Favi’s Fabulous Cakes Makes Custom Cake Dreams Come True at New Hillsboro Store
Favi’s Fabulous Cakes celebrated its opening this month at its brick-and-mortar premiere in charming, historic downtown Hillsboro.
While the showcase is new, owner Fabiola Medina is not new to the cake business. For the past decade, the pastry chef and cake designer has run her custom dessert business from her home in Hillsboro. “I was growing so much that I was running out of space at home. He was invading my living room, my dining room, my kitchen,” Medina said.
The completely renovated Main Street storefront, which was once a Subway sandwich shop, now features a variety of tiered cake samples that showcase Medina’s decorating chops. Among them: a two-tiered emerald green cake with gold sugar leaves and gilding; an edible high heel with a pink bow at the back; and a frosted black cake with golden marble-like veins, topped with a jeweled tiara.
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Medina does everything from custom cakes and pies to lemon and flan bars for a wide variety of events. But weddings and quinceañeras are her bread and butter, so to speak.
Through her years of experience, she has learned that “style and design are very personal”. So Medina said she asks a lot of questions. “If someone says they want a ‘girly’ cake, what does that mean?” She then customizes from there.
On Favi’s Fabulous Cakes Instagram page, you’ll find examples of this. Consider these Boho-themed baby shower cupcakes, each with two gold feathers on top. A personalized four-tier quinceanera cake features intricate and colorful designs in a Mexican theme. A 12 inch pastel mermaid cake topper holds seashells and seahorses. These cake pops look like traditional pan dulce. And this quilted Chanel handbag cake topper comes with gold chaining (made by Medina for her own birthday).
Medina’s techniques depend on the design but range from hand painting and airbrushing to molding fondant and marzipan.
On a recent Thursday, Medina was preparing another sample cake to present to customers. It had a vanilla base, vanilla buttercream frosting, and fresh flowers positioned at the base. The vertical cake, a modern style which she says is trendy in Europe, had supports on the inside to keep it upright.
“You have to make it stable for a long drive,” said Medina, who herself delivers desserts to customers as far away as Hood River.
Medina was inspired to become a pastry chef after visiting the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland on a high school field trip while a student at Dalles High School.
She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2012 with an Associate’s Degree in Pastry Chef and worked at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington for about three years, first as an intern and then as an employee. But she said working long hours and weekends was hard on her family.
So, for the next few years, baking was a side job in addition to working as an enrollment specialist at Fortegra, an insurance brokerage firm.
“The goal was always to have a bakery, but the equipment is expensive,” Medina said, so saving money over the next few years was the goal.
In 2016, she turned to cakes full-time. Medina rented a kitchen in Beaverton and sold baked goods at Hillsboro Tuesday Night Market and took custom orders.
To help continue saving for a storefront, in 2017 she moved her kitchen to her home and got a job as an inventory planner and buyer with inventory management services company UPPRO.
But in 2020, family concerns have put cake-making on hold. Her son was diagnosed with epilepsy and his mother suffered from kidney failure, Medina said. She was carer for both. In May 2020, her mother died just a month after Medina’s brother passed away.
“I didn’t know how to bake cakes. I was depressed,” Medina said.
But she ended up going back to it because she needed to occupy her mind.
“It made me feel better about making other people happy with my work,” she said.
So she moved on. And in 2022, she’s saved enough to open a storefront; in January 2023, construction began.
Medina is the only baker working in her business. Her sister works the counter in the afternoons and her teenage daughter helps out after school. And his mother’s spirit lives by his side.
“I still have and use daily my first KitchenAid mixer that my mother bought me after I graduated from cooking school, so it is very dear to my heart,” Medina said.
If you are going to:
Favi’s Fabulous Cakes: 301 E. Main St., Hillsboro; 12 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 541-980-9582; favi[email protected]; www.instagram.com/favisfabulouscakes.
More to know:
While most desserts must be ordered ahead, walk-in patrons can purchase treats such as cupcakes and flan from display cases up front.
Medina hopes to rent out the few hundred square foot entrance area of its storefront for special events, pop-ups and cake decorating classes after the wedding season ends in early fall.
— Teresa Mahoney, [email protected]