Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Looking back over the year 2012 and I must say it was an AMAZING year. We continued to design numerous wedding and celebration cakes, but we also saw an upswing in the local cupcake market. Many exciting things happened this year.  
  • First, I travelled to Kitchener, ON in April and was able to take a cake sculpting and chocolate modelling course with Karen Portaleo of the Highland Bakery.

  • Secondly, we were featured on 3 different television interviews. We were featured on CJDC-TV, Shaw TV and then most recently we did a Christmas cupcake decorating how-to once more on CJDC-TV. 
  • Thirdly, in the fall of this year, we were asked to be the sole provider of gourmet cupcakes to local coffee shop, The Canadian Grind.

Looking ahead to 2013, proves to be another exciting year. Once again, I have the opportunity to take additional training in the art of cake sculpting and working with other sugar mediums.

Recently on Facebook, I asked those who LIKED our page to post any questions regarding caking, baking or the business of cakes, and I would do my BEST to answer them. I thought this would be a neat way to end off an amazing year. So here goes...

Does your family ever get tired of cupcakes and cake?
YES, YES, YES,.... need I say more. I personally have never been a fan of cake or icing, which is probably the result of having very few sweets when growing up as a child. Money was tight in the 80's, so treats were limited to birthdays and Christmas.  I would much rather have a tea biscuit and I always have pumpkin pie for my birthday. My family has never been cake fans either. My husband loves having a peach pie for his birthday. My daughter pretty much loves anything chocolate and my son would rather forget the cake thing and just have pizza. As you can imagine, this is REALLY hard when it comes to trying new recipes, since I have a hard time getting taste testers.

If you had to choose one decorating technique and one tool you can't live without, what would it be?
 1) My top and most favorite decorating tool is my AGBAY cake leveller and slicer.  This tool levels the tops of your cake and splits them evenly. No more hand slicing and lopsided cakes. Best investment EVER!

2) My "latest" favorite decorating technique is using silicone molds. The opportunities are endless. Molds come in a variety of styles... lace, buttons, figures, flowers, objects. Plus, I have now learned to create silicone molds when I want to replicate an original item. Awhile back I was creating an RCMP grooms Red Serge cake and I wanted to replicate the badges on the uniform. Luckily, I had come across some in a thrift store a long time ago, so I was able to create a mold of the exact badge and make them out of sugarpaste.

What is the best way to icing cupcakes or cake without pulling the cake up with the icing?
Let your cake completely cool after baking and let it "rest" for at least 24 hrs before icing. I once tried baking and icing a cake all within the same day and my cake was so fluffy that it fell apart while trying to ice it. After letting it "rest", I then take some icing and "crumb" coat the cake. You basically take some icing and lightly cover your cake surface to seal in all those loose crumbs. Let that chill for about 1/2 hr and then go back and put the final coat of icing on your cake .
What are the best substitutes for common baking ingredients that you may have on hand?

Here are a list of the most common substitutions:
1 cup milk... 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water
1 oz chocolate... 3 tbsp. cocoa + 1 tbsp butter,margarine or shortening
1 cup butter... 1 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar... 1 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk.... 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice added to milk to make 1 cup
1 cup buttermilk.... 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sour cream.. 1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup skim milk... 3 tbsp skim milk powder + 1 cup water
1 whole egg...2 egg whites
1 cup whole eggs... 5 large eggs
1 cup egg whites... 8-9 egg whites
1 cup egg yolks... 12 egg yolks
1 tsp baking powder... 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup pastry flour... 1 cup less 2 tbsp all purpose flour, without sifting
1 cup honey... 1 1/4 granulated sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
1 cup corn syrup... 1 cup sugar + 1/4 cup liquid
Juice of 1 lemon...3-4 tbsp bottled lemon juice

Are there cookie sheets you recommend? My cookies always seem to dark on the bottom. It most likely is an operator error but I'm blaming the cookie sheets.
I use heavy aluminum cookie sheets. I do not use the non-stick pans you readily find in department stores. I purchase my cookie sheets in specialty stores that sell commercial cooking equipment. Also, I line all my pans with parchment paper. This saves you having to grease your cookie sheets.


What's your favorite thing to make? Cupcakes, cookies, or cake?
That's a hard question... but probably decorated cookies would be my least favorite. I enjoy baking both cakes and cupcakes but for different reasons. Cupcakes are fast and easy to make so I enjoy making them for these reasons. Out of cakes, I enjoy making wedding cakes the best. Even though they are MORE STRESSFUL when dealing with structural factors (making sure the cake is level, dowelled properly and sturdy) and delivery (getting it there in one piece, especially when driving our rutty and rough Northern BC roads), but I LOVE the overall beauty and elegance of a wedding cake.

When you icing a cake that is going to have fondant on do you do a dirty icing first? And I have been told never put a cake in the fridge to cool it down, because it will dry it out? Is that true?

As stated above, I always crumb coat (or "dirty ice") my cake first, then after chilling to seal in the crumbs, I put on another final coat of buttercream. I then let the final coat chill before applying my fondant. I know some people just crumb coat their cakes before applying the fondant, but I PERSONALLY like applying an additional layer of buttercream for those people who do not prefer the taste of fondant. PLUS, the cake tastes yummier, anyway!

To the second part of the question, NO!!!!, do not place your cakes in the fridge to cool down. Once you take them out of the ovens and pans, let them cool on a wire rack on your counter and then wrap them securely in plastic wrap to seal in the moisture. Letting them cool in the fridge WILL dry out your cake.

I would like to thank all our clients, family and friends for such a successful 2012 and wish them a HAPPY NEW YEAR!