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Cupcake Battle Contestant: Elite Cake Creations

In Cuba in 1921, Beatriz Otero's ancestors founded a bakery called La Gran Via. It eventually grew to have 55 employees, five storefronts, and a dozen delivery

trucks. But when Fidel Castro came to power, the family fled to Puerto Rico. The

bakery was seized by the government and continues to operate under state control to this day, Otero says.

Otero's family opened another La Gran Via in Puerto Rico.  Otero was raised in the Dominican Republic but went to

college at Florida International University, where she got a degree in

business administration and marketing and wrote a thesis on the family

bakery. Not long afterward, she opened Elite Cake Creations.

"I wanted to continue my family's tradition of hard work, their reputation," she says.

Nowadays, Otero believes that her 4,000-square-foot storefront is "the

largest cake center in South Florida. Everything is prepared and

decorated here."

Specialties include cakes for any occasion, including divorces. "Oh,

those are fun!" Otero says. "We started the divorce cake upon the

request of our customers. We get a lot of information from them -- try

to please them as much as we

can. One lady was getting a divorce and threw herself a party. We

started the trend. It made

us very popular when it comes to that." She now gets orders for about

four divorce cakes per month.

Another specialty is old-school Cuban desserts such as "The Mexican,"

which she says is like a ganache with a cool decoration; sponge cake in

tropical flavors like lemon, orange, or strawberry; and the "Dobo," which

is a seven-layer cake separated by sheets of dark chocolate


Lately, Otero says, her company has been expanding its business in

cupcakes and cake bites ("I don't particularly like to call them 'cake

balls,'" she notes. "I had a problem with that about four years ago.").

On an everyday basis, the bakery cranks out standard flavors like

vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet; customers can also special-request

flavors like margarita, gingerbread, and snickerdoodle. They sell for

$2.50 and up, or $30 and up for a dozen. Soon, Otero will launch a

service called "Cupcake a la cart" -- for special events, she'll bring

naked cupcakes on a mobile cart, plus an array of toppings like

sprinkles and gummy bears that guests can use to decorate their own

cupcake and then take home in a cute box.

Otero wouldn't reveal what flavor she'd be passing out during the April 20 New

Times Cupcake Battle at the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival -- where

eight bakeries will vie for awards like Best Tasting, Best

Decorated, and Fan Favorite. (Tickets are available here.)

"I think we're doing test runs next week," she said.

To reach Elite Cake Creations, visit the website, or call 954-450-2685.

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Deirdra Funcheon

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