Puerto Rican quesitos. Chocoflan. Candies enchilados. Tres Leches cake.
If you live near Kenedy, you may have met the two young ladies who are determined to make a business out of their unique Mexican and Puerto Rican desserts.
Elaine Ruiz and Kim Alaniz met in October of last year and have been inseparable since.
“I actually bought some pica candy from her and we just hit it off,” said Ruiz. “I think we get along so well because we are the same age (27) and have a lot in common. We both have that drive to do something and make something and we support each other.”
Both Ruiz and Alaniz are originally from Rio Grande City and recently moved to Kenedy with their husbands for job opportunities.
Ruiz is the owner of “Piece of Cake by Elaine” found on Facebook, and is a self-taught home baker since 2019.
She said her venture into baking began after buying $5 slices of Chocoflan almost every day.
Chocoflan is a two-layer dessert made up of chocolate cake and flan and often referred to as “the impossible cake” because of its complicated nature.
“After a while my husband said, ‘why don’t you just make it yourself’, and I thought, yeah right, I can never do that. But then I tried it. And yeah. The first time was a disaster,” she laughed.
“But then I tried it again and it was delicious,” Ruiz went on. “Then I challenged myself to make a big, beautiful cake. I made an awesome Oreo chocolate cake. Then people started asking for orders.”
Ruiz said she continued to make desserts after work on the weekends and challenge herself with recipes until, once again, her husband made a life-changing suggestion.
“He’s Puerto Rican and always complains about not finding authentic desserts and flavors here,” she said. “He took me to Puerto Rico, and I tried some “quesitos” and immediately fell in love with them. As soon as we got home, I started perfecting my recipe. They’re my number one bestseller.”
“Quesitos” are a popular Puerto Rican puff pastry, filled with a sweet cream cheese or a guava jam. Ruiz sells both.
“I was shocked by the response of the community,” said Ruiz. “They loved them, and I always sell out as soon as I get to the markets. I get up extra early those mornings to make them fresh. They’re still warm by the time I get there.”
Alaniz, who created ger Facebook page for sales in December last year, was determined to work from home while she cared for her two children, ages six and two.
“Being a stay-at-home mom is kind of boring,” Alaniz joked. “I wanted something for myself. It feels good to make my own money and provide for my family as well. I like when customers keep coming back because they love my candy.”
“Kim’s Pica Sweets” sells “enchilado” candy, which is the popular Mexican candy snack of various candies covered in chile and chamoy for a sweet and spicy explosion of flavors in one bite.
Alaniz offers Gushers, peach rings, Sour Patch Kids and watermelons, Skittles and more.
She also offers a pickle wrap, which includes a pickle wrapped in a fruit roll-up, covered in chili powder, Corn Nuts and Hot-Cheetos with a side of chamoy to drizzle on top.
All orders are made to order and freshly measured by Alaniz only-to ensure full capacity of each jar and that they are up to her expectations.
Ruiz and Alaniz always share a booth at the markets and sell side by side supporting each other for every sale.
“Our friendship has been a blessing in disguise,” said Ruiz. “We bring out the best in each other and it’s helped both of our businesses takeoff.”
Both ladies were certain that no matter what happens with their businesses, they will be friends for life.