I brought a dozen We The Minis cupcakes to a Super Bowl party and people couldn’t get enough of these amazing treats. Owner Wenter Shyu is dedicated to making high quality desserts, but even more impressive is the company’s philanthropic mission of giving a percentage of proceeds to Hamilton Family Center. Read on to learn more:
24 East: How did you learn to bake?
Wenter Shyu: I actually learned to bake after deciding I wanted a cupcake business, insert “lol” here. I learned from my talented head baker who taught me everything. Also nonstop watching YouTube videos and researching baking science, and reading Martha Stewart.
24E: What is the inspiration behind your name, We The Minis, and behind your logo?
WS: Great question, We The Minis was born out of “We the people.” I knew I wanted a business model that gives back too so it’s an all-inclusive “cupcakes for the people” and that’s really where I drew my inspiration. The logo was a collaboration between my boyfriend and I, who is a talented graphic designer and he came up with the design and conceptualized my ideas onto paper.
24E: What makes your cupcakes unique and amazing?
WS: I guess I have to toot my own horn here, but what sets us apart is that our cupcakes and macarons are made fresh in small batches, no preservatives or artificial agents are ever used. Our cakes are made with the delicate care and quality that goes into making a wedding cake. And we source locally and with organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.
24E: What is your most popular item?
WS: So statistically my most popular item would be our Red Velvet cupcake. We sold the most of that last year. But what gets people most excited and what gets the most buzz is our Churro cupcake. That is by far just what people swoon over. But when a Red Velvet is done right as our head baker has done, it’s irresistible.
24E: How did you come up with the idea of the Churro Cupcake?
WS: Ah yes, the Churro cupcake! I literally walked into our kitchen one day and asked why we didn’t have a Churro cupcake. So we got cracking on experimenting with different kinds of cinnamon and after a month, our Churro cupcake was born.
24E: What should someone never EVER give you for dessert?
WS: Creme Brûlée. I know it’s super trendy and it’s got an air of sophistication about it but not for me, give me a cupcake or French macaron any day.
24E: You are a strong supporter of Hamilton Family Center and to ending family homelessness in the Bay Area. Why is that important to you?
WS: The idea of kids going to bed hungry at night has always bothered me deeply. So when I discovered Hamilton, their slogan “Because every kid deserves a home” really spoke to me. They work so hard to help families, many of them single mothers or multi-generational families, get off the streets and into a better place out of constant homelessness. Not many of us know what it’s like to not know where you’re going to eat or sleep at night, and these are people who feel that constantly. That is why if I’m making a bit of money, I’ve got to give some to help.
24E: You are based in Oakland and serve the Greater Bay Area. What do you love about doing business in the East Bay?
WS: We started out in San Francisco and after a few months, moved everything to the East Bay and I’ve never looked back, I love it here! For starters, delivering in the East Bay is a breeze compared to SF, driving in SF is just a mess sometimes and I get so stressed with bad traffic and crazy aggressive drivers on the road. And the sense of community in Oakland is amazing.
24E: What does success look like for you?
WS: Success to me is being able to provide. Just providing for myself and my family, but providing an excellent, thoughtful, and conscientious product all while providing exceptional customer service time after time. If we’re able to provide on those 3 fronts, then I think we’re pretty close to success.
24E: If Red Velvet went up against the Churro Cupcake, who would win and would it be a big mess?
WS: Oh man, I picture a boxing ring with Red Velvet in one corner and Churro in another. Red Velvet’s a seasoned contender and the Churro is definitely a strong underdog, so I’m not sure but it would be a close match. And yes, it would be messy, cream cheese frosting everywhere!
For more information and to order, visit We The Minis today. You can also find their cakes at Taiwan Bento Restaurant in Uptown Oakland. Watch Wenter in his interview on KTVU. Learn more about Hamilton Family Center.