I imagine you’d be hard pressed to find many adults who don’t enjoy something sweet and a little bit of alcohol from time to time. So when Bronx native, Makeda Gillard, put the two together by combining cupcakes and alcohol, her goodies became an immediate hit at local events throughout the Triangle and surrounding areas. Over the last two years, Sinful Delights has become the guilty pleasure of choice for various events such as weddings, girls night out, grand openings and erotic poetry events.
“I always had this other little side that wanted to do something that was fun for adults and I wanted to do some kind of dessert that could be just for us” she recalls. Gillard experimented with various ideas such as rum cakes before discovering the idea that would ultimately launch her business. “I was googling one night trying to figure out how to get a little bit of alcohol into a cupcake. I googled infused cupcakes. Infused cupcakes didn’t come up but infusers did.” That “late night brainstorming session” became the catalyst for Gillard’s leap into entrepreneurship.
“Once I had the idea…I couldn’t sleep. The very next week I started researching infusers.” Gillard wanted her customers to have control over the amount of alcohol and when they consumed it. “I didn’t want you to get a soggy cake. I wanted people to be able to squeeze a little bit into it, take their own shot or eat the cupcake first and take the shot later. I wanted variety in how you could eat your cupcake.”
Oddly, Gillard hasn’t always considered herself a baker. Her love for baked goods were woven into fond childhood memories of a close friend and neighbor who would babysit her on occasion. “Mrs.Yvonne’s house always smelled like a fresh cake. It was just amazing! When she decorated cakes I would sit on the couch and just watch her. It was something she took so much pride in. But what I noticed most was when people came to pick up their order- the smiles on their faces for me was the moment I looked forward too.” As for her own business, that’s still the moment that is most satisfying for Gillard. “If you bite into one of my cupcakes and you automatically smile, close your eyes and kinda node your head…that’s what I look for. I want to know that you have just tasted something that I created that was amazing or different or just so yummy that there are no words.”
Hence the name, Sinful Delights, which Gillard credits her husband for coming up with. “I was throwing some names around like Decadent Delights and my husband said, Why don’t you just say Sinful Delights? The sin is not in the fact that it has alcohol- the sin is in the cake. The cake is so good it’s sinful!”
Sinful Delights currently has over 15 different flavors which include Grown and Sexy Strawberry, Banana Cream Dream ,Peach Paradise, Blue Raspberry Martini, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Mango Madness and Chocolate Hennessy to name a few. She is constantly testing new flavors to add to her already extensive line of cupcakes while staying within her niche. “I make simple cupcake flavors with good shots of alcohol.”
Over the course of this two year journey, Gillard has managed the “peaks and valleys” of what can at times be considered a seasonal market by saying abreast of events in the area and delivering exceptional customer service. Although Sinful Delights caters to a 21+ clientele, Gillard has also been able to diversify her products to include children events when asked by substituting alcohol for chocolate milk.
Gillard’s ultimate vision for her company, although ambitious, is very much tangible considering the popularity and originality of her product. “I really want Sinful Delights to be your next Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts. I want it to be a place that you can go by to pick up two dozen of whatever flavors you like on your way to a party. That’s the biggest dream of mine.”