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#productionpastries: Sweet Lovely Bakes
This morning at ELLE HQ, we took a break from the looming deadline of getting our February issue to the printers to take a little walk in a winter wonderland…or at least we all spent a significant amount of time huddled around this snowy gingerbread scene, marveling at all the details and sweet touches (like using sugar swizzle sticks for icicles…genius). Did we mention our entire office smells like Christmas now too?! This festive distraction came to us courtesy of
Sweet Lovely Bakes, a Toronto area purveyor of hand-crafted treats for any occasion when you might want some delectable yet stylish. Case in point: Along with the gingerbread house, our delivery included cookies, macarons, cupcakes, eclairs and more gingerbread, all decorated in co-ordinating shades of silver and white. Very pretty…and very delicious. (There was just one lonely eclair left by 11 am…!) We chatted with Valerie Cardozo, the recent design school grad turned small business owner, about her business, her favourite treats, and her top tips for holiday baking:
What is your first baking memory? Growing up, both of my grandmothers loved to bake, which inspired me at a very early age. Every Saturday was baking day in our kitchen, from whipping up a classic vanilla cake, fruit tarts to ‘gateau rapadou’, a blackstrap molasses cake family recipe that has been passed on for generations.
What is your best recommendation for a crowd-pleasing sweet treat? French eclairs filled with delicious vanilla pastry cream are becoming very popular and if you have not tried one, I would highly recommend that it be your next indulgence. It is definetely a crowd-pleaser which will keep you wanting for more!
What is your favourite sweet indulgence? I love to indulge in anything that is rich with dark chocolate. One of my favourite indulgences is a classic and creamy hot cocoa, which inspired my seasonal "spicy hot chocolate macaron" for the winter months. I also love to pair up a classic cake topped with a scoop of ice cream.
What’s the biggest mistake at home bakers make? One of the biggest mistakes is either skipping steps or over baking, which can often result in dry cakes. Baking can be compared to chemistry, wherein all the measurements should be precise in order to achieve the right formula. I recommend home bakers to follow all the steps that a recipe calls for, that all the ingredients be measured precisely and carefully (a scale often helps) and to buy an oven thermometer to ensure that your oven is baking at the right temperature.
What’s inspiring you this holiday season? I love the holiday season because to me, it is a time of love, joy, and appreciation that is spent with loved ones. It is always a reminder to be grateful for what you have and an opportunity to look back on the year that has just passed with a different perspective in order to identify the areas of your life that you can improve going forward. The holidays also mean a busy kitchen, from baking traditional christmas sugar or gingerbread cookies, rich chocolate mousse infused with liqueur, and we can’t forget champagne macarons! This season, I am gravitating towards neutral white palettes with accents of gold or silver.
What’s the story behind Sweet Lovely Bakes?
Sweet Lovely Bakes was founded a year ago after I decided to combine my design background, my natural design creativity and my passion for culinary arts and share it with the rest of the world. At Sweet Lovely Bakes, the philosophy is based on the foundation of quality and design. Our primary goal is to meet your highest expectations by tailoring every delightful creation to your desire and taste. In customizing our specialty cupcakes, macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, meringue cookies, and more, our first priority is to ensure that your special occasion is sweet, lovely, and unforgettable.
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