At Kimberfire our specialty is diamonds and diamond jewelry, which means many of our clients are getting engaged and/or married when we first meet them. Our ongoing blog series, in which we feature Toronto-based wedding insiders, was created with the intention of spreading the word on other amazing companies who can help you realize your dream wedding.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Christina Wong of Truffle Cake & Pastry, a very popular Toronto cake and dessert company. Truffle Cake & Pastry’s stunning desserts have been featured in magazines such as WedLuxe, Elegant Wedding, Today’s Bride, Lavish Dulhan and Wedding Belles. They have also been showcased on “Breakfast Television”, “The Social”, and the blog “Style me Pretty”. On top of all that Truffle Cake & Pastry’s Instagram account is followed by over 13K followers who cannot get enough of her edible works of art. I wanted to learn more about Christina and her company.
Christina, please tell us a bit about yourself and your company Truffle Cake & Pastry.
I am a self-taught cake designer who followed a hobby-turned-passion into a small business. Truffle Cake & Pastry is where you come for customized cakes and sweets for anything from a dinner party with friends and family, to dessert tables for a gorgeous wedding!
How did you get started in this business, and how long has Truffle Cake & Pastry been open?
Truffle Cake & Pastry was a bit of a fluke; I went to University for Microbiology and Immunology! I started the business on the side of a full-time job not long after finishing school, about 11 years ago (wow, now I feel old). I have been running Truffle Cake & Pastry fulltime for almost 10 years. It all just started with weekend baking for fun. I would bring extras into work and people started asking me to bake for their family get-togethers, and my department would ask me to bake for departmental celebrations. Up until last year, I worked alone, with the occasional help from my wonderful family and friends. I was finally able to hire someone to help me last year… and it has definitely been a game changer.
How did your education and/or previous job experience prepare you for running a dessert business?
I was in a very demanding program at The University of Western Ontario so you had to be on your game and you had to make the most efficient use of your time as possible. That, along with clean lab techniques are the most important and relevant skills I learned that have been instrumental to running a business. A little further back, I went to an arts high school, which helped me with the fundamentals of colour and design!
What types of desserts do you provide? Do you offer any packages?
We make everything from classic chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes, to macarons and eclairs. We also create custom cakes for any and all occasions! Each order, each cake, and each dessert table is fully customized to the client’s needs and preferences so we don’t have any standard packages. I would say our flavours are based on classics, the flavours everyone is familiar with!
On average how many cakes do you create a year and how many of those are for weddings?
Each year is a little different, but if I had to guess I would estimate that we created about 200-250 cakes last year (some large, some small) with approximately 60 of those being for weddings. Some weddings even have multiple cakes!
Your cakes are so beautiful and creative. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Thank you so much! Inspiration comes from everywhere, nature, architecture, interior design. So much of what I have seen has probably been spun into a design element in some way, shape or form, and sometimes without me even realizing it, I’m sure. Other artists in the industry such as stationers, dress designers and florists are also always inspiring me with their creations.
What tips would you give to a couple who is looking for a wedding cake designer?
One of the main things I would say to keep in mind is to work with someone you feel comfortable and confident with. You want to click with the person you work with because you need to trust that they are going to create a gorgeous cake for your big day. And choose what you like! At almost every appointment I am asked what my most popular flavours are, and the truth is that you wont find one flavour that absolutely every guest will love, so pick flavours that you like most.
What is the most unique cake you have created?
Some of the most unique cakes we’ve done are sculpted cakes, which we don’t do too often. We’ve made a toilet and a unicorn… and both of those were pretty interesting! For weddings, the uniqueness comes from the personal touches – one cake we created had gold-foiled versions of continents tied into the design with little markers that highlighted the places the couple have travelled together.
Have you ever had something go wrong with a cake you were making, and how did you handle it?
Yes, absolutely! I think all cake designers have their war stories. If it’s still in the phase where I’m working on it in the kitchen, I can always find a way to fix it, even if it means literally staying up all night to make it right. Once we deliver the cake, the condition of the cake is out of our hands unfortunately, so due to environmental factors there has been a mishap or two. Last summer we had one such mishap where reverberation in the venue caused the cake to shift off the cake stand after hours of vibration and fall! It broke my heart to hear that and I actually left a social function to process what happened and figure out why. I worked with the couple, who were absolutely wonderful and understood that it was unfortunately due to the venue versus the cake structure, and we have created mini cakes of each of the flavours they had originally ordered for small celebrations they’ve had since then.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
There are a few, haha. I would say the most acutely stressful part is delivering the cake! While I can control my own driving, I can’t control other drivers who cut me off, and it’s not out of the ordinary to get honked at when turning a corner very slowly. The other challenging part, which I think is true for most entrepreneurs, is trying to create a work/life balance.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Although I absolutely love to hear that a client loved what we created for them, what I love even more than that is working with a client or family multiple times over the years as they celebrate life’s special occasions. To work with a couple from their engagement party through to the birthdays of their children is so amazing to me!
What is your favorite flavour of cake?
My personal favourite is chocolate raspberry.
How important is social media to your business?
While social media is important to be able show people the work we create, I also try not to take it too seriously as it’s so easy to get caught up in. It has been great for reaching new people though, and I do appreciate the followers we have! It’s a really nice feeling to think that people out there like our work.
What are some new and continuing trends for wedding cakes and desserts?
As many times as we’ve seen it before, blush and gold is still going strong. I can’t blame brides though, it’s so pretty! The floral arrangements on cakes are becoming a little looser, more organic feeling, and I love it.
What sets Truffle Cake & Pastry apart from the competition?
I have a bit of a hard time with this question, partially because I really like to look at our ‘competition’ more as colleagues. We all offer a slightly different personal experience to our clients, different flavours and design style; but there is a right fit for anyone out there looking for cake. Truffle Cakes & Pastry’s style is romantic but clean, and our dessert tables focus on the details.
Having been a part of so many weddings, what advice can you give to couples on how to get the most out of their big day?
Plan all the details you’d like (and don’t lose sight of your own preferences in the process) but once the day starts try to let go of the little things, let things happen as they will and soak up every minute! I hear it goes by in a blur. You don’t want to miss out on it by stressing about that one small detail that is out of place.
Thank you so much for sharing with us! I look forward to seeing more beautiful designs of yours on Instagram.
Thank you so much!