August 27, 2009

The Dessert Divas in Wilma Magazine

Let Them Make Cake

by Julie Flynt for Wilma Magazine

What started out as a joke for three local women quickly became the perfect name for their dessert business. The Dessert Divas' creations are one of a kind, each uniquely designed for a specific person or event. The talent required for these elaborate cakes is evident in the detailed, hand-made elements.

Just six months ago, Wilmington resident Deborah Place and her two daughters, Rebekah Hinkle and Jennifer Mattis, launched a business creating designer desserts. They focus on taste as well as presentation. "When we started this business, we decided we didn't want to do fondant," Place says, referring to a rolled icing used in decorative cakes. "Its is a beautiful way to do cakes and is an art form in and of itself, but...most people don't like the taste of it."

Instead, Italian buttercream icing has become The Dessert Divas' signature. Their icing is not made with the standard powdered sugar. Instead, the ladies opt for cooked sugar, which is then whipped, creating a light and silky texture. The women pride themselves on their ability to match this taste with the elaborate presentation required in many special event cakes.

Starting at the bottom
But life has not always been sweet for this close-knit family. "Having come out of a time of great relational and financial loss, we chose to stand together and do something as a family that used all of our skills and talents," Place says.

At rock bottom, the women were in need of a fresh start. "We didn't want to spend the rest of our lives, all three of us going to three different jobs and working odd hours where we couldn't see each other," Hinkle says. Mattis adds, "Because my daughter has diabetes, we were also committed to creating a business that allowed me to stay home with my children."

All three live together with Mattis's two children, and create most of their desserts in their own state-certified kitchen. They have access to a commercial kitchen for larger jobs.

Baking from scratch.
Although the women work as a team, each woman has her own distinct role in the business. "Jennifer is our baker, I am the "froster" and the manager, and Mother is the designer," Hinkle says. They bake everything from scratch with no mixes or hydrogenated oils. Their edible creations include tiaras for little princess cakes and more formal designs for wedding cakes.

These new entrepreneurs have already created desserts for several high-profile events. The Dessert Divas made the featured dessert for the Bellamy Mansion's "Art of the Table" opening gala. Beverly Ayscue, executive director of the Bellamy Mansion, says that she has never seen anyone take an architectural element of the mansion and incorporate it into a cake. "It was just elegant," Ayscue says.

Their most popular cake flavor is the traditional chocolate with vanilla frosting. Other favorites include praline and chocolate ganache and a margarita cake with just the right amount of lime juice and liqueur to give it a kick.

In a business less than a year old, The Dessert Divas are already enjoying sweet success. "Every week we get more orders," Hinkle says.




Photo Shoot for The Dessert Divas


Sisters Laura and Lisa of Bella Rose Photography
(and Rebekah Hinkle as assistant--or better known as a Bella Rose "Groupie!")

For more information on this fabulous photographer visit