Laura Rivera, nicknamed Lola the Baker, grew up in a kitchen. Her great-grandmother Lola loved baking and spent most of her time with Laura crafting sweets such as cakes, brownies, and frostings.
Rivera, who graduated from Florida State University with a degree in psychology, always held baking near to her heart. She says it's been one of her most beloved pastimes since she was a little girl. As years went by, Rivera's hobby morphed into a full-fledged business endeavor, turning her leisure activity into an around-the-clock position.
"It was always one of those things I would do for fun," she says, "but about two years ago, I realized, Wow, I can actually do this." Inspired by her great-grandmother, Rivera named her newly formed company Lola the Baker.
"I was working as an event manager at the time," she says, "but then, a few months into it, I decided to go completely full-time. It's been going great so far — slowly but surely."
Rivera specializes in a bevy of confections, from beer-infused cupcakes to large cakes, cake pops, cake-in-a-jar, and even canine treats. She works out of her garage, which she transformed into a makeshift bakery.
"I can literally bake all day every day," she laughs. "It's always something different. It's really my passion, though. It's the difference between working to live and living to work."
Among her favorite sweets to bake are beer- or liquor-infused cupcakes and cake-in-a-jar. Rivera, who as an event manager has organized various beer festivals across Miami, says she has always been interested in beer. As for cramming cakes inside jars, she says she was hungry for a way to send her creations to out-of-towners.
"Since Miami's beer scene has developed so rapidly, it's given me so many flavors to play with," she says. "And cupcakes and cakes can so easily get messed-up. But when they're in a jar, they stay put and can be shipped over night."
Flavors vary, from banana flambé with burnt marshmallow, chocolate stout, and mint chocolate chip, to red velvet with chocolate ganache filling, Tortuga rum cake, and vanilla rum. Most of the treats can be made gluten-free and vegan too.
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For now, all of Rivera's sweets are made-to-order. She says she'd like to purchase an Airstream trailer soon to allow her to mobilize her business. Eventually, she says, she'd love to own a warehouse.
"I will always want to keep it very personal, though," she says. "I wouldn't want it to be a shop where someone just shows up. I want everything to be custom and keep it made-to-order."
For more information about Lola the Baker and to place an order, visit lolathebaker.com.