Chester County’s Dia Doce Wins Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”

Dia Doce’s gourmet cupcakes have captured the taste buds of foodies in Chester County and the Greater Philadelphia region since Thais Da Silva started her bright green mobile bakery last April.

Last night, Dia Doce captured the hearts of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” judges – Candace Nelson (owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes), Florian Bellanger (chef and co-owner of online macaroon company MadMac), and Chelsea Glover-Odom (guest judge and Girl Scout’s Gold Award Recipient), nabbing first place in the popular televised show.

Thais and her assistant, Andrea Bennett, actually flew out to LA in October to film the show, which premiered on March 11th. Keeping such a secret for six months was not an easy feat for Thais, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I am a horrible secret keeper in general. So many of my customers have become really good friends and it was hard to keep a secret from your friends.”

The episode celebrated the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of America. For the first round, Dia Doce, Violet’s Cakes of Pasadena, CA, Cupcake Mojo of Weymouth, MA, and Pubcakes of San Diego, CA had two hours to create a cupcake inspired by a Girl Scout cookie. Thais cooked up a twist on the classic Thin Mint cookie: the center of her chocolate fudge cake was a layer of raspberry puree, mint creme and the cupcake was topped with chocolate ganache and cookie crumbles. The judges weren’t wild about Pubcakes’ alcohol-infused cupcakes being served to Girl Scouts,  so Pubcakes had to turn in her “Cupcake Wars” badge.

Next, contestants had to create a trio of cupcakes that captured the spirit of Girl Scouts in 90 minutes, judged 50 percent by appearance and 50 percent by taste. Dia Doce’s cupcakes were a  lemon cupcake with a strawberry compote filling and basil icing; a cinnamon streusel cake with a glaze icing; and a s’more cupcake with a graham cracker crust, pumpkin cake with chocolate chips and a marshmallow and chocolate swirl icing. To stay in the kitchen for the third round, judges were looking for cupcakes with bold and creative flavors. Mojo Cupcakes was sent home in this round.

The pressure heated up in the final round when Dia Doce and Violets Cakes had two hours to bake 1,000 cupcakes and design a “forever green” cupcake tower. To accomplish such a challenge, bakers utilized teamwork, and a key Girl Scout philosophy. Dia Doce’s sweet team received four helpers for the final bout.

Sustainability is a key ingredient in Dia Doce’s company, so coming up with an eco-friendly design was a breeze for Thais. Her cupcake tower, made from recycled materials, had a tree with CFL light bulb ornaments sprouting from its base,  which was shaped like the Girl Scout’s logo and painted with eco-friendly messages like “enhance green space.”

The judges were impressed by the appearance of Dia Doce’s delicious cupcakes and her attention to detail.  Even Thais’ competitor was blown away by her display, simply stating “oh my god” after its unveiling. As the winner of “Cupcake Wars,” Thais’ display was a fixture at the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Party and she walked away with a $10,000 grand prize.

During the taping, Thais was a nervous wreck, but was confident in her baked goods. She planned to make the cupcakes that were loved by her friends, family, and customers. “I felt really honored to be there as such a young company. A lot of our competitors had storefronts, and our first year anniversary is April 29th. Not to mention, neither myself and Andrea are trained bakers. It was an awesome experience,” said Thais.

Dia Doce hand-decorated cupcakes are prepared from scratch daily and made from 100 percent natural and often local ingredients.  Dia Doce’s cupcake truck’s schedule changes weekly, making stops throughout the region. Stay up-to-date by liking them on facebook or following their twitter. To place an order of her first prize cupcakes, contact Thais at [email protected] or 610-476-5684.

Thais told us to watch for big things in the future for Dia Doce. In the mean time, congratulations to Chester County’s own Dia Doce on winning the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”

Photographs credited to Mompops’ Issa Ostrander and Amy Strauss.