Faith, love, and dough proved a winning recipe for Naples native Maria Trupiano, owner of CAK’D, 100% Vegan Gluten-free Dough Bar & Treats in the Trinity Plaza at Ninth Street North and Third Avenue North. When the Barron Collier High School graduate moved near Pittsburgh, she wound up in an abusive relationship. She knew she needed to escape for her own sake and that of her kids. Trupiano, whose prior business as a successful wedding photographer dwindled during the pandemic, turned to baking to regain confidence after the abuse and to support her sons. She started to bake for her church community and the response, she says, “was huge. Then people began asking me about gluten-free and vegan.” Trupiano spent two years creating her own flour blend, which yielded gorgeous, fluffy, gluten-free cupcakes. She also created edible cake dough, which is akin to gelato.
“My faith and a lot of scripture got me through some of the scariest moments,” she says. One day, she felt a calling to move back to Naples and open a storefront. She moved in with her parents and put all she had into her bakery, a gleaming, welcoming shop fragrant with the mouth-watering scent of baking.
Trupiano develops new flavors regularly. For fall, featured cupcakes include:
• Apple of My Eye—apple cider cake with cinnamon apple buttercream garnished with coconut toffee bits and salted caramel drizzle.
• Friendsgiving—Olive oil and thyme cake with cranberry compote filling topped with vanilla cranberry buttercream and garnished with a sprig of thyme.
• Give ’Em Pumpkin to Talk About—pumpkin spice cake with spiced buttercream and garnished with chopped pecans and caramel drizzle.
• Legend of Sleepy Hollow—Spiced pumpkin cake with chocolate buttercream garnished with cinnamon cookie crumbs.
Trupiano plans to donate 10 percent of profits to local charities and deliver free cupcakes to families once a week.