Planning my twin daughters’ birthday last month was a slightly depressing experience. No party, no friends from school…not even any visiting grandparents to spoil them rotten. I really wanted to deliver a happy birthday for them but my options were extremely limited in regards to how to do this. Fortunately, I was put in touch with the amazing Maria Shulgina and Iryna Chetcuti, owners of Desserts For U, a bespoke bakery based in Marsaskala. The two Paw Patrol cakes they produced (you can find a picture of them on their Instagram feed) were spectacular and utterly delicious. Despite all the restrictions that COVID had placed on the day, the cakes really did make the girls feel like it was a very special occasion. Here Maria and Iryna offer some advice and inspiration on all things birthday cake…

1. How did you get into cake baking and decorating and where did you learn to do it so incredibly well?

Five years ago my friend – and now my colleague – Iryna invited me to her house to make some cakes. She loved baking for her friends and relatives as gifts. She said, “Come and help me because you aren’t doing anything at the moment!” At the time, I was at home with no job and looking after my small children. For me, it was a totally new sphere – I had never had any experience of cake making and I knew nothing about it at all. I kept practising with her and we kept being told by her friends and relatives that they really loved our work.

We decided to learn more so signed up for some online courses with really well-respected schools in Kiev and St Petersburg. After that, we started to promote ourselves much more on Facebook and within the Russian expat groups here. We were so afraid to try but, little by little, people heard about us and we continued learning new techniques online.

After several years of building the business, we named ourselves Desserts for U four and a half years ago. We love what we do so much – we are so happy to have found our dream profession in our mid-thirties. We really have found our passion.

2. As the mother of two Paw Patrol fans, I think I might know the answer, but which designs are you most often asked for?

We spend most of our time designing children’s cakes for birthdays. Weddings and other special events are far more rare. When it comes to kids’ cakes, space theme is actually our most requested! We do lots of cakes with planets on them and they are such fun! They have become our signature style.

3. If a beginner baker is thinking of making a birthday cake for their child, what kind of design do you recommend?

If you want to make a cake for your child, the design is the tricky bit. People don’t come to us for cake – it is the custom-made design which really appeals to our clients. The cake needs to be absolutely delicious but the really special look of it is what makes a great impression.

We would recommend to start with sugar paste application rather than anything 3D because you can just roll out the colour and then cut the picture you need. As long as it’s bright and colourful, it will look great and be easy to make for the beginner.

4. Which is the most memorable cake you have ever made?

We made a wedding cake not long ago which really stood out. It was two tiers and covered in black icing with geode detailing and black 3D swans. You can see a picture of it here on our Instagram. We were so proud of this cake!

5. What will be your long-standing memories of 2020?

This year we tried to think positively. It’s been an opportunity to explore our craft and to learn more cake fillings and technical design approaches. There have been some delicious cakes created thanks to 2020!

Let us know if you have any questions for Maria and Iryna – we’ll keep in touch and pass on replies. Add your questions in the comments below or email

Maria Shulgina and Iryna Chetcuti

Maria and Iryna are the Marsaskala-based owners of Desserts for U. Offering bespoke cakes using a huge array of decorating techniques, we don’t think there is any request that they couldn’t create!