LOGAN SQUARE – A Puerto Rican bakery serving fruit-filled cupcakes and other sweet and savory island treats opens on Fullerton Avenue in Logan Square.
Borinken cakes takes over a vacant storefront at 3313 W. Fullerton Ave. Owner Rachel Diaz aims to open on August 1.
The Logan Square store will be Borinken Cakes’ second location, joining its flagship in Archer Heights. Diaz also ran a mall kiosk in the suburb of Norridge, but she recently closed it to focus on brick and mortar stores.
“We are very happy to be a part of this community,” said Diaz. “We were asked to open in this [neighborhood] for a long time. We are very happy that this is finally happening.
Diaz, 32, has been cooking since childhood and uses family recipes passed down from generation to generation. Diaz and his family are from San Juan.
Diaz had previously designed toys and craft kits for big retailers like Target, keeping his baking skills only as a hobby. She decided to turn this passion into a business in 2019 after closing her business and had her second son.
“I just had to rethink my life: what do I want to do? Do I want to go back to the office world now that I have two children? Work from home and continue to conceive? It was not satisfying enough, ”she said. “I would like to do something bigger for the community.
With the help of her sister and mother, Diaz started Borinken Cakes in a communal kitchen in Archer Heights, where she lives with her husband and their two sons, 13 and 3.
Business took off. After months of pandemic delay, Diaz opened a mall kiosk in Harlem Irving Plaza at 4104 N. Harlem Ave. in July 2020. Months later, she opened her first brick and mortar bakery in Archer Heights.
Now Diaz is making moves again. She decided not to renew her lease at Norridge so she could open in Logan Square, where she said she had built up a solid client base.
The Fullerton Avenue storefront is perfect because it’s next door to the Caribbean-American restaurant Caribella, which already offers Borinken Cakes cupcakes, Diaz said.
Borinken Cakes Logan Square will have a limited menu similar to that at the mall’s kiosk: cupcakes made with guava and passion fruit and other toppings popular in Puerto Rico, such as Nutella and coconut; merenguitos, or small meringues; quesitos, or small cheese pastries; and guava-filled pastries called pastelillitos.
“In Puerto Rico, we like to play with three things: Guava, Coconut, and Nutella,” Diaz said. “The way we bake cakes on the island is different from here. For a very long time, I thought this was the normal way of cooking. Our cakes are very soft, infused with other flavors.
Diaz serves cupcakes rather than cakes because they are more accessible and affordable, she said.
All cupcakes and pastries will be baked in the Archer Heights store with fresh ingredients, some sourced from Puerto Rico. Diaz said she had parents who brought passion fruits to Chicago from the island when they made trips there. The fruits “just don’t taste the same in the United States,” she said.
Diaz said Borinken Cakes is a love letter to his two aunts, who taught him how to bake Puerto Rican sweets from an early age. Both women have passed away in recent years and the bakery is a way to carry on their legacy, she said.
One of the first recipes Diaz learned from his aunts – a brandy-infused vanilla cake topped with crispy almond frosting – is on the menu in the form of a cupcake.
“People need to take advantage of these beautiful things that they were making,” Diaz said.
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