So, you’re the man who’s going to give Dubai the gourmet cupcake.
[Laughs] Yes. I went to New York for a holiday, and my friend Mae told me, ‘You have to check out this place called Magnolia’s, it has the best cupcakes.’ You might know them from Sex And The City. She even got me the Magnolia’s cookbook and the pictures in it looked so delicious. The place was really cute and vintage, and very ’50s and homey. All the cakes looked like something your mum or grandmother would make. I thought, wow, we have nothing like this in the Middle East. I told Mae I wanted to open something like Magnolia’s in Jordon, and she said go for it.
You started out in marketing. How’d you get into the cupcake business?
I started making Magnolia recipes from the cookbook. I would take them into work the next day and people loved them. That’s when I said, ‘That’s it, I have to put this plan into action.’ I went on the internet and found a culinary school in New York. I applied and got accepted, then I resigned and moved to New York.
You opened up your first Sugar Daddy’s in Amman last year. How’s business?
Amazing. I started taking orders on a daily basis and I hadn’t even opened my shop, so by the time I did, a lot of people already knew about it. Dana [my business partner in Dubai] ordered a carrot cake for her baby shower and said, ‘have you ever thought about franchising?’ I said, ‘Not really, but it sounds like a great idea,’ and that’s how it all started.
How is Sugar Daddy’s different from other bakeries?
Any dessert shop you go into, you’ll find they use ready-made batters, and they add oil and eggs. That’s why when you taste a cake that’s brought in by a patisserie, it tastes mass-produced. We make everything with the highest quality ingredients. With our caramel apple pecan cheesecake, we peel and core our apples and sauté them in cinnamon. It tastes like something your mom would make at home.
You specialise in classic American desserts. Was it difficult making these recipes in the Middle East?
Most of the flour you get in this part of the world has a 10 to 12 per cent protein. The more protein you have, the more gluten is formed. If you have too much, your cakes will taste stiff. Dana went to 10 to 12 different suppliers until we found something we were all happy with. I made a batch with it just yesterday. I’m sick of my desserts, because they’re coming out of my ears, but after I bit into this cupcake, I was like, wow.
Sugar Daddy’s, Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 8204; www.sugardaddysbakery.com). Open Saturday-Thursday 9am-10pm