Instead of being glued to her cell phone like many teens her age, 16-year-old Amelia Faith Clifton spends her after-school hours perfecting the taste of her signature chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.
Amelia, who started her cupcake business, "Cupcakes for Care," in January, does not keep even a cut of the profits. Instead, the Bel Air High School junior donates the money she makes, minus cost of materials, to local charitable organizations.
A huge fan of Buddy Valastro, of TLC's "Cake Boss," Amelia said she decided to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), after learning her idol's mother suffered from the progressive neurodegenerative disease.
"I never knew anyone that has ALS, but followed his show," Amelia said last week. "He's like my idol and I aspire to be like he is, so to see someone I love so much be so upset ... It really broke my heart."
Amelia, who started baking in eighth grade to fund a trip to Disney World, headed to the kitchen to bake cupcakes for the Momma Mary Foundation, an organization founded by Valastro to raise money for people suffering from ALS. She started selling the treats at local functions in Bel Air and has raised $350 to date.
Amelia is more out-going than your typical middle child. She has an older sister, Maddie, 20, and younger brother Max, 10. Amelia's parents, Kim and Matt, said they are very supportive of her social entrepreneurial venture.
Partnering with the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, Amelia also started selling her cupcakes at Bel Air town events such as First Fridays and the outdoor movie screenings at Shamrock Park to raise money for the bake sale for No Kid Hungry, a national organization working to fight childhood hunger.
"I felt like this was happening in our county and I was helping kids in my community," Amelia said of participating in the national bake sale.
Her goal is donate $1,000 to No Kid Hungry from her cupcake business. Amelia's cupcake stand will be set up Friday on Main Street for the last First Fridays event of the season.
Amelia's cupcakes are available in three cake flavors — chocolate, red velvet and vanilla — and she offers more than four types of icing to top off her treats. She sells her regular size cakes for $18 per dozen and mini-cupcakes for $10 a dozen. She also sells customized, made-to-order cupcakes for various prices.
Although Amelia found many of her cupcake recipes from scouring the web for hours, she said she personalizes each recipe to make it more her own.
"Over months of time, I've changed it to fit my taste and how I do things," she said. "The chocolate peanut butter cupcake is my favorite. It tastes like Reese's, which is amazing."
Mary Allan, 50, of Bel Air, has purchased custom orders from "Cupcakes for Care" on more than one occasion. She said Amelia's cupcakes trump those of noted bakeries like Georgetown Cupcakes and others in the Bel Air area.
"They are really remarkable cupcakes," Allan said. "She takes her talent and instead of using it for her own gain, she turns around benefits others. It's like she's adding a little love."
In the past few months, Amelia started taking cake baking classes at Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, learning the art of making the perfect cupcake. She said while the famous cake house traditionally only takes interns from the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art, she is being considered as their first high school intern for next summer.
Anyone who wants to order a batch of Amelia's cupcakes can visit her Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ameliafaithcupcakesforcare, or email her, firstname.lastname@example.org.