Cook who’s talking

Farah Gokal-Ghazzawi, co-founder of Sweet Stuff, chats to us...


You opened Sweet Stuff, a cupcake shop, with your sister. Why did you choose cupcakes?
Because both of us have a passion for baking and cooking, and because we both have a big sweet tooth. We started playing around in the kitchen and doing birthday parties for friends. People would say, ‘Where did you get those cupcakes?’ So it started from our kitchen… by accident.

When did you open shop?
Sweet Stuff was born two years ago, but in the beginning it was home-based. I was in the States and my husband found the perfect location [for a store] and signed a lease, even though I wasn’t here to see it. He said, ‘You’re doing this, because you’ll do it really, really well.’

Why’d you call it Sweet Stuff?
We decided to call it that because we’re not just limited to cupcakes. We also offer a range of candy and cookies, and we’re developing our baked goods line as well. We have banana breads and pies. We even have a key lime pie [a lime-flavoured cheesecake that originated in the Florida Keys].

Key lime pie! That’s so American.
We haven’t really done any marketing on it yet. We make the pie to order at the moment because not a lot of people actually know what a key lime pie is. We also have a lot of other American candy, such as salt water taffy, FireBalls and Red Hots.

We had no idea. We thought you just did cupcakes!
We’re at a point where we’re known for our cupcakes, but we also do other stuff as well. The girls that work for me are all very artistic. They love to create things and come up with all sorts of ideas. We try to play with flavours. We’ll do a tiramisu cupcake, or a Mexican cupcake that’s all spicy and chocolatey at the same time.

Did you have to test a lot of cupcakes to get the right formula?
My sister and I tasted pretty much every cupcake across the States, from New York City to LA. It’s not good for the hips, but we had to do it for work. We’ve really fine-tuned it, down to the teaspoon of water we put into it.
Sweet Stuff, Jumeirah 1, off Jumeirah Beach Road, near The One (050 254 4819). Dhs12 per cupcake.

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