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Selling cupcakes out of my home

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Katie 4 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #13595 Reply


    Hello! This is a very informative site, thank you!!

    I am looking to expand my cupcake-making hobby into a business on the side of my full time job. I have done some research on starting a business and was about to apply for a business license, when I saw this website. Am I correct in thinking that if I fall under cottage food industry (only cupcakes with room-temp stable buttercream frosting), I do NOT also need a business license? Or do I need both? I would only be selling by word of mouth to individuals and possibly at booths at church fundraisers. I am in Virginia Beach, VA.

    The last thing I want to do is break the law, but I have read about state inspections being pretty strict about having separate preparation areas — I have a large kitchen, but I tend to spread out when I bake cupcakes or make dinner for the family!! If I need to apply for a state inspection, I will, but I would rather have the disclaimer on my labels if possible.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    #13640 Reply

    David Crabill

    You will probably still need a business license if your county requires it. However, using the cottage food law will help you bypass a lot of the strict requirements from the health dept, like inspections. I’m not entirely sure if they will allow buttercream frosting, though… check with your ag dept.

    #15320 Reply

    Miasha Gilliam-El

    Good Morning, I am looking to expand my cupcake business also. Right now I sell at vending events and by word of mouth. I am interested in learning more concerning the cottage food law. Is there a certain website that you can direct me to in order for me to review this information? I was also wandering if you have any information concerning obtaining labels?

    #15321 Reply

    Miasha Gilliam-El

    I had to obtain a business licence from the courthouse in my city.

    #15414 Reply

    David Crabill

    Miasha, I’ve listed the basic info, along with external resources here:
    I am not familiar with any significant websites for Virginia.

    Most people make labels themselves and print them at home. Some also use online print shops to produce their labels.

    #17032 Reply


    Hi! New here, but I’ve been also researching Virginia’s cottage food laws. Regarding buttercream – unlike the hard stance Virginia takes on cream cheese, the law doesn’t specifically address buttercream so it is a gray area. The key is whether you need to refrigerate it, which mostly depends on the exact ingredients you use and the proportions. For example, the butter is normally stabilized by the sugar so it is not usually an issue, but some people use milk to thin it out – the amount of milk you use would tend to make it more necessary to refrigerate (and therefore become a problem). If you use water, lemon juice, or only a tiny amount of milk, and you do not refrigerate it normally, that is probably fine.

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