Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

Top 6 Tips to Know When Ordering a Wedding Cake (or any Custom Cake)

Wedding season is upon us, and many people have already planned much of their details in advance, while some maybe are still figuring out a few last-minute suppliers and vendors. In some cases, that may include hiring a baker to make your dream cake for your special day.

I have now baked cakes and cupcakes for a few weddings, made many custom cakes, and received numerous inquiries on orders as well. Planning “the perfect day” can be stressful for both the couple and the suppliers! Throughout these experiences, I have learned a number of things  to be aware of and would like to share them with you. Regardless of who you hire to create your wedding cake, or even a special custom cake, I have determined 6 things you want to be aware of and will help you hire the right baker/y.

Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

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Cake, cakes, and more cake! I love cake.

Over the last month I have been doing a fair bit of baking and not sharing photos of my creations on here! I bake and post photos regularly on my Instagram account, so now I’m going to share a photo story with you of my recent creations. Let me know what cakes strike your fancy!

Before I get into the photos I would like to answer a question for you. I am frequently asked, “what is your favourite thing to bake/make?” And most of the time I say that like to bake everything, which is true, but ive come to learn I love cake the most. Because cake, above all other desserts, implies a celebration is in order! Whatever the occasion, cake will make it better. Here is one of my favourite quotes about cake:

I love decorating cakes and researching ideas of all kinds. You can often find me on Pinterest looking up the most random cake ideas and creations to inspire me. Obsessed might be a definition that comes to mind. I’m okay with that #cakeobsession.

Without further ado, let’s get to my cakes:

Jamaican Ginger Cake, with candied ginger on top and cream cheese frosting. A recipe I found from the UK.

The ginger cake came from this book, which is one of many books that I own about cake. It’s my current favourite cookbook. It happens to be nearly pocket sized too, which only adds to its adorableness.

I always wanted to make a circus cake! This puppy is pure red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting through and through. No fondant. I sculpted the top so it peaked like a circus tent. The cake was for a fun birthday party theme: a Murder Mystery at the Circus!

When I don’t have a cake to bake, I bake banana bread (sometimes), cause it’s like cake. To help it last a bit longer, I sliced it up and freeze it. So I can enjoy a fresh slice each day I want to. PS. Banana bread is amazing when toasted… It helps to caramelized the bananas. Ya, I know, what have you been missing?!

For a house warming event, I made this London Fog cake: early grey milk chocolate ganache layered between vanilla butter cake, early grey syrup, and frosted with honey buttercream!

Strawberry vanilla cake, for a little girl’s birthday. Marbled chocolate on top for garnish, vanilla cake inside and strawberry pink frosting.

Stay tuned for more cakes too… 

If you ever have any questions about recipes you’re making or other baking questions, please send me an email. My email is listed on my contact info page. Happy to help!  

And if you need cake for an upcoming special occasion, I would love to help there too. Just shoot me an email for a quote.

Happy celebrating!

Delightful Afternoon Tea at the Secret Garden Tea Company

Last wekend my girlfriends and I enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea sitting at The Secret Garden Tea Company in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver. I had heard many good reviews of this place recently and wanted to try it out for myself. Since I love my tea, anytime of day, and enjoy the company of my girlfriends, I thought why not make it a date.

I booked  a reservation ahead of time, and we had a two hour seating from 2:15pm – 4:15pm for five of us. Tea for five, and five for tea! We all arrived on time for our reservation booking and without planning for it, we were all slightly dressed up for the occassion. It just feels like something that warrants your “sunday best”. 



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Rye Chia Berry Muffins (yield 1 dozen)

I had some blackberries in the fridge that must be used up, and wanted to bake with them in a “healthy” way. Some muffin recipes can really get up there in calories or just be filled with all things that are “not so good for you”.

So I searched for a few different recipes and none of them were jumping out at me. I found a reasonable recipe and modified quite a lot – to the point that it is now my own recipe. Sometimes it is a hit or miss when experimenting happens in the kitchen, but I am pleased to share this one was a success.

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Here is the recipe….
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Some Birthday Gratitude – and I’ll bake my own cake, and eat it too

Most people might think that baking their own birthday cake is unfair or simply not right – someone else is supposed to do it, right? Well, not me. I actually want to make my own cake – not only do I enjoy the baking part, but I get to make whatever I want, decorate it how I want, and eat it too. Yes, that’s right folks, tomorrow I’ll have my cake and eat it too. (Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and roasted pecans – to be precise!)

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My first sculpted cake: a skull!

A few weeks ago a friend from my old running group asked me to make her husband’s 60th birthday cake. She requested a skull, after explaining it might be unusual, but her husband would love it. At first I didn’t know if I could, but then I researched it a bit, and realized I could definitely do this. I had not made a sculpted cake before but learned a bunch of tricks over the past few months that I knew would help.

So I said yes, I will make your skull cake. Fortunately they only needed to serve about 10 people, so I did not have to make a lot of cake.

I will share some tips in this post from what I learned while making this sculpted cake and share some photos I took throughout the process.

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Need a birthday party idea? Host a private cooking class at NWCAV!

I am one of those people who is lucky enough to celebrate my birthday and Christmas in the same month, my birthday is exactly two weeks before Christmas – to be precise. As my fellow Sagittarians can relate, often birthday gifts might be combined with christmas gifts, and birthday parties may be celebrated during other festive parties. I am not complaining by any means, after all, this is all that I have known. During university when I wanted to plan a birthday party, I would compete with everyone’s final exam schedule; and now that those days are gone, I compete with work holiday parties and other festive plans. No big deal.

But this year, I decided to celebrate a little bit ahead of the game to ensure I could actually organize a gathering. I wanted to share with my friends and family what a night of cooking in a professional kitchen would be like – and enjoy a great meal (of course).

I called up my culinary school and booked a private cooking class, at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. It was SUCH a fun night, I highly recommend you consider this for your next party idea.

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Here are a few photos from the fun we had on the weekend. Everyone left super full, learned a few new culinary tricks, and took home new recipes.

As the host, I was able to choose the menu, of three courses. Then one of my former Chef instructors, Chef Warren, instructed the class. For each course we received a demonstration of what to do, then we made it our selves, and ate it. We did this for each course. Most of the preparation was done ahead of time too, so we were not there having to do a ton of time consuming components – they essentially let us do all the FUN stuff. Several culinary assistants were also in the kitchen roaming about our stations to offer assistance to anyone in need.

I highly recommend planning a private class at Northwest if you are interested for your next birthday or social. Here are my reasons why:

1) You get to choose the menu for your group, and allergies can be accommodated too

2) You get to cook with your family and friends, so it is easy to socialize – better than in a loud crowded restaurant anyway.

3) The food is amazing and fresh

4) You learn to make new recipes, learn new culinary tricks, but don’t have to do ALL of the prep work necessarily

5) The staff are super nice and helpful

6) You don’t have to do any of the clean up (BONUS)

7) It is just plain fun…

I might be making this my new annual birthday tradition; and I am already debating between a middle eastern themed menu for next year, or indian. What would you choose? Oh wait, or, maybe I want to go with Italian? Looks like I have the next few years already mapped out!

Learn more on the NWCAV website.

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What should you do with your leftover halloween candy? Make a candy bar-bar!

As a kid growing up I would *try* to save my favourite halloween candies for as long as possible. Though, every year this didn’t work out so well for me. I would end up with a bag of the wrapped hard candies and rockets, or other treats I didn’t love as much. Yes, halloween candy ranges on a scale for me, I do not love it all.

What I have come to learn in recent years, is that you can buy candy at the grocery store the day after Halloween on SUPER sale. It’s madness. This year it was sold out before I could get there. Apparently candy sales are all the rage.

For those who do savour their candy loots and somehow make the sugar supply last (well, I envy you) and perhaps this recipe is most suited for you.

I was thinking of a way to use up leftover halloween candy – if you have any left… Or use some of that sale-candy. And I thought it would pretty much all taste good inside of a cookie. So how about make a candy bar cookie bar?? You can group like-candies together and use those in the bar, or just make a monster-swamp-like cookie of everything. Experiment a little… Why not!
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International Chocolate Awards come to Canada: My Judging experience

Have you ever eaten 40 kinds of chocolate in one day? I just did. Yup. You read that number correctly. 40. Different. Kinds of Chocolate. It was a day of extreme chocolate for me.

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Why? Well, I was fortunate to participate in judging the 2014 International Chocolate Awards – Canada region, that recently took place in Vancouver last week.

I have not done anything like this before, and it was certainly a memorable experience. I hope to return next year! After learning how to make chocolate in Pastry School and the serious level of skills required to make a brilliant piece of chocolate, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Canada has some highly talented chocolatiers, and many of them are in Vancouver too.
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Canning season is here, and you CAN can anything!

Earlier this week I enjoyed an afternoon with a friend of mine while we canned some fresh peaches she brought back from a recent trip to the okanagan. Ripe for canning, the peaches were soft and perfect.

I took a canning class once, a while back, at Save-On-Meats through a Groupon. I wrote about it in another blog post. Anyway, I remember there were a lot of steps by they were not too complex.

So I did a little search and came across this super handy site, full of recipes to for using local produce. BC Tree Fruits – peaches in light syrup. As I read through the steps, I thought, this is gonna be fruity-fun!

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