Providence Baking Biz Spreads Joy One Cookie at a Time

The sweet success story behind Alva’s Sweet Touch, a bakery born in furlough

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Inspired by the tropical flavors of her childhood in the Dominican Republic, Alva Cabrera’s cookies taste as incredible as they look. Hints of passion fruit, lemon, and orange elevate her dough and result in soft, buttery, sophisticated sugar cookies. Designs range from intricate snowflakes and ornaments for the holidays, to personalized jerseys and cleats for a soccer-loving birthday boy. Sparkling hearts for Valentine’s day, vibrant tulips for the first day of spring, school mascots for spirit day, tiny houses to congratulate a first-time home buyer...name the occasion and Cabrera will create show-stopping cookies to help sweeten the celebration.

The seed for her business, Alva’s Sweet Touch, was planted back in February while helping plan her niece’s baby shower. “I wanted to buy customized sugar cookies for the party, but they were all so expensive,” Cabrera recalls, “and when I tasted the samples, the cookies were hard and bland. I thought, I can do better!” She set about learning how to decorate cookies, thanks to YouTube tutorials. “Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.”

When the pandemic hit and she was furloughed from her job, Cabrera found herself with free time and an anxious mind that needed soothing. During the day, she assisted her sons, Adolfo and Andy, with their remote learning, while at night she perfected her dough and royal icing recipes, practiced her designs, and ordered packaging supplies. “Often, I’d look up at the clock and it would be 2am,” Cabrera says with a laugh, “but I find the process of decorating cookies so calming and meditative I don’t even notice the hours slipping away!”

As she practiced design techniques and experimented with different recipes, she donated samples to her church community, as well as family and friends. The compliments poured in, as did the orders. Cabrera enlisted the help of her sister-in-law, Manuela Cabrera, to help her prepare the dough and act as partner as she began to grow her business. Even in the midst of a pandemic, customers turned to her cookies to send sweet messages of joy to loved ones, such as birthday cookies to out-of-state grandchildren and cookie care packages to essential workers. “My greatest hope is that when a customer gifts my cookies, their loved one feels as though the cookies were made just for them,” Cabrera says with a smile. “Personalized gifts are a way of sending an especially joy-filled message.”

Finding the silver lining in a situation as dire as a worldwide pandemic isn’t easy. However, Cabrera did just that when she launched her newfound hobby into a decorative cookie business that has already earned her wide acclaim. To place an order, visit AlvaSweetTouch.com and follow along on Instagram @alvasweettouch to see her latest designs.

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