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Local bakers show off their sweet offerings on the Food Network

27th December 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

Christmas came a little early for a couple of local entrepreneurs. Sisters Michele Burton-Otis and Melissa B. Woods, known to many as the CupCake Fairies, got the chance to showcase their treats to cable viewers with a sweet tooth. The baking team was recently chosen to battle it out on the popular Food Network show, Cupcake Wars, where each week, the country’s top cupcake bakers compete for a sweet prize of $10,000.

The show aired early this month on the TV specialty channel and has been re-running weekly. Although the CupCake Fairies did not make it to the final round, Melissa Woods stated that the judges on the show enjoyed the duos flavors.

CupCake Fairies Melissa B. Woods and Michele Burton-Otis.

The ladies are still savoring the moment.

“We have yet to come down from the excitement of the experience and, I hope we never will,” Melissa Woods says. “This experience has become an addition to the many things that drive us to give our all and do our best at all times.”

Several clients stated that the two should be on the show; and after nearly a year of expressing interest, and submitting a YouTube video, Burton-Otis received a response from the show.

“I received a voice message from a man stated that we had a chance of being selected for Cupcake Wars,” she told The Louisiana Weekly. “Melissa and I were in shock mostly. It was a phone call. All we heard was “You have”… and we started screaming like crazy. We didn’t even let the person finish —which, in retrospect could have been bad if he was trying to say that we had not been selected.”

CupCake Fairies is currently an on-line business. However, since the show, the ladies have been in talks with local specialty stores and coffee shops.

Although Woods has worked in corporate finance and big sister Michele Burton-Otis worked as a special needs educator, and now with the non-profit (New Orleans Video Voices), they have always loved to bake — for family members as well as their communities.

“CupCake Fairies started because of the community,” Burton-Otis said. “Our first client was Common Ground Health Clinic in Algiers. One of the reasons we started as an official business is because Common Ground believed in our community work and loved our magical cupcakes. That has set the course for our journey.”

The journey began for these Xavier Prep graduates when they were asked to provide desserts for a community event.

“We started baking together in 2009,” Burton-Otis says. “We would bake for the family and bring goodies for our non-profit (New Orleans Video Voices) participants. We were working with Common Ground Health Clinic on creating a documentary about the clinic and the relationship it had with the community. The execu­tive director at the time, Dr. Antor Ndep asked if we could bake cupcakes for a community event they were holding to bring attention to the new site of the clinic. That night we baked 300 cupcakes. Melissa and I took it as God’s way of telling us we had something good going on. Immediately after, she and I drove to Baton Rouge and applied for our LLC.”

The ladies are creating a fairy book for young girls focusing on social and body issues. T-shirts and a jewelry line for teens and young adults are also in the works.

“As long as we are able to promote positive social change and help to empower our community, we feel we are fulfilling a part of our purpose,” Melissa Woods adds.

“We may not have won the Cupcake Wars competition, but we have won the support and love of our family, friends, community and others around the country,” Burton-Otis says. “We are constantly getting calls, emails, Facebook and Twitter messages from people telling us that we did New Orleans proud. In our book, that’s the best win ever.”

This article was originally published in the December 26, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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