Photos courtesy of Victoria Donnelly
One of our favorite people in Hingham, Victoria Donnelly is a wife, mother, baker, and all-around badass. Hailing from England, Victoria started Boston's first mobile cupcakery and owned the brick and mortar Cakeology in Boston before settling in Hingham. Victoria is a humble person and would never tell you this fun-fact but she is the winner of The Food Network's popular show "Cupcake Wars." While her baking abilities are beyond description -- she has the most amazing, dare we say moist cakes, creative flavors, artful designs, and her buttercream frosting is simply heroic -- it is her thoughtfulness and genuine kindness that set her apart. A recent pinboard post about a local shopkeeper in need, quickly led Victoria to her store offering her time at the register if it would help. And, when we say she's a bad-ass we totally mean it, last year she climbed Mt. Kilamanjaro with the ultimate goal of checking off all seven summits - Mt. Elbrus in Russia is up next. When she's not baking or training, you can often find her wrapped up in a good book at Red Eye Roasters. Victoria lives in town with her husband and two adorable girls. We are grateful to call her our friend.
Hingham, meet Victoria.
When did you start baking? Do you remember who or what inspired you to begin baking?
A lot of people in this business talk about learning to bake at their grandmother’s knee but nobody in my family has a sweet tooth except me and I didn’t bake a thing until I was 27. I was on vacation in Seattle with my husband and I saw a beautiful cupcake book in a shop. I read it cover to cover and just knew that when we got back I’d quit my job and do everything I could to open a cupcake shop.
What is your favorite cake or cupcake flavor?
It changes with the seasons, but my Peach Melba cupcake is the one I can consistently eat four of without a hint of regret.
Tell us what it was like to be on Cupcake Wars.
It was wild. Completely terrifying but just an immense amount of fun. Who doesn’t want to be a celebrity for five minutes, flying out to LA to be on TV?
What did winning Cupcake Wars mean to you?
It was the first time that I felt confident in what I was doing. Being self taught, this little cloud of doubt follows you around, but having watched the first season, I knew that if you won, you probably had some real potential. It pushed me to start scouting shop locations.
What are your goals for the future?
Without doubt to open a gorgeous full service scratch bakery in Hingham, of course!
What is your favorite restaurant in Hingham?
It’s hard to deny the calamari at Square Café.
Who do you find to be the most inspiring person in Hingham?
Lori Lerner is doing so many great things in Malawi. I’m always very impressed by her. I’m inspired all the time in Redeye Roasters, listening to groups of women discussing various projects. Moms making it happen between school runs.
If you could pass along one message to your 21 year-old self, what would it be?
That everything was going to work out just fine. I’d recently graduated with a somewhat useless degree in Philosophy and was working as a receptionist in London. All the things I wanted seemed so far away and I wish I’d known then that I had all the tools to get them.
When presented with two options, when did you make a choice that totally changed the course of your life.
I was 24, dating a great guy in Boston, but having serious visa trouble. It came down to marry this guy or go home…I married the guy and I thank god every day that I managed clarity beyond my years!
What do you love most about Hingham?
It astounds me every day that I can walk to the ocean.
Favorite local spot?
I’ve got a little vegetable plot up at Weir River Farm and tending to it in the evenings as the sun goes down with the fields and Boston in the background feels pretty special.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
To climb Everest. I’m checking off the Seven Summits and climbed Kilimanjaro last year. I just bought an ice axe for training on Rainier that I’m very excited about!
Do you have a hidden talent?
I have two “talents”. I can find any face in any crowd. I can also guess the time within a minute or two, day or night. If one of my kids wakes up, I’m like “man…3:24am” without looking.
Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere where I don’t understand the menu.
What's one thing people may not know about you?
I run out of gas with ridiculous frequency. My kids still talk about that time Sergeant Smith saved the day on Lincoln St. during a heat wave.