The plain exterior of the family-owned Candelaria’s Bakery on Gus Thomasson Road in Mesquite doesn’t let on to the magic that happens inside. Even walking into the shop, nestled between an elementary school and an event center, all you’ll find is a modest glass case on the right filled with a handful of sweet baked creations and a wall lined with display cakes on the left. Nothing fancy, just a small shop reminiscent of pastelerias in Mexico, but with a more creative twist.
The bakery is run and operated by the Candelaria family, which came to the United States over 25 years ago and got its start at home when a young mother, Maria Candelaria, decided to she would bake her children’s birthday cakes. Maria eventually started to tweak the recipes and change the ingredients, creating what are now the bakery’s signature flavors, envinado (a wine-flavored pound cake) and Napolitano, along with a wide range of other classic flavors. Neighbors started ordering cakes, and eventually the family had enough business to move into its current location.
In a world of celebrity bakers and large-scale bakeries that churn out cookie-cutter cakes, the Candelarias keep it simple. They bake deliciously moist cakes made in small batches and baked by Maria and her husband, Carlos Candelaria, and they haven’t forgotten the reason they started baking — to help people celebrate life’s moments.
“We have been baking for so long that we have become a part of other people’s lives. They start with birthday cakes, go on to special life events like quinceañeras, graduations, religious milestones, weddings, baby showers, kids' birthdays, anniversaries and so on. We grow with our customers, and it’s wonderful to be able to be a part of it,” says daughter Iris Candelaria.
“On the weekends alone, we bake 10 to 20 wedding and quinceañera or specialty tiered cakes and between 70 to 100 regular custom cakes,” she says.
Cakes are lovingly decorated whether for a 1-year-old's birthday, an opening night for a local arts organization or Stan Lee’s 94th birthday (yes, that Stan Lee). A dedicated decorating team made up of Iris and her sister Ana Garcia and cousins Cristal and Cris ensure that cakes are more works of art than simple desserts. Family friends Angelina and Juana round out the team by helping with decorating prep.
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“My mom, Maria, and father, Carlos, are the foundation to our success as a whole. My mother had a dream, and my father helped make it happen, planted the seeds, and we are now in charge of that cake garden,” Iris says.
Grandchildren are also present now, helping when they can and learning about the business so they can take over the one day and continue to provide edible art covered in whipped icing to the North Texas community.
Candelaria's Bakery, 5211 Gus Thomasson Road, Mesquite