Wednesday 26 September 2012

Baking in France

It has been a loooong time since my last post, and for that I am so sorry! My excuses: travelling in Europe for a couple of weeks, and a new job!! First off, my culinary trip to France was fantastic. Like, fan-flipping-tastic. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at l'École Française de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie d'Aurillac but what I got was the warmest welcome, the most amazing French meals, private tours of the neighbouring villages, and best of all, private pâtisserie and boulangerie lessons with French chefs. I'll spare you all the details and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Beautiful Aurillac landscapes- so lush and green

A lovely auberge where we ate déjeuner (lunch)

Carrousels are in the most random places in Europe

Visit to a farm where we watched the farmers milk the cows and then
tasted their cheese! Such an authentic experience

Decorative breads made in school

Our finished products after only one day!

Traditional French baguettes

Rye bread- a specialty of the region and very different from the rye bread we know

Decorative bread hahah

Breads, brioches and sandwiches 


Citrus mousse on a meringue biscuit

Blackberry flan with a cinnamon crumble

Nougatine macarons! I can now say I learned to make French macarons
in FRANCE! :)

Tropical pie- pineapple almond cream baked into a shortbread
crust, covered with a pineapple/ mango/ banana spread and topped
with a crispy crumble! THE. BEST.

It was most definitely a trip to remember! I am so privileged to have had the chance to work alongside the chefs at EFBPA. I must thank Christian Vabret (founder of the school, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and the list goes on) and Nathalie Breuil (director of the school and superwoman extraordinaire) for making my stay in Aurillac such a great one :)

Thursday 2 August 2012

Wedding weekend

This past weekend was my wedding season finale- and it was a double! This was by far the most baked goods I had to make for one day- a three tiered cake, 150 cupcakes, 10 dz cookies, 10 dz brownies and 12 dz meringues. It may not sound like that much, but considering we still haven't replaced our second fridge, space was tight. The chest freezer was jam packed with cupcake carriers!

Val & Cesar

This lovely young couple wanted to keep it simple for their wedding, so they opted for cupcakes. At the tasting, they couldn't decide which flavour to pick, so they picked all three- vanilla, chocolate and red velvet. We paired the vanilla and red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate Italian buttercream, and the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla Italian buttercream. Keeping with their colour scheme, I tinted the buttercream different shades of coral and kept some white. The cupcakes looked elegant with a simple buttercream rose swirl.

The cupcakes all set up in a ballroom at La Prairie Golf Club

Vanilla, red velvet and chocolate cupcakes with a buttercream rose swirl

A simple yet elegant setup

Allan & Alina

I had the pleasure of working with my former classmate Allan, and his fiancée Alina on their wedding cake and sweet table. They found their favourite cake style while researching online and together we altered it to fit their colour scheme and personal preferences. It turned out to be a clean cut, simple square cake with a twist (literally). I handmade some sugar orchids to decorate, and the couple provided me with their cute cake topper.

So cute!

Vanilla cake with white chocolate Italian buttercream
Allan and Alina also wanted sweets to accompany the cake for their guests. They picked the sweets, and I was left to organize and design the table. Since it was my first time setting up a sweet table, I did some research and tried to do some sketching. I even got the exact dimensions of the table and drew it to scale to see exactly how the different serving dishes would fit. Long story short, my planning was not necessary because when I arrived and started setting up, I was better able to judge what looked good where, so I made many changes. After much fussing about, I was finally satisfied and proud of the look of the table.

Chocolate chip cookies
Brownies with a white chocolate drizzle

Lemon butter cookies

So pretty :) 

Sweet table/ candy bar


m&m brownies

Well the season is slowing down for me.. still a couple small orders before I leave on my trip at the end of the month :) Thanks for reading!!


Saturday 7 July 2012

Summertime is cake time

I FOUND THE PICTURES!! Well, my dad helped. Thanks dad! :)

Here are the cakes I've done so far this summer. Can't believe it's already July.. still lots more cakes to come ;)

60th Birthday/ Retirement Cake

Vanilla cake with lemon curd and pear filling for my aunt's birthday/ retirement party

Used my Cricut Cake to cut out the letters- so precise and clean :)

A mini Adirondack chair made of fondant and sprayed blue to give it
a more realistic look

Sugary Pink Wedding Cake

Marbled red velvet and vanilla cake with white chocolate

Handmade sugar orchids

Mini Birthday Cake

A small chocolate cake with salted butter caramel filling. Handpainted with food gels
for a Nova Scotian/ Quebec theme :)

The Terrible Towel

Red velvet cake with cream cheese buttercream, accompanied by vanilla and
chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

The Berry White

Another Berry White! 6 layers of rich chocolate cake brushed with strawberry
syrup and layered with white chocolate buttercream and lots of
strawberries! Yum- my fave!!

Almost 7" high!
Classic Vanilla Wedding Cake

2 real tiers of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. Decorated with fondant,
fabric bows, silver dragees and fresh roses for a classic look,

The biggest wedding cake I've ever made! It weighed in at about 70 lbs- such a
challenge to transport! 

Thursday 5 July 2012


Sorry for the lack of posts recently!! :( I've been swamped with orders and have yet to organize all my pictures. It also doesn't help that my little photog sister left the country with her camera with some of my pictures still on it! I promise to catch you all up within a week and a half- hold tight! Thanks for your patience :)


Wednesday 13 June 2012

My first sweet table

I had the pleasure of creating a cake and sweet table for a friend's parents' 25th anniversary/ vow renewal ceremony. It was my very first order for an entire sweet table. Although the party wasn't huge, the preparations took up A LOT of space in my kitchen. Things also didn't go as smoothly as I would have wanted, with an oven who's temperature is always on the fritz and a fridge that broke down (don't worry, we have 2!). I also had a last minute cake emergency, when the cake topper broke upon delivery! Luckily I knew of a cake supply store nearby, and they had what I needed. The new silver "25" wasn't as classy as I would have wanted, but it was the best I could do! Needless to say, this was definitely a learning experience, and I have a lot more insight into what it takes to create a great sweet table in the future ;)

Mixed fruits from Jean Talon market with salted butter caramel sauce

Red velvet brownies

Milk chocolate ganache on chocolate pate sucree "tartelettes"

Custard filled puffs dipped in white chocolate with Skor bits

Chocolate eclairs filled with fresh vanilla whipped cream

Finally, the cake (with the original topper). Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake
with vanilla buttercream. Decorations in fondant.

Up next: a quadruple grad cake and a retirement cake!

Sunday 27 May 2012

Also in the meanwhile,

...I participated in my first culinary competition! It was called L'Apprenti étudiant en boulangerie 2012. Over 2 days, I had to make the following: croissants, chocolatines, traditional French baguettes, decorative French baguettes, and a free-expression bread and brioche. Here are a few pictures taken by my teacher, François Tachon. Merci chef!

Rolling my croissants

Checking my brioche!

Apple spiced bread

French brioche filled with goat's milk Brie and strawberries- mmm :)

My finished croissants! The judges liked my croissants the best ;)

Finished chocolatines, so flakey and round and cuuuute!

Traditional French baguettes

Decorative French baguettes, sprinkled with black and white sesame

At the results ceremony, with a sampling of my finished products

My classmates and competitors, and teacher, M. Tachon


Congratulations to all the winners! I am so excited to be going to France
in the fall as part of my prize! I will be attending a boulangerie/ pâtisserie
conference in Aurillac- can't wait!!!