Divorce cakes sweeten business
We covered this once before, but here’s an update. Also, I’m curious what you think about this. Kind of a gloomy addition to a cake business, but maybe in some places the consumer is ready for divorce cake. Is there any risk of scaring off the new bridal customer who doesn’t want to think about the possibility?
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, said Beatriz Otero.
Divorce cakes look and taste like wedding cakes, but the cake-top depicts scenes of domestic discord, not bliss. 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.
It’s about looking at life with a wider lens, said Otero.
Recently divorced Tony Farina of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 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.
Farina perused the mini- dramas played out atop a carpet of chiffon icing and fluff, but left the final choice to the shop.
“I completely trust Beatriz,” Farina said about picking out a divorce-themed cake. “She’ll come up with something we like, she always does.”
Elite makes about 1,500 novelty cakes annually: for corporate events, to celebrate a new job or to reflect a passion for cars, fishing or pets.
The bakery handles more than 1,200 wedding orders annually.
To debut the divorce cakes, Otero created a sidewalk reception and trade show in front of her shop. She spent about $1,500 for marketing materials, invitations and fliers, samples and displays.
She invited people she knew were divorced — some had even purchased wedding cakes from her. Party planners brought clients. A linen supplier, DJ and photographer came.
Wedding cakes lined the walk. Another newly launched product: Cake Bites, were displayed.
But the spotlight was on the crushed dreams of brides and grooms.
The 2002 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 drop off.
Elite’s premium cakes that serve 100 guests begin at about $350.
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, Otero said. “In no way are we encouraging or being flippant about a serious situation,” she said. “On the other hand, when people looking for closure are ready to move on, we can help them celebrate that.”