May 2, 2009 in Features

Cakes sweeten bitter breakups

Company adds divorce cakes to help boost business
Cindy Kent Sun Sentinel
 
McClatchy Tribune photo

McClatchy Tribune The Broken Heart cake is part of the divorce cake collection at Elite Cake Creations in Pembroke Pines, Fla..
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On a typical Saturday, Elite Cake Creations delivers 18 wedding cakes from Miami to Palm Beach, Fla.

But it recently added a novelty to its traditional line: divorce cakes.

No milestone should go unnoticed – even divorces, says Beatriz Otero, who co-owns the Pembroke Pines, Fla., bakery with her brother, Jorge Garcia.

Divorce cakes look and taste like wedding cakes, but the cake-top depicts scenes of domestic discord, not bliss.

A heart-shaped cake broken in pieces features a groom standing on one piece, the bride on another. A cake made to look like the blackened walls of a prison cell is decorated with a ball and broken chain.

Scenes portray chaos and mayhem: A bride takes her groom out with the trash; a man sits dejected on a curb; a woman is about to dump her man over a waterfall. A cemetery of broken marriages is marked by tiny tombstones; an open casket bears a ring.

Recently divorced Tony Farina of Fort Lauderdale had purchased cakes from Elite before. On a recent visit, he was in the market for closure. He’s getting a cake for himself and two friends also recently divorced. They’ll get all their buddies together and … eat cake.

To debut the divorce cakes, Otero created a sidewalk reception and trade show in front of her shop. She invited people she knew were divorced – some had even purchased wedding cakes from her.

Wedding cakes lined the walk. Another newly launched product, Cake Bites, was displayed.

But the spotlight was on the crushed dreams of brides and grooms.

In 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau reported about 50 percent of marriages end in divorce nationwide. Though that figure has remained fairly steady, there has been a dropoff.

In the past year there has been a slight decrease in Florida divorce filings, said Lake Worth, Fla., attorney Pamela Wynn. That’s largely due to the economy and poor housing market, she said. When the market improves, divorce filings will increase because couples will finally be able to sell their home.

Stenovia Curry of Enchantment Event Planning Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has planned about eight divorce parties since she opened her business five years ago. But until she met Otero at a bridal show recently, she ordered generic cakes.

Partnering with Otero, she anticipates an increase in business.

“It’s very hard to find a flexible baker,” said Curry.

But not everyone is ready to celebrate their divorce right away – if ever, said Otero.

Healing from her own divorce about five years ago was a long, painful process, she said.

“In no way are we encouraging or being flippant about a serious situation,” Otero said. “On the other hand, when people looking for closure are ready to move on, we can help them celebrate that.”

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