bake - March 2018 - PAN43


needs to eat the same in the summer and the winter,"
Denis says with conviction.
This type of devout loyalty applies equally to the
customers who shop at Sonora Bakery every day. "We have
a lot of customers who say, 'I loved my quinceañera cake from
Sonora and now I want to buy my daughter's quinceañera
cake here," Acuña says. "We have a lot of customers from
farther away, in San Bernardino and Bakersfield. We have
one customer in Florida who calls us to buy a cake once
a year for a close friend who lives here. That's amazing."
Sonora is perhaps best known for its delicious bolillos,
which are hand shaped and allowed to rise. "We try to do
as much as we can the old-fashioned way," Denis says.
"Our bolillo is a staple here."
"Now our customers from Argentina prefer the bolillo,"
adds his mother, Theresa.
When Sonora Bakery opened 32 years ago, the
surrounding neighborhood of East Los Angeles was
predominantly inhabited by people of Mexican heritage.
Today, the demographics have shifted to more customers
from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The influence
has been profound.
"Now we have bakers working here who are from
all over Central America," Denis says. "The advantage of
operating a retail bakery is that we get input from our own
bakers, who have the creativity to do what they want and
try different flavors. If a customer for something specific
that we don't offer, we will try to figure out how to make
it for them. Creativity on the retail side is very important."
The retail bakery offers empanadas made with guava

and cheese or even filled with chicken, similar to the way
these pastries are served in Central or South America.
Alfajores and nopal bread are other specialties that would be
hard to find elsewhere, and Sonora Bakery makes unique
desserts like vanidoso, which they make with one layer each
of chocolate cake, cheesecake and flan - and then iced
and decorated with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
The freshness factor is crucial to the success of the
bakery. "We are open every day until 9 p.m.," Acuña says.
"Everything we make and sell fresh right away."





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