Victoria Maya, AB’11, (left) and her sister behind the counter at GBD Cakes and Sweets. (Photography by Kathryn Vandervalk, ’16)
Icing on the cake
Victoria Maya, AB’11, is one half of a mother-daughter bakery team in Bucktown.
Originally cooked up in a South Campus dorm room, GBD Cakes and Sweets opened for business this summer in a Bucktown storefront. Cofounder Victoria Maya, AB’11, realized that she wanted to open a bakery during the last quarter of her final year at UChicago. “We all get that, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing after college,’ feeling,” she says. “I started baking, and a Facebook friend actually saw a post that I had put up of cupcakes that I had made." Her friend asked if she could order some. "From there it just snowballed.” As soon as she told her mother, Maria, about her idea to open a bakery, her mother “jumped right on board.” A lifelong recreational baker, Maria Maya enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu’s famous patisserie program and became a certified pastry chef. With Maria’s technical knowledge and Victoria’s visual arts degree, they aspired to make treats that were both beautiful and “golden brown delicious” (which is how they get the “GBD” in their name). To date, the duo has catered for the International Latino Cultural Center, Gilda’s Club Chicago, the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Fiesta Del Sol, and more.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1791","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"370","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] A butterfly cake. (Photography by Kathryn Vandervalk, ’16)
The mother-daughter pair uses their Mexican heritage to experiment with pastries and find new flavors, leading to hits like the horchata cupcake, the tres leches cupcake, and the Mexican hot chocolate cookie. But there have been a few flops too. Her sister, who also works in the bakery, chimed in on a question about Victoria’s biggest baking disaster. “Oh my God, remember the time you tried making caramel? It ended up turning into this fluffy whipped cream.” But fluffy caramel whipped cream doesn’t sound so bad.
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1792","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"453","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Horchata cupcakes. (Photography by Victoria Maya, AB’11)
After years of catering orders made through social media and word of mouth, GBD Cakes and Sweets had their grand opening in June. The bakery already has regular customers. “There are quite a few people who stop in, and we already know what they want,” she says. “There’s this one guy who has admitted to us that he’s addicted to our chocolate chip cookies. He makes a visit at least once every week and stacks up for the week.” After trying their chocolate chip cookie, Mexican hot chocolate cookie, and horchata cupcake, the temptation to become a regular is clear.