Saving the World, One Bake at a Time

Zuzia Wheeler tells-all to the Post about turning one of her favorite pastimes into a business.

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Zuzia Wheeler

Zuzia Wheeler (11) showing off some of her baked goods. Slideshow of all baked goods is attatched

Becca Youngers, Staff Writer/Editor

 

We all have our hobbies, right? For Zuzia Wheeler (11), it’s always been about being in the kitchen. 

 

Growing up, Wheeler spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her mother. While her mother favored cooking, Wheeler’s competitive nature drove her to excel in something slightly different: baking.

 

“I wanted to be good at something that wasn’t what my mom was good at, so I looked into baking, and it seemed much more appealing to me than cooking,” Wheeler said. “My mom first introduced me to making and creating food and being in the kitchen, so she is the majority of my inspiration.”

 

Purple Red Velvet cake (Zuzia Wheeler)

Starting off with experimental, beginner bakes, Wheeler quickly found that she was not only hooked on baking, but she was also pretty gifted. Having a talent, such as baking, that results in a product that also happens to taste delicious meant that sharing her new-found love with others was inevitable. 

 

Wheeler began sharing her first official bakes with her peers after band practice, yet another passion of Wheeler’s. After the approval from her peers on her bake, key lime cupcakes, Wheeler realized what gave her a lot of happiness could also spark joy in others.

 

“[They] wouldn’t stop talking about how good they [cupcakes] were. That made me beam and made me so happy,” Wheeler said. “Their happiness as a result of me giving them my bakes made me happy, so I continued to do it.”

 

Wheeler continued to donate her own baked goods to school events and to some of her teachers at her elementary and middle school. 

 

Chocolate raspberry cake (Zuzia Wheeler)

Throughout her time at Dowling, Wheeler has gained quite the sweet reputation, if you will, with her peers and the Dowling community. Word spread throughout the hallways during her freshman year that she was periodically bringing some of her delectable treats to her English class. 

 

This occasional treat turned into a weekly event her sophomore year. Students in the Class of 2022 were either the few lucky ones in Wheeler’s Advanced English 10 class, or those who sat back with a little jealousy, but mostly curiosity, on what delicious bake Wheeler would bring to class come Friday afternoon. 

 

“I would bring treats on Friday so the class could look forward to something at the end of the week!” Wheeler said. “I asked my teacher if I could bring in treats for people to enjoy while looking around at people’s work, and we decided I could. I just ended up bringing treats most of the weeks after that!”

 

In 2018, a year before her claim-to-fame bakes became a classroom staple, Wheeler created her own baking Instagram account and began to create a community of followers. 

 

Funfetti cupcakes (Zuzia Wheeler)

“I kept seeing Instagram pages with cakes and cookies, etc. and I thought why don’t I do that? It would be so cool to showcase everything I am baking!,” Wheeler said.

 

Seeing how much success and requests she was getting, Wheeler took the big jump and made her Instagram into her very own business. 

 

“I post sales and my website is linked there so it keeps everything in one place. People can also look at my past posts for inspiration for orders, or just to make their mouth water,” Wheeler said.

 

When COVID-19 hit, Wheeler saw it as an opportunity to shine light, through her baked goods, into a dark, dull world. Wheeler then set up her rather iconic Sunday Sweet Sales. Wheeler would often post polls at the beginning of the week in which her Instagram following could choose which fantastic dessert they would rather purchase from Wheeler. 

 

Flower sugar cookies (Zuzia Wheeler)

“These sales made my business blow up! So many people enjoyed the weekly pick me up, but they also helped me!” Wheeler said. “I would say the pandemic helped my business for the better!”

 

Though she is quite the businesswoman herself, Wheeler still likes to think of baking as a hobby. She makes sure that school is a top priority for her while balancing her business and making a name for herself. 

 

“I had a job in a professional bakery over the summer and I loved it, but it showed me that if I am constantly baking, it won’t stay a passion of mine,” Wheeler said. “So, keeping baking as a hobby and a small side job is the best option for me, and I love it!”

 

If there is anything to be learned about Wheeler, it is her unapologetic encouragement for passion and aspiration. 

 

“If you have a passion for something that can benefit yourself and bring joy to others, take advantage of the opportunity to get yourself into the small business world!” Wheeler said. “The joy it brings is truly remarkable!”

 

Chocolate raspberry birthday cake (Zuzia Wheeler)

Wheeler’s success is undeniably sweet.

 

Wheeler said, “It’s really cool thinking that I show people that some things they think are impossible, are very much within their reach.”

 

Information on reaching out to Wheeler: 

They can check out my Instagram or Facebook account @zuzias.cakes.and.desserts. They can DM or email me via links on those pages! But if they don’t have social media, my email is [email protected]. They can also come right up to me at school if they want to, I love talking to people (although I’m all virtual for the time being)! And no order is required from a conversation with me – anyone can just show interest and ask some questions. I am more than happy to answer or talk about ideas!