as evidenced by her surprise Best of Syracuse win. And, she’s branching out into relatively normal decorating schemes—chocolate maple bacon cupcakes are one of her latest non-horror related efforts.
But make no mistake about it, the Halloween season is peak selling time. “The end of the month is going to be hell,” she predicts. Furthermore, Flynn’s remote mode of business might be coming to an end soon. Plans for a storefront in Hanover Square are in motion, which means she’ll be trading in her electric oven and table-top mixer for professional-grade kitchen equipment.
No matter how big Evil Treats gets, though, you’ll never see Flynn making full-fledged cakes. “I don’t like fondant, so no cakes,” says Flynn of the thick, sweet frosting. “People ask me every day and I say no. I’ll let somebody else deal with that.”To get in touch with Flynn, search for Evil Treats on Facebook or visit evil-treats.com.