Luisa Zissman, shot to fame as the runner-up of the hit TV show ‘The Apprentice’ in 2013, and has since continued to build on her successful baking business, Dixie’s Cupcakery, which was launched in 2011. Naming her business after her daughter, Luisa has a collection of businesses and has released her new baking book ‘Wicked Cupcakes.’ She chats to Female First about her book, business and parenting.

Hi Luisa! You have released your new baking book ‘Wicked Cupcakes.’ How does it feel to have your own baking book?

Amazing! It’s a dream come true for me.

Would you say that the cupcakes recipes are easy to follow for first-time bakers?

Yes! The book is aimed at amateur bakers and so the recipes are all easy to replicate at home. And you’ll have fun making them!

You have a section in your book in which you bake with your daughter. Would you encourage parents to bake with their children?

I would definitely encourage parents to bake with their children. It’s an inexpensive activity that can be so entertaining and fun. Dixie loves baking with me and trying new things.

What point in your life did you decide to open your own cupcake shop and why?

I started the process of opening my cupcake shop when my daughter, Dixie, was 5 months old. I wanted a new challenge in my life and I also knew that the cake industry was really taking off at the time.

What is it about baking that you love?

I’m a creative person, so I love to bake. The decorating side of making the cupcakes is my favourite thing, because you can be really experimental and creative. I also love finding new flavours to try out – it’s so much fun!

Where do you get your inspiration for different cupcake recipes?

I make up all of the recipes myself. I just go with something I like. I use cocktails as one of the inspirations behind a chapter of the book. This includes recipes like Pina colada cupcakes, a Pimms cake, and pink champagne cupcakes. I’ll also try out really unusual flavours, like chilli or marmite.

Luisa with daughter, Dixie.

What is your favourite cupcake?

My favourite cupcake has to be the salted caramel one. It’s so yummy!

Being a single working mother certainly isn’t easy. How do you manage your time?

It’s not easy. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do. I just try to prioritise everything and I have a rule that Dixie comes first. I’m also lucky, because I have lots of help with Dixie.

What advice would you give to parents who want to have their own business but are anxious about making the first step?

My advice would be to have confidence. If you really believe in what you’re doing, then it is OK to take risks and go for it. But be sure of yourself!

What struggles did you face when starting your business?

I had money struggles, and I also struggled to find the time to do everything. It’s a leap into the unknown, but you have to plough through and persevere.

As a parent do you think it’s important to instil work ethic into your child from a young age?

Yes, definitely.

Who are your influences in the food world?

I think Jamie Oliver has done really well for himself.

What other projects do you have in line?

Now that I have finished working on my cupcake book, I have had the time to come up with a baking jewellery range. It has little charms that are all related to baking and cakes.

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