New Britain City Journal

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Business

Dulce Cupcake Café Open Downtown

With six types of homemade cupcakes (including a signature guava variety) and gourmet coffee from Puerto Rico, Dulce Cupcake Café is ready to make a splash in downtown New Britain.

The café, located at 50 West Main Street, had a soft opening on Jan. 7 and then held a Chamber of Commerce grand opening—complete with a ribbon cutting and numerous attendees, including Mayor Erin Stewart—on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Though it’s been in business less than a month, owner Carmen Ellison said things are off to a great start for her cupcake café. “The community has been great, especially the downtown community, and everyone has been very welcoming,” said Ellison.

A resident of New Britain for about 35 years, Ellison felt the city—particularly the downtown area—needed a business like Dulce, which is Spanish for “sweet.”

“I have seen it in other towns and it was something new and fresh for downtown New Britain and I think the community in general needed something like this—it’s a nice aura, a nice sit-down place, and I love it,” she said. “I think if people want to try something different, this is the place to go.”

In addition to guava, Dulce has a number of other decadent cupcake varieties. “We have a carrot cake cupcake, a brownie cupcake, an Oreo cupcake, and a vanilla bean that people love,” said Ellison. “A lot of people are loving the vanilla bean, which has ice cream on top and it has a cream cheese filling in the middle.”

Though the cupcakes are the main draw, Ellison noted Dulce has other items—like bagels and a daily special such as “a pecan delight that people just love with ice cream and a brownie”—and will soon be expanding its offerings.

“I am going to start having a soup of the day—also house made—and by the summertime I hope to have milkshakes and smoothies and stuff like that,” she added.

Ellison, who is Puerto Rican, said she has the coffee she serves at her café shipped over from the US commonwealth in the Caribbean. “It’s called Café Lareno and so far it has been received very well—no one has it around here,” said Ellison.

Interestingly, Dulce is currently Ellison’s part time job, as she works full time for the city as the tax collector’s assistant. “Dulce is currently part time for me but it is almost kind of like a full time job because I leave my full time job and then I go over there and put in some hours,” said Ellison.

“My daughters [Cassandro and Keila Navarro] are running the business right now until I retire,” said Ellison, who has been a city employee for 25 years and may retire this June. “They are doing a fabulous job,” she added of her daughters, who are both in their 20s. “They both bake, they serve and they are doing a great job.”

Ellison is married to another city employee—parking enforcement officer Michael Ellison—and stressed Dulce is a “family business,” adding, “My husband is also a big part of this as well; we are doing this together.”

Ellison described herself as a “self-taught baker,” explaining, “I have been baking for at least 15 years or so and I have baked for family, for friends, and I just wanted to do something different and put it together and offer it to the community—and so far so good,” said Ellison. “I love my job with the city and have always loved it but I just want to try something different.”

Dulce’s hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and closed Sunday.