Pleesecakes turned down Dragons’ Den offer and business has never been better

03 Apr 2019

Cheesecake-maker Joe Moruzzi tells Bride how the business has quickly grown since 2017

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Pleesecakes launched in 2017 and founder Joe Moruzzi hasn’t had a break since: “I’m well due a holiday!” he says. 

The company’s sudden success came as somewhat of a surprise to Joe, who is originally from Tadworth in Surrey. “I had a painting and decorating company for about three years. I started making cheesecakes in 2015, just for friends and family. I used to bring them to the site for the boys to test and try.” 

 
 
 
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A few years later, Joe decided to turn his hobby into a profitable side project. “At the start I wanted to sell four cakes a month. I set up an Instagram page on January 3rd 2017 and posted six photos. We started with about 40 followers.” 

Joe Wicks, better known as The Body Coach, is an Instagram influencer with more than 2.6 million followers; he’s also a good friend of Joe’s. He shared one of Pleesecakes’ posts and Joe says: “From there it just went viral. We got 50 orders for cakes on the first day and we had 15,000 followers in the first six days. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Joe and his business partner at the time Brendon Parry started making cakes in Brendon’s maisonette – “his wife wasn’t best pleased,” says Joe.  The pair soon moved to a rented kitchen in Croydon and it wasn’t long before they were commissioned for a very special project. 

“In June 2017 we made a cake for the Queen. It was for McVities – they rang and said we’ve got a VIP customer and just mentioned, ‘Oh, it’s the Queen’.” The pair had just closed the kitchen for the day and ran back in to make the cake using all McVities’ ingredients. The cake was delivered to Clarence House the next day. 

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The inspiration behind Pleesecakes is always to be thinking outside the box, experimenting with flavours and designs to create visually-exciting and great tasting products. “We’ve got some incredible flavours: sticky toffee pudding, cranberry and chocolate chip cookie dough, lemon and basil – there’s so many.” Joe wants to bring the generic cheesecake into the 21st  century with his designs.

In November 2017, Pleesecakes signed a book deal. The first draft was written just two months later. Pleesecakes: 60 AWESOME No-Bake Cheesecake Recipes was released in March 2018 and Joe revealed there may be a book two in the future…

 
 
 
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Joe appeared on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield in July 2017 – “Live TV is really quite scary,” he says. And in May 2018, the producer of Dragons’ Den invited Pleesecakes to appear on the show. “I thought I might as well. It was filmed in June 2018 at MediaCity in Manchester. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I was in the den for an hour and a half but it did go quite quickly.” 

Despite being offered a significant investment from Touker Suleyman, Joe turned the Dragon down. “He wanted a massive chunk of the company but I knew the potential of the business, I knew the products, I had the vision. I didn’t think I needed to give it away.”

And since, business has only gotten busier. Pleesecakes supplies Selfridges’ bakery and are currently looking to launch their products with Deliveroo and Ocado. The team has developed a range of vegan recipes too, including chocolate and chilli, and chocolate orange, to name a few.

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Pleesecakes has worked with lots of brides and grooms, and when it comes to wedding cakes Joe says: “There are so many options out there – you don’t have to be too conservative nowadays. It’s a changing industry; everyone’s looking for something different.” A wedding cake from Pleesecakes starts from just £45 per layer, or customers can order a range of mini-cheesecakes for guests to enjoy.

The company also offers a Build Your Own Cheesecake Bar which has proved popular with couples looking for an alternative to the traditional wedding cake. Guests can design their own cheesecake and watch it being built in front of them in just minutes. “It’s so engaging and exciting,” says Joe. 

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Click here for more wedding cake inspiration.

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