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Gulf & Main Magazine

Fort Myers Native Finds Purpose in Delectables in Wake of Uncertain Personal Times

Jan 18, 2018 08:22PM ● Published by Kevin

Perfectly Scrumptious owner Amanda Buckner-Wood and her mom, who she describes as her biggest cheerleader and best free help. Photo courtesy of Perfectly Scrumptious, LLC.

Bonita Springs business Perfectly Scrumptious started as a dream in a tiny kitchen in Pittsburgh, as owner and Southwest Florida native Amanda Buckner-Wood was facing one of her life's toughest battles to date. Born and raised in Fort Myers, Buckner-Wood recalls her adventurous taste in food at the very young age of 2, which eventually stemmed into a full-time endeavor and entrepreneurial adventure.

"When I went off to college I was unsure what my passion for life was, so I just took general classes in community college to buy time to find my passion," she said. "Shortly after moving away to Gainesville I found that I loved cooking and baking. I was spending all of my free time in the kitchen, cooking for my roommates and friends, and when I should have been doing homework, I was finding new recipes to try."

Putting two and two together, she decided in 2006 to go to culinary school, but couldn't figure out if her expertise would be sweet or savory. Since she truly loved them both, she said, she enrolled in the culinary program at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, because she had worked in restaurants and loved the fast-paced vibe.

Toward the end of her schooling, she became very ill, and that's when the decision was made for her. She said she was unable to tolerate the smell of savory food, let alone taste it. It took six weeks to figure out that it was her gallbladder failing that was making her so ill.

"In those six weeks, just to pass the time, I started making crazy cupcake flavors!" she said. "I immediately fell in love with baking cupcakes and everyone loved my creations! In one of the scariest times of my young life, I had found the thing I searched for, my passion and purpose!

Once her gallbladder was removed and finished school, Buckner-Wood moved home with the dream to open her gourmet cupcake shop. Unfortunately, 2008 was not the time to start a business in Southwest Florida, or anywhere for that matter, as the country was in the wake of its infamous recession at the time.

Buckner-Wood took a job at a restaurant, working in the kitchen, but never quit cupcakes. She said she baked for anyone who would let her, and quickly doubled, then tripled her flavor options.

In 2011, she finally had the opportunity to see her dream become a reality, and on Nov. 28 of the same year, she opened Perfectly Scrumptious inside of A Flower Boutique in Bonita Springs.

"In two and a half years I baked thousands and thousands of cupcakes, gained the most amazing clientele, and have been a part of the biggest days in people’s lives," she said.

In 2013, another dream came true for Buckner-Wood when she was selected to appear on the hit Food Network show, "Cupcake Wars." She moved her shop out into Handel’s Ice Cream in 2014.

"I am so blessed to be able to do the thing I love the most every single day, and the best part is I get to make people smile while I do it!" she said.

Besides one "amazing" assistant, who works on the weekends, Buckner-Wood carries the load for her mom-and-pop shop.

"Gourmet cupcakes are my specialty and flavor is my focus, as I make more than 100 different cupcake flavors and also allow you to create your own flavor," she said. "I love when my customers create their own flavor, because it gives me new fresh ideas and lets me get creative. It's my favorite thing ever!"

The Salted Caramel cupcake is by far the biggest seller, Buckner-Wood said, in addition to one of her personal favorites. She makes the caramel from scratch almost every day. Another personal favorite of her's is the Carrot Cake Cupcake. Other fan favorites include Red Velvet, Chocolate Lovers, Key Lime, and Champagne and Strawberries.

She also participates in annual events. Her favorite is the Taste of Freedom event hosted by the SWFL Regional Human Trafficking Coalition!

For more information, visit PerfectlyScrumptious.com, Like the business on Facebook, or call 239-850-8741.

Tip From the Owner: Making the Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

"Making the perfect chocolate cupcake can be tricky, especially down here in SWFL, where the humidity and heat can make things challenging! Always make sure your ingredients are room temperature before trying to make your batter. I find adding just a little more cocoa powder than the recipe says can help give you the perfect texture down here.

"Always follow the directions of your recipe and don't skip a step. It may seem pointless, but they say baking is a science for a reason! Little things like adding the vanilla extract at the wrong time can make a big difference.

"Make sure you sift your dry ingredients together to ensure your salt, baking powder or soda are fully incorporated."

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