Most days you’ll find Rosie Alyea “whipping up a sweet life” in her self-made cakes and baked-goods business and blog, Sweetapolita. A baker, blogger and photographer, her cakes and blog have been featured on HGTV, BBC Food, and Marie Claire. As an entrepreneur, she started her first business out of her own kitchen after studying cake design and baking courses at the Bonnie Gordon school in Toronto. We got the chance to talk to her about baking and picking up new skills to grow your business in our interview:
What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
Ree Drummond inspires me. This “Pioneer Woman” is not only one of the pioneers of food blogging, but she is also an author, mother, and photographer extraordinaire. As talented as she is, there is always a warmth, humour and casual comfort to everything she puts forth.
How did you get your start as a baker? Where did you get your love of baking?
I started my official baking career only a few years ago, when I took almost every baking & cake design course offered at Bonnie Gordon College, in Toronto. I’ve always loved to bake and be creative, but I knew it was time to run with it. I believe my love for baking is innate, because, although my mom loved to cook, baking at home wasn’t a notable part of my childhood. As I got older, I realized it’s simply what I’m meant to do.
What inspires you to create new recipes?
Some mornings I wake up and decide that I can’t go another day without tasting a certain flavour combination or texture, and so the experimenting begins. Other times, I seek out new ideas, often taking cues from retro desserts and memories of childhood trips to bakeries and candy shoppes.
What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve created?
My current favourite is a towering layer cake I call Campfire Delight:
6-layer (6 cake layers + 5 filling) Malted Belgian Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Filling. The bits of real toasted marshmallow really do evoke summer campfire memories, and together it’s all just insanely decadent.
Your photos look good enough to eat. How did you get into photography?
Thanks! My love for photography, particularly food photography, took me completely by surprise. I thought baking & cake design were my main focus, until I sat in on a cake photography demo a few years ago. I knew instantly that I would be spending a lot more time immersed in the world of dessert photography. It’s still relatively new to me, so there’s so still so much I want to learn, but my blog keeps me clicking. Photography is the only way for me to bring my desserts to life, and it means much more to me than simply showing readers what I’ve made-I feel the need to bring them into my world, and allow them to see each creation through my eyes. There’s a certain magic to it all.
What are your plans for the future of Sweetapolita? Any cook books or cooking shows in the works?
Writing & photographing baking books is something I am definitely set on doing, because I know I’ll push my own creative boundaries more than ever. Stay tuned! As for a cooking show, I’d love to. Although there’s nothing in the works for a show yet, I know better than to ever say never.
Who do you want to work with?
Brooklyn’s BAKED boys, Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito, for sure. I’d also love to collaborate with Angie Dudley (aka Bakerella)-I think we could get into some seriously creative mischief.
What part of baking is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
Baking fails! I’ll never get used to them.
Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in a career in the food industry?
Figure out what aspect of food excites you most, and then zone in on it. Don’t try to be everything to everyone-find your niche, spread the word and put your heart & soul into it . Never underestimate the power of stepping away from the kitchen from time to time.
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