For as long as Jennifer Shea could remember, she has always been a baker.
Shea grew up in Southern Oregon picking blackberries and making homemade pies – a hobby she has done ever since she could hold a whisk in her hand. Her love for baking became a full-blown career when Shea visited a cupcake shop in New York City. It was like an “Oprah aha moment,” she said.
For the next few years, Shea continued to tour with a rock band selling t-shirts and merchandise. During her trip around the world, she sought out baking techniques from confectioneries, patisseries, and other sweet shops in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. All the knowledge and inspiration gained during her traveling eventually led Shea back to the Pacific Northwest, where she finally opened Trophy Cupcakes in 2007. In 2009, she expanded her shop to Downtown Bellevue inside The Shops at the Bravern.
Today, Shea and her husband celebrate 15 years since opening their first shop at the Wallingford Center in Seattle. They have now expanded to six locations across King County and offer more than just cupcakes. Not only is Shea proud to accomplish her biggest and wildest dream of owning one of the most beloved bakeries in the area, but she’s also proud to see her business blossom into a place where people can find comfort in colorful confetti, celebratory treats, and vibrant baked goods. Read on to hear more about her resiliency during the pandemic, what makes Shea’s treats so special, and her favorite spots around the heart of Bellevue.
There are tons of dessert spots around Downtown Bellevue. What makes Trophy Cupcakes stand out?
We dream BIG! We don’t think of our creations as simply cakes, macarons, and cookies… they are joy, they are magic, they are beauty. From day one, we’ve been passionate about the quality of our ingredients and serving exceptional products. We're obsessed with how sugar, flour, and tasty little details magically transform into inspiration, hope, and love. Also, our Bellevue location is special because it is the first location to don our updated look! Visit to see our custom wallpaper by local designer Anne Marie Jackson and sip a glass of Champagne under the pink disco balls while eating colorful macarons.
What’s the most memorable moment in your career?
My most memorable moment was when I was on The Martha Stewart Show. We had been open less than a year when they called asking us to mail cupcakes to New York City for Martha to try. I knew baking them fresh in NYC was the only way I would deliver cupcakes to the one and only Martha- so I flew there. Her producer called later that day after the cupcakes had been delivered and told me Martha thought they were just as delicious as they were beautiful. I still watch the episode of me teaching Martha how to bake our S’mores Cupcake in disbelief! Needless to say, Trophy got VERY busy after the episode, it was amazing.
What do you love about working in Downtown Bellevue?
Downtown Bellevue may be a city, but it feels like a small town. We have tons of regulars here who love supporting us and other small businesses in Bellevue. The small business and Downtown community also take care of each other. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the community.
Where do you see Downtown Bellevue in 3-5 years?
Right now, it seems like everyone wants to be in Bellevue, and I love seeing all of the new businesses opening. Downtown's future will look more vibrant, and I hope to see more unique businesses open in the area.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
I love Monsoon on Main Street. There’s always something surprising on the menu. The French Pearl cocktail is amazing…and I love the Street Platters and the Dim Sum Brunch. I love that they also care about giving people a unique experience that feels like they’re transported elsewhere.
Do you have a favorite places to shop in Downtown?
I love strolling Main Street and exploring the boutiques. But, if I’m really shopping, you’ll find me at Bellevue Square. I love that they have a mix of high-end wear and affordable styles, Nordstrom, J.Crew, Madewell, and Anthropologie are my favorites.
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Person Behind The Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.