Home / Blog / Eat, Drink, Savor: Dulce Montoya’s wonderland of beautiful desserts 

Eat, Drink, Savor: Dulce Montoya’s wonderland of beautiful desserts 

Sep 14, 2023Sep 14, 2023

Before Dulce Montoya started selling her ornately decorated cookies, cupcakes, and cakes as a home baker in San Juan Bautista, she had been cooking for fun and never gave a thought to creating her own business.

"I would always look at things on Facebook and Instagram," she said," and one day I just thought to myself, ‘I could do that—I’ll give it a try.’ I had never done any baking before. I was a mama's girl back in Mexico and she did all the cooking."

She started studying baking in 2016 and, as many professional home bakers do, built a reputation by making cakes for neighbors and friends.

"I made a birthday cake for my dad one year," Montoya said. "He took it with him, then he came back a few days later and said, ‘OK, I have two orders for cakes,’ and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So that's how it all started."

Her husband Oscar became Montoya's biggest booster, taking her latest creations to share with coworkers; he would come home with even more orders. "I was making little caramel empanadas," she said. "I would put them in a Ziploc bag, and he would sell them by the half dozen at work."

As her popularity grew, Montoya took the step to become a certified home baker, allowing her to become a fully licensed business owner.

"It took a while," she said. "They did not want to send anyone out to certify the kitchen because of the pandemic. But before that, I had to figure out labels with ingredients for each different flavor of cake in case someone is allergic to something, and I had to come up with business card designs—things like that."

Montoya markets her themed cakes, cake pop, cupcakes, cookies, and other edible delights through Facebook. She also does commissions, such as the suite of cupcakes in white and Baler Red she created for the Hollister High School tenth reunion held at the 18th Barrel as well as pastel floral-themed cupcakes for Dona Esthers’ 41st anniversary.

"It got to the point where I was doing nothing but baking cakes," she said. "I was baking seven cakes every weekend, and it just got to be too much because I also do all the decorating myself. So now I try to keep it to three or under so I still have time for my family."

But she still has her overload moments: recently, she handled the desserts for a baptism which required a three-tier cake, three smaller cakes, 50 cupcakes, 50 cakesicles, and 100 decorated pretzel sticks.

"I could not have gotten through it without my son, Angel, helping me," she said. "He is 15 years old, and before that, whenever he offered, I would say ‘No, no, no,’ and he’d say, ‘OK, forget it.’ But this time, he did all the pretzels, and it helped me a lot."

No matter how busy she gets, Montoya loves her work and is always looking for more things to do. When her four-year-old daughter took a liking to fancy decorated bows for her hair, Montoya started making them for her and, in the process, created an entire side business.

Now she spends about seven hours a day in her kitchen, baking, making bows, and decorating hand-held mirrors, which she sells online and at craft fairs.

"I always tell my husband work helps me relax," she said. "I always have to have something to do. Sometimes he’ll tell me, ‘You don't look very relaxed—It looks like it is stressing you out more,’ but, no, it gives me a chance to be in my little zone."

The desserts of Ducle Montoya

Vanilla Bundt cake with strawberries – Denser in texture than her cupcakes, this bundt cake is still light as a cloud, and the white chocolate ganache frosting compliments the topping of fresh strawberries very well. Most of the sweetness comes from the fruit—Montoya intentionally holds back on the sugar to let the rest of the flavors shine. "Buttercream is just butter with confectioners sugar," she said. "That is not a lot different than just eating sugar. People tell me they like my frostings because they are lighter that way.

Cakesicles – The cakesicles are pretty much what they sound like: cake shaped like a popsicle, complete with the stick, and wrapped in a thick candy shell. Montoya made me some variations in chocolate: two with different kinds of melted chocolate drizzles, one with chocolate and cream cheese chips, one with crumbled Fruity Pebbles cereal, one with crumbled Chips Ahoy cookies, and one with marzipan. They were all very attractively done—the one with Fruity Pebbles looked like a little jewel box. Montoya said these are some of her most popular items and it is easy to see why. They are moist, almost to the point of being saturated and the variations are as wonderful to eat as they are to look at.

Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry glaze filling and white chocolate frosting – "White chocolate is just on point," Montoya said. "It is not too sweet, and it's not lacking in flavor. Mixed into a little whipped cream, it's my go-to flavor for frosting unless someone requests something else." The cupcakes are nicely baked with a spongy texture, the strawberry is a bright addition, and the combination of whipped cream and white chocolate is delicious, with an almost meringue-like mouthfeel. The temptation is just to lick the frosting off the top of the cupcakes, so it is lucky that Montoya is generous with it. This is my pick of the tasting.

Red velvet cookies – "I have three children, and they just love red velvet cookies," Montoya said. "I make a lot of them because I know they’re gonna eat them up!" Moist and flavorful, Montoya mixed up the selection by adding white chocolate chips to some and a drizzle of melted white chocolate to others. These large, spongy cookies are beautiful on their own, however, and would be great as a quick dessert warmed through and served with some vanilla ice cream.

Recommendations for future Eat, Drink, Savor articles can be emailed to [email protected].

BenitoLink thanks our underwriters, Hollister Super and Windmill Market, for helping to expand the Eat, Drink, Savor series and give our readers the stories that interest them. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support reporting on the inspired and creative people behind the many delicious food and drink products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.

Before Dulce Montoya started selling her ornately