HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A new year is once again upon us, which always inspires me to review where I’ve grown, fallen short, and been surprised over the previous year. On a personal level, this year has introduced to me a variety of new experiences; some welcomed and some not. This year has also introduced me to a variety of new baking experiences. I’ve had such an incredible year, watching my (very) small baking business grow more and more with each passing month. It has been such a blessing for me to interact with so many new clients, learn so many new techniques, test and develop so many new recipes, and enjoy every minute of it along the way. I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love the most: bake.
I loved pushing myself to try so many new recipes and techniques this year. I made sugared blueberries to add the cutest little touch to white-chocolate blueberry cupcakes. I captured one of the best flavours of autumn by making mini pumpkin cheesecakes. I was given numerous opportunities to express my love of florals through different cookie orders. I finally braved my fear of baking with yeast when I made the most delicious cinnamon buns from the most amazing Butter Baked Goods recipe book. I also got obsessed with shortbread cookies and the endless flavour combinations that can accompany them.
This year I also pushed myself to go the extra mile with details. I believe that beyond tasting great, baked goods should look good too. As a result, I took the extra time to add special little details to the cookies and cakes I made, such as the tiny little gingerbread men that topped a gingerbread cheesecake. I also took a lot of time developing a business card and brand that I was happy with to represent my business. One of my favourite little details were the tiny chocolate teddy bears I made as cupcake toppers for a baby shower. At times, going this extra mile can be frustrating, tiresome, and seem pointless, but in the end, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to present a product I am happy with, both taste-wise and visually.
The number of cookie orders I took on over this past year is unbelievable. Over the course of the year, I had over 53 orders and made over 178 dozen sugar cookies. Yes. That is 2136 specially-decorated cookies. I was given so many opportunities to be creative. I was also challenged in so many ways, especially when I was asked to create specific cookies and cupcakes based on children shows, pop-culture items, and brands. These cookies were some of my favourite to make, because they were so challenging, yet rewarding. I custom made tiny Disney princess cupcake toppers, did so many Minnie Mouse themed cookies, was introduced to Toopy and Binoo, custom cut and decorated the famous Canadian Tim Horton’s cup, was able to support Theatre of the Beat as they embarked on their summer tour, and made my brother’s baseball team custom A’s cookies. Did I mention that his team won the championship? (not that I’m taking credit or anything…)
My favourite part about making all of these treats was that they were created for the purpose of celebrating some of life’s biggest (and smallest) moments. Whether it be Earth Day, a bachelorette party, the arrival of a new baby, the beginning of a marriage, a second birthday, or the end of the school year and the start of the summer, special treats allow people to be together. It brings me so much joy to know that something that I get so much enjoyment from doing can be so integral in connecting people.
I’ve experienced so many joyous baking moments this year, but it wasn’t all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. I stretched myself to the limit by procrastinating on orders, taking on way more than a single person can handle, and pulling my first ever all-nighter. I experienced a few failed attempts and even had to turn down a couple order opportunities because I just had too much to do. But I learned so many things throughout the entire process, encouraging me to set goals for the upcoming year.
This year has been flat out incredible. I’ll leave it there, as I must attend to my first order of 2014, but I would just like to thank all of those who have supported me this year. Your words of encouragement, helping hands, and faith in me is greatly appreciated beyond words. Here’s to a year of joy, blessings, and endless amounts of cookies!