10th anniversary cupcake by kimberly park  8  preview eydd4e

These cupcakes know it's their birthday.

Image: Kimberly Park

On Wednesday, October 17, 2007, the Dalai Lama received the United States' congressional gold medal. Joey Bishop, the last living (and perhaps least memorable) member of the Rat Pack, joined pals Sammy, Frank, Peter and Dean on that big talk show in the sky. But none of that registered much for Vanessa O'Donnell, who was busy opening her first bakery at Cinco Ranch, off Westheimer Parkway in Katy. 

In the ensuing years, she's opened two more, on Park Row in Katy, and Town & Country Village on Houston's Sam Houston Parkway. And Tuesday, October 17, 2017 will be much different for O'Donnell. There will likely still be celebrity deaths and medals, but for Houston and Katy sweet lovers, there will also be free cupcakes.

And not just any free cupcakes. The jumbo-sized treats are specially designed by the Art Institute of Houston grad just for the birthday. The fluffy vanilla funfetti cake is topped with a swirl of soft pink buttercream, sprinkles and a candle. Celebrants are limited to one of the special cupcakes per customer. But for those extra hungry for a sweet day, there's always plenty more for a few dollars. After all, O'Donnell serves around 80 desserts a day.

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