Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gingerbread Ornaments

I love a Christmas tree filled with edible treats!  Candy canes, shiny foil wrapped chocolate balls, strings of popcorn and delicious gingerbread cookies.  Here are my offerings for the most delicious Christmas tree.

These 5" gingerbread snowflakes are so fragrant and yummy, made with butter, dark brown sugar, molasses and spices including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper.  Decorated with royal icing and a shiny red ribbon, they add something special to your tree and are a delight to sneak off and eat!  $3 each, minimum order of 4.

These 3" gingerbread ornaments are decorated with royal icing and edible silver dragees.  They will be a focal point on your tree, as well as add a delicious gingerbread smell to your home.  These cookies come in a box of 9 for $22 and make a wonderful hostess gift.  Send me an email at to place your order.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Festive Snowflake Cookies

These delectable 6-inch Snowflake Cookies are available in chocolate or gingerbread, and are decorated with royal icing, sanding sugar and sometimes silver dragees. 

They come individually wrapped in a simple celophane bag and tied closed with a red ribbon.

These cookies, made with the finest butters, spices and/or chocolate, make a great teacher's gift, gift for neighbour or grandparent, as well as a terrific stocking stuffer. Each cookie is unique and tastes terrific! Special shout-out to my hand model, Josie, for helping out by holding the cookie! $4 for each 5 inch cookie.  Place your orders quickly, space is limited!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Cookie Kit

Unlike any cookie kit available in the stores, my "Christmas Cookie Kit" comes freshly made for you with 12 ready-to-decorate chocolate or gingerbread cookies (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and chocolate or molasses and spices), a piping bag of royal icing (simply sugar and meringue powder), small candies and dragees. This is very different from the store-bought variety which has been sitting around for months! All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the fun the kids are having. If you are lucky, you'll get to sneak a few delicious bites! $20 per kit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Sugar Cookies

The Christmas season is just about here, and I am now taking Christmas orders.  Over the next few days I will post the cookie packages available for order now and available for pick-up until December 23rd; cake and cupcake ideas to follow.  Today I am posting the two sugar cookie packages available.  These delicious all butter sugar cookies are flecked with vanilla bean seeds (so yummy!) and are individually iced with a sweet royal icing. 

The large platter (above) includes 20 cookies as shown, comes boxed and costs $44.

The small platter (above) includes 10 cookies as shown, comes boxed and costs $22.

If you are interested in individual cookies, they come packaged in a clear celophane bag and range in price from $2 to $3 each.  They make perfect stocking stuffers!

Contact me to place your order.  Tomorrow - the first of the gingerbread cookie options.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Shower Cake for Twins

About to welcome twins to the family, grandmother Sandy and aunt Ali came to me with a very special cake request for the baby shower.  The father-to-be of the twin boys cannot wait to take his sons fishing.  He told his mom that he expects he will be spending a lot of time untangling fishing lines in the years to come and Sandy wanted this to be the inspiration for the cake!   I sculpted two adorable little babies in diapers with fishing rods in their hands.  Their lines are already tangled!    Since there is a long-standing hockey rivalry between Ali and her brother I created a Leaf mascot teddy bear and a Penquins mascot "stuffie" which I imagined the little boys would drag around everywhere. 

The "water" of the stream is full of fish and rocks and a pair of rubber ducks bob along too.  At the edge of the water sit a couple of turtles, reeds and rushes "grow" under the dock, yellow finches gather, and it appears the boys left their bouncy balls beside one of the evergreen bushes.

I made this cake in brown sugar marble, with brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream under the homemade fondant and each slice was served with a delicious caramel sauce.  It was a real privilege to make this cake for the growing family and I wish them all much happiness and love in the months and years ahead!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Cupcake Kit

Blog repost - An activity that is always a big hit at my girls' birthday parties is decorating cupcakes or cookies.  Every child I have ever met loves the messy, sweet fun of smearing on the icing, tasting the sweet goodness and eating the end results!  This Halloween make the celebrating easy for your kids by getting one of my Halloween cupcake kits.  6 delicious cupcakes (chocolate, vanilla or both), 3 bags of Swiss Meringue Buttercream in Halloween colours and a generous selection of eyeballs and creepy, cavity-filled teeth.  Be sure to sneak a decorated cupcake for yourself!!  Contact me by Thursday, October 27th to place your order - $15.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ghoulish Ghost Cake

Blog repost - Inspired by a Martha Stewart design comes this super-sweet Ghoulish Ghost Cake.  Frosted in Swiss Meringue Buttercream and adorned in marshmallow ghosts, this cake is perfect for a halloween birthday or for your halloween bash!  Choose your favourite flavour of cake and contact me for pricing info.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thanksgiving cookie place settings

A long-time fan of Martha and all her perfect-ness, I imagine how my Thanksgiving table could look...  a golden-brown, moist turkey, neatly carved and placed "just so" on a platter, all the sides steaming in their perfectly matching bowls, each spot set with the appropriate silverware, stemware and napkins, each family member looking regal in their best Thanksgiving attire,....  Well, a girl can dream, can't she?!  I know one thing that will grace my table this year, a beautiful cookie at each setting.  Here is how I imagine it will look:

If you want this look at your Thanksgiving table, stop by the Bradford farmers' market tomorrow morning where I will have a limited number of these cookies available, as well as my Caramelized Apple Bundt Cake!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Caramelized Apple & Toasted Walnut Bundt Cake with an Apple Cider Glaze

When I was a young girl living in Holland, there was no real need for my mother to be a baker, what with a pastry store at nearly every street corner in Amsterdam.  But, I remember that for special occasions she sometimes made a lovely apple pie and pound cake was another favourite.  For a few years she specialized in a bundt cake, which she would sprinkle with powdered sugar and dress up with a red bow.  One particular Christmas we went to my brother and his wife's for Christmas and the bundt cake came along on the train.  She had made an adult version with rum and a non-alcoholic version for my brother and I.  She cut the two bundt cakes in half and then put them together as if they were one (I guess that meant there was another whole cake waiting for us at home!)  Delicious!  She knew that good quality ingredients always make a terrific dessert.

For my family Thanksgiving, I will be serving this beautiful bundt cake.  To make it I started by creating a caramel.  I added apple chunks, which I cooked down until they were soft and had soaked up the caramel flavour.  I stirred these delicious apples, along with toasted walnuts, into a rich brown sugar and butter batter that I spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger!  Once the cake had cooled, I made a glaze with apple cider and drizzled it on the top.  This cake really speaks of fall flavours and is a perfect way to end your Thanksgiving meal, or perhaps start your day!  Please place your order by Monday, October 3rd.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thanksgiving cookies

When the kids head back to school, the nights turn crisper and the leaves on the trees start to change colour, my mind starts turning towards fall events that keep us happy and busy until Christmas.  Most of my American friends are already deep into Halloween baking and preparations, but we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving first!  Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which is then followed by Halloween and then, you guessed it, a two month lead up to Christmas!!

This beautiful Thanksgiving cookie platter (inspired by the incredible talents of the Cookie Artisan) features eighteen beautiful harvest designs, from pumpkins, acorns, sunflowers, oak and maple leaves, to a squirrel and a turkey as well as a sweet banner cookie.  My super-delicious sugar cookies are made with butter, sugar, flour, eggs and are speckled with vanilla bean seeds.  They are frosted in royal icing and make a truly wonderful hostess gift that will be ooh'd and aah'd over.  Orders must be placed by October 3rd - boxed and ready for gift giving.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bridal Shower Cake and Cupcakes

Jan was put in charge of her niece's bridal shower cake.  She knew she wanted something feminine, with a purple colour palate and something that would be easy for the guests to enjoy in the casual atmosphere of the bridal shower.  I suggested that a cutting cake might add a nice touch, so, we settled on a small cake and cupcakes, with a custom stand to match.  The flavours are chocolate butter cake and white butter cake (alternating layers in the cake) with Swiss meringue buttercream and various shades and sizes of purple gum paste flowers and leaves.

Wishing Jan's niece and her husband-to-be wonderful life filled with happiness.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fantasy Flower 65th Birthday Cake

Designing and creating a cake for a special occasion; a milestone birthday, a child's birthday, an anniversary or a wedding always fills me with such a feeling of joy.  As I work on the cake I feel my craft will help make the occasion even more special and I always feel honoured for the request and the ability to add something really special to the day.  When the delivery takes place, I leave before the guests arrive and rarely witness the guest reaction to the cake and its taste. 

Last weekend my wonderful mother-in-law turned 65 and my father-in-law planned a surprise party for her.  He hesitated asking me for the cake because the party was two hours away on a hot July day.  I really wanted to do this cake and I went to work creating an elegant design that I felt would suit her beautiful, kind and loving nature.  It is not often I get to design a cake from scratch and this one was an extra special project.
I started by creating these fantasy flowers that shimmered with lustre dust and reminded me of sea shells, perfect for my m-i-l who loves to travel.  Then I baked up layers of chocolate butter cake and white butter cake and alternated them with my delicious Swiss meringue buttercream tinted the softest shade of coral.  I fashioned an elegant 65 out of gum paste and placed it on top of this beauty.

After a harrowing 2 hour drive in 32 degree celcius heat, the cake arrived at its destination intact.  It was a different experience to be there as the cake was cut and served.  I suspect that like every cake delivery I make, the cake became a focal point that people could talk about, study and eventually taste.  The incredibly positive feedback added a happy element to the party for me and I was so happy that my mother-in-law loved it as well.  I wish you many more happy and healthy years, Jackie!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tractor Cake and Cookies

For Susan's husband's 53rd birthday we decided on a John Deere riding mower/tractor design for a cake and matching cookies. The mower is Mark's newest "toy" and Susan thought the cake would be delicious in lemon poppyseed poundcake with a lemon curd filling and Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

It was a devine flavour that everyone who tasted loved! Happy birthday Mark!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Noah's Ark Cake

For little Owen's Christening, his mom and I decided on a Noah's Ark cake, a special and symbolic design for an important occasion in this little boy's life.  Creating the cake was a labour of love, with each animal taking on a personality all their own...

...those super-cute giraffes with their silly grins and those monkeys peaking out of the portholes just above the waves....

Owen's dad was also Christened the same day, so we put a small tribute to him on the cake as well.

...the lovable turtles, the sly snakes peaking out from behind those elephants (just look at those ears and trunks!) ...

...the super-cute pigs and the hippos and ducks and alligators were a joy to create....

Thanks Cake Avenue for the inspiration.

....and finally the zebras and the lion and lioness.  I finished the design with a pair of white doves, symbolic of peace and love, two things I hope are plentiful in Owen's life. 

The cake itself was alternating layers of chocolate butter cake and white butter cake were frosted in vanilla and chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and covered in homemade fondant.  The fondant was sculpted to look like rustic boards and a thatched roof, I am really pleased with how it turned out, as was little Owen's family! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Farmers' Market

A few years ago I read "The 100-Mile Diet - A Year of Local Eating" by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.  It was a great read and left me with a desire to try harder to eat local food.  I had already made many changes and modifications to the way we ate as a family, including only buying some foods in organic form, avoiding processed food, etc. (More of that is and will be explored in my other blog  Truthfully, eating locally was a new idea for me, even though I had been doing it somewhat for many years because I had been shopping at Farmers' Markets.

As a child living in Amsterdam, my mother would take us to the Albert Cuyp Markt, a daily outdoor market.  In addition to produce, fish, meat and baked goods, this market sold just about everything, clothing, dishes, curtains and material!

The Albert Cuyp Markt in Amsterdam

In London, Ontario, we shopped at the Covent Garden market, a large indoor market in the heart of downtown.  It wasn't until I moved to Kitchener that I really started loving markets - and who could resist with the famous Kitchener Market and the St. Jacob's Markets on my doorstep!  When the girls were little, I would quietly slip out of bed on Saturday mornings, and leaving my family still sleeping I would head out to the market.  Before the busiest crowds arrived, I could stock up on locally grown and produced meats, cheeses, breads, baked goods and of course, fresh-from-the-farm produce.  The German and Mennonite influences made these markets unique and oh, so wonderful!  When we moved to Bradford, the closest market was in Newmarket and I started going there.

The St. Jacob's Market

As my girls started getting older and I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, I tossed around the idea of going back to the world of computer programming.  I decided against that and enrolled in some university courses with the thought of going to teacher's college.  It wasn't easy to concentrate on studying because my mind was filled with the daydream of being a market vendor selling cupcakes and cookies.  When I finally revealed this dream to my husband he encouraged me to pursue my dream and those were the earliest days of Sweet Handmade.  As my business grew, I sort of forgot about my idea to be in the market, but when my kitchen got Health Board Certified earlier this year, Shawn reminded me of my earliest dreams and I decided to go for it.

Look for me with the colourful display!  I have lots of delicious goodies for you!

Lucky for all of us in Bradford, we now have our very own Farmers' Market.  Every Saturday morning from 8 until 1 at the Community Center on Simcoe Road, I am there along with some very hard working local farmers and artisans, including Dingo's Farms Ltd. who sell non GMO, no antibiotic and no hormone beef, lamb, pork, chicken and duck products, Pioneer Brand honey from Schomburg, fresh beautiful flowers from Mid Valley Gardens, Lakeview Gardens greenhouse and garden center, Carron Farms and their produce right from the Holland Marsh, Stephanie's Pies and more! 

Samples of my triple chocolate cupcakes and my chocolate crackle cookies.  Delish!

I am humbled and honoured to be sharing my Saturday mornings (in a parking lot!) with these hard-working people who grow and create the food that sustains us.  Every Saturday morning I have a variety of my most popular and delicious cookies and squares and I have a different cupcake flavour every week, as well as decorated sugar cookies that I switch up each week.  This week I will have cookies suitable for golf loving dads!  I offer samples of my cupcake flavour and at least one of my cookies or squares as well.  I hope this post inspires you to check out your local farmers' market and to support your local community.  If you live close to me, I hope you stop by!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sequined Wedding Cake

Just as fashion styles change over the years, so do wedding cake styles - do you remember the style of your wedding cake?  Since the fall, fashion-inspired cakes have become all the rage.  With this in mind, I designed and created this simple, yet beautiful wedding cake.  With a sleek colour palate and the added sparkle of the silver and white sequins, this cake embodies this year's hottest wedding cake style!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tinkerbell Cake

Beautiful Bella wanted a Tinkerbell cake.  The challenge was how to present Tinkerbell in a fun way without overstepping the strict Disney licensing guidelines and not resorting to a plastic figurine.  Bella's mother and I decided "Tinkerbella" was the way to go.  The colours, the telltale bun and the wings make this figure super-cute!  We placed her on a large purple flower, brushed with luster dust and surrounded her with vines and more flowers.  The cake was my super-delicious red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and it was a hit!  Happy birthday Bella!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mickey Mouse Cake

Ali's mom has had a lifelong love of all things Disney, but she has had a special affection for Mickey Mouse ever since her visit to Disney World at age 16 when Mickey gave her backside a little pinch!  There is even a photograph to commemorate it!  For her surprise 50th birthday party at Poco Cappello Ristorante in Bond Head, only a Disney cake would do, so we designed this beautiful brown sugar cake with brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream, each slice served with caramel sauce.  The entire cake was covered in red fondant, yellow and black Mickey ears and the Disney font spelling out "Happy 50th" completes the Disney design!  Using the infamous photograph, I styled Ali's mom out of gumpaste, wearing the same outfit as she did on that day 34 years ago and look closely to see Mickey reaching behind for his pinch!  The cake was a huge hit and it was a real pleasure to make!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Baby Shower Cake for Chloe

To celebrate the birth of beautiful Chloe, I designed this lovely two-tiered cake.  Brown Sugar Butter cake with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream is covered in my homemade fondant and decorated with sugar paste disks and sugar paste ribbons.  This design would be just lovely in blue or pink!  Welcome Chloe!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Chick Cupcakes

Sitting on a bed of Mike & Ike candies, these chicks are hiding a delicious vanilla cupcake and vanilla-bean buttercream under their toasted coconut exteriors.  Licorice eyes and almond beaks make these adorable chicks any child's favourite Easter dessert!  Contact me for pricing and delivery information, the minimum order on these chicks is 6.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Easter Cake with Truffle Egg Nest

With Easter just around the corner, it is time to think about the dessert you will be serving at your special dinner.  Last week I posted my extremely kid-pleasing Easter Bunny Cake, today I'm posting this elegant cake, perfect for those of you who don't get a visit from the Easter Bunny and who need their own chocolate fix!

My Truffle Egg Nest Cake is a super tall 6" cake.  It is a rich chocolate cake laced with espresso powder for a subtle mocha flavour. It is layered with a whipped ganache and then topped with a shiny dark-chocolate glaze. Inside the milk-chocolate nest are bittersweet-chocolate truffle eggs, coated with milk-chocolate tinted a sweet blue colour and brushed with luster. This gorgeous cake feeds 8 to 12.  Contact me for pricing and delivery options.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bunny Cake

Easter weekend is just over two weeks away.  Always a special time when there are young ones in the house, this cake design is so sweet, your children will be delighted!  And when you cut into it, you will be delighted, as the delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is just awesome!  This bunny is based on a Martha Stewart design and is made completely cute with a marshmallow covered body, cotton candy ears and tail, chocolate-covered coffee bean eyes, a jelly bean nose and tiny strips of yellow licorice to finish it off!  This cutie feeds 8 to 10.

Contact me to discuss pricing and delivery options.  If carrot cake doesn't tickle your fancy, we can switch to the flavour of your choice, of course!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fairy Cupcake Tower

Here is the cupcake fairy topper that I created for Mikenna's 9th birthday party.  This cute fairy was sculpted out of gumpaste and was named Joyce by the birthday girl!  Joyce sits at the top of this beautiful pink themed cupcake tower, filled with mini chocolate and vanilla cupcakes each topped with a swirl of pink Swiss meringue buttercream and a gum paste flower.  Happy birthday Mikenna!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My kitchen....

It all started in my home kitchen.  My cakes and treats got progressively more difficult and detailed and my family became less and less interested in eating everything I baked.  Luckily, friends were happy to receive any of my baking and I used every opportunity to give treats away.  Eventually, I had to consider how I was going to continue to finance the cost of the ingredients, the supplies and the courses.  I let it be known that I was taking orders and that's when I needed to think about becoming a legitimate cake design business.  We were lucky in that we suddenly had come into some extra space in our home, as my mother moved out of our basement and into a nursing home.  We set about converting our basement office into my Sweet Handmade kitchen.  There were lots of hurdles, but to make a long story short... today is the day!  Insured, properly zoned and health board approved, let me give you a tour of my kitchen!

Both a handwashing sink and double sinks for dishes help make this a proper place to work.  Above the long stretch of counter is one of my favourite features, the hanging area for my recipes and measuring spoons; handy and at my fingertips.  My indispensible Kitchenaid is at the ready and the area to the right of my stove keeps my most often used dry ingredients within easy reach.

Here is the island.  This is where I put the finishing touches on the cakes and cookies; make the buttercream super smooth; roll out the fondant; drape the fondant on the cake; craft the gum paste flowers; pipe the icing and sculpt the characters to make any cake more personalized and complete.

Here is shot of the rolling rack and also the storage unit for my cookie cutter collection - I have over 100! 

We installed cork floors and used both new and reclaimed Ikea cupboards.  While this space is in the basement, it has lots of natural light and is an absolute joy to work in.  With cupboards dedicated to baking pans and cooling racks and drawers just for gum paste cutters and molders, rolling pins, mixing bowls, offset spatulas and candy thermometers; with mason jars full of chocolate, sugars and coloured sprinkles; a fridge full of butter and eggs, cream and milk, this is every baker's dream kitchen!!  And now, what can I create for you?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Leprechaun Hat Cake

I've never met a leprechaun, I've never even been to Ireland, but I imagine there are all different kinds of leprechaun personalities.  The shy one, the bold one, the happy one and the grumpy one.  And then there would be the one who would wear this jaunty little hat.  I can only imagine he would walk with a confident gait and have a magnetic personality to match!  Maybe this March 17th I will finally meet my first leprechaun.  Can't wait to see what his hat looks like!  This hat is made of four delicious layers of brown sugar butter cake, filled with caramel Swiss meringue buttercream and is covered with shamrock green fondant.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pirate Cake with Cupcakes

Ahoy Matey!  This super-cute pirate cake is suited to a young pirate boy or pirate girl celebrating their birthday.  In addition to the cake sporting the pirate, the crew is on the cupcakes, most of them sporting a scar or two to prove their bravery in battle.  The pirate map leads us right to the treasure, in this case, Liam's third birthday party!  This cake with cupcakes can be tailored to your needs, with flavours and quantities at your discretion.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cinderella Barbie Cake

When almost three year old Jo Jo and her mom were looking at all the delicious cakes on my blog, she asked her mom why there was no Barbie cake!  With this entry for her third birthday, I have remedied that problem!  As requested, a Cinderella Barbie cake.  Jo Jo loved her!  It was a delicious chocolate butter cake, with a yummy chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream.  Happy birthday Jo Jo, and "live your fairytale"!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photo Frame Birthday Cake

To celebrate my mother's 80th birthday, I wanted to make an extra special cake. What could I create to commemorate 80 years of a wonderful life? I decided to frame photographs in handmade sugar frames, flowers and other little touches to honour her.  This is the design:

I started with green fondant (her favourite colour) covering the 4 tiers. I spent many, many hours crafting picture frames out of gum paste and royal icing, which I then tinted silver with edible lustre dust.

I made roses out of gum paste, which I coloured in varying shades of orange.  Orange is the colour (and last name) of the Dutch royal family.  It is the colour all Dutch people consider their very own - have you ever seen the Dutch fans at a sporting event?  Since we are Dutch, it was the colour of choice!

Then I added the street signs of her most significant addresses, including the Valentijnkade in Amsterdam where she was born on Valentine's day! In Holland the street signs, in blue, are attached to the corner house of the street. For this reason I attached the Dutch street signs directly onto the cake. Her most significant address in Canada is in green on a post, as is typical of that street.

My mom has always loved crocheting, knitting, embroidering and made a living with sewing for many years. I honoured that with yarn, embroidery floss and thread made out of fondant and a crochet hook, needle and thimble out of gum paste. On the embroidery thread and the crochet hook I made a few small references to the number 80, that being her number of years!

Lastly are the flags of Holland and Canada, to signify the exciting move my family made in the 1970's.

This was an incredible project that was extremely special for me to undertake and I hope you like it!  Happy birthday Moeder Miep - wishing you many happy and healthy years!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowflake Cupcakes

Welcome to Canada!  We were warned of blizzard-like conditions yesterday, and I decided the best way to deal with snowflakes is to make them yummy!  A delicious sour cream vanilla cupcake with a swirl of luscious Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, topped with a fondant snowflake and sugar dragees.  This is how to celebrate the winter season!