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FeatureSpotlightWinter 2021

Cakelandia: Making Killeen Sweet

Carmen Orta

It is often referenced that dreams start from childhood and manifest once you are old enough to manage and make it come to pass; however, this common myth is quite the opposite for Puerto Rico native Carmen Orta. Carmen had no aspirations of baking nor owning and operating two businesses as a young child, but now she is reaping the benefits of her 11 year old business endeavours.

Sweet Dreams Come True

Brought to Central Texas via the military, Carmen aspired to bring some of the vibrancy of Puerto Rico to her new home. She has always found joy in baking; therefore, she started baking as a pastime for friends and family. Carmen quickly learned that her delicacies were in high demand and she wanted to answer the call.

With no professional or culinary training, Carmen, her husband Harry, and her daughter started their first in-home bakery, Sweets Del Encanto Bakery, which didn’t sustain in her home for long. The orders were coming in faster than she could count and she found herself baking around the clock. As a family, they decided to step out on faith and move the bakery into its own establishment. Though the business was thriving, due to management changes, Carmen had to move the bakery back to her home.  

Opportunity Knocks

Over the next few years, Carmen continued to face challenges in pursuing her own establishment. Moreover, this did not stop Carmen from pushing forward and exploring new avenues of achieving sweet success. In the fall of 2019, Carmen was presented with a business merger with Social Coffee Bar in Killeen, that she could not refuse. This opportunity would not only benefit both businesses, but the community as well.

In December 2019, Social Coffee Bar and Sweets Del Encanto Bakery opened their doors as a team. Members of the community frequent the modern establishment for the perfect duo of choice coffee and sweet treats. The best selling pastry is a Puerto Rican cream cheese pastry called Quesito. 

There’s More To Come

Though both businesses were thriving, Carmen continued to see a demand for not only pastries and baked goods, but for baking supplies as well. As her baking needs increased and became more specialized, she had to depend on resources beyond the confines of the Fort Hood/Killeen area.  In the midst of unprecedented times, the onset of COVID-19, the demand for baking supplies continued to rise and Carmen continued to grapple with how to supply consumers with what they needed. After much prayer and research, Carmen and her family took another leap of faith with the goal of supplying the community with a baking supply store that was desperately needed.

With the help of her family and friends, on September 28, 2020, Cakelandia opened its doors to the public. In this quant shop, bakers, baker enthusiasts, and lovers of baked goods can find a variety of baking supplies, unique and speciality items, and place orders for large and small special events. This family owned business has found great success and is preparing to expand as well as provide more culinary education to the community. 

Carmen has future plans of providing culinary courses both virtually and in person, with the goal of eventually starting a culinary arts school that will stretch back to her roots in Puerto Rico. Keeping with the motto Making Killeen Sweet, Carmen is sweetening the community one sweet treat at a time. 


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