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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Sep. 15, 2016 2 years ago

Horizon West twins, teachers run K and K Two Sweet Bakery

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Teachers Kimber and Kara Peluso — identical twins — run their own cupcakery, K and K Two Sweet Bakery.
by: Danielle Hendrix Black Tie Editor

They’re teachers by day and cupcake bakers by night.

Horizon West residents Kimber and Kara Peluso are both teachers at Sand Lake Elementary School, where Kimber teaches fourth grade and Kara teaches first. They also have something else in common: They’re identical twins.

The Pelusos, also West Orange High graduates, always knew they wanted to be teachers. As kids, they played school in the garage and wore lanyards emblazoned with fake teacher names. Their dad would drive home from work to see them “teaching” their mother, who pretended to be their student. 

“Literally, that’s all we’ve ever wanted to be,” Kara said. “We knew exactly what we wanted to do, and it never changed.”

The Pelusos look similar, have similar interests and even finish each other’s sentences. In fact, they played a trick on their students last year when they switched places and took over each other’s classes for a day. 

 Now in their third year teaching at Sand Lake Elementary, the two are full-time teachers, but when they come home it’s time for another one of their passions: baking.

 

TWO SWEET

 Growing up in an Italian family, they were always cooking and baking. When they entered college at UCF, baking became a form of stress relief for the sisters. Channeling their passion for baking was therapeutic, a welcome break from the demands of coursework and exams. And cupcakes have always been their choice bakery item.

They started by baking for themselves and roommates — in fact, their two current roommates are the designated taste testers for new flavors and recipes the twins try out. 

“We’re very critical of our baking because we want it to be so good, but it helps when you have an unbiased opinion,” Kara said. “Whenever we’re experimenting and playing around, there’s only so many cupcakes four girls can eat ourselves here without rolling ourselves out the door.”

Soon, word spread among their friends and family, and they began fulfilling small orders.

 “Now it’s just transformed into getting the word out there about cupcakes and our specialty cupcakes,” Kimber said. “Once our parents bought us a KitchenAid mixer, we were like, ‘OK, now we can be serious.’”

Some of the cupcake flavors offered include lemon, peanut butter chocolate and chocolate ganache.

From there, what started as a hobby slowly manifested itself into a small side business. The Pelusos’ parents helped them come up with an official name for their bakery business: K and K Two Sweet Bakery, which incorporates their initials and the fact that they are twins.

“It officially started in January,” Kara said. “We were off from work on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and we were playing with different recipes. So many people have said, ‘Make a website, make a Facebook page,’ and we never did it. So we sat down, made a Facebook page and menu and launched it.”

The twins use some family recipes, but they also pull from other recipes and inspirations, making tweaks along the way to mold it into their own unique style. They’re self-proclaimed chocoholics, so many of their recipes revolve around incorporating chocolate and rich flavors. The two are not classically trained, so they also spend time doing research online, reading cupcake books and figuring out what works on their own.

“We’ve had little side orders from friends who needed it for weddings and birthdays,” Kimber said. “We’re reaching a good amount of people. It’s mostly our friends and friends of friends.”

“We haven’t done farmers markets or anything like that yet, because it’s about finding time too — it’s not our first job,” Kara added.

 

FLAVOR PROFILE

They currently sell their cupcakes by the dozen, and have three different tiers of cupcake styles: classic, specialty and boozy. The classic flavors include chocolate, vanilla, Funfetti and red velvet. These cost $22 per dozen.

Specialty cupcakes — priced at $28 per dozen — are those special flavors that include either a filling or fancy topping, such as toasted s’mores, mint chocolate ganache, peanut butter chocolate and glazed doughnut. 

Finally, the boozy cupcakes — $33 per dozen, for those customers 21 and up — include flavors such as margarita lime, champagne pound cake and mudslide.

There are currently 22 flavors on K and K Two Sweet Bakery’s regular menu, but recently they started implementing a limited-edition flavor of the month. August’s flavor was caramel apple, and September’s is mocha chocolate chip.

And although they normally work on smaller orders for friends and family, they’ve fulfilled an order of seven dozen cupcakes for a birthday party and five dozen for a wedding. Recently, they donated 10 dozen for a golf tournament benefiting Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

“When we can give back, we like to,” Kara said. “We’re very philanthropic, and all through college, we did Relay for Life and Knight-Thon, and that’s probably our third passion — to give back and volunteer. We have a strong tie especially to CMN. It’s one of our favorite charities.”

 

THE FUTURE

Teaching is their first passion, but as their bakery business grows, the two hope to one day open a storefront.

“We’ve worked really hard to be teachers, and we’re not ready to leave our classrooms yet — there’s still love and passion there,” Kimber said. “It’s about getting brave enough to take that next step and leap into it.”

Kara agreed, adding that although teaching is hard and takes time and patience, it’s something they’ve always loved.

“There’s no other reason to be a teacher unless you love what you do, but it’s nice to come home and be more creative in a different, less-structured way,” Kara said.

And with a supportive family behind them that is happy to see them doing what they love, the business and the love that is poured into it only thrives more.

“Part of what makes it so fun and special is we get to do it together,” Kimber said. “We play on each others’ strengths.”

 

Contact Danielle Hendrix [email protected].

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