Trophy Cupcakes Celebrates a Decade

In 2007, Jennifer Shea and her husband, Michael Williamson, took the plunge from married couple to business owners when they founded Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood; it was pre-recession and at the beginning cusp of the cupcake craze that swept the nation. Eight years of recipe testing and a degree in nutrition at Bastyr University bolstered Shea’s dedication to using top-quality ingredients like organic berries and hormone-free dairy and eggs.

One decade and four locations later, Shea felt it was time to take Trophy to the next level. “I am an insatiably creative person,” said Shea, who often uses the word “obsessed” in conversation about her business. The Bravern management team approached Shea about opening a café concept to replace the existing Trophy Cupcake location in Bellevue. Shea put the huge square footage upgrade to good use creating Cafe Trophy — an all-day café serving sweet and savory items, champagne and grab-and-go goodies in addition to the company’s flagship cupcakes.

Shea comes from a long line of celebrators — party planning and baking have leavened all corners of her life. From blackberry pies to her grandma’s pumpkin roll early in life, to sweet treats at baby showers, weddings, and birthday parties, Shea has turned her baking obsession into a way to share love, one decadent dessert at a time.

But that’s not all. Shea’s latest obsession is with macarons. “They are a product of a similar business model to the cupcake — individual portions. But they aren’t meant to be fresh baked. They need to ‘mature’ in the fridge to achieve the proper texture,” said Shea. Launched in late November, Cafe Trophy plans to offer 13 varieties of macarons daily.

Shea considers Cafe Trophy the “affordable luxury” hub of the Bravern property — a place to celebrate buying that Gucci bag, or the place to go when you realize you can’t afford that Gucci bag after all.

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