Rolling out baked goods

Rockin’ Cupcakes, a themed cupcake bakery, will hold a grand opening event sometime during mid-November in Rochester.

The shop, run by Jim and Mary Ohngren, is a fusion of rock ‘n’ roll culture and gourmet cupcake baking.

“The store comes from my love for rock and roll and my wife’s love of baking,” Jim Ohngren said.

The store had a soft opening Oct. 12 and patrons have been receptive to the new shop. The idea for Rockin’ Cupcakes came about after the Ohngren’s daughter, who works for a magazine in California, mentioned that the gourmet cupcake shop was a booming business on the west coast, especially with the advent of cupcake TV shows, but a relatively foreign idea in the Midwest.

After hearing about the concept, the Ohngrens visited gourmet cupcake stores in California and Memphis, Tenn. They researched the cupcake market for about a year before finally opening their shop.

“We visited the different places and sort of gleaned the best from all of them to bring back to ours,” Jim Ohngren said.

The Ohngrens are former Rochester residents who now reside in Clarkston.

“We love the Rochester area and there are no cupcake shops out here,” Jim Ohngren said. “They’re in Birmingham and Royal Oak, but not here.”

The walls of the restaurant are covered in posters of rock ‘n’ roll bands and the area above the counter is lined with records from Jim Ohngren’s personal collection. During store hours, he plays his personal iPod, which features music from a variety of artists.

“I’m a huge fan of The (Rolling) Stones, Aerosmith and (Bruce) Springsteen, so they’re on a lot here,” Jim Ohngren said.

In addition to rock ‘n’ roll décor, the cupcakes also reflect his love of music, with names inspired by songs and musical artists. Popular flavors include Yellow Submarine, Brown Eyed Girl and Smashing Pumpkins.

Each day, 12 or 13 different varieties of cupcakes are available for sale, all of which come from Mary Ohngren’s own recipes and use high-end ingredients including Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh fruit and Belgian chocolate.

“It’s a little treat that you can sit down and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea and not feel like you’ve totally ruined a diet or a week’s worth of exercise,” Jim Ohngren  said.

The most popular flavor since the restaurant’s opening, however, has been the Lexington, a chocolate cupcake filled with salted caramel and frosted with chocolate salted buttercream. The Lexington is named after the Ohngren’s son’s band, which is based in Los Angeles.

Each month, the store has a cupcake flavor of the month. For November, the flavor is “Adam’s Apple,” an apple cupcake covered in cream cheese frosting and drizzled with caramel.

Besides the signature cupcake flavors featured on a regular basis and the monthly specials, Rockin’ Cupcakes makes cupcake creations for special occasions. Previous special occasion cupcakes included Michigan State Spartan cupcakes for football game days, Sweetest Day cupcakes and Halloween varieties.

The Ohngrens pride themselves on using quality ingredients and serving only the freshest cupcakes.

“We bake them fresh starting at 5 a.m. each day,” Jim Ohngren said. “We don’t refrigerate and we don’t freeze. Everything is made from scratch, too. No mixes. We also only sell them for one day. Whatever we have left at the end of the day we give away. Our motto is crisp cupcakes, one day sale.”

Previous cupcake donations have gone to the Rochester OPC, Danish Village, the Rochester Police Department, the Rochester Fire Department and an area swim club.

In addition to serving cupcakes, Rockin’ Cupcakes has partnered with Cook’s Farm Dairy, located in Ortonville, to serve their homemade ice cream as well.

“We live in Clarkston and went to Cook’s a lot when my kids were little to get ice cream so we knew it was quality,” Jim Ohngren said.

Rockin’ Cupcakes is located at the corner of Rochester and Tienken roads in the Papa Joe’s plaza. For more information, visit

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.