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
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.