Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Duran.
Hi Elaine, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My journey started back in 2008 when the recession was in full swing. I was working a corporate sales job and was let go. I had a cake course gifted to me by a dear friend who worked with me and also lost her job that same day. Our class was scheduled to start that evening after work. She chose to opt-out and I chose to go. My husband had suffered a heart attack and was home healing. I didn’t know how to go home that day and break him the bad news. As crushed as I was and a bit anxious, I went to the cake class instead. All I could think about were my two babies at home and how was I going to support the family on NO income. The teacher asked everyone to introduce themselves and out of pure desperation, I said, ” My name is Elaine. I was fired today and this will now be my new job. I’m here to reinvent myself. It was like the light bulb went off! I thought to myself, “Wait, I am also a manicurist with an Arts Degree. If I can do art on itty bitty nails then I can definitely do it with cakes which are a bigger canvas. Quickly, survival mode set in as a mother. It took me years to conceive my miracle babies and they were not going to go hungry on my watch! My cake course came to an end and I had to go home and tell my husband the truth of why I was staying late and how I was let go from work. This was a very scary time for us. I knew we would run out of our savings quickly. Immediately my mission to be Central Florida’s best cake designer was birthed and in full effect! I consumed every cookbook, magazine, YouTube video, tutorial and baking show on TV, I was determined to make a dollar out of flour, sugar, and water and I did.
Eight months passed and I remember seeing Cake Boss on TV saying to myself. If I can get good enough to compete on national television then I know I’ve made it! My sister being my ultimate cheerleader told me I was good enough and that she was going to get me the application to audition. I thought she was crazy but I filled it out anyways. I was so desperate and determined to learn every technique on cake decorating that I had not realized how good I was becoming. Heck, all I remember is the nights I would cry myself to sleep because my babies would cry in the middle of the night wanting my attention and I could not finish the cake I was working on so I had to start all over. That was the most stressful time of my life breaking nights, holding my child with one arm while rocking her to sleep and trying to pipe steady buttercream with the other.
One day I got the phone call to come audition for Buddy Valastro’s new show Next Great Baker on TLC! I thought I was getting punked. It was actually happening. It felt like I had won the lottery! All those months of toiling and reinventing myself had led to this moment. In the end, they said they found someone else to fill the position. I knew that if I got better the next season that they would give me another chance. I went into overdrive. At this point, I had started my own small cake business selling cakes to family and friends and anyone who would be so gracious to give me the opportunity and pay me for it. Three years in a row, I auditioned and I would not give up! Finally, the show asked me if I had a partner and I said yes, my husband!
My husband took one for the team, learned as much as he could, and we were off to film with Buddy Valastro the Cake Boss himself and make my baking dreams come true! The show was a success! We were the only married couple on the show. We were America’s top-tweeted team. Our desserts were featured in 240 Carrabba’s Italian Grill Restaurants across the nation, and the show was aired in 140 countries worldwide. In the end, we did not win the whole season, but boy did we feel like champions. My career was off and running. There was nothing that was going to stop me. I was very involved in my community. I even wrote a book called, You’re Next! Turn Your Disappointment Into Destiny. I wanted to help those who were in my same position to know that anything is possible. I wanted to let my readers know that regardless of our setbacks, there is always a way out! My focus was on giving back. I then went on to film Cake Wars Season 3 on Food Network. It was the 25th anniversary of Beauty and The Beast and I got to do their wedding cake. Wow, what a blessing! I made sure to count them all along the way.
At this point in my career, I was already established. I had been in collector’s book, featured in several magazines and blogs. I sold out on stages at Disney’s Food and Wine Festival along with other well-known events. Things were looking great for this humble baker who just wanted diapers and milk and to sustain the family financially. Not long after, my husband suffered another heart attack and had to forego open-heart surgery. I slowed down some to care for him and didn’t realize that I myself was Stage 4 with metastatic breast cancer. My life was turned inside out. I would give of my time to the organizations in my community as a celebrity judge using my platform as a way to give back to my community, never giving thought that I would one day be on the other side of that platform. I held on to my faith and fought back. With the support of my family, my fans, my children, my community I thrived and am alive to tell the story. I was determined to live and not die! I just kept telling myself that it would be an injustice to my creator if I did not hold on tight to the gift of faith that was given to me. I did give up my business that I had worked so hard for. I realized that my life and my family were top priority so I let it all go with no regrets. Little did I know that in October of 2020, I was given clearance from my doctors. I was officially out of the scare zone. That very month I got a call from Food Network asking if I wanted to compete again and so I did.
In March of 2021, made three years since I was diagnosed and The Easter Basket Challenge was released. I came back to Florida with gusto and my new business venture Everything Elaine was born. EverythingElaine.com is a hub for all things colorful, hopeful, and beautiful. A place where everyone can connect, be encouraged, and allow themselves to taste and see beautiful edible works of art. A place where people can order surprise cakes for all occasions that are handcrafted, baked fresh and are very unique. A place where my fans can come and sign up for classes and learn the trade that I learned to love.
My whole life is a living testimony, from miracle babies, from cake wrecking to cake competing, from Stage IV to standing strong. I believe that I’m still on earth for a reason and that the best is yet to come. This Orlando baker is leaving a legacy for years to come.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Everything Elaine makes exquisite handcrafted, baked fresh, personal all occasion celebration cakes that feed 10-12 guests perfect for any intimate gathering. What sets us apart and makes us so special is that our clients have fun creating and customizing their cakes online for their loved ones and we make sure to bring their creative wishes to life. We also have a large variety of unique styles and delicious flavors to make it easy to choose and perfect for any event. The receivers are surprised with a one of a kind cakes enclosed beautifully in one of our exquisite signature Elaine boxes.
We also have a lovely wedding collection where brides can customize their wedding cakes online and make their special day more memorable.
In 2022 Everything Elaine will begin shipping baked goods, will be launching a motivational podcast, and have a retail shop for all the fans, supporters, and cake enthusiasts.
I am most proud of knowing that once upon a time, I had a crazy idea and now I am so blessed to see it blossoming before my eyes. Rome was not built in a day and neither was Everything Elaine and everything it has to offer. Our motto is Taste & See from Psalms 34:8 because I want to share with everyone and invite them to taste and see how good God has been to me through my cake journey with the gift of life and my God-given talents.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
I wrote a book for those that are starting out. For those that long to live a life of purpose but do not know where to begin. It’s called You’re Next! Turn Your Disappointment Into Destiny. When I was at my worst, I had to encourage myself and believe in myself. My goal is to encourage you to get up on your feet and grind with confidence. To know that what is predestined for you is still waiting for you on the other side. You were created for greatness. You were born with a dream inside you. Now go get it! Be relentless! No one ever said life would be easy and it’s not so pick up your head so your crown doesn’t fall and let’s go get it!
- Email: info@EverythingElaine.com
- Website: EverythingElaine.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/everything.elaine/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Everything.Elaine.FB
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CakesByElaine
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2lgZ4Gg93msb7aELb1OfnA
- Yelp: https://biz.yelp.com/home/w8LDI1uEOAVmnS92-rVkbg/