Pumpkin cupcakes

What you need:

2 cups flour

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3/4 cup vegetable oil1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

Directions: Mix pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and sugars. Then combine cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda with flour. Place cupcake liners in tray and spoon the batter into each of the cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting and enjoy.

Source: Eleanor Meloul, owner of Ballistic Bakeshop

U niversity of Colorado sophomore Eleanor Meloul might have the sweetest job around, and not just because she's her own boss.

Meloul, 19, launched her cakeball company, Ballistic Bakeshop, in August. Now she gets to lick the bowl whenever she wants.

In two months, Meloul has baked more than 1,000 all-natural and organic cakeballs. The majority of her concoctions -- in flavors including lemon, carrot cake and chai -- go to Alfalfa's bakery, in Boulder.

Her specialties include the goofball, a dense, bite-sized drop of peanut butter chocolate chip cake dipped in milk chocolate and decorated with a goofy face, and the ballistic ball -- vanilla cake with sprinkles mixed in, dipped in white chocolate and topped with more sprinkles.

Meloul said she has always loved sweets, despite a rough start with baking when she was 13.


"When I baked, I'd get flour everywhere or accidentally throw some foil into the microwave or start a fire on the stove," Meloul said. "I made a lot of mistakes, and I'm still learning but that's just the nature of baking."

When she was 17, Meloul had a cake-decorating business, which she dropped when she went to college. But she'd acquired a taste for the baking biz. So she started filling custom orders out of a shared industrial bakery in Longmont.

Heidi Weiser, the bakery manager for Alfalfa's, said Meloul was green when she approached the store about selling her treats, but after a little guidance, her snacks have made an impact.

"We were looking for something to take over the truffle program since they weren't selling," Weiser said. "Her cakeballs hit a perfect area between cake and truffles. She's nailing it like gangbusters."

Meloul makes about 100 cakeballs a week for Alfalfa's and fills occasional custom orders through her website.

When she decided to start her own company, there was one thing she knew from the beginning.

"I did not want to have a pink, frilly cupcake shop," Meloul said. "I'm sick of them, so I decided to go with cakeballs, which are a growing trend right now."

Eleanor Meloul tops her cakeballs with sprinkles. Meloul sells the treats to Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder.
Eleanor Meloul tops her cakeballs with sprinkles. Meloul sells the treats to Alfalfa's Market in Boulder. (Elaine Cromie/For the Colorado Daily)

Weiser said she moved from Portland, where cakeballs had already overtaken the trending cupcake industry, but Meloul is leading the way for innovators in Colorado.

"Cakeballs were already trendy on the coasts, but they were usually more cutesy and had sticks in them so they were like pop-cakes," Weiser said. "Eleanor's are a more sophisticated version of cakeballs, without the stick, and using non-GMO ingredients. She's really leading the pack out here."

Meloul's no-frills style is what she hopes will set her company apart, but the ability to personalize treats is what makes baking a great starting place for cooks.

"I mean you can add some punch with sprinkles or frosting immediately, and that's something that's easy if you don't have the experience," Meloul said.

Along the way, Meloul said she's learned some tips that could help newbie bakers.

Make sure you account for altitude by adding a little more baking soda, flour, and dropping the oven temperature about 25 degrees, she said.