Hapa Hour with the ladies of Hapa Cupcakes

Today’s Hapa Hour is a bit different. Today I am featuring two amazing Hapa’s: Hanayo Martin and Akemi Lee, co-owners of Hapa Cupcakes located in Fullerton, California.

Hapa Cupcakes might sound familiar to you as they were on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in season 8.


Both of them were raised in Southern California. Both attended California State University, Fullerton. Akemi majored in Finance. Hanayo majored in Advertising. Akemi is the eldest of 3 girls and is a new mommy to her son Katai who was born in August. Hanayo is the eldest child as well, with 3 younger brothers.

Hanayo and Akemi grew up in the same circle of friends because both of their parents were best friends.

Alex – What makes you Hapa?

Hapa Cupcakes – Both of us are part Asian, part Caucasian. Our mom’s are both Japanese and our dads are both white.

Alex – How long have you been baking?

Hapa Cupcakes – I (Hanayo) have been baking since I was a kid. I loved eating cookies and pastries so I’d make them from home. Akemi learned to bake as soon as the idea of Hapa Cupcakes came about 🙂

Alex – How has being Hapa influenced Hapa Cupcakes?

Hapa Cupcakes – We love the idea of different cultures because it opens up people minds, palettes and ways of thinking. Hapa means to be mixed which is where we came up with the idea of mixing alcohol into our cupcakes and cakes.

Alex – What inspired you to start Hapa Cupcakes and how did you come up with the name?

Hapa Cupcakes – We were both living our lives, in different countries. We were both working part-time jobs. But we both always had the dream of being our own bosses and owning our own businesses. Akemi wanted to own her own business and Hanayo wanted to open a bakery, so Akemi came to Hanayo with the idea of starting their own business and from that day on we never looked back!

Alex – How has being Hapa influenced the foods you eat?

Hapa Cupcakes – We both love sweets. And carbs. And we both don’t eat fish :-/ But we’re both open to trying new things and exploring new flavors!

Alex – Favorite meal you’ve ever had?

Hapa Cupcakes – We love pizza. It sounds cliche but it’s our all time favorite.

Alex – Favorite cupcake?

Hapa Cupcakes – Akemi’s favorite is the Kahlua cinnamon sugar and Hanayo’s is the chocolate peanut butter that we did on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Alex Favorite family recipe?

Hapa Cupcakes – Hanayo’s mom has the best banana bread recipe. The best.

Alex – Difficulties in running your own business?

Hapa Cupcakes – You never get a day off. Even when you have a day off, it’s not really a day off. You’re either emailing people back, taking phone calls, purchasing inventory, checking on the store. It’s our baby and we’re always taking care of it.

Alex – Any advice you’d like to pass on to other Hapa’s?

Hapa Cupcakes – Another line that sounds cliche, but do what you love. You’ll find so much more enjoyment and personal fulfillment in doing something that you’re passionate about. And just when you want to give up, is when you should push forward even more.


Thank you so much Akemi and Hanayo for taking the time to be part of Hapa Hour! Stay tuned for an in-depth look at their amazing cupcakes.

For more info on Hapa Cupcakes please visit their website: http://www.hapacupcakes.com

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  1. Pingback: Hapa Cupcakes – Fullerton, California

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