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Sweet Stuff: Frederico Mora, Frosted Betty, and Father’s Day

A young entrepreneur’s biggest supporter — and baking assistant — is her dad

By Melanie Saxton

Many have heard of Frosted Betty, the “girl power” cupcake shop with two storefronts and a hip traveling van. Entrepreneur Nicole Mora, 25, owns the business and operates out of the Heights and in Katy. Yet few know about her most loyal supporter and baking assistant… her dad!

In an interesting role reversal, Frederico Mora works behind the scenes baking, answering phones and performing any other task necessary to supply cupcake delights to customers. In fact, he’ll spend Father’s Day weekend with his daughter in the bakery — preparing sweets for others to enjoy on the special occasion.

“I lost my job in the recession but was in a position to help Nicole with start-up funding and behind the scenes,” says Mora. Now he proudly takes his marching orders from the “Boss Lady”, his first born. “I’m a little overwhelmed by my daughter’s success,” says Mora. “She’s built the business from the ground up and I’m amazed at her energy.” It does his heart good to know that many of his own mother’s recipes, passed down to Nicole and customized, are enjoyed by the public.

Seldom has a father-daughter relationship been so close, and in this case, televised! The Moras appeared on the ninth episode of Season 2 of The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars — the Valentine’s Day special. Many viewers were touched by Frederico’s quiet, loving support as he and Nicole competed together against three bakeries from around the nation. While performing in front of a live televised audience, the father and daughter team seemed to read each other’s minds.

The show first aired Feb. 8 and is now in reruns. “We filmed in Los Angeles and kept bumping into the cameras,” says Frederico. “You can’t really experience the stress unless you are there, competing and being filmed.” The fateful phone call inviting them to the show prompted a flurry of activity. “My sons Andrew and Fredrick helped put together an impromptu audition tape, and the next thing we knew, we were on a plane!” Frederico provided the emotional support as the duo made it to the third round. “Nicole was disappointed when she didn’t go all the way. But she fought like a champion.”

Through the years, Mora has watched in wonder as his daughter evolved from a six-year-old selling cheesecake cupcakes at swim meets for 25 cents, into a modern day cupcakery powerhouse.

“Nicole built her business with something different in mind,” says Frederico. “I once advised her that she could save money by using ordinary ingredients, but quickly found out that she had a bigger vision. She refuses to use anything but fresh, local organic products and even chooses recycled or bio­degradable material for her packaging. And she do­nates to local food pantries and helps raise money for charities. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I see how much she cares about the environment and community. Somehow, I’ve managed to raise a daughter with a work ethic and a social conscience.”

Mora put his daughter through Texas A&M University, where she earned a business degree. He believes this has paid off in the form of their unique marketing strategies. “My daughter drives around Houston, surprising customers in her cupcake van. Now people try to guess where we’ll show up next or follow her tweets or postings on Facebook. It’s helped to build a loyal fan base and brings fun to different neighborhoods, including the Museum District and the Farmers Market at City Hall.”

Frederico found the small cottage kitchen location in Old Town Katy and has immediate plans to relocate to a larger location in the Katy area. He was also instrumental in setting up the Studewood commercial bakery in The Heights. He helps coordinate catered events as well as Nicole’s menu of classic, specialty, filled, vegan, cocktail and gluten-free cupcakes.

“Yes, Nicole even cares about accommodating celiacs with food allergies. My daughter’s gift to me this Father’s Day —and every Father’s Day — is her caring heart. I’m very blessed to be her father.”

Cupcake fans can email Frederico and Nicole at info@frostedbetty.com. Check out www.frostedbetty.com for news about their storefronts.

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