Anamaria Morales is on a mission to bake her way through college, “one cheesecake at a time.”
Tangy lemon, silky espresso, creamy peanut butter, sweet strawberries, red velvet. Each month brings a menu of new flavors to whip into cream cheese — and melt the willpower of fans.
A year after launching “The College Confectionista” during her senior year at El Molino High, the spirited 19-year-old has banked more than $9,000 through baking. She hopes to more than double that amount by the time she’s ready to transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College, where she takes online classes. Her goal is to be accepted into the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
For now, Morales is developing her entrepreneurial chops in the kitchen, experimenting with new flavor combinations, baking everything from scratch with fresh and local ingredients. She uses Clover cream cheese, marketing through social media and in some cases, hand-delivering each $40 handcrafted masterpiece of velvety goodness.
Her Facebook page is sprinkled with vintage advertising pictures of smiling housewives and winsome young lovers grabbed from midcentury magazines. The confectionista herself looks a bit like a 1950s time-traveler. A fan of all things retro, she loves to wear polka dots and sports handkerchiefs in her hair.
“Elvis Presley is my husband,” she jokes, “who died a long time before I was born.”
Morales grew up in Healdsburg, the daughter of Tomas and Laura Morales. She was prompted to start her own business after a stretch of late nights spent wondering whether — and where — she wanted to go to college.
“My parents, who both didn’t go to college, said maybe you don’t want to go to a four-year university right away. Maybe you want to do a gap year or travel,” Morales recalls. “That got me thinking. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I worry about college expenses. I don’t come from money, my parents had me at a young age and never started a college fund for me. I’m starting my college fund from scratch.”
And while Morales sees a future in business for herself, she sees a future in the nonprofit world for College Confectionista.
“I’m hoping to turn it into a nonprofit, where I could create scholarships for other low-income and first-generation women, especially Hispanics, girls who have the drive to go to college and don’t have the money. That would make me so happy.”
College Confectionista, 707-495-5324, facebook.com/CollegeConfectionista