Monthly Archives: August 2014

Studio Tour: The Cake Collective

The Cake Collective
People often ask me about the kitchen space I bake in. Is it a shared space? What kind of other foods are prepared there? What does it look like? Though I’ve put up a couple posts on my Instagram and Facebook pages of the space here and there, I wanted to give you all a bit more insight into my shared studio space at The Cake Collective.
The Cake CollectiveWhen you first walk in, there is a consultation room to the left. It’s a convenient space to meet clients right within the building, rather than going offsite, so you can continue working before and after the meeting. It also allows us to give our clients a peek into the space where their orders are created.
The team there kindly displays some of the members’ work so that clients can see the other types of bake services offered. (Cake on the left by Sweet Carnival Cakes).
Down the hallway is a room to keep our personal belongings. This space comes in handy since we have to change into different clothing to bake in. A little further down the hall is the personal kitchen, where members can go for a quick break or meal in between working.

The Cake Collective

And finally: the studio! This is a shared professional kitchen where pastry chefs and other bake artists can bake, design and assemble goods in a licensed facility. There are 10 different stations that come equipped with a KitchenAid mixer, scale, induction burner, cake turntable, and cleaning supplies. The rest of the equipment is spread throughout so that it’s easily accessible for everyone. There are several small fridges within the kitchen and a large walk-in fridge in the back room.

The Cake Collective

Walk-in Fridge

The open plan space makes it easy to access the many, many tools we bake artists use. Seriously, they are fully stocked with every kind of tool you might need! They’re also pretty observant about which tools may be missing or helpful to the artists, and are quick to supply them (such as one of my new favourite tools, the dough leveller).

Baking equipment

Cake Decorating tools

Baking equipment

Baking tools
Baking Ingredients
As I’m a bit of a neat freak myself, I appreciate that the studio considers cleanliness a priority. There are separate sinks for washing hands and produce, and the equipment washing bins have a 3-step sanitization process. Aprons, disposable gloves, and even hair ties are provided for members’ use while in the kitchen.
Perhaps one of the greatest assets of a shared space is that with so many different types of artists making anything from cakes, to cookies, to pies, to macarons (and more!), we can all learn from and get inspired by each other’s work. Thank you to the team at The Cake Collective for creating such a bright, beautiful, shared space!

The Cake Collective


Inspired by: Mitandio

As each of my cookies are crafted by hand, I really value the thought, work, and craftsmanship that go into producing handmade items. When I came across Mitandio, I was immediately lured to the vibrant colours in their collection, and even moreso after learning that each piece is masterfully hand-crafted by North Indian artisans.
Each design also carries its own story and history, springing from mythology to political social issues, to human values and nature as its inspiration.
Mitandio Tiger Eyes
Perusing the website had me instantly inspired to create a cookie design based on one of their pieces – Tiger Eyes.
Mitandio Tiger Eyes cookies
I just loved the bold orange and emerald colours combined with the light cream, pink, and purples. I also gravitated toward the animal-print theme.
Mitandio Tiger Eyes cookiesI used edible gel colours and vodka to create the “paint”, dabbing on each colour in varying patterns and allowing drying time in between to create the layered look. I added a bit of gold as the final touch, to give a sense of luxury consistent with the fabric and style of Mitandio’s scarves.
Mitandio Tiger Eyes cookies
You can see more of Mitandio’s beautifully hand-crafted scarves here.
Thanks for reading! xo


Decorating, lately

When it comes to decorating tools, I usually like to stick to the basics. I don’t tend to use many embellishments (sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc.) on my cookies, I have a minimal collection of icing tips, and have (unfortunately) only used my airbrush machine a couple of times since getting it last Christmas. That said – I do tend to go way, way overboard on cookie cutters.
Lately I’ve started using some tools that not only make my work more efficient, but also enhance my designs. Have you tried any of these? I’d love to hear what you think!

Dough Spacers

These Dough Spacers are a life saver (similar here). Where I used to roll out my dough and carefully eyeball each batch for similar thickness, these handy little things have taken all the guess work out of the equation. A big thanks to the lovely ladies at The Cake Collective for picking some of these up for the cookie bakers in our kitchen!

PME 1.5 Icing tips

PME tips are hands down the best icing tips for writing. They make all the difference in creating thin, clean lines because the icing flows out smoothly and the tips enable more control. I’m embarrassed to say that until now, I only owned one of these tips and would wash it out every single time I needed to switch colours. Compared to other brands, PME tips are very much at the high end, but I’ve come to realize that the extra couple bucks is completely worth it! I’ve finally taken the plunge and ordered a few more to add to my collection – you can find them here.
For the past couple years I’ve taken the traditional route, mixing gold lustre dust and vodka to paint on my gold details to cookies. But this ready-to-use Edible Glitter Paint is a game changer. Simply shake it up, grab a paint brush, and start painting! It lasts forever and in the end seems a lot cheaper than purchasing vodka for the gold touches. I found mine at Flour Confections; I’d also like to try this darker gold version by Rainbow Dust.

Cookie Decorating Stencils

I ordered these stencils a few months ago but haven’t had a chance to use them until now. The rose stencil in particular will be perfect for an upcoming order of mine! I love the versatility of stencils with cookies; you can spray on edible paint to create a background for your work, or use icing with them for a textured effect. I ordered these from a fellow decorator and stencil-maker-extraordinaire, Nicole from Salsa Stencils. I also love any design by The Cookie Countess.
Happy Decorating! xo


Celebrate Summer Giveaway

Celebrate Summer Giveaway
What happens when three lovely ladies meet for tea and macarons? They dream up the ultimate party pack to help you celebrate summer! Enter to win sweet treats, décor and details to make an end of summer party feel like it lasts forever.
What’s in the box?
12 assorted coral, orange and yellow floral sugar cookies
1 – 8×10” & 2 – 4×6″ frame-able decor prints (frames not included)
1 hand painted ‘cheers’ bunting, ribbon to hang included
12 fill-able invitations, 12 kraft envelopes and marker
12 black and white paper straws with ‘cheers to summer’ wraps
Who are the Ladies?
Click on the following links to find out more about these talented ladies:
Hello Baked
the Paaper shop
Claire Oostrom
How to Enter?
Be a follower of @hellobaked @jaanabrett @claireoostrom on Instagram
Enter by tagging two friends in the comments and/or repost giveaway image on Instagram and tag @hellobaked @jaanabrett @claireoostrom
What are the details?
Enter from August 17th to August 23rd 2014. Winner will be drawn at random and posted on Instagram on August 25th and will be notified when their paper prizes have been shipped, approximately 2 days from draw. Please notify us of the date of your celebration so we can ship the cookies closer to that date to ensure fresh and delicious cookies. Open to Canadian residents only. Good Luck!


Friday Favourites

This week I swapped my baking sheets for paint brushes to start a long overdue room revamping project. My updated space will be a mix of a new pieces, vintage finds, and a little DIY – I can’t wait to share the new space with you over the next few weeks! Until then, here are a few of life’s little pleasures from this week:
{Vance Joy’s Riptide is the perfect painting soundtrack}
Bubble Republic Tea House
{The best bubble tea – Caramel Pudding with Tapioca – from Bubble Republic Tea House}
{Pekoe enjoying her new Boots & Barkley toys}
Paint Nite Waterlilies
{Paint Nite at The Franklin House, attempting to “re-create” Monet’s Waterlilies. Maybe I should stick to cookies.}
hello baked bedroom
{My favourite little room corner, namely since it’s the only one that’s not currently in disarray!}
Have a lovely weekend! xo


Edible Image Printing

A few months ago, I spotted a highly-rated photo printer on sale (the Canon Pixma MG5520) and bought it with the intent of exploring edible image printing. But I didn’t have much chance to use it in the weeks following my purchase since most of my designs are inspired by existing ones, not exact replicas of them. I’d also been hesitant to try it out since materials are pretty expensive – I didn’t want to play around too much without a purposeful order in mind.
Canon Pixma MG5520 whiteLuckily, one of my recent orders required an exact replica of this image (below) on the cookies. To achieve even a similar look with icing would have taken 20 – 30 minutes per cookie – not feasible with a large wedding order! So it was the perfect opportunity to finally take my edible printer for a spin.

Britt&ChrisCoaster_4.0 Square_Side1_FINAL

I ordered my frosting sheets and inks from Ink Edibles and was excited when they arrived a couple days ahead of schedule (you can also order from Kopykake, Icing Images and Golda’s Kitchen) . I printed a few colourful test pictures on regular paper and was pretty happy with the printing quality. But when I did a test run of the intended artwork, everything went awry. Though my photo came out brown on a regular printer, on the edible printer my picture came out green! Very, very green.
Best Day Ever green
I had no idea what was wrong. There definitely weren’t any clogs, since I’d been printing other photos with multiple colours just fine. I printed out another photo with a wood background and it came out true to colour. I tried some other photos with brown and white as the primary colours – still great. So what was wrong with this one photo?! I turned to some fellow cookiers for advice – some suggested adjusting the colour levels in Photoshop (so clever) while others recommended cutting out the lettering and superimposing them onto a different wood background that printed with success (brilliant). I tried both. A little less green, but still GREEN!

Best Day Ever edited

I called Ink Edibles and they advised me (without getting too technical) that on rare occasions, there are some photos that just don’t jive with the automatic print settings. They also mentioned some manual settings that could be adjusted, and that ended up being my saving grace. I had to play around quite a bit to get the right combination since the colour that popped up in the “preview” on-screen was always inaccurate. It really took a trial-and-error approach to finally get the right match.
Best Day Ever trials
The winning combination to produce the truest brown was a big bump of magenta, little to no cyan, and slightly less yellow. (But see what I mean with that misleading preview screen showing deep red??)
After going through a few aches and pains with this process, here are a few tips I have for tackling edible image printing:
Stock up on extras: edible frosting sheets, ink cartridges/refills and cookies for trials
Get started early: the colours will change slightly after a few days, so print some trials ahead of time to find the best combination that holds up after a couple days.
Drying time: lay your images on a flat surface immediately after printing. Let them dry for 10-15 minutes, then cut out your images (the frosting sheets get brittle after that time).
Storage: Store your cut-out images in an Ziploc bag and/or air-tight container when not in use.
Trials, trials, trials: before using any of those precious (read: expensive) frosting sheets, test out your image on regular paper with your edible printer. Even though my photo printed fine on a regular printer, its colours were all off with the edible printer.
Manual settings are key: before playing around with any software like Photoshop to alter colour discrepancies, try adjusting the printer’s settings manually. The preview on-screen may not be accurate so it will take some trial-and-error to get it right.
Light vs. Dark: I think edible printing would work best for photos with a white or light background. Not only will they consume less ink, but photos with a dark background seem to present more issues with colour-matching and any colour change over time will be much more noticeable.


In the end, I’m just happy that I was able to come out with a product that my client was pleased with – it really did make all that effort worth it! And I hope that in the process I’m also able to save some time for those of you who use edible printing and have run into any similar issues. Thanks for reading! xo


Friday Favourites

This week was a busy one! I spent most days working on cookies at my kitchen, but also found time to catch-up with friends and (of course) satisfy my sweet tooth at two of my favourite spots in Burlington. I’m looking forward to this weekend, celebrating my grandpa’s (90th!) and sister’s birthdays along with some family visiting all the way from Hong Kong.
Kelly's Bake Shoppe Burlington
{A visit to the beautiful Kelly’s Bake Shoppe: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free – and still so delicious.}
Golda's Kitchen
{Swooning over this wall of colourful cupcake liners while stocking up on supplies at Golda’s Kitchen}
Serendipity Tea House Burlington
{Vanilla Bean Cupcake tea, scones, and clotted cream are a must at Serendipity Tea House}
BlogTO Top 10 Custom Cookies in Toronto{I was beyond excited to see my cookies pop up on this list! Read the full article here}
Have a lovely weekend! xo