The Complete Interview: Hardcore Sweet Co-owner and Baker Nicole Braddock
When we caught up with Hardcore Sweet co-ower and baker Nicole Braddock for the April/May 2014 issue of Revolver (on newsstands now, see page 22), the Connecticut bakery had just released "Last Breath," a cupcake designed in homage to home-state heroes Hatebreed.
Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we couldn’t include most of the interview. But that’s what the Internet is for! Read what she has to say about winning Food Network's Cupcake Wars, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare, and delicious vegan treats. For more on Hardcore Sweet, visit their website.
REVOLVER You’re a self-taught baker. How and when did you realize baking was your career?
NICOLE BRADDOCK Actually, I was a nurse and a stay-at-home mom because we have three small kids. I just started baking for them and parties. We always had people over. A couple of my friends asked me to do their kids’ parties, and so on and so on. It just snowballed from there. You learn as you go.
I think it’s because it’s just so easy and accessible--especially with kids’ parties. That’s how I started doing them, with my kids’ parties. I thought it would be cool to do a cupcake truck and we looked into it. Come to find out, the first cupcake truck was from Connecticut. So we realized there weren’t that many in the Northeast.
So what are your hardcore roots?
Jeremy [Braddock, Hardcore Sweet co-owner and 100 Demons guitarist] is in a hardcore band and that’s where it came from. He’s been involved in the hardcore music scene for almost 20 years and he’s traveled the world. We both have been involved and kind of want to give support to all these bands that don’t get recognition, like on the radio usually.
Tell us about winning Cupcake Wars with your "Funhouse of 1000 Cupcakes" and watching Rob Zombie judge your cupcakes.
How they edited it, they said I was shaking when I saw him—that was a total lie. It was cool that he was the judge but he was like, flat out, "I don’t even like cupcakes." So right out there, you’re just like, Shit--he doesn’t even want to be here to judge my cupcakes. So we played on the names because that’s what we do anyways. When we introduced them, and you don’t see them because of legal rights, but we called it "Karloff Biscoff" because I’m a big old horror fan and so is he. We did one with moonshine, so we called it "Sheri MoonPie" because of his wife. We just went with that. Jeremy is so good with fondant that we actually had to tone it down because he had goat's heads and upside-down crosses and the producers were like, "Dude, you can’t do that on TV." Rob Zombie loved it, but we couldn’t show those. I think the decorations are what won him over, not the actual flavors, because he said he hates cupcakes.
Since you won, you got to cater the 2013 Great American Nightmare in Los Angeles. How was that experience?
That was probably the most insane event we have ever been to. It was like a haunted house on steroids. It was crazy. You could tell he was, like, a maniac when designing it.
What were some of the things people were saying about your cupcakes?
I think it was just in general that they couldn’t believe they were vegan. Because Rob Zombie is vegan, the whole competition had to be. To me, that made me feel like I did a good enough job because some people don’t want to try vegan cupcakes just because of the name.
What’s the favorite flavor?
Our top seller is "Gorilla Biscuits" for vegan ones because it’s banana, dark chocolate chip, and peanut butter. Anything with Biscoff frosting and we used that on the show—it’s like a cinnamon graham cracker spread and it’s vegan.
Do you do other hardcore or metal events?
We did This is Hardcore Fest in Philly. My husband plays that almost every year with his band and we brought our cupcake truck because they asked us to bring it last year. We got to meet GWAR and bands we really looked up to like Sick of It All. All the wives of musicians were into us. It was just huge. Now we’re close to GWAR and Sick of It All. We cater to them and ship them cupcakes. And NAMM, we shipped out there, too.
What did you do for NAMM?
We sent cupcakes out there. Dino [Cazares, Fear Factory] went out there and promoted us a lot. We didn’t even know until we’re on our Instagram and we’re seeing pictures of Dave Mustaine and Kerry King eating our cupcakes.
You have cupcakes named after Black Flag, Minor Threat, and even a “SxE” one--and they're all vegan. That's hardcore.
Really it started from This is Hardcore. Lou [Koller] from Sick of It All and his wife recently became vegan. "Clobberin' Lime" is a play off that. We’re doing it just to be fun.