New Yorker of Trinidadian descent shows kindness by cooking and baking

Danielle Duncan, owner of Dani’s Desserts.
Photo courtesy Danielle Duncan

Danielle Duncan is 22 years old who has been baking for half her life, and she is a pretty good cook as well. Though she was not born in Trinidad and Tobago, she has spent most of her life there growing up and visiting family.

“My family always made sure we knew where we were from and experienced the culture. It’s such a beautiful place where our motto is ‘may every creed and race find an equal place,” Duncan said.

Her parents used to have a restaurant, and her dad studied under a chef in Trinidad when he was her age, which is why she thinks it is in her blood.

“I grew up watching him make wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and Trinidad sponge cake and black cake too,” she said. Her interest in baking started around her 12th birthday. “My dad was making a Monster High themed cake for my party and I was just fascinated in the process, the way he was so concentrated but yet made it look so easy,” she added.

She then asked her dad if he could teach her to bake. From there, she began making everyone’s birthday cakes and/or cupcakes. She was in the kitchen any chance she got, making a mess, but falling in love with baking. That is what led to her business, Dani’s Desserts, being started in 2021.

This is why she says her parents have had the greatest influence on her and the path she has chosen.

“My dad is the one that taught me a lot of what I know. He showed me how to make buttercream from scratch and how to decorate cakes. My mom is the one who’s always honest and my biggest critic. She gives me the tough love that I need to get better. My own personal Gordon Ramsey if that makes sense,” Duncan continued.

Her step dad is her biggest supporter. “He promotes my business all the time at work and always knows what to say when I’m in a funk,” she said.

In  addition, she stated that living in Brooklyn, she was “always around great people who became family.”  “They would come over and hang out or open their homes to us,” she added.

She uses the skills God blessed her with to spread kindness. “Every holiday season I help my parents with their orders and also help bake treats to give back to the people who have always been there for us,” she continued.

Her favorite thing to do back home in Trinidad was to go to the beach and hang out. “Growing up I was always with my family and just enjoying time with each other. It makes sense that that’s still one of my favorite things to do. Now that I’m older I also like to go out by myself too and explore new places while finding more about myself,” she said.

Other acts of kindness she has done, with her family, include helping give food plates out during the holidays to the elderly in our church and any extras to those in need.

“It spreads kindness and makes someone’s day easier and better. It’s something that the youth can see as well and hopefully they continue it when they get older or come up with a new way that brings better change,” she continued.

Although she has not thought much about the short-term or long-term goals for the business, she wants to be the one to bring generational wealth to her family. “I want it to grow into something so many people can become involved with and a part of. I want my business to be high end but still humble.”

She wants to inspire younger generations, letting them know: “if they love something, they can turn it into a career.”

To support Duncan’s business, those interested can follow Dani’s Desserts on Instagram here: