“We humans are constantly on the move around the world, and when we migrate we take our eating habits with us. We do so to use our agricultural and culinary knowledge, and because eating familiar food maintains our link with home and eases our homesickness. We may have to substitute ingredients and adapt our cooking methods, but even after several generations, our heritage is still evident in the food we serve at home."
― Janet Clarkson, Pie: A Global History
Fela Sweets was born in 2019 in Miami, Florida out of a loving baking tradition that has been passed down to Denise through generations of strong Jewish women before her. Here’s a little bit about us:
Denise’s grandmother Fela is our namesake, muse, and the inspiration for most of our recipes. Born on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in 1940, Oma Fela is known in the community for her cheesecakes, her witticisms, and her 5am workouts even at 80 years old. No-nonsense, no-fuss, but nurturing and loving, our bakes are reflective of her manner, her sense of humor, and her kitchen, which is where Denise grew up from a little 9-year-old baker standing on her tippy-toes until she left the island for college at 18.
Our menu starts with Fela’s signature – no, not the workouts! – the cheesecake. No fuss - just perfectly light and fluffy sweetened cream cheese atop a buttery graham cracker crust, topped with fresh raspberries for good measure. We also offer bakes such as Fela's decadent chocolate cake (devil's food layered with fudgy chocolate frosting and a thin cheesecake ribbon) and explore simpler tastes such as apple cinnamon loaves (call it breakfast, dessert, or just the perfect snack). We specialize in home-style bakes with select, hand-picked ingredients and minimal fashioning. With an eye to our personal history, Fela Sweets creations are always baked-to-order, always personalized, and never gimmicky.
“The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes - nothing was as calming as creaming butter - and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she'd been and where she was going. Everything was fine.”
― Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time
When Fela’s mother arrived on the island on a ship from Poland, she was carrying only one suitcase: large enough to fit her articles of clothing and – how perfectly fitting – one rolling pin. The significance of this act is central to the message behind Fela Sweets today: a rolling pin – such a powerful tool for one so far removed from home – a device called upon to summon nostalgic and comforting family cooking, perhaps even recalling her own mother’s nurturing dishes in a now-gone shtetl. A few years after, Clara and Fela would be born on the island, and that rolling pin became a device that would bake creations to gather Denise’s family in its new Caribbean home for generations to come.
It is this feeling of communion we hope to deliver to Miami in each of our boxes. Fela Sweets bakes are meant for a busy table, preferably loud, celebratory with family, friends, as many generations of which we can fit and with as many ties as we can fashion wherever in the world we may find ourselves. Yes, you may have to get in a 5am workout the next day, but you can always meet us again in the afternoon for a story, a hug, or a slice – as Denise always could – from Fela.