OAKVILLE — There’s an official cupcake taste-tester touring Connecticut’s most tucked away bakeries, but don’t let the title scare you. Ten-year-old Zoe Leopizzo of Torrington has made it her mission and her summer project to visit as many bakeries as she can, alongside her father Chuck Leopizzo.
The duo have used their Sundays to explore, finding the state’s best sweet treats and reviewing them for Zoe’s many fans. Since she was seven years old, Zoe has been cracking eggs with one hand and creating colorful and artistic cakes with her dad.
“She’s a little entrepreneur,” said Mr. Leopizzo. “She loves to bake and we decided it’d be fun to find out where all the cool cupcakes are in the state. We explore on the weekends and Zoe reviews her experience. She truly loves cupcakes and cakes and it’s been fun finding places in Connecticut. There are really so many places, little gems, with so many great flavors and creations.”
The cheerful and giddy elementary student is unassuming, until you get a glimpse of her signature bedazzled chef coat and hat. Chef Zoe has become something of a state celebrity, featured in local publications and on local television programs. Her Sweet Summer Tour 2014 has taken her to area favorites, including Nora’s Cupcake Company in Middletown, Mr. D’s in Wallingford, Sweet Maria’s in Waterbury, Harvest Bakery in Bristol, Cutie Pies in Thomaston, First Act Bakery in Torrington and Hardcore Sweet in Oakville. The list continues as she plans to extend her search for the perfect confection into the fall and 2015.
On her website, Zoe’s Cakes and Beyond, Zoe writes a review, takes photos and video of her experience, rates the bakery and even shares which she sweets she tried.
Sharing her love of all things sugary, Hardcore Sweet owner Nicole Braddock decided to surprise Zoe. While on air, Ms. Braddock surprised the pint-sized cake aficionado with a special creation when she was a guest on the local Nutmeg TV program Kid’s Korner, with host Christine Rodrique.
The cake featured all of Zoe’s favorite things, including cotton candy and the color blue. The special Zoe Cupcake is now featured in Hardcore Sweet’s case. A smashup of a child’s dream and some serious saccharine, the Zoe Cupcake is a pink and blue confetti cake, with marshmallow filling, Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, with colored sprinkles and topped with a piece of cotton candy white chocolate bark.
Zoe will be assisting Nicole and the Hardcore Sweet crew on November 13, with cupcakes at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, for Alton Brown’s “Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour.” The show is described on the Palace Theater’s website as a “two-hour show with a unique blend of stand-up comedy, food experimentation, talk show antics, multimedia lecture and for the first time, live music.”
Zoe will soon begin a regular cooking show on Nutmeg TV and according to Mr. Leopizzo, a Zoe’s Cakes and Beyond YouTube Channel is currently in production.