This young lady is making waves in the business of desserts in Goa through her bakery venture ‘Cakes & Doilies’
Starting out in 2013, Cakes & Doilies was conceptualized with the sole purpose of spreading smiles through cakes and creativity. The proprietor of Cakes & Doilies, Desiree de Bragança began her journey into the baking world, when on a whim she decided to bake. “I started baking for my friends and family in high school and that’s where I found my passion. The sheer look of joy on people’s faces when they tasted something that I created was a reward by itself.”
Starting off as a hobby, the appreciation and support received from friends and family, motivated Desiree, to transform her interest and skills into a full-fledged business. Today, at 22 years of age, Desiree’s baking venture is thriving. For Desiree, it is the thrill of creativity coupled with a passion for baking.
Desiree holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Hotel Administration from the Institute of Hotel Management, Goa, as well as a Diploma in Patisserie from Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Art, Bangalore. The trajectory of her success in the business began with taking orders for brownies, cupcakes, cookies and gradually transitioning to supplying treats to cafes and stores. C&D now specializes in custom cakes and treats for all types of occasions from weddings to birthdays to christenings. The items on the menu range from cupcakes and macarons, to cookies and cakes. C&D also specializes in brownies, truffles, chocolates, tarts and other desserts on special request. C&D strives to revolutionize the world of desserts in Goa, by keeping up with the latest trends in the baking world. A favourite on the menu is the Salted Caramel Popcorn Cake, which has the perfect amount of Rich Chocolate Truffle & Salted Caramel sauce. Other best sellers on the menu include the Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes, Raspberry & Chocolate Macarons, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Cookies.
“Not a lot of places offer custom flavour combinations like I do. I can customize any part of the menu for you. You have an idea? I’ll try and bring it to life” Desiree de Bragança – Proprietor, Cakes & Doilies
Transforming her passion for baking into a business venture came with a lot of challenges. “Having not had much experience working in the industry, it took me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to run my business. In the beginning, I was juggling college and the business, so it was a little tricky but it helped strengthen my time management skills. I still do everything myself, from inventory to production to sales and marketing.” Another challenge faced, is one that many home-bakers in Goa can relate to – the climate in the state. “Humidity is a killer when it comes to sugar work of any kind.”
Desiree believes that word of mouth is by far the best way to promote a business. “I have been lucky enough to have amazing clients who spread the word to their friends and family. Client referrals have definitely helped the business grow. Social media, also, is such an important tool when it comes to marketing and advertising.” The presence of C&D on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, help in showcasing new products, interacting with potential clients, and getting in touch with a wider audience.
What sets C&D apart from other pastry stores and home bakeries in Goa is its emphasis on innovation and customization. Flavour is another big factor emphasized at C&D. “Not a lot of places offer custom flavour combinations, like I do. I can customize any part of the menu for you. You have an idea? I’ll try and bring it to life. Clients often ask for flavour combinations that are not on the menu and I’m happy to oblige.” Each product on the menu, be it a simple macaron or an elaborate three-tiered cake, is a work of painstaking art. In essence, Cakes and Doilies is a true blend of a passion for baking as well as artistry. Desiree is truly creating art every time she puts her baking gloves on.
In addition to having a strong understanding of her brand and the products offered; and constantly being on top of the new trends in the industry, Desiree’s success can be credited to the constant appreciation and motivation showered on her from friends and family. “I’ve been really lucky because I have a good support system and I surround myself with people who believe in me and help me grow. But it’s super important to believe in yourself as well. If you don’t believe in yourself then it doesn’t matter how much support you get from everyone else.”
Turning her dreams into reality wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for Desiree. It was sheer determination, an immense passion for her art, and a hustle to achieve her goals. “It’s an uphill battle, but the payoff is definitely worth it,” says the young baker.