Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meet Rosie of Sweetapolita

When I first stumbled upon Rosie and her work on Sweetapolita, I gasped and nearly fell off my chair. Here work is absolutely breathtaking--she is a creative genius and just about as sweet and down-to-earth as they come. 

I consider it an incredible honor and privilege to feature today an exclusive interview I conducted with her recently, as well as being given the opportunity to showcase for you some of her masterpieces throughout the post. Swoon!

{Question} We would love to hear a bit about how Sweetapolita came about! Please tell us the story from conception of the idea to where you are today!

Well, thinking back, it seems that I’ve always had a thing for anything cake-related. I’m so drawn to everything cake represents: celebration, happiness, childhood, weddings, beauty, bright colours, and more. My first job was at a high-end German bakery when I was 16 years old, and since being immersed in a world of gorgeous (and endless) baked goods, it seems I’ve been fascinated (dare I say obsessed?) with baking.

The moment I knew that I wanted to pursue cake baking and designing as a career, was the day I came across The Confetti Cakes Cookbook, by famed New York City cake designer, Elisa Strauss. I raced home with my new book, read every word, studied every photo, closed the book, and realized that it was my fate to become a cake and confections designer. I bought and read many more of these books and signed up for cake design and baking courses at Bonnie Gordon Cake School in Toronto. After several years of Bonnie Gordon School courses and feverishly baking, designing, and decorating cakes, cupcakes, and cookies in my spare time, Sweetapolita—Fancy Cakes & Confections was born.

{Question} Your cakes are nothing short of edible works of art—masterpieces each in their own right. What are some of the sources of inspiration for your cake designs?

Thank you so much, Kate--that’s quite a compliment! I felt my confection designs became true self-expressions once I found the sources of inspiration that really ignite my creative fire. Celebrated cake designers and teachers, Lori Hutchinson (The Caketress) and Bonnie Gordon both given me some crucial advice: they encouraged me to avoid looking at actual cakes for inspiration, but to turn to other creative mediums or even just real life for inspiration. I can honestly say that the day I implemented this philosophy was the day I became a cake designer, not a cake decorator. I am particularly inspired by pretty vintage clothing and trinkets, fashion colour-palettes, art of any kind, unique fashion accessories, and pretty much anything and everything from my favourite shop, Anthropologie. As I’ve said before, I’m pretty certain that without all of these sources of inspiration, my cakes would likely all be beige!

{Question} We would love to learn more about you Rosie! Please share with us a bit about yourself.

I think deep down, I’m an old soul. I'm passionate about the art of baking, photography, all things vintage, cake pedestals, good coffee (often, I’m afraid), and just about anything frilly or French. I live in a small port town on Lake Ontario about an hour east of Toronto, Canada, with my husband Grant, our two little cakelets, Reese Amelia (born in 2007) and Neve Winter (born in 2009), and our particularly mischievous Bengal cat, Pasha. Life here is peaceful, pretty, and, well, pink! When I’m not baking and caking (or singing kids’ songs), I love to steal a few moments for knitting, feverishly piecing together our family tree, or even slalom waterskiing (my one and only athletic hobby!).

{Question} What goals do you have for Sweetapolita in 2011, and have you taken any steps yet to achieve them?Any hints at what we might see from you this year?

I believe that 2011 will be quite an exciting year for Sweetapolita. One of the things that I love about both the world of blogging and cake design is that no two days are the same, and so much can happen, from one day to the next. This will be the first full year of my blog (it was just launched this past September), and I have so many (seemingly endless!) recipes and decorating ideas to share with fellow baking and party enthusiasts, worldwide. I plan to continue sharing these ideas through the blog with frequent and unique posts, and aspire to see the Sweetapolita blog following grow steadily and successfully.

As for the customs cakes & confections element of my business, I have been busy creating several wedding and event cakes over the past few months, but will officially be launching Sweetapolita—Fancy Cakes & Confections by mid-summer 2011. In the world of cake design, it’s amazing how important word of mouth can be, and truthfully, for me it has been the best method of advertising. I am also enjoying some new relationships with wedding magazine editors, wedding bloggers, and many other fascinating people in the world of weddings and events —I believe we are all in this together. I am really looking forward to an exciting year full of creativity and growth, and I will continue to expect the unexpected; it’s what I thrive on!

{Question} One thing I absolutely love about your work, other than the outright beauty of your creations themselves, are the photographs. You somehow manage to make frosting on a spatula something frameworthy. Would you mind sharing your favorite camera for capturing images? Now of course a camera can’t do that alone, you obviously have some skill in photography, but for those readers who would love to capture beautiful images of their family, celebrations, and cakes, we would love to know!

Thank you so much for such sweet words about my photographs! Compliments such as that really mean so much to me, because I have worked very hard to learn and grow as a new photographer—I believe anything is possible if you have enough passion and determination. In late 2009 I purchased my first DSLR camera, which was when I set my mind on improving my photography skills. My current camera, and the camera I take all of my website/blog photos with, is a Nikon D90. It is a very good quality camera, but I believe that equally as effective is the lens I use, 99% of the time: the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. This is the lens that, aside from many other features, gives photos that very shallow depth of field, which makes for the lovely blurry-background-crisp-subject-in-focus effect, which I use often for food photos and even photos of my family. It’s not that I feel you have to have a fancy camera to take great photos, but I will say that it really enhanced my photography to have a camera/lens with so much to offer.

There is no doubt in my mind Rosie is going to be a TREMENDOUS success. A *huge* thank you to Rosie for allowing me the opportunity of feauturing this interview--thank you Rosie!

Follow Rosie on her blog, website, through facebook or twitter!


Leticia said...

Gorgeous cake designs!!!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

I've been reading her blog for a few months now, and love her cakes and photographs, and those 2 cute baby girls!

Drvance19 said...

How very inspiring. How fun would it be to watch Rosie work for a day?!? Her cakelets are adorable. I wonder how do you get so much done with two little ones?

Nicole @ Tradewind Tiaras said...

I absolutely love her work. The incredible detail, the magnificent inspirations interpreted as pastries. Truly amazing! Plus, I have to like anyone with another 2009 baby girl named Neve (or Niamh, as we went with the much more difficult original Irish spelling. Still, a kindred spirit. ;-) ).

random thoughts do or di said...

I have been following Rosie's blog for a few months now. Her talent is amazing and she inspires me everyday!

Pam - diy Design Fanatic said...

Her work is absolutely gorgeous!Love, Love, Love!

Leoni said...

Absolutely amazing work, love, LOVE all of her designs. A real favourite of mine.

Rowaida said...

She is amazing love her work.