Panadería Barbie? The concha is a perfect accessory

Different conchas with Barbie shapes and colors
(Yaquelin Morales / For De Los )

For many, Barbie is not just a doll. Barbie has inspired generations of kids to follow their dreams, whether it be in a corporate office, outer space or lounging at the beach. Although the famous blond-haired and blue-eyed doll hasn’t always represented every child it markets to, the brand’s childhood nostalgia and cultural impact are hard to ignore.

In anticipation of the “Barbie” film release this weekend, bakeries across the country have created a new type of Barbie to consume: a traditional Mexican concha.

Panaderia Vanessa

Ashley Martinez helps manage social media for her family‘s bakery, Panaderia Vanessa. The Oxnard bakery has been in her family for three generations.

Pink conchas that were inspired by the new "Barbie" movie.
Panaderia Vanessa’s conchas, which were inspired by the new “Barbie” movie.
(Panaderia Vanessa)

Her mother, Rosie Martinez, was the one who had the idea for the Barbie-inspired conchas after seeing trending videos of the movie on TikTok.

“We thought, ‘Right now, with the [“Barbie”] movie coming out, it would be a good time to do some and promote that,’” Ashley said.

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The conchas are colored with three shades of pink and are available only in a mini size for their smaller-handed clientele.

“It is really cute when the kids come in, and they’re able to get one and finish it,” Ashley said.

La Panadería

Brothers José and David Cáceres opened their San Antonio-based bakery, La Panadería, in 2014 with the intention of elevating pan dulce. They draw inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s, which is around the time that the first Barbie doll was introduced.

La Panaderia's ode to Barbie maintains a classic concha look.
(La Panadería)

The Cáceres brothers believe they are doing something similar to “Barbie” director Greta Gertwig with their conchas.

“Bring[ing] back a classic story and reinvent[ing] it,” José said.

In the last decade, the brothers have sold pink conchas seasonally to support the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation. They wanted to raise awareness in memory of their mother, Doña Josefina, who died of breast cancer.

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With the release of “Barbie,” the Cáceres brothers are trying to elevate their pink conchas to live up to the cultural phenomena.

“We are trying to match it with this big momentum of pop culture,” José said.

Dulce Dreams Cafe

Norma Zuñiga Jimenez is an independent, self-taught baker running Dulce Dreams Cafe in Charlotte, N.C. She works out of a commercial kitchen to ensure that her conchas are ready to sell at local pop-ups. She has 50 flavors, so her customers never get bored.

A concha decorated with a Barbie silhouette.
(Dulce Dreams Cafe)

With “Barbie” on the horizon, Zuñiga Jimenez decided to add another custom concha to the mix: the iconic Barbie silhouette in pink sugar crumble on top of white pan. It is also vegan.

She says customers, both adults and kids, are eager to try her Barbie conchas.

“I just wanted to do something that will get people super excited,” Zuñiga Jimenez said.

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She says a majority of her customers are millennials and Gen Z girls.

“I never in a million years thought that I would have my own bakery business and then let alone one day create a Barbie concha,” said Zuñiga Jimenez, who played with Barbies as a girl. “Little Norma would be so proud of all the accomplishments that I’ve done so far.”


Paco’s Bakery

Gladys Rodriguez helps run her family business, Paco’s Bakery, in Houston. She looks for ways to incorporate aspects of mainstream culture into Mexican baked goods.

Paco's Bakery gave its classic concha some flair for the "Barbie" movie.
(Paco’s Bakery)

“You always see pink conchas everywhere,” Rodriguez said. “I was like, ‘Let’s brighten them up, like that Barbie pink, and then we’ll put some sugar on top, extra sugar to make it extra shiny.’”

That added shine has made the Barbie conchas a big hit at Paco’s Bakery, especially with kids who Rodriguez says “gravitate to them because of the fun, bright color.”

For her, this Barbie concha is personal.

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Rodriguez, a first-generation Mexican American, grew up playing with a Barbie, even when it didn’t have a Mattel logo.

“If it was a generic doll from the dollar store, you still called it a Barbie,” she said.

Although the doll never resembled Rodriguez, she relishes in the childhood nostalgia that the brand brings to the bakery. Barbie is a way of life to her.


“Barbie is a universal, worldwide phenomenon, a thing that you can apply to so many things ... it’s not just a doll.”

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It is a term that can be applied to everything, she adds, the food and cakes, shoes, outfits.

“I’d be like, ‘I feel so Barbie today,’” Rodriguez said.

Panifico Bake Shop

Edna Sánchez-Miggins, co-owner of Panifico Bake Shop, is ramping up baked goods for a Barbie PinkOut weekend in San Antonio.

A concha etched with Barbie's signature ponytail.
(Panifico Bake Shop)

She got the idea from a customer who asked if the bakery was doing anything for the “Barbie” release. Sánchez-Miggins began planning all pink conchas with the signature Barbie ponytail look etched into the sugar, as well as polvorones, cheese pockets, heart cookies, cuernitos, cheesecake and more.

“We’re really kind of going all out for it,” she said.

Sánchez-Miggins grew up playing with Barbies. She had the western doll, the Ken doll, the Barbie playhouse and van.

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“It took me more time to put all that together than to actually be playing with it, but that was actually part of the fun,” she said.


Sánchez-Miggins says she’s passed along the Barbie craze to her daughter. The mother-daughter duo had already planned to see the movie; Sánchez-Miggins just needed a push to incorporate it into a concha.

“It wasn’t until that customer mentioned it that I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do something.’”

She says women and girls of all ages are excited about the weekend filled with ultra pink goods.

“Some of them are bringing their daughters, bringing their granddaughters to the event.”