FBC: Rosie, thanks so much for chatting with us! The Sweetapolita Bakebook is just so beautiful and downright pretty. It feels like it was truly a labour of love. I expected to see the cakelets make an appearance and they certainly did. Can you share what it was like for you (and for them) to be a part of it with you?
RA: Well, first off, thank you so much! It was a labour of love, indeed. I have to admit that one of the most exciting details of publishing the book for me was that Reese & Neve would be in print—I think for them too! Funny, they didn’t feel it was “real” until they saw it in Chapters, and they were, and still are, quite proud.
As far as the process and having them involved, they were key—their ideas and inspiration, along with their modeling for photos of course! As a mom, to have your kids such a part of your career dream and work is an incredible gift. One thing I remember finding remarkable was a day I was photographing a bunch of the tiered cakes in the book, and the girls came home from school to find a dining table full of cakes and they didn’t even notice--just pushed them aside and carried on with their homework and after-school snacks. I suppose the land of cakes and frosting became their new normal.
FBC: Has the reality of the book sunk in yet? What was your first thought when you got that first copy and held it in your hands?
RA: I’d say that it still hasn’t sunk in, and it’s been released for a month already! I don’t know—maybe it’s just my personality, but perhaps because you immerse yourself so much in a project like this and you can easily get lost in the “book bubble,” as I like to call it. It’s this phase of release that you can really enjoy it and start to grasp the reality of it. And of course seeing it on book store shelves never gets old! The first time I held the book, I was scared and thrilled all at once—I suppose I was nervous that it might not come to life the way I imagined, but I’m so proud that it really did.
FBC: Edible Chalk, doodle cookies, chalkboard cookies, pop rock robots, painted mini cakes, daydream doodle cakes, you really love to play with your food, don't you?
RA: I do! It’s these ideas and creations that literally would not exist if I didn’t have cakelets. The kids play such a huge role—sometimes it’s just their existence that inspires me, and other times they say things like, “Hey, what about if we make chalk that actually works and tastes yummy?” I think the “interactive” quality to those designs is so much fun for everyone, and it adds a new dimension to the world of dessert.
FBC: Let's talk about your cakes. Impressive, fancy, show-stopping. Where did you train and how do you keep pushing yourself?
RA: Well, I trained for some time at Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts in Toronto, where I learned the fundamentals of cake and cookie baking and decorating. There are so many more facets of this dessert world I’d love to learn formally, but I also try to learn new techniques by simply working in the kitchen a bit each day, reading fellow dessert blogs and baking books, etc. It’s amazing what you can learn when you just spend the hands-on time and have some inspiration in your back pocket.
FBC: Whether it's cakes, cookies or candy, where do you get your inspiration from?
RA: I would say that the majority of my inspiration comes from my childhood, as well as the minds of my children and basically the child in all of us. Things like trips to the bake-shops, candy stores, carnivals, etc. as a child fuel a lot of my aesthetic as well as flavor combination ideas. I’m truly a kid at heart, but then I believe we all are, which is perhaps why readers respond with so much enthusiasm. 🙂
FBC: For someone who is a beginner in the kitchen and looks at your bakebook and says "whoa, I can't do this!" What would you say to them? What is a simple go-to recipe in your book to begin with and build up the confidence?
RA: Well, one thing I’m so proud of with this book is that, while some recipes/designs are more advanced than others, each one is most certainly doable for even beginners. As far as a the best go-to recipe to begin with, I would recommend the cupcake recipes and perhaps a classic layer cake using the Prized Basics recipes—things like the one-bowl Simple & Splendid Chocolate Cake paired with the Chocolate Cloud Frosting. It’s almost hard to fathom that such a glorious dessert could take such little time and effort. A serious go-to!
FBC: I have to ask, when you’re invited to a potluck, are you always on cake duty and is there major pressure to bring a Sweetapolita masterpiece?
RA: This is such a great question! Well, I really am always on cake duty, and I don’t mind because it gives me a chance to share my cakes with people who are usually thrilled to try them out. I try to bring crowd-pleasers that have some wow-factor, like the Campfire Deluxe Cake or Rainbows & Sprinkles Cake—people love to gather round to watch the cake cutting and it’s amazing how excited everyone gets—adults and kids alike!
FBC: What’s next for Sweetapolita?
RA: I have to admit I have “book fever,” now—once I got through the first one, my first thought was, okay let’s do that again! I would love to start working on book #2 very soon! I’m also excited to blog more frequently, and really spend the time that I wasn’t always able to do while the girls were smaller. I feel as though I have a million more cakes to share!
FBC: Any final (sweet) words?
RA: Eat cake!
Be sure to check our our review of Sweetapolita Bakebook in our Cookbook Corner to learn more about the book and our testing of some of the recipes!
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