Trendsetter: Sprinkles’ Candace Nelson Dishes Up the Ingredients for a Sweet Life

Sprinkles cupcakes, Candace Nelson, Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Kids have a way of keeping you wonderfully grounded. Working in fashion for nearly 20 years has afforded me the chance to meet a bevvy of bold-faced personalities from fashion to entertainment — most of whom would not come close to impressing the likes of my pre-teen daughter. Oscar de la Renta? Yawn. Pierre Bergé? Meh. The closest I got to palpable excitement was a visit to the American Idol set where a meeting and pic with Randy Jackson was deemed pretty cool. (My own mother is another story, however. She nearly tackled Elton John once in the shoe department of Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills.)

But the one person who makes my daughter utterly giddy with glee is actually a friend of mine: Sprinkles co-founder/cupcake maven/chef/TV personality Candace Nelson. The first time my daughter met her was several years ago at a Christmas party at our home — and she was nearly dumbstruck. So was I, because until then, I had no idea she was sneaking in episodes of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! (We don’t have a lock on Food Network shows). Flash forward many years later, and this is still the person who most impresses my daughter.

And with good reason. Both Nelson and her husband and Sprinkles co-founder, Charles, have taken a hands-on approach to the business from the beginning. Nelson has managed to balance being a savvy entrepreneur and raising two boys — not to mention 15 baby Sprinkles locations (and more on the way!) that all need nurturing — a hosting position for Cupcake Wars, donating over $5.4 million in cash and cupcakes to charities — and looking chic through all of it. So, we snared one of L.A.’s busiest moms to find out how she balances work, play and mommy-hood.

Candace Nelson

Candace Nelson

FTD: I know that your great grandmother was a celebrated baker and your mom shared a similar passion. Would you share with us a favorite baking/cooking memory that you have?

CN: I have so many! my mom and i always used to make classic american desserts like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate sheet cakes and then more French-inspired desserts like meringues. I remember learning how to fold in egg whites and feeling so accomplished!

FTD: Are the boys interested in cooking and baking? Obviously, they are very young, but do you do anything to involve them in the kitchen?

CN: Oh yes! they help measure and stir when I make pancakes, cookies and muffins. Also, my older son (he’s 6 years old) has developed a newfound interest in making salads! Not that he would dare taste a bite, but he knows that I like them and he has learned to cut avocado and toss all the lettuce and other ingredients with dressing. I must say, they are tasty!

Chef/TV personality Candace Nelson attends EIF Women’s Cancer Research Fund’s 16th Annual “An Unforgettable Evening” presented by Saks Fifth Avenue at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on May 2, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Sprinkles co-founder Candace Nelson in Cushnie et Ochs

FTD: You’ve got two young boys, a thriving business and appearances and stay stylish for all of it! What are some of your go-to designers?

CN: I love, love, love Stella McCartney, Céline and Jenni Kayne.

FTD: We saw saw you in the mint cut-out dress. Love. Love. Is it Cushnie et Ochs?

CN: Yes, that cut-out dress was Cushnie. I loved that dress too, but I’m not sure everyone did!

FTD: What is your favorite L.A. brunch spot? 

CN: Soho House does an amazingly delicious and family friendly brunch, as does Cecconi’s. When I can make it to the westside, Huckleberry is my go-to.

FTD: Your life revolves around sweets. When it comes to receiving gifts, do you still have a sweet tooth?

CN: I love chocolate truffles from Maison du Chocolat. Beyond that, I am good on the sweets front! Fresh flowers, a nice bottle of red wine or an art book are always appreciated.

FTD: Do you think that LA moms have a certain kind of style, and if so what’s the flavor?

CN: An amazing ability to be chic in the most casual and effortless with a surprising mix of high fashion, surfer and artist. I think L.A. fashion is some of the best and most interesting anywhere.

FTD: What’s the sweetest thing about being a mom?

CN: I have the funniest boys. I can’t wait to hear the things that come out of their mouths. They always make me laugh.

Images courtesy Sprinkles


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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.