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Naked Cakes; shifting our focus

Our new cake menu goes live next week! Although we’ve always practiced seasonal baking, I am so excited to be introducing an all. new. cake menu. New flavours, and a new look.

When we first opened the bakery, we did not set out to offer custom cakes. But along the way, we started making all these little changes to our cakes upon request, to the point where we are not doing what we set out to; which was flavour-focused, seasonal cakes, with a distinct look to them. We appreciate the time and labour that goes into beautiful and intricate fondant cakes! It's just not something that we are able to offer.

So beginning in October, all of our cakes will only be available “as is”. We will be able to include messages on the cakes or cake boards ("Happy Birthday", etc.), but we will no longer be offering customizations such as coloured buttercream, semi-naked finishes (unless that is the design of the cake), or drips (again, unless that is part of the design of the cake). We hope that by doing this, we'll be able to accommodate more orders, and encourage you to maybe try a new flavour!

We also wanted our cakes to be finished a little more organically, so the outside of the cake reflects the flavours inside. Plus, we work hard on all those layers, we'd love for you to see them! And I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love it if you saw one of our cakes, and immediately knew “that’s a nutmeg cake!”

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. We hope you understand, and are as excited about the new menu as we are!

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A Day in the Life: September 15

Tim & I get a lot of questions about how we balance running a business - especially one that is so physically demanding, and with such crazy hours! - with raising our two young boys (Beck is two, and Max is just over 6 months).

Like most bakeries, Saturday is by far our busiest day of the week. Tim gets up to go into work at midnight on Friday night, just as I’m going to bed, in order to make it into the bakery by 12:30am. Bread & croissants are an hours long process, so in order for things to be on the counter by 8am, he needs to get things started by then.

Sarah typically arrives at 5am (earlier if its an especially busy day, order-wise). She makes the cookies, bars, tarts, & biscuits for the counter, as well as helps to finish pastries and bread. Haleigh arrives at 7:30 to set up the counter, and begin packing up orders.

Mid-morning, I bring the kids up to the bakery, and they have a visit with Tim while I finish up a few cake orders before lunch. We have lunch at the bakery and then I take the kids home. Sometimes we go check out the Newmarket Farmers’ market, but this particular day was just waayy too hot. After working an 11 hour morning, Tim comes home, and is able to squeeze in a nap with both kids.

While the boys are all napping, I head back to the bakery to finish some more cakes. We happen to have a wedding cake delivery today, which I need to finish, in addition to more cakes for store pickup. Sarah is usually still there on Saturdays when I return, so it works out well that Tim and I trade off watching the kids with being at the bakery, as two of us can comfortably work at the same time. Our kitchen is relatively small (for a professional kitchen), and when all three of us are working alongside each other, it can feel a little tight!

After the kids wake from their nap (okay, Tim has to wake them), they come back to the bakery to help me on the wedding cake delivery. A smaller cake I could have delivered myself, but today’s is three-tiers, so I need Tim’s help opening all of the doors into the venue. It’s a local venue, so delivery goes nice and smoothly. Once there, I set up the cake with the couples’ topper and flowers provided by the florist, and then we are back to the bakery to clean up and close.

And that’s a typical Saturday for us! I hope this also sheds some light on why we sometimes sell out of certain products. Bread and croissants are an hours-long process (which is already started at 12:30am!), so if we sell out of, say, cinnamon croissants at lunchtime, it’s not so easy to just “whip up” another batch. We also bake as much as possible every day; including multiple batches of croissants, cookies, & bars throughout the day - but we still recommend placing an order to ensure you get what you’re looking for :)

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Our Story

We thought it fitting for our first post to be the story of Nutmeg! Since we opened our doors in November 2014, we've had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of you guys (our wonderful customers!), so we figured we should share a little bit about us.

Nutmeg was founded by myself (Megan) in the summer of 2012, between my second and third years at Wilfrid Laurier University. I was studying communications, hoping to pursue a career in either food or fashion journalism. Meanwhile, Tim was working in HR at a large scale bakery. But we both missed working in a kitchen! Tim and I actually met while working at a small-business bakery in Aurora several years prior to this; I was a co-op student under one of their pastry chefs, and then worked front of house. Tim worked as a bread baker.

So I decided to apply to the Aurora Farmers' Market, and after our first season, realized it was something that I wanted to pursue full-time. After graduating, I shifted my focus to the farmers' market and growing my customer base through custom orders. In the fall of 2014, we were tipped off to an available space on Main Street in Newmarket (thanks Emma!), and of course we jumped on the opportunity.

Early days at the Aurora Farmers' Market.

We were given the keys to the space on October 1, and opened our doors on November 1. At this point in our story, I cannot overstate how crucial the help from our family and friends was. From the initial encouragement we had to open a storefront, to all the help we received with the actual, physical tasks of renovating the bakery. Seriously, my uncle helped lay the floor, my mom painted the brick wall, my dad built the bench in the front, as well as the wood bulkhead around the counter. My sisters aided in painting the walls, and tradespeople helped us out immensely, turning a former Scotia Bank into what is now Nutmeg Bakeshop. Ripping up carpet, hanging shelves, installing countertops; you name a task, someone was lending me a hand. My mother in law even took care of our bulldog, Penelope (then a puppy!), in those first months after opening.

 My mom, getting sh*t done on the job site.

My mom, getting sh*t done on the job site.

 The “brick” wall, pre-paint and grout.

The “brick” wall, pre-paint and grout.

And about a month after opening our doors, Tim and I were married on December 6. So to say it was a busy few months is an understatement. Those first several months, Tim kept his HR job Monday - Friday, and then worked at the bakery every Saturday and Sunday - first running the counter, and then introducing a bread program that was available weekends only. For the first six months of our marriage, we never even had a day off together. But in spring of 2015, Tim decided to leave his job to join me at the bakery full time. We slowly grew our menu to where it is now, and have added some wonderful new people to our team along the way. We have also experienced a couple of new additions to our family during this time; our sons Beck and Max.

And that about brings you up to speed. Honestly, I could write an entire book about our experience so far (and maybe will one day! the "nutmeg bakeshop cookbook" perhaps?). But that’s our story to date.

 First winter we were open - Tim hadn’t yet left his job.

First winter we were open - Tim hadn’t yet left his job.

 Finally, a big thank you to my Gamma as well, as she is the one who first got me into the kitchen! Without her, I may never have started baking.

Finally, a big thank you to my Gamma as well, as she is the one who first got me into the kitchen! Without her, I may never have started baking.

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