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Meet Mariana Cortez of Bunnie Cakes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariana Cortez.

Mariana’s son was turning two and she couldn’t find a cake for his birthday. Her son had an allergy to dairy, and she was unable to find a single bakery in Miami that could serve his dietary needs. Instead of giving up, Mariana saw the predicament as an opportunity: she would make the cake herself. She spent the next few weeks trying out different recipes until she found the perfect one. The experience made her realize the need for specialty bakeries, and that she could be the one to fill it. So in 2009, she founded Bunnie Cakes.

With both a mother and grandmother who were passionate about cooking, Mariana loved making food from a young age, and would bake with her grandmother often. Her love for art came early as well, as Mariana would spend hours drawing and painting throughout her childhood. It’s impossible to tell from the treats she creates that Mariana has no professional background in either design nor baking. Cakes painted with a lifelike Frida Kahlo and cupcakes frosted to resemble famous historical paintings are confectionary proof that dreams are achievable so long as you have a passion.

As a mother of five, Mariana’s family has been intertwined with her business from the start. “We’re used to the fact that this business is part of our family, we embrace it as if it’s another child.” Mariana recently expanded her business to include a summer camp, which all of her children attend, and one of her daughters assists her with a baking workshop. While at times Mariana has struggled to balance her time, her children have begun to recognize more and more the value of their mother’s commitment to her business, and the life lessons it provides them with. “Now that they’re older they feel proud when they see we’ve accomplished something. They’ve been part of this journey through the years. I try to see the hard work we’ve put in as something very positive. They’re learning that dreams are possible with hard work.”

Bunnie Cakes now has close to 20 employees full time, is sold locations in Whole Foods and Starbucks, and has a massive social media following as well as several mentions in the news. Bunnie Cakes continues to be an unstoppable force, with Mariana’s inspirational vision enabling it to thrive. Mariana has plans to open a second location, continue teaching, and of course, continue baking delicious and inspirational treats. “I get to express my creativity and I feel good doing it. That makes me happy.”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No. It hasn’t been easy for us. Being an entrepreneur and a mom of 5 is very challenging. So we have learn how to make sacrifices and compromises. A major struggle is always how to balance business and family life.

Bunnie Cakes – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our main product are the mini cupcakes, You have the vegan and the vegan-gluten free mini cupcakes, but we have a wide variety of pastries- cakes, brownies, cookies, cake popsicles, savory items like empanadas and sandwiches. Our bakery is special because is vegan, we are peanut and soy free and have a gluten free version of almost all our products. I am very visual and like to have a modern approach to decoration.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There have been several! I am super proud of our participation in Cupcake Wars where we got amazing reviews from the judges. Also being featured by the Governor as the recipient of the Job Creations award, doubling the size of our workforce in one year. Being selected by Starbucks by their only local partner in Miami.

Pricing:

  • Mini dozen cupcakes $27
  • Large dozen cupcakes $42
  • Cakes start at $55

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
@tinyhousephoto

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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