Denver-based Not Yo Mama’s Cupcakes embodies a love of hip hop, dance and baking. Creator Angeliah Han, aka “Cupcake Bae,” channels her passions and multi-cultural upbringing into a twist on the iconic American dessert.
Han grew up listening to Korean hip hop before she became fully immersed in hip hop culture. Han calls herself – and Not Yo Mama’s Cupcakes – products of the music scene from the 90s and 2000s. The name first emerged when Han, a dancer and baker, sold her cupcakes at a hip-hop event. The words: These are “not yo mama’s cupcakes!” caught the crowd’s attention and made a lasting impression. The name stuck and a brand was born.
Han’s creations are influenced by her Korean-American heritage and love of Pacific Island flavors. She grew up in Guam before her family moved to California’s Bay Area and then to Colorado. She launched her business in 2019 while living in Kona, Hawai’i. In 2020, she moved back to Colorado to be closer to her family during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her business has continued to grow and thrive.
Han fell in love with baking when she was in high school after taking a Home Economics class and watching “Cake Wars” on the Food Network. She has been baking ever since.
However, after years of working in bakeries and the hospitality industry, Han noticed something important was missing. “I realized that the flavors were so limited in American bakeries and everything was so sweet,” she said. “There was a lack of cultural representation, especially in the dessert world.”
Today, Not Yo Mama’s Cupcakes celebrates a fusion of “flavas” that bring diverse cultures to the forefront. She bakes what she calls “remixes on classic American cupcake flavors,” inspired by her island and Korean-American roots – and of course, her love of hip hop.
She makes her signature CocoBae with ube (purple yam) and haupia (coconut milk pudding) and mixes ube and black sesame with Oreo and Nutella for Cookiez N’Bae. Han also spins local Hawai’i flavors into seasonal creations like Lilicool J, which combines lilikoi (passion fruit) with tangy plum-based Ling Hui powder in an innovative take on a Pineapple Upside-down cake.
Han explained that in Korean and Asian cuisines, desserts are generally not as sweet as traditional American cupcakes. She steers away from overusing sugar in her craft and makes a special whipped cream frosting that is light and airy. “They won’t give you a toothache after a bite,” she said.
Not Yo Mama’s Cupcakes continues to serve up sweet (but not too sweet) treats at local community events, markets and pop-ups in Colorado’s Denver and Aurora areas. Han has more fun flavas in mind for her cupcakes, including collaborations with local breweries on a Schezwan Stout and new fusions of traditional East and South Asia flavors such as dragon fruit, Kalamansi and Chai.
In other words, stay tuned for more remixes.
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