When Marjorie Silva needed a cake for her son’s first birthday party, she didn’t have many options to buy one in Satipo, a small town in the jungle of central Peru. So she took on the project herself—and inadvertently launched a career. Word of her flavorful cake—Peruvian vanilla with dulce de leche filling (a caramel made from milk and sugar)—spread quickly, and soon Silva was swamped with wedding and quinceañera orders.
Seeing a sweet business opportunity, Silva began taking baking classes, buying cake-decorating tools, and crafting a plan to open her own bakery in the United States—specifically, Englewood, where her mother already lived. “Two years later, I moved to Colorado with a couple of cake pans and my son,” Silva says. After a stint at the now-closed Sweet Rockin’ Coffee, where she learned the intricacies of high-altitude baking, Silva applied for a small business loan and opened Azucar Bakery in 2007. (“Azucar” means “sugar” in Spanish.)
The shop operated out of a tiny 800-square-foot space in Englewood until last summer, when Silva moved operations to a sunny storefront on South Broadway. Now customers can linger over coffee while enjoying Silva’s authentic Peruvian desserts. Among her specialties: crema volteada (the caramel-heavy Peruvian version of flan), orejitas (cinnamon palmiers), and alfajores (traditional shortbread sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche).
And Silva is still baking those tempting cakes that started it all. For the past four years, she’s been voted “Best Wedding Cake in Colorado” by wedding-planning website theknot.com. Her son, Fernando Pezo, who is now 16, inherited his mom’s love of baking and plans to study business so the family can open a collection of Peruvian cafes. “Fernando makes the best flan,” Silva says. “He’s excited about going into the family business. We’d like to keep the bakery here and do smaller shops where we serve Peruvian coffee and pastries. He thinks we’re going to be rich one day.”
1886 S. Broadway, 720-283-3294, azucarbakery.com