The most challenging part to this one was all the smaller details, the small chain, the hand painting of the crest, making sure the whole chain is gilded properly.
—Belinda Bigold, co-owner, The High Tea Bakery
The High Tea Bakery
has been making treats and impressive cakes for Winnipeg customers for nine years. The Portage Avenue shop is co-owned by Belinda Bigold and her mother, Carol. Though both Bigold women have spent time doing cake design at the bakery, these days, it's another family member who creates their 3-D cakes.
Belinda's sister Michelle Bigold started working at the bakery when she was 14. Though she started out just needing a part time job, she has risen into the position of head decorator. Which means if a regular customer comes in and orders a Harry Potter themed cake for her daughter's birthday, it's up to Michelle to make it a reality.
And as Belinda Bigold explains, creating a finished cake like the Harry Potter inspired one is a bit of an undertaking. "It takes about three days, because you have to bake the cakes, make the fillings, fill them and crumb coat them, carve them and then decorate them and put them together," she explains. "The most challenging part to this one was all the smaller details, the small chain, the hand painting of the crest, making sure the whole chain is gilded properly. And that the pieces go together and stay together without breaking."
A recent order was to help the Winnipeg Art Gallery
celebrate its Centennial Ball with a number of different cakes. For this order, the Bigolds drew inspiration from Winnipeg Now
and other exhibits at the gallery. They did a cake inspired by Renaissance art, one by the work of the Group of Seven
, one that was a nod to the WAG's extensive Inuit art collection and one (above) inspired by the work of Marcel Dzama
And they come by their artistic flair naturally because although they're not trained professional bakers, they are all visual artists. Carol Bigold is a painter, Belinda Bigold is a graduate of the fine arts
program at the University of Manitoba, while Michelle Bigold is currently completing her degree in the same faculty.
But Belinda is quick to point out that these cakes aren't meant to be treated like works of art. "We do everything from scratch, we don't use any mixes in the bakery. So they're all very tasty and meant to be eaten."
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