VISTA — It started with an Easy-Bake Oven, an involved mother and a copper box.
Heather Miranda, a Vista resident, is the owner of The Copper Box, a baking company that provides pastries made from scratch and locally sourced products. The wife of a Camp Pendleton Marine, the 25-year-old baker started her company — which is named after her mother’s copper recipe box — three years ago and is now a fixture at North County breweries.
Although The Copper Box is still in its infancy, Miranda has a long history of being in the kitchen.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to work in the kitchen for as long as I can remember,” said Miranda, who has lived in Vista since 2014. “When I was little I had an Easy-Bake Oven and watched Food Network shows.”
Miranda said she developed a love for baking with the help of her mother who stayed at home to care for the children. Her earliest memory in the kitchen was when she was just 5 years old.
“In kindergarten, we hatched chickens and I remember my mom rolling out cookies in the shape of chicks,” said Miranda, who grew up in San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County. “Being a stay-at-home mom, we were always in the kitchen with her.”
With her baking experience in tow, Miranda began baking at a Santa Monica cupcake shop when she was just 18 years old. She later became a pastry chef at Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Company in Santa Clarita.
The position, where she worked for 2 1/2 years, taught her a lot about working in a fast-paced kitchen, Miranda said.
“I trained for the position in less than a month but I was responsible for all the pastries that were made the days I worked,” Miranda said. “Working at Wolf Creek taught me to be self-sufficient and to work in full-speed all the time.”
But it wasn’t until her marriage to Erick Miranda that she decided to form her own business. She said the hours working for another business didn’t allow her to spend time with her husband.
“Working in a pastry restaurant didn’t work for our relationship because I wouldn’t be home until midnight or 1 a.m. and he would be asleep,” Miranda said. “In order for me to have the work-life balance I wanted, I had to start my own business.”
With inspiration from her father, who owned a business, and her mother’s recipes, Miranda started The Copper Box.
“My dad is a small business owner and started his inspection company when I was 3,” Miranda said. “He’s modeled to me what hard work and commitment can accomplish for a family. He passed down his work ethic to me and gave me the confidence and go-getter attitude that is required for making a small business successful.”
Working from her home kitchen, Miranda has developed her own recipes and sells pastries such as key lime squares and strawberry streusel bars. Her favorite pastry is the brown butter tart.
But The Copper Box really stands apart from other bakeries because she ties in her love for craft brews. She regularly infuses different craft beers into her pastries.
Miranda can also be found at breweries such as Wavelength and Belching Beaver in Vista, and Rip Current in San Marcos where she pairs her pastries with brews. She also takes pride in utilizing ingredients from other local businesses.
“One thing I focus on is locally sourced produce,” Miranda said. “We grow such a large amount in this region, especially in North County. We have some of the best strawberries in Oceanside. I like to bring everything full-circle by using local products.”
Miranda said she isn’t sure where the next five years will take her or The Copper Box, but hopes to expand into the wholesale market. She could also be sharing her pastries in another part of the world.
“We’ll go where the Marines take us,” Miranda said.
The Copper Box will have pastries available at the Carlsbad Village Music Walk from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. June 18.
For more information, visit thecopperboxbakedgoods.com.