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A la Carte: Cupcake Lauryn turns macaron queen

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By Rachel Hergett EBS COLUMNIST

Lauryn Mathis came into my life nearly a decade ago, though we can’t possibly be that old. She was one of those people who made an immediate impression, with both her style and demeanor exuding joy. She was oh-so-fun. I was drawn to her wide smile and quick laugh (which I later learned mirrored her mother) and I knew almost immediately that we would be friends. We still are. 

When Lauryn, a self-taught baker, started slinging mini cupcakes out of a renovated milk truck at farmers markets, I would walk around with a six pack, nestled in a little egg carton, doing my best low-key Vanna White impression. 

“Oh, these cupcakes?” I would ask when people said they looked amazing or cute or delicious. Then I would share the bounty. “Why don’t you try one? I have six.” Not that eating a half dozen of the gems wasn’t possible or plausible. Cupcakes are an easy sell, and sell Lauryn did, making appearances at three markets a week (Tuesdays and Saturdays in Bozeman and Wednesdays in Big Sky) for three summers.

My part in the venture was self-serving, of course. I was generously paid… in cupcakes. And Lauryn’s cupcakes remain the best I have ever tasted. I crave those tiny moist gems of cake topped with a generous dollop of melt-in-your-mouth buttercream. Like Lauryn, they’re classy with a healthy dose of fun—which often translates into her baking through the variety of booze she infuses in her concoctions. Think lemon cupcakes topped with huckleberry liqueur buttercream, chocolate-y Irish car bomb cupcakes that sneak in Guinness beer, Jameson whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream. 

“Cupcake Lauryn” poses for a photo in the kitchen. COURTESY OF LAURYN MATHIS

On Thursday, Lauryn told me her baking experience in Austin and Denver and time working in coffee shops ultimately led to her own exploration of flavors and quality ingredients. 

“How can I turn my favorite cocktail—wine, spirit, beer—into some kind of dessert?” she remembers asking. “I really wanted to keep the nostalgia of the cupcake but give it that adult element.”

And she did it well. Somewhere in those early years, my mom started calling her “Cupcake Lauryn,” high praise because “Cupcake” is my mom’s nickname as well. And I went to East Main Ink with Lauryn while she got a tiny cupcake tattoo.

In 2016, as event and wholesale business was picking up, Lauryn hired a staff and expanded her offerings. Especially popular were her French macarons, those little pillowy sandwich cookies that somehow melt in your mouth and retain a light crunch on the exterior.  

The boozy element to her desserts took on another level when Lauryn and her then-business partner opened Luxe Spirited Sweets in Big Sky in 2017, serving her creations alongside alcoholic beverages or with a lightly sweetened milk that poured from one of the taps. 

And then Lauryn left me. She moved to Whitefish to open Butterkrēm, which specializes in macarons (often arranged in fantastical towers). But don’t despair. While we’re missing her smiling face in this part of Montana, fans of her confectioneries can rejoice in the fact that Butterkrēm offers nationwide shipping. 

Cupcakes still make the menu from time to time, along with other gems like mini hand-made, and let’s be honest, vastly improved “Pop Tarts.” 

A multi-colored macaron display. COURTESY OF LAURYN MATHIS

But the macarons have taken over, and Lauryn brings the same love of flavor and aesthetic perfection to their creation as she does each new sweet treat. I ask her which macaron flavors she is most drawn to at the moment, and she tells me my question is too hard. 

“Now I have to think about which child is my favorite,” she said.

She’s a sucker for a classic vanilla bean, but then goes on to name a dark chocolate sea salt macaron with Godiva liqueur and another that features the sharp lime and rum of a margarita. 

Sometimes Lauryn tests flavor boundaries, like using Thai red curry to flavor a cookie with coconut cream cheese filling. She said despite the skeptics, it was “phenomenal” paired with the right red wine. Currently, she’s perfecting a Manhattan macaron with rye whisky.

Butterkrēm treats are available at Boudoir Bar Café in Whitefish, and by special order with nationwide shipping. For more information, visit or follow @butterkrem on Instagram.

Rachel Hergett is a foodie and cook from Montana. She is arts editor emeritus at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and has written for publications such as Food Network Magazine and Montana Quarterly. Rachel is also the host of the Magic Monday Show on KGLT-FM and teaches at Montana State University. 

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