Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Review: Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show


On Friday, I ventured off to the west end of the city towards The Toronto Congress Centre where they were hosting the third annual Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show. When I first came across the ad in the newspaper, I was excited: celebrity chefs such as Anna Olson, baker Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss), and the Cupcake Girls were going to be there. Plus, I have been personally practicing my cake-making skills and wanted to check out all the baking gadgets I could buy.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Anna or Buddy, because they weren’t scheduled to appear until the next couple days, but I did get to see the Cupcake Girls, Heather and Lori, and hear a bit about how they got started in the business which was inspiring.

I only paid $6 for entry (the perks of teacher discounts), and got a mini swag bag which I thought could use a little more “swag” (the Fleischmann’s Yeast Best Ever Breads cookbook and the $5 Canadian Tire coupon weren’t too shabby though).

I got some great deals on a couple cake tins and mini baking cups from the MDC Housewares booth. Ate a delicious portugese custard tart from Doce Minho Bakery, then wandered down to the Redpath booth. I picked up a free copy of an integrated curriculum resource about food energy! This will be very helpful for my teaching this year. George Brown College instructor (and professional pastry chef) Christophe Measson, put on a demo of one of his recipes: Baked Rice Pudding with Milk Jam, Apricot and Mango Compote, and Shortbread (that was a mouthful). Engaging and comedic (complete with the French accent), Christophe’s demo was easy to follow and I learned a few tricks that would help with my dessert preparation.

A few pasta cutters and a stainless-steel perogi press (I know, I know… one step at a time) were my purchases at Adamo Imports. I splurged a bit at McCalls: cake boards, boxes, bags and sticks for all the baked goods I plan on making as gifts for the holidays. Flour Confections was the last major stop and they had a wide selection of gel colours on sale, and I also picked up a couple buckets of fondant.

Personally, I thought the show was going to be a little bigger, with more vendors and giveaways. I was in and out within a couple hours. But the deals I got on some of the baking tools were pretty good. I loved the demo put on by Redpath, and seeing the fondant-covered masterpieces for the Cake Competition was awe-inspiring. I’ll probably go again next year.

One of several of the cakes for the Alice in Wonderland Theme Competition by professional bakers.

One of several of the cakes for the Alice in Wonderland Theme Competition by professional bakers.

Wilton Cake Decorating Basics: Course 1


I don’t know how all these bakers and cake decorators cope being surrounded with all that cake and sugary icing. I just finished my 4-day, intensive Wilton Cake Decorating class at my local Michael’s store. Although I had a blast learning all these cool decorating techniques, bringing home cakes and cupcakes for the past few days sucks when you’re struggling to stick to a new diet.

My level 1 decorating basics course only cost me $22.50 (Michael’s has a promo going on this summer for their classes). But what I saved in course fees I made up for with decorating supplies. Who knew there were so many gadgets and gizmos when it came to making a cake look all fancy? I splurged on the Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set (thank goodness I had one of those 50% off coupons), and it includes all the basics I need for each of the four Wilton courses I plan to take.

Baking is one of those things that I always wanted to be better at. Since childhood I’ve loved art and design, so I figured why not mix it with my love of food?

Each class was two hours long. Our instructor, Amy, was very knowledgeable and helpful. There were about six of us in the class. On day one we got familiar with filling a bag with icing, it’s various consistencies, and the different decorating tips that can be used.

Day two had us getting a firm handle on working with cakes (leveling, adding filling, icing), using pattern transfers and creating borders.

Day three was fun, as we got to work with cupcakes. I made some red velvet ones (from the package), and we learned how to make pom-pom flowers and shaggy mums. We also got introduced to the flower nail.

The last class we were asked to bring in a cake that had already been filled and iced so that we can decorate it with what we’ve learned over the past few days. I made a carrot cake and filled it with some cream cheese and coconut filling. It came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. That is until I got off the subway and noticed it was doing a slight leaning tower of Pisa thing (too much filling I suppose).

I went on the Wilton website prior to class and was able to find out how to create a carrot shape using two different tips. I added a rose that we learned to create in today’s class and voila! Not bad for my first, real buttercream-frosted cake.

Filled, iced and ready to go!

Filled, iced and ready to go!

Bottom border was made with a #2 tip.

Bottom border was made with a #2 tip.

The Wilton Rose. I think my icing was a tad too stiff, as to why it's cracking.

The Wilton Rose. I think my icing was a tad too stiff, as to why it’s cracking.

I love these buttercream icing carrots I made with tips #12 and #233.

I love these buttercream icing carrots I made with tips #12 and #233.

A little lopsided with room for some refinement, but I think I did a decent job!

A little lopsided with room for some refinement, but I think I did a decent job!



These are some of the red velvet cupcakes I decorated in class 3. It was fun working with all those tips!

These are some of the red velvel cupcakes I decorated in class 3. It was fun working with all those tips!

I’ll definitely be taking the rest of the classes in this series, though I can’t wait for the fondant class, as I seems to be a bit easier to work with than buttercream icing.

I think it’s time to do some P90X now.


Valentine Sweets


Yes, I know I’m a couple of weeks off (school leaves little time for blogging), but here are some photos of some yummy treats I made for Valentine’s Day weekend.  I’ve been on a baking frenzy as of late. I need to replenish my butter…

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing
To make this yummy icing simply blend 2 or 3 fresh strawberries in a blender, mix with some confectioner’s sugar and a drop of red food colouring.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

Shortbread Cookies
A very basic recipe: Flour, butter, confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch. I added some vanilla extract in my version for a little extra flavour.

Shortbread Cookies

Mousse-Filled Chocolate Cups with Berry Coulis
After taking a culinary workshop run by Tatiana (a classmate at school), I just had to try this at home. It came out delicious. I used a mixture of strawberries and raspberries for the coulis.

Mousse-Filled Chocolate Cups with Berry Coulis

Holiday Baking (Yeah, I know I’m two months late…)


I totally forgot to post some of the pics I took of all the goodies I baked over Christmas. Oh, well… better late then never!

Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Peppermint Swirl Cookies – One of the recipes I got from a holiday issue of Canadian Living. These came out really well.

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies – These were so yummy! Melt in your mouth!

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake – This was my first time making this type of cake from scratch… I didn’t realizes it would be so easy!

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle – My mom loved these… Got the recipe off