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Hanging Out With // Rosie Alyea of Sweetapolita

Sweetapolita

I can confidently say that Rosie of Sweetapolita is one of my inspirations when it comes to baking and desserts. If you’ve never visited Rosie’s site, prepare yourself to drool. Rosie’s obsession with cakes and all things baked began when she worked at a German bakery when she was 16. Further inspiration came for her after taking the baking and cake design classes at Bonnie Gordon School in Toronto. Since then, Rosie has been creating decadent desserts for us such as her Lemon-Blueberry Macaron Delight Cake. In addition to her desserts, Rosie even shows off her precious girls! Or rather, her cakelets as she calls them.  All in all, if you are looking for inspiration in your own baking adventures, look no further than Sweetapolita. Rosie was kind enough to answer some questions about her blog, her obsession with cakes, and her own inspiration.

Sweetapolita-Cake

Rosie, let’s start at the beginning with cake. You’ve always had a love affair with it. How young were you when you made your first masterpiece that made you think, “I can do this”?

Yes, that’s very true–I have always had a love affair with cake, in one way or another! That being said, it wasn’t until earlier in my thirties, following an epiphany of sorts, that I immersed myself into the world of baking/cake design and created my first “fancy” cake. Once the pride and excitement wore off, I realized that not only did I actually make a pretty(ish) cake, but that it’s all I wanted to do from that point on.

You used to be co-creator of Cake Beauty, which ironically has nothing to do with the kind of cake you work with now, but how did that experience prepare you for what you’re doing now?

You know, I can honestly say that had I not created and spent that time experiencing the launch and operations of Cake Beauty, I might not be the person I am today. Perhaps it was all of the pink, the decadent ingredients, the baked-good themed products, and the entrepreneurial vision, but I truly believe that those were the formative years of what, and who, later became Sweetapolita.

Sweetapolita-Painted-Cak

Your website, Sweetapolita, showcases your beautiful cakes and a whole lot of other treats, and it recently started featuring video tutorials which are very helpful to the novice baker. Why did you feel it was important to depart from blogging once in a while to make videos?

I woke up one day and realized that it was time to take my relationship with my readers to the next level, so to speak. Maybe it’s because I love to talk as much as I love to write, but I felt there was something missing–a certain personal and “real life” factor. From a practical viewpoint, I also struggled with explaining several cake decorating techniques in writing, and I knew that if I could simply show and tell my readers what I meant, the message wouldn’t get lost in translation. I knew it was time to break out the video camera, and I’m so glad I did.

Sweetapolita-Gingerbread

You have a family, a website to keep up, and you seem to be producing mouth-watering confections on a daily basis. What does a typical day-in-the-life-of-Rosie look like, and how do you find the balance?

Ah yes, balance. I have to admit that I am still working on that! So far, I find the key has been including my two little girls, Reese and Neve, in as many of the baking projects as possible. This way, we get to be doing something we all love together, and I get to fulfill my dreams as a baker and cake designer. That being said, it’s not always an option to involve them, and the truth is (as any mom would likely agree) that baking with a 3 and 5-year-old does present its challenges. Typically what I do is plan to do the actual baking portion of a project during the times they are home–sometimes I will set them up with their own little work station so that we’re all creating together, but with our own workspace, and other times the girls will get right in there and fling flour with me. Once our baking projects are complete, I do most of my photography while they’re here with me, which is likely why they make frequent appearances in my images. During the hours they are at school part time, I focus on the confection decorating and designing as well as social networking. Aside from that time, most of my daytime hours are spent doing countless mommy things until late evening. Once the girls are asleep, I work on website changes, blog posts, catching up on emails and planning. It’s very easy for me to become wrapped up in work, simply because I love what I do and am extremely passionate about it, but (in the name of balance) I have recently been working hard to step away and enjoy husband and family time during the weekends.

As an interviewer, I feel it’s my job to ask what every woman who reads your blog really wants to know: how on earth do you stay so trim and gorgeous when you have a self-professed love for cake, and eat it almost every day?!

Well, first off, thank you for that. I have to admit I get more emails about this very topic than even baking in general! So here’s the thing: When it comes to cake addiction and weight, I feel that the balance we just spoke of is paramount. I know that’s becoming cliché, that whole “in moderation” expression, so here’s a bit more detail as to how I approach it. (I’ve never talked about this before!) I doubt this will become a healthy-diet book anytime soon, but it works for me.

I SOMETIMES . . .

  • Work out on the treadmill
  • Go without dessert during the week
  • Eat a spoonful of Nutella when I’m craving cake

I OFTEN . . .

  • Bake something that I know I can resist, and that others would enjoy
  • Just eat the cake and not the frosting
  • Give all leftover cake and confections to anyone who might ring my doorbell

I ALMOST NEVER . . .

  • Eat mayonnaise, bacon, anything from a box, or candy bars, even though I might really want to
  • Drink sugary sodas, hot chocolate, or anything that starts with “frappu,” even though I definitely want to.
  • Eat more than two servings of dessert in one day, even though you know I want to

Sweetapolita-Cupcakes

Any plans or dreams to ever open a bakery?

I have to say that up until recently, it’s not how I envisioned the future of Sweetapolita, but lately it’s been on my mind. A lot. I’ve had a few dreams during which I can see every last detail of the bakery, and when I wake up I’m devastated that it doesn’t really exist! I know that today isn’t the day, but down the road you never know.

Most of your designs are things that I (the average person) would never think up. Where do you find your inspiration for all of your eye-catching cakes and desserts?

One thing I quickly discovered was that it was pretty much a dead-end for me to use others’ cake designs for inspiration for cake, because it would limit my own creative vision. That’s not to say that I don’t learn from others, because I am always amazed and inspired by the array of talented confection designers out there. If I find an artist’s cake really inspiring, I try to observe things like technique, use of colour and scale, or overall mood and feel, and then apply to my own designs in a completely new way. I do, however, find infinite and more literal inspiration from things such as handmade crafts, candy, stationery design, and vintage everything!

 

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4 Responses to Rosie Alyea of Sweetapolita

  1. Erin {Lemon Sugar} February 28, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Rosie is my all-time favorite food blogger! I’m pretty sure that if she opened a bakery, I’d have to move my family so I could live within walking distance from it…

    Great interview! ♥

  2. Stephanie March 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    What a great interview! Love her cakes and kids and beautiful website

  3. lyndsay March 13, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    awesome interview rosie! she is just the sweetest and her blog is one of the best out there!! xo

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