For Hortenssia, baking is a spiritual act. She will tell you that baking channels the baker’s emotions into the pastry, so Hortenssia (center) makes a point of training all of her employees (pictured to her left and her right) to experience and exhibit joy when they are serving or baking at Love Cupcake Café.
“You can taste the difference,” she explains.
In starting Love Cupcake Café, Hortenssia drew on a love of cooking and baking that started when she was a child selling cookies and tamales on the side of the road in her hometown of Tijuana. After working in law enforcement and HR, the economic downturn found Hortenssia out of work and bored.
She started baking merely to pass the time, with her husband Juan eventually bringing her cupcakes to his work, which greatly increased Juan’s popularity around the office. This experience led Hortenssia to turn her hobby into an online business. She also enrolled in a pastry decorating school to broaden her skill set.
One day, her uncle suggested that she open her own storefront bakery. When she explained that she had tried and failed to find financing for such an endeavor, her uncle offered to lend her money as seed capital. With the money from her uncle, Hortenssia quickly found herself behind the counter of her own bakery café.
Now that Love Cupcake Café has been operating for some time, Hortenssia has decided to supplement her considerable cupcake sales with some new sandwich offerings, hoping to appeal to the working lunch crowd while diversifying her revenue stream. She will use her Kiva loan to purchase several pieces of equipment to produce hot sandwiches and paninis.
Down the road, Hortenssia hopes to open additional locations, but for now, she is content seeing happy faces leaving her store in Chula Vista, the community that nurtured and supported her dream.