By Brittany Woolsey

The frosting oozing out of Rabie Baby symbolizes foam coming out of an infected infant’s mouth.

And the Zombie Donut will help anyone prepare for the apocalypse. As a customer bites into the head, a sweet red jelly substance spills out, a reminder that the way to kill the “undead” is to aim for the skull.

Beware. This is a doughnut shop with a zombie theme.

But not to worry, parents. The creations at Zombee Donuts & Bakeshop in Fullerton are more fun than scary.

As a child, owner Vanessa Guillen would get up early and stand on a stool so she could pitch in and help her mother and grandmother make cookies and other sweets.

Nowadays, Guillen works from late at night into the early morning baking ather shop, which she owns with her mother, Marie Theodore. They offer freshly baked doughnuts — the standard-looking kind — and specialty versions in unusual flavors aimed at invoking the undead.

Some confections are decorated like zombies and other horror characters, while others appear to be eyeballs, with doughnut holes standing in for pupils and white frosting serving as the sclera. Red frosting adds a bloodshot effect.

“We’re big fans of the ‘Walking Dead’ and any zombie movies,” said Guillen, 30, of Anaheim. “Zombies are relevant nowadays. Who doesn’t love zombies? We thought this would be fun and something completely different.”

Theodore, who also works as a hotel consultant, said she helped her daughter get started in business in hopes that it would give her independence.

“I’ve worked all my life, and I’ve made so much money for other people,” said Theodore, 49, also of Anaheim. “I want her to have the freedom to work for herself.”

Before opening the shop in February, Guillen worked at a bakery for eight years. Theodore’s first job as a teenager was at a Winchell’s Donut House.

Zombee Donuts started with eight specialty doughnuts. Now the shop boasts 20 flavors, including a Monster Energy drink-infused doughnut — not appropriate for children — and the Black Widow, a glazed doughnut dunked in chocolate with a doughnut hole stuffed back in the middle, making the creation look like a spider.

The shop sells about 1,800 pastries daily, with customers visiting throughout the day.

Guillen said food needs to be great tasting and visually appealing.

“I think food has to be cute because everyone is on social media,” she said. “That’s what people are looking for. They’re looking for something cute that tastes delicious and that they can take a picture of and share it with friends.”

Other possible future flavors include a funnel cake “brain” doughnut and a zombie Elvis with the King’s signature indulgence — peanut butter, chocolate and banana.

The shop, which features zombie-themed signs hanging on pink walls, accepts requests from customers, some of which have made it onto the menu.

Death By Chocolate, which consists of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, was an idea sparked by a customer.

“We had a customer that said his son wanted a lot of chocolate,” Guillen said. “They would always buy something here and go get something chocolate for the son somewhere else. And I was like, ‘Oh, no. I have to get him.’ That’s when we came up with Death By Chocolate, and now they don’t dare go anywhere else.”

Fullerton has been welcoming. A neighbor even comes by from time to time to cut the lawn.

“We didn’t want to be in a strip mall,” Theodore said. “We wanted to be in a community, and that’s exactly what we got with this location. The neighbors have been so good to us, and this is their shop.”

Theodore said she plans to expand the Zombee brand by eventually opening a bar and a snowboard shop with her other daughter.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


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