Will We Ever Meet Again? My Box of “Goodbye” Macarons From Cake Royalty Boutique, Cake Opera Co. on Eglinton West

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My beautiful box of macaron treaures

I have some bad news.

I know, how could anything concerning macarons be bad news?!  No, I didn’t drop a box and smash them.  Or come across any that I disliked.  Or lose my photos.  Nothing like that.  It’s worse.  Trust me, I was debating on making this post at all but figured it couldn’t hurt because no matter what, someone will most likely enjoy it or find it useful in some way.  If anything, I posted photos for everyone to admire and drool over!  It’s one of the reasons why I made the photo spotlight post on Cake Opera earlier in the week.  Okay, so back to the bad news.  It’s bad news when you find some of the yummiest macarons ever and find out that it will most likely be the only time you’ll ever get to eat them because the day you bought them is the last day they’ll ever be sold in their beautiful display cases.

It’s hard to say goodbye…

I don’t know what it is with my timing and luck lately!   Cake Opera has been on my mind and in my sights for months upon months and each time I passed by the boutique, I’d say, “I’ll come back” or “next time, really!”.  I finally made the commitment to visit the majestic cake and confections shop on Eglinton West last week, only to find a giant sign hanging in their front display window saying that October 13 would be their last day selling retail sweets and treats.  That October 13 would be the last day to enjoy their shortbread cookies, their petit gateaux, their cupcakes, and their macarons outside of catering events and custom orders.  That, in essence, Cake Opera was no longer going to operate as a retail bakery but instead, solely as a cake boutique specializing in custom orders, event catering, and wedding consultations.  Which means no spontaneous drop-ins for a cupcake or a box of macarons.

I cannot believe my rotten luck.

1st column on the left, top to bottom: pistachio, roasted hazelnut, vanilla orange blossom. 2nd column on the right, top to bottom: coffee, vanilla orange blossom, raspberry rose.

I mean, I know it would have been inevitable.  My going to Cake Opera earlier on in the year for their petit gateaux and macarons wouldn’t have prevented this from happening.  But I do feel awful because at least if I had visited the shop earlier, all of you would have known about it sooner and maybe would have had the chance to try them yourself.  But it’s too late now.  Sigh.

So, what’s the silver lining in all of this?  Well, this certainly promotes Cake Opera as a viable wedding and catering resource!  And just look at how absolutely gorgeous and stunning the boutique is!  It’s like walking into a space inspired by and dripping with royalty, luxury, and Marie Antoinette.  And just think, Cake Opera does custom macaron and cake table designs for special events so if you’re looking for a look that’s very artistic, classy, beautiful, and/or avant garde, their style and designs would be perfect.  I know many people who really dig the macaron trees and having them incorporated into centerpieces, sweets and buffet tables, and displays.

The macarons at Cake Opera, priced at only $2 each, are bathed in shades of red, peach, ballet slipper pink, and crisp white with luscious, creamy fillings.  Their macaron menu consists of 8 flavours: dark chocolate, dulce de leche & cinnamon, pistachio, salted caramel, vanilla orange blossom, raspberry rose, roasted hazelnut, and coffee.  On that last day of retail bliss, Cake Opera’s pastry Jessica had 5 of the 8 flavours whipped up and I helped myself to one of each with a duplicate to create my pretty box of six: pistachio, vanilla orange blossom (x2), raspberry rose, roasted hazelnut, and coffee.

Cake Opera’s macarons are so incredibly delicate and crisp on the outside and so creamy and generous in filling on the inside!  I don’t think I’ve ever had macarons with such so much amazing filling.  Every bite was truly like a bite of heaven and out of the 5 flavours that I had, hands down, the vanilla orange blossom was my be-all, end-all favourite.  You will never come across another flavour like it.  It was bright, fresh, citrusy, sweet, and creamy with vanilla.  Comparing it to a creamsicle doesn’t even do it justice.  And right behind the vanilla orange blossom would be the coffee and roasted hazelnut flavours followed by the raspberry rose which tasted like sweet and fruity floral rosewater.  These are truly exceptional macarons and while I know we can’t go into the shop to grab little boxes of them anymore, hopefully some of you will have the opportunity to try them some time in the future if you decide to consult them for an event.  Enjoy the photos!

*****

Cake Opera Co. is a cake boutique that brings macarons, cakes, and French pastries to life through art and design.  They are located at 1136 Eglinton Ave. West., just several blocks east of Eglinton West subway station on the north side of Eglinton Ave.

The Cupcake Life – My First Day As the Newest Icing Sugar Queen at Le Dolci Cupcake & Design Studio!

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Bags of icing sugar.  Tubs of buttercream frosting.  Cooling racks with fresh, golden brown vanilla cupcakes.  Aprons, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, spatulas, and a mixer that rivals the Energizer Bunny!  I was surrounded by all of these tools, goodies, and everything in between on my first day interning at Le Dolci today and I had such a fun, wonderful time with Lisa and the other ladies learning about the business and getting my mixing and baking on!  For those who saw my happy announcement on my facebook page, you knew about my soon-to-be adventures in flour and frosting bliss, but for those of you who didn’t see the news,  yours truly has joined the Le Dolci team as the newest Icing Sugar queen in their cupcake, baking, and design studio!

Hailing from the UK, Le Dolci is Lisa’s cupcake and baking empire which now resides in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Located on Portland Street between King Street West and Wellington Ave., Le Dolci is a cupcake studio that specializes in teaching, catering, and creating a fun atmosphere to build relationships and baked goods!  Le Dolci hosts and organizes cupcake decorating and baking classes and parties, catering for corporate and personal events, and fun Iron Cupcake challenges for businesses who want to treat their employees to a day of team-building and fun!  Have you always dreamed about getting your girlfriends together for a day of cupcakes, frosting, and decorating with oodles of supplies and yummy goodies at your disposable?  Le Dolci is at your service.  Thinking about ordering cupcakes for a reception?  Done.  Yearning for a creative outlet to learn or perfect a baking or decoraing skill?  Also done!  The studio is so versatile because aside from cupcakes, Lisa and the girls host classes for baking cake pops, macarons, cookie decorating, and so much more.

My first day was so much fun.  With some of my favourite music playing in the studio, I helped Lisa, Miya, and Lisa’s mum with the basics today, making tubs of vanilla buttercream frosting in pretty pastel colours (a tub of white, bubblegum pink, pale yellow, and mint green) and oodles of freshly baked vanilla cupcakes for orders and events!  

Even though I do cupcake and cookie baking myself, this was such a different experience because for one thing, I was using a stand mixer (I use a hand held electric one at home because we just don’t have the counter space in our kitchen for one) and for another, we were making cupcakes and frostings in VERY large quantities.  Thanks to my foodie reading material, I’m well aware that baking in large quantities calls for a different way of measuring out ingredients, using mass “weight” measurements as opposed to cup measurements.  Even though I knew about this very important nugget of baking knowledge, today was the first time I actually had to utilize it and I know I probably sound like a nerd when I say this, but measuring out ingredients is so incredibly relaxing and therapeutic.

I have cake pop making in the near future and lots of experimenting, designing, and baking!  I’ve learned so much on the first day already and I can’t wait to help out in bringing some ideas the others are bouncing around to life, as well as creating some of my own.  It’s going to be a lot of fun posting more photos of everything we’re doing at the studio as we go along, so I’m definitely going to be adding to these posts!     

It’s hard to put into words how much being here means to me right now.  Scrapbooking, food, photographing food, cupcakes, baking, designing pretty things…they all make me so happy.  I’ve never felt good without a creative outlet.  To be soul-baringly honest, my life has felt so empty during times without art in it in some shape or form.  I struggled for years against my parents’ idea of what constituted a lucrative career versus my own aspirations and true loves, and I’ve worked really hard for my happiness.  Sometimes fate works out in peculiar ways and I am so grateful that things worked out and that I’m here, even if it may not forever.  Everything about my time at Le Dolci screams “ME!!” and it’s exciting because it’s just the beginning.

*****

Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West.  The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events.  For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.

Special thanks to my friend Sophie for the inspiration for the post title!