Sara Paz-Claro and Eddy Claro took a ride on the fast track at a young age.
Before Sara was even 17, the high-school sweethearts began earning money for college by working events and weddings referred by Sara's mother, cake queen Ana Paz.
Soon the side gig turned into a full-time company. For 17 years, the life partners saw their dreams come true as their event company grew. At its apex, the two were supplying linens and lighting to high-end facilities such as the Ritz-Carlton, and they started to invest in real estate, with plans for early retirement. Then tragedy struck.
Sara, then 32, suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage. "We were scaling the ladders to success, we had a 2-year-old son, and then a doctor is telling me that my wife might not make it," Eddy says. Sara pulled through in what Eddy says was a miracle. But the health scare was a warning they needed to take a different path. "It was a breaking point," Eddy says.
So they decided to try their hand at the family business: baking cakes. A few years earlier, Eddy had suggested to his famous mother-in-law that she should start a line of corporate cakes that could be ordered online and delivered in a few days. The cakes would be just as delicious but not as elaborate as the multitiered custom creations Paz was used to baking for weddings. "While we were in the middle of trying to figure out what we could do," Eddy says, "Ana suggested we implement the idea I gave to her."
More than nine years later, the Office Cake makes cakes for everything from birthdays to corporate meetings to housewarmings. The cakes are made from virtually the same recipes and the same ingredients as Ana Paz cakes, with a few differences, Eddy says. "The Ana Paz shop is kosher parve, and we aren't, so we can use more delicious fillings using nonkosher creams." Cakes from Office Cakes are also more affordable because they're not as customizable or elaborate. "We stick to what's on the website," Eddy says.
The site touts a large variety of flavors, including double chocolate Nutella, almond guava, and a café colada cake that Eddy describes as "basically a chocolate and vanilla cake with Cuban coffee that we get at the cafeteria next door." Cakes start at $29, and extras such as candles, gift boxes, and balloons are available. There's also an option to add a cake knife, plates, and forks, or you can opt out if you're "raised by wolves." The cakes are delivered to Miami-area homes or offices within a specified timeframe.
In addition, the Office Cake bakes creations for children in Miami-area orphanages through Kakes 4 Kids. The program delivers custom birthday cakes to children who wouldn't normally have any kind of celebration. "Kids get to choose — Batman or Wonder Woman or whatever they like," Eddy says. To offset the cost, Office Cake offers customers the option to donate to the nonprofit.
Eddy says he and his family are enjoying the slightly slower pace. "It's a sweeter life."
The Office Cake. 305-444-3202; theofficecake.com.
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