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The perfect dessert

A bright, pink building sits on Cumberland Avenue, immediately catching the eye of anybody walking or driving past. This is Party Cupcakes, owned and operated by Debi Patterson.

Patterson was a teacher for 17 years and in the last five years, she had been making cupcakes on the side. She would take her confections to school for certain events like birthday parties for staff and faculty. One day, a friend of hers told her that she should stop giving away the cupcakes for free, as they were too delicious, and that she needed to open up a shop.

“People started telling me ‘you need to open up a cupcake shop, you need your own shop.’ I wasn’t ready to leave education,” said Patterson.

Patterson compromised and started selling them out of her home for a time.

“It finally became a crossroads in life…it takes me forever to make a decision because I don’t want to do anything wrong. I want to do it right. I want to do the right thing,” she said.

Patterson turned to her faith for the approval she sought and got the answer she needed, and now she is the proprietor of Party Cupcakes.

“I put in my resignation at school and told them I was going to fulfill a dream and to wish me the best,” she said.

Patterson chose Middlesboro as a central location for her shop because, as she put it, “just about everybody has to come to this town for something.”

All of Patterson’s cupcakes are baked from scratch every morning and dessert is not the only thing on the menu. Party Cupcakes also features a variety of meals for lunch and dinner. Patterson created the menu herself.

There are special monthly cupcakes available, and special orders are welcome.

Patterson didn’t just choose cupcakes on a whim, she considers them her favorite dessert and considers them more versatile than more common desserts like cake or pie.

She started experimenting with different varieties of cupcakes for birthdays, and she would bring them in as samples so everyone would have a flavor they preferred.

“The way it works with cupcakes…if it’s somebody’s birthday, and you know how families are — someone wants chocolate someone wants white cake or this one wants peanut butter or strawberry. Well, they can come in here and we have five different flavors a day…people are catching on that this works instead of buying a whole cake that probably won’t be completely eaten,” said Patterson.

To Patterson, creating the perfect cupcake is all down to timing. You can have the perfect flavors and the right mixtures, but if you leave them in the oven for just a bit too long, they don’t come out as perfect as they should. Timing is everything.

For Valentine’s Day, Party Cupcakes will be delivering to local schools and businesses. They will deliver to the Middlesboro City schools, Gateway, Bell County High School and Bell Central. They will also deliver to some schools in Tennessee such as Ellen Myers, HY Livesay, J. Frank White Academy and Forge Ridge Elementary.

The store is located at 1521 Cumberland Avenue.