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The Art of Cupcaking: 8 Questions with Ethereal CEO Loranzo Whitfield

Ethereal Cupcakes

When it comes to baking I leave it to the experts, like Loranzo Whitfield, CEO of Ethereal Cupcakes in Hampton, Va. Having just celebrated their first anniversary, this joint is pumping out close to 750 cupcakes a day made with all-natural ingredients. Their options include gourmet, super gourmet, vegan and gluten free and even alcoholic. With a food truck on the way they’re taking the market by storm with stellar reviews on popular sites like Yelp raving about their cupcakes and genuine customer service. Whitfield puts the cupcakes down for a few moments to talk to me about the perfect cupcake, why cheap cupcakes are cheap, and why his cupcakes shouldn’t make you gain a pound.

What is your favorite cupcake?

That’s not quite as easy to answer as one might think. A large percentage of the recipes for the cupcakes that we offer are ones that I personally created, therefore when I say that they are all my favorites, it is honestly the truth.

Do you think that a person’s choice of cupcake matches their personality, kind of like dogs and their owners?

I don’t really think so. Although I have been told that I am like a really good cupcake—round and brown (laughs).

Tell us how you really feel when you stroll past a grocery store cupcake.

Many bakeries substitute shorting in place of butter or they use cake mixes all in the name of reducing their operating cost…combined with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, all in the name of producing an artificially moist concept. Also unfortunately just as common is the use of high fructose corn syrups, which has been found to promote obesity, disease and death…yes, I said death. The use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in baked goods is on the rise (no pun intended). Although labeling of GMO products is required in 64 countries, it’s not in the U.S. There is a reason why cheap cupcakes are so cheap, and the reason is because it shouldn’t be consumed.

When you read the ingredients on most cupcakes which ones truly make you cringe?  

There is actually a long list of them, but especially ingredients like; POLYSORBATE 60, RED 40, YELLOW 5 &6, Blue 1 &2, and TBHQ. Most of all of these can be commonly found in cake mixes, which are commonly used by most bakeries to produce their cakes and cupcakes. TBHQ, is in fact a chemical preservative which is a form of butane. It is used in food and baked goods to delay the onset of rancidness and greatly extends the storage life of foods.

Is there really such a thing as a guilt-free cupcake?

A quick and 100 percent true story: we have a family that’s been coming in to get cupcakes every single day for the past 4 ½ months and she recently told me that “they haven’t gained a single pound.” Isn’t that awesome?

How many cupcakes do you eat a week?

As a mandatory rule, all Ethereal Cupcakes baking personnel must taste everything we bake. But on average, I personally eat approximately seven cupcakes a week, but my staff takes two home a night (by their own choice and desire) and they are all still super skinny. I personally believe it’s solely because when you make cupcakes and/or cakes with all natural or organic ingredients the body naturally knows how to dispose of it.

What is the wildest cupcake that you’d like to make?  

Probably something with servo motors or BBQ. Being originally from Texas, beef is the first thing that comes to mind…weird, huh?

So, what’s the secret to a perfect cupcake?

The secret has to begin with the perfect all natural or organic ingredients, made without any engineered or artificial components. In short, cupcakes that are made the Ethereal way.