SEATTLE -- A little flour, an egg, some sugar, a pinch of salt. These aren't just ingredients to make the perfect cupcake; Trevor Lutz says this is a recipe for something even sweeter: real change.
"Our mission is to let someone know they're being thought of," says Lutz, founder of Ninja Cupcakes. "After a bad day, week, month, it's something to help brighten their day."
Lutz, and his partner Dani Clark, had no idea their passion for cupcakes would garner such attention. But after baking too many to eat themselves and giving them to friends and co-workers, they realized others may be out there in need of a special treat.
"We started having too many requests for cupcakes we couldn't fill them all, so we started a website," Lutz says.
Lutz and Clark took their hobby to the internet and named it Ninja Cupcakes. Through their website the couple told their friends to spread to the word and enter to win by telling the couple why they should get a free treat.
At first Ninja Cupcakes would pick a weekly winner but Lutz says they started getting so many entries they decided to expand their mission to social media where people could vote on who they thought was most deserving. Lutz says from there things really took off - one, turned into two, which turned into four, and by last week's count Lutz says they've delivered more than 1,100 free cupcakes.
"We are not trying to sell cupcakes," Lutz says. "We are trying to give away cupcakes. It's really amazing that we've been able to send cupcakes to Nebraska, Arizona, and South Carolina."
Armed with support not only locally but nationally, the "ninjas" just launched an Indiegogo campaign this week. They're asking people to help fund their cupcake crusade for one year and at the same time become a "ninja" in their own community.
"One of Dani's favorite things is ninjas," Lutz says. "So we thought we could rehabilitate ninjas from deadly assassin to cupcake deliverer. A ninja is really a person that does nice things without looking for a whole lot of credit."
Through their online campaign, the couple is hoping to raise $55,000. Lutz says the money will pay for operations, multi-media production and help Clark focus solely on pumping out the handmade product for their project.
"This would let us give away free cupcakes at least twice a week nationally, four times a week locally, for a year," Lutz says. "It will let us do some multimedia to capture some of the deliveries and let us donate cupcakes to groups around the country."
Lutz says they aren't trying to create a cupcake shop, and he doesn't see the Trophy Cupcakes or Cupcake Royales of the world as a competitor. In fact, he is the first to admit he enjoys what Seattle shops already offer. But, he also believes Ninja Cupcakes product is second to none and they are bringing something different to the table - or in this case the kitchen - than the other bakers.
Recently Ninja Cupcakes partnered with the Seattle Youth Basketball Foundation. Lutz says they are going to donate 1,000 free cupcakes to the group for their Shoot-a-thon fundraiser next month.
Lutz says they would love to partner with other charities, schools, and programs throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country, hoping to make a difference one cupcake at a time.
"We are trying to turn these (cupcakes) into actual resources for different groups," Lutz says.