My adventure in gifting a wedding cake and lessons learned

Well, wedding season is coming to a close. As a baker, I caught the tail end of it while baking my friend’s wedding cake and cupcakes – as my gift to the Bride & Groom.

The wedding was last weekend and it was beautiful. An outdoor ceremony with weather that cooperated at the 11th hour. Oddly the weather worked out well for me too, not too hot otherwise buttercream melts in warm weather.

It was also a reunion of friends that haven’t been together as a group in over 10 years. Basically, since most of us finished university. Love was in the air, old friendships across every table, bursting with laughter and good times.

I met with my friend earlier on in the summer to come up with a plan for the cake, and look, based on their wedding colours etc. This photo was the inspiration from the bride, a simple elegant design covered in buttercream (and no fondant).

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Pastry School Here I Come!

It’s official: I am going to pastry school this year!

Before you read further, I’ll warn you, this particular post is a long one and shares how I came to this recent career decision. It all started somewhere around the time of this photo:

Jeanette LeBlanc helping bake in Terrace, BC, at the approximate age of 3 or 4.

Jeanette LeBlanc helping bake in Terrace, BC, at the approximate age of 3 or 4.

Well, I won’t go that far back, but there are many moments in my life that contributed to this pastry school decision. I’ll fast forward to 2014 and confirm that I’m still as excited as I was as a kid to be in the kitchen.

So, switching gears in my career from communications to enter the kitchen professionally may seem like an easy decision. It’s a big decision, but, an easy one. Continue reading

HAVE Cafe’s 2nd Annual Cupcake Throwdown!

In January 2011, HAVE Cafe hosted their second annual cupcake throwdown at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive. It was a SWEET event to say the least and raised over $2600 from ticket sales and donations. Funds support HAVE Cafe, a culinary training school and restaurant in the downtown Vancouver’s eastside. Their mission is “To develop a program that will train “employment barriered” people from the downtown eastside and surrounding neighbourhoods, and to place them in entry level jobs in restaurant kitchens of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association”.  A cause that melts my heart, and reminds me of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation program. The idea of inspiring people and teaching life skills in the kitchen is amazing to me.  If you have the chance, visit the Cafe – it is the best value eats in more ways than one…

So when an organization like this hosts a cupcake fundraiser it’s an instant sell to me! Cupcake bakers contended with their cupcake displays throughout the night, while patrons tasted all the entries and voted on the winners or presentation and taste.

I honestly had a hard time choosing, they all were good in their own way. I feel like a mom saying that, but it is true. How can you go wrong with a cupcake!?!?

Here are some photo highlights of the sweetest dinner I’ve had so far this year! I can’t wait for the 3rd annual throwdown!!!

Third place winner - sweet potato carrot cupcakes!!!

Third place winner - sweet potato carrot cupcakes!!!

Rainbow cupcakes - I was SERIOUSLY impressed by these ones!

Rainbow cupcakes - I was SERIOUSLY impressed by these ones!

S'more Cupcakes with camping Ken & Barbie

S'more Cupcakes with camping Ken & Barbie

The pinkest ones of all, and flavour was to die for!

The pinkest ones of all, and flavour was to die for!

Mexican Vanilla cupcake filled with blackcurrent cream

Bite-size & flavour packed: Mexican Vanilla cupcake filled with blackcurrent cream and a swirl of cassis flavoured Italian meringue buttercream - topped with a mini french macaron.

YES thats an ice cream cone filled with brownie, vanilla cake, and topped with buttercream frosting!

YES thats an ice cream cone filled with brownie, vanilla cake, and topped with buttercream frosting!

There were a few French displays too...

There were a few French displays too...

Paris too!

Paris too!

Classic chocolate.... enough said. This was my final stop of the night.

Classic chocolate.... enough said. This was my final stop of the night.

The winners of the night were a first place Red Velvet cake, second place coco lime, and third place sweet potato carrot.  The pink pink cassis cake won for best presentation.

It was sincerely sweet success!