In the Kitchen: A Chat with Crave’s Head of Custom Cakes
We often get asked about who is behind all of the sweet treats at Crave. The truth is we all are. However, there is one person, Cynthia Blindenbach, who is integral to our team. She has been heading up Crave’s kitchen since we opened our first bakery 10 years ago. In honour of this special milestone, we surprised Cynthia with her favourite cake - Cookies and Cream. Later, we sat down with her to find out more about her passion for baking.
1. What inspired you to become a professional baker?
Baking is my art. I have always loved being in the kitchen, working with my hands and being creative. I grew up cooking, baking and learning the basics of cake decorating from my mom. By the age of 12, I knew I wanted a career in culinary arts.
2. Describe a typical day in the Crave kitchen.
We get up early before the sun rises. Turn on the ovens and get ready to start baking. We bake everything from scratch using fresh, real ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk. We mix and bake our cupcakes and cookies first. From there, we bake an assortment of pies, loaves and squares. After the cupcakes and cakes cool, our cake artists get to work decorating, while the aroma of fresh baking floats through the kitchen and into the shop.
3. What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
I absolutely love working with chocolate. And butter, cream, berries… the list is long!
4. What kitchen tools can’t you live without and why?
My micro plane zester. It’s amazing for citrus, chocolate, spices and cheese. Also, sharp knives.
5. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing the smile on someone’s face when they bite into one of our sweet and delicious treats. And hearing from a happy customer when I’ve created a custom cake that helped make their celebration a little more special.
6. What is your favorite dessert?
Pavlova. It’s a beautiful dessert.
7. What is the most unique dessert or cake you have created?
Just recently I created a cake for a mountain climber’s birthday. The cake spiraled up, like a trail leading up a mountain to the summit, complete with a cairn and flag. Along the way up the cake were trail markers celebrating special moments in his life.
8. What trends do you see emerging in baking?
Natural and organic ingredients are important. In cake decorating, vintage, metallic gold and silver, and painted cakes are becoming popular.
9. Do you have any advice for at-home bakers?
Plan ahead. Read through the recipe. Make sure you have all of the ingredients. Preheat the oven. Let the butter, eggs and liquids (i.e. milk) come to room temperature before mixing. And, most important, have fun!
10. What is one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
I don’t like candy and I am not a morning person. But being a baker means early mornings… and I love baking.