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Exploring Life & Business with Felicia Miranda of Cakes by Felicia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Felicia Miranda.

Hi Felicia, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I have a passion for baking from scratch and decorating cakes. I remember when I was young, trying to make box cakes fancy with swirls I made using the back of a spoon. In 2001, I decorated my first custom cake using the instructions that came with it, purchased all the tools it listed, and googled the decorating part. It was an Elmo cake and when I finished, it looked like Elmo. A few years later, I signed up for a cake decorating class at a craft store and ended up taking all the courses they offered, not once but twice! I started baking as a hobby and fell in love with ALL of it!

Always eager to learn the newest technique or latest cake trend and that hasn’t changed much today. I moved back home to San Antonio in 2008 and worked full time in an office and kept decorating cakes when I wasn’t at work. Anytime there was a holiday, I would make flyers to hang in the breakroom and bake when I could. In 2013, I married my best friend and he would always encourage me to go back to school for baking. He believed in me before I believed in myself. I thought he was crazy, really crazy! The year after our wedding, I lost my job and he motivated me to get in gear and tour the campus at the Culinary Institute of America, so I did. It felt like a dream to be in those kitchens and imagine myself in culinary school. I never thought THIS would really be my life.

Destiny took the wheel in 2014 & presented me with an opportunity to follow my dreams and enroll in the Baking & Pastry Arts program at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, so I did. Lots of late nights and early mornings, only one absence throughout the entire two-year program, and complete my externship in Austin. One sacrifice after another but we did it and I graduated! The following year, I quit my job at a bakery to go into business for myself as a Personal Pastry Chef and open Cakes by Felicia. Sometimes it feels like I’m watching a movie about someone else’s life. I never knew jobs that didn’t feel like work existed. Growing up, I thought it was the opposite. Get a job, like it or not, to pay the bills and support your family.

That is not the case, it IS possible to work at a job you enjoy that doesn’t feel like work. I still can’t believe I get to DO what I love every day, no matter what arises. I’m extremely proud of myself for not giving up and turning a setback into a comeback. Anyone can do it, you just have to believe it, stay focused, and work hard. We would not be here today without the love and support from our community, for that we are forever thankful. Clients sharing their sweet feedback is confirmation that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. We are currently located at a food court kiosk inside Rolling Oaks Mall, and we can’t wait to BAKE your day better!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Definitely, bumpy, curvy, zigzag road, and sometimes you hit a dead end without any signs. Some of the biggest challenges we experience are weather, product stability, equipment, and capacity. Most of the time I work alone and have my husband or friends help with big orders/special events.

Our very first outdoor market, we didn’t really know what to expect. didn’t consider the weather and we used to make everything on-site with our countertop convection oven and KitchenAid mixers. We baked and decorated cupcakes, buttercream, and chocolate-dipped treats but this Texas heat wasn’t having it. When our treats started melting, onto plan B and we stopped baking on-site, lesson learned. Now we only take prepackaged products to pop-ups or market

Another challenge is baking bread without a proofer. When we first started making bread, my husband made a DIY proofer using a half-size speed rack wrapped in trash bags and duct tape to prevent steam from escaping along with a pot of boiling water that we had to constantly switch out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

As you know, we’re big fans of Cakes by Felicia, LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I love what I do! Being a Personal Pastry Chef allows me to think outside the box, personalize the order as much or as little as possible and bring client ideas to life through my edible art. Our specialty is baking from scratch custom cakes, pastries, and gourmet desserts. When clients allow us the opportunity to bake for them, we take it seriously and provide excellent service. Our slogan is quality, consistency, and creativity.

We use quality ingredients to provide a consistent product with our own touch of creativity. Our integrity, strong work ethic, and consistency in the type of product we put out are what sets our company apart. When I bake, I don’t just set it and forget it but instead, I take the time to ensure it’s baked to golden perfection. If that means rotating every 10 minutes, so be it. When it’s done, If I wouldn’t eat it or buy it myself, I don’t sell it.

My favorite sweet treat to make is custom cakes, specifically sculpted cakes. Having the skill to transform flour, sugar, and butter into a beautiful cake or pastry is magical. Some examples of sculpted cakes I created include realistic animals, baseball caps for NBA and MLB teams, and a Cohiba Cigar Box using chocolate-dipped pretzels wrapped in fondant for the cigars with white ash at the end. I love being creative with food.

There are several accomplishments we are proud of, one that tops the list is most definitely being a Sugar Angel with Icing Smiles it’s truly an honor and fills my soul to bake for these children that may not be feeling their best. As a Sugar Angel, we receive a ‘call to action’ to bake custom cakes for kids that might be sick or hospitalized. We also provide cakes for their siblings since the entire family is affected when one child is sick. We also serve our community baking custom cakes for local nonprofit organizations for birthdays, events, or holidays. Another thing I’m proud of creating is our brand.

The logo was created through Wix, the slogan was created through brainstorming and together they complement the type of service we provide. Our website was created using online tutorials and tons of tech support. I learned about domain names, data sets, linking one click to redirect to another page, and even learned about SEOs! It took a long time and lots of patience to get it published but I did it! Since launching our website and changes due to the Pandemic, we upgraded to an online store faster than we expected. Now, clients from all around the world can view our menu online and place orders locally for friends or family. To date, we have fulfilled orders from California, Germany & the Philippines!

I’m extremely grateful to have the local resources available through our city and take advantage when I can. Shortly after starting my business, I enrolled in the Break, Fast & Launch program. Not only did I gain a ton of knowledge about the food industry but I also got to meet and network with other small business owners. It was also where I learned the importance of having an online presence and marketing your brand which led me to create my logo and develop my website.

Highly recommend this program to anyone in the industry.

How do you think about luck?
I don’t believe in luck, I believe in working hard at what you want in life. All of us deal with different things daily, it’s up to us to decide which path to take. The Easy Road to being comfortable and accept it or catch a bus to Dream Boulevard, where it can be uncomfortable and challenging to maneuver yet well worth the journey.

And always remember if it were easy, everybody would be doing it!

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Miranda Media

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