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Interview With Cupcake Wars Winners: [desi]gn cakes and cupcakes

I had the pleasure of interviewing Desi Massei of [desi]gn cakes & cupcakes this week. She recently competed on Cupcake Wars and was crowned a Cupcake Wars Champion! She also competed in the IE Cupcake Fair I attended a few weeks ago! Though she doesn't have a storefront yet, her cupcakes are something magical and definitely shouldn't be missed!

Tell us about yourself.
Desi Massei, 28 years old, Riverside, CA, founder & panettiere of [desi]gn cakes & cupcakes.

What inspired your love of cupcakes?
I grew up in the kitchen with my family and have always loved it.  I decided to try my hand at cupcakes in college and did my marketing plan on starting my own cupcake company.  It grew  from there, and now I take inspiration from my friends and family and use ingredients that are unique and creative.

How did your company begin? (catering, hone kitchen, storefront)
Began as custom cakes for friends and family.  I decided to move into cupcakes since I was able to have more creativity with them, and choose unique flavors that were delicious.  That way you can have a bunch of flavors, not just a cake of one flavor.

I fell in love with your Apple Bacon Harvest cupcake. What fuels your creativity for such unique flavor combinations?
Inspiration from my friends and family is what I use to create new flavors.  Being Italian, cheese and fruit is a normal after a meal dessert.  So using that combo inspires the apple bacon, and the bacon is a more of a common craze now.  I use pancetta since that’s Italian, an im used to that as an ingredient.  The PB Presley is my Mom’s favorite since she loves Elvis, it was created for her birthday.  The Pumpkin is my cousins favorite sp that’s on the menu for her, and the Buffalo Chicken Cupcake was somethingunique I had been wanting to try for years, something I took from a really good sandwich I had one day.

This was your second time at Cupcake Wars, what was that like? Is it really as crazy, hectic and stressful as it looks on TV?
Cupcake Wars is fun, exciting, stressful, and a roller coaster all in one.  The challenges go by so quickly, and you really need to get a plan and be able to execute it properly in order to get it done and those cupcakes on a plate.  It is really what you see on TV.

What has competing on Cupcake Wars done for you and your business?
Cupcake Wars has been amazing for our business.  Its great to get your name out so you can share your love for baking and you can put a smile on someones face simply with a little sugar.  Its amazing that Cupcake Wars can take home bakers and show them that their dreams can come true in the  kitchen with just a little creativity

What is your personal favorite cupcake flavor to eat and what is your favorite to make?
Ahhh, you’lllaugh. My favorite is Birthday Cake (which is chocolate & vanilla cake) .  I love the simplicity of that cake.  With all the unique ones and the cupcakes I make daily, these are my go to, just for me cupcake.  However, I LOVE our Red Velvet, its tangy and totally not all full of chocolate, which is why I love ours.

What is your favorite thing about cupcakes?
I love that cupcakes are small sweets that you can share at any celebration.  I love that they perfect to take and share, or to pack and keep for yourself.  They’re perfect little bites that are sweet and simple.

What are you looking most forward to for the future of [desi]gn cupcakes & cakes?
Well, the future will hold a storefront, but we are not in a rush, we want to find the perfect location and to make sure its everything we’ve been dreaming of, and something that people want to come into everyday.

What advice would you have for other aspiring bakers out there?
Follow your passion.  Just trust in what you do, and never give up.  The best cupcakes come from ones that you thought you would never do.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for following us, thank you for your support, and thank you for always featuring inspiring bakers!

[desi]gn cakes & cupcakes
Twitter: @designcupcakes
Instagram: @designcakesandcupcakes
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