Saturday, 29 September 2012

Canada Sweet and Baking Show 2012

A couple weeks ago my Auntie Christine told me about a Show dedicated to all things baking, decorating, etc. The more I looked into who would be there and what would be shown I knew this would something invaluable to me. They boasted that hundreds of booths and stalls would be showing off their talents and selling their goodies, and that baking giants like Redpath Sugar and Canadian Living were there demonstrating how to make delights with their products. I also noticed that several celebrity chefs from The Food Network would be making appearances!! Names like Chef Duff from Ace of Cakes, and Anna Olson of shows like Sugar and Bake to name a couple. These chefs would be giving presentations showing techniques and giving good advice to bakers of all levels.

My goal while I was there was to ask as many questions as I could learning how I could grow my business and how I can manage myself in a way that shows off what I can offer and also help me move forward. To help describe what type of cake pops that I make I brought along a photo album of all my styles (yes that's right... I kept getting out my photo album and showing anyone I could show) and I was pleasantly surprised at people's reactions. It was really a great confidence booster and a renewed sense of pride.

Although seeing the tall decorated cakes was awe inspiring, and seeing all the delectable cupcakes made me drool, I had hoped to see someone selling cake pops! Only one stall had them but they were plain and not their main talent they were showing off. I had heard there was a Cake Pop Competition on Sunday, but I was only going for the one day so perhaps it's something to think about for next year.

Apart from soaking up visual knowledge and asking people questions, I wanted to see as many talks as I could. While I was there there were several main-stage talks including a live cake decorating competition sponsored by Porter Airlines, and a 13-year-old boy who had been nicknamed "The Cake Prince" by the Toronto Star, decorating a cake with beautifully hand-made gum paste flowers! Quite spectacular to see. And I was lucky enough to have two celebrities giving talks while I was there: The cast from the Food Network's Sugar Stars and celebrity chef Anna Olson.

The Sugar Stars seem so loud and fun on TV and quite honestly there were just that in real life! I built up the courage, and patiently waited while people took their photos with the cast, to speak with Yolanda their baker. She confessed that she had not had the best success with cake pops which coming from such a talented baker I was surprised to hear. I boldly showed her my work and I was honoured to hear here say that she thought they were great. She especially loved my Reindeer growing a broad smile when she saw them! (How could you not?!) I can hear my Mother ask "did she offer you a job?" and the fact is no, she didn't, but if she had I would have had to move to Toronto... and I'd like to keep catering to Montreal. 
 Secondly I had the delight of listening to Anna Olson share her knowledge on how to make Pâte Sablé (sugar pastry). The concept of her talk was to run through an entire episode of her show Bake. She started with how to make the pastry itself, then moved on to Empire cookies using the dough, then on to a gorgeous looking Pumpkin Crème Brulée using the dough as the pie shell, and finally she made a wonderful large fruit tart filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh raspberries and figs, glazed with warmed apricot jam. Through it all she talked about how they filmed the shows and the various processes they go through on each day. She even divulged where the food goes; Her crew gets first dibs, but the food Anna Olson makes during the testing phase goes to her local charity! After her talk the entire audience queued up to have a book signed and  get a photo with Anna herself!

By the end I was tired and my head was overstuffed with ideas and new knowledge, but I felt invigorated and encouraged to get into my kitchen and create beautiful things!! Enjoy the photos...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Let's Hear from You!

I've been going through my settings of my blog and I think I've got it so that anyone can comment now!
I welcome comments, questions, suggestions, etc. Leave me your email if you like and I will do my very best to write back.

I'm starting to plan my Christmas season (I know, it's not even October yet!!) but if you know you'll be needing your Christmas cake pops for any Christmas parties or family gatherings, please let me know as soon as possible... it's never too early.

First, though... Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving!!


My first Graduation celebration came a very busy time of the week, within a very busy month. At the same time I had been forced to turn down big orders, I took on this smaller one.... Why? I asked that too and at first I was unsure of the decision. If this order hadn't been as small as it was (eight cake pops), and had the design not been this simple (a single letter on each) I wouldn't have even attempted it. However, as it turned out, less was more for visual impact when it came to these cake pops, spelling out "CONGRATS" in sweet chocolaty goodness all standing proud in a stand I fashioned to look like a graduation cap.

Their simple design and clear message were quite charming when I stood back and looked at the whole package, and it reminded me that even though these little cakes were celebrating a big milestone in someones life, that the little, simpler things are worth celebrating too.