Growing up in a family with nine siblings, Janee Bradshaw spent a lot of time in the kitchen helping her mother.
“I did a lot of experimenting on my brothers,” the New Jersey native recalled. “I’d come up with silly things for them to try.”
That experimenting hasn’t left her. In April, Bradshaw opened JJ’s Cupcakes and More in North Liberty, where she offers more than 20 different flavors of cupcakes.
Each cupcake has a theme, and most are named after family members, such as Jersey Joe’s Crumb Cake, after one of her brothers, and JJ’s Almond Joy, for daughter Jessica Jane.
Bradshaw began baking cupcakes when her daughter was young because all the other moms made cookies. Soon, people were telling her the cupcakes were good enough to sell.
“People like them because they are light and airy, not sweet and heavy,” she said.
Bradshaw’s husband, Tim, relocated to the Corridor three years ago to become director of The Eastern Iowa Airport. Bradshaw joined him a year later after their daughter finished high school, and they settled in North Liberty.
That is when Bradshaw got serious about opening her own cupcake shop.
A mutual friend introduced Bradshaw to Troy and Lora Miller, who owned both Isaac’s Creamery and Naomi’s Kitchen but wanted to get out of the ice cream business.
“Ice cream and cupcakes — it was a marriage made in heaven,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw purchased the creamery from the Millers, who will continue to operate Naomi’s Kitchen in the space. After some remodeling is completed later this summer, the cupcake shop and creamery will move next door, where Bradshaw will add tables, chalkboards for coloring contests and a private room for cupcake decorating parties.
“It’s all about the kids to me,” she said.
Bradshaw still enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. Her creations include cupcakes with pink or blue filling for expectant parents, chocolate-covered bride-and-groom strawberries for weddings, and ice cream sandwiches made on the spot with cupcake tops and the customer’s ice cream flavor of choice.