Full-time summer position beginning mid-April. Make macaron fillings, fill macarons, make gelato into bars and ice cream sandwiches. You will also work in the front of the house when needed (barista, scooping cones, making sundaes, running cash). Minimum wage.
This coming Friday and Saturday (September 25 and 26) White Rock will celebrate Moon Festival once again. As you can see, the pier on West Beach and some of the promenade will be glowing with beautiful lanterns one again. We have lots in our shop as well because we just love cultural celebrations. They're a wonderful part of the fabric of our Canadian communities.
Moon Festival or "Mid-Autumn Festival" is the second most important holiday in China after Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). There is much folklore about the autumn festival, but mainly it is (much like Canadian Thanksgiving) a celebration of the end of the harvest season. It's all about family reunions, peace and prosperity.
This week we're running a few specials through the weekend for Moon Festival - moon cakes are $4.99, Chinese-inspired macaron flavours are just $12/dozen (as with everything in our bakery, they're 100% nut-free), and Green Tea (fair trade, organic) is just $1 with the purchase of any bakery item.
Come down on Friday when we hope to stay open late - the fireworks will happen at 8:15pm and you can see them from our window. Or bring the kids on Saturday for a whole host of Chinese cultural events on West Beach.
Happy Moon Fest everyone!
What's the story behind this unique-looking wedding cake? The front is gorgeous lace brushed embroidery, and the back looks like Lego. Plus there are little Lego knights and such. ???
First of all, this cake was designed and purchased by the bride's mother and grandmother as a COMPLETE SURPRISE! The wedding was simple and tasteful, and as there were other desserts the bride and groom didn't see the need for a wedding cake. Besides, prissy stuff wasn't their style.
But mom knew that they both loved Lego, Lego castles and Lego knights and such. So we made them this cake to look like the little knights were peeling back the fondant to reveal that the cake was really a castle made of grey Lego (the couples' favorite kind).
It went perfectly with the grey and yellow colour scheme, and the flowers were Billy Buttons for the whole wedding. Check out the 360-degree video!
P.S. Mom emailed us the next day that this cake was a total hit!
by Anna S. Christie
Another person was killed Saturday at 3am by a BNSF railway train in White Rock. Technically it was just across the Surrey border, going East/South to the USA, but it was probably still someone enjoying the White Rock waterfront and festivities of a sunny Victoria Day Weekend here at the beach.
One reporter commented "What was he doing on the tracks at 3 a.m.?" I would submit, "What difference does it make?" People will speculate: he was drunk; he was high; he was a stupid youth. Again, what difference does it make? I'm tired of hearing excuses about all the people who've been struck or hit by trains. Here are the others: "Why was she jogging with headphones on? How stupid!" "He had dementia. Why didn't someone ensure he couldn't leave the house?" "She was 8 years old and didn't heed the signs." Here's the thing: society has an obligation to protect its weakest citizens. It doesn't matter that YOU wouldn't be on the tracks. You don't have a cure for Alzheimer's, stupidity, bad parenting, being a dumb kid or whatever may have ailed this latest person. You never will. But you CAN do something about protecting the old, the young, the sick, the addicted, and even the stupid.
Trains should not be running past the White Rock waterfront. There are just too many people here. It's the ocean playground of the whole Fraser Valley, as well as a tourist destination for people from Vancouver to Europe, Asia, Australia, you name it. Hundreds of thousands of people stream over the railway tracks multiple times a day in good weather and thousands in the rain. The odds are just too high, and now deaths seem to be becoming an annual tragedy. DEATHS.
White Rock and Surrey has a task force to re-route the trains, and the opposition is people who live in municipalities and neighbourhoods where the proposed new route lies. I can understand their "don't-move-your-problems-to-my-neighbourhood" mentality, I really can. Such opposition is inevitable. But here's the thing: as their neighbourhood isn't an ocean playground for literally millions of people, the odds of an accident are extremely low. So the voice of the rest of us must be incredibly louder. We can no longer slough off these deaths because of some "reason" the person died that does not affect us, personally. Collectively we make up a society and we have to have a voice for the whole of society, not just ourselves as individuals. Given the number of people down here at the beach, the risk is too high to have trains here.
I also understand that there is an issue with dangerous goods being transported on these trains and coal dust from open cars. Again, opposition to re-routing the trains is understandable. But again, our voice must be the voice of society. A train derailment of dangerous goods anywhere would have fatalities - perhaps even hundreds. But a derailment here on the waterfront, on a sunny summer day could kill hundreds of thousands.
We must make decisions for the common good, not simply for ourselves.
That is to say, they rose up just fine, then a little too much, then overflowed the cups. When we cooled them we saw that they were crunchy on the top - not a disaster. Then we broke one open and there was NOTHING inside - hahahahaha! Ok, so....maybe it wouldn't happen with a whole cake, especially if we lowered the oven heat:
Ok, so ... what if we used this "flour" in our own vanilla (vegan) cake recipe? No dairy or eggs, so it should work, right? Check it out:
We called these "cupcakes" "the sizzling cesspool of death". By now it was 9pm so it was pretty darn funny.
Brilliant insight: we're trying to make this cake lemon, so perhaps the acid is the problem. He'll have to settle for a vanilla cake. This one?
At 10pm, we were sure this was the Happy Face of Jesus and that was really REALLY funny.
Maybe if we cooled it. Put more batter in the cup this time. So at 11pm we tried that and as a result Alex started playing softball again :
Sorry it's sideways, but you get the idea.
By this time it was frickin hilarious. We laughed so hard we cried.
Then we really cried, because we were hell bent for leather that this kid was going to get a birthday cake. So at midnight we put our thinking caps on. Our gluten-free cake recipe has less than 1g of protein per serving. So the only problem with it was the 3 eggs the recipe calls for. How can we replicate an egg? (Yes, we know there are egg substitutes, but we're an all-natural bakery so that was out. Plus it was midnight.) Eggs serve a number of functions in a recipe such as emulsion (binding it all together - particularly if there's no gluten), fat content, water content, and leavening. So we set out to make eggs with the ingredients we had on hand. For emulsion, we used 1/4 cup of the wheat starch (it was gloppy and stringy, so why not?) For fat, we used 3/4 cup of butter since butter is ok for PKU diets. We added water for water, and some extra baking powder for leavening. We also decided to try to make it lemon again. The cupcakes rose up beautifully, and then this happened:
Sunk. Or exploded and sunk, depending on which one you looked at. 1am comes and goes. We've now given up any thought of making money on this cake (if it ever comes to be) and being the strong-willed women that we are, it was now just the principle of the thing. Alex has a nut allergy. She can't even set foot in a bakery. We've made kids smile who are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, soy-free, as well as nut free. But all of them have a whole industry on their side making cake mixes and such. These PKU kids are stuck with gloppy wheat starch and their best bet is some cupcakes? NO WAY!
Back to the drawing board - what makes a cake rise, then fall? Too much leavening for the strength of the flour to uphold. Overbeating big bubbles of air into the mix, perhaps. Rising too quickly, perhaps. We'd have to address all three variables at once before we turned back into pumpkins. Wait. We were already pumpkins. So we went home to bed. The next morning we cut back on the extra leavening, mixed carefully, turned down the oven. Went for it by adding the lemon.....and, voila!
It's not gourmet deliciousness like our regular cake, but for a kid who's never had cake we sure hope it was a treat. We affectionately call the recipe "the PKU cake." We had no time to decorate it in some sort of fun way for him - maybe next time. We also forgot to photograph it. But it looked basically like our regular birthday cakes (minus the fruit):
When mom came to pick it up and saw the cake she started to cry. And we both started to cry. And after she was gone, although we were asleep on our feet, and hadn't made a cent of profit, we were the happiest we've been in business since we started.
And people ask us what a "spiritual ingredient" is. Well there you have it.
GOURMET "GERMAN" CHOCOLATE CAKE
85 grams of good-quality semisweet chocolate (we use a Belgian Couverture chocolate [52%]), chopped.
If your palates aren’t super-sensitive, then Baker’s chocolate will work just fine.
1 ½ cups coffee (hot) or hot water
3 large eggs (We use free-range organic, and we’re crazy enough to believe that we can taste the difference)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (Canola is best).
1 ½ cups well-shaken buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk you can put 1 Tablespoon of vinegar into 1 ½ cups of whole milk and wait 10 minutes.
¾ teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process, if you can get a hold of such a thing).
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
Start by putting the chopped chocolate into the coffee or hot water. Whisk it around occasionally while you work on the rest of the ingredients.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk them together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Beat eggs for 5 minutes in an electric mixer (hand-held is fine) – until they are frothy and lemony-white in colour. With the mixer running, add oil slowly, as if you’re making mayonnaise. Then add the buttermilk slowly. Finally, add the vanilla and chocolate/coffee mixture.
Now add the dry ingredients mixture a little at a time until it is all mixed together. Don’t over-mix it.
Pour into greased pans (two 8” or 9” pans) and bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre (about an hour).
FORGET IT! I'LL JUST ORDER ONE FROM SPIRITUAL INGREDIENTS FOR $30 (Click here)!
It's probably never a good thing when you're awakened at 9 am, after getting no sleep thanks to a teething toddler, to hear that the fire alarms are going off at the shop. "What should we do?" they asked.
Drove right past the coffee warehouse where I was supposed to pick up our supply on the way to work. Who needs coffee in a cafe, eh?
When I arrived the alarms were going off for a second time, allegedly triggered by a power washer. No fire though. So I guess there was no need for all that water under our doors and seeping through walls.
The microwave in the kitchen kept flipping the breaker whenever we tried to melt chocolate. Just melt a little chocolate - was that too much to ask?
I've been working on some sugar flowers for a wedding cake for Saturday. Someone is making their own cake and just wanted to purchase the flowers. No biggie, right? Wrong. I can't find my proper cutter to make Gerbera daisies so had to improvise with another cutter and each daisy, rather than taking 15 minutes to make, now takes at least 45. Hashtag losing money.
Made myself a nice Chai latte with my own milk I keep here for the baby. Something to soothe my nerves since God only knows what the flowers would look like if I got into the rum we use for our trifle. A nice long swig and a deep breath. *gag* Oh right. The baby isn't here very much these past two weeks since the grandparents are on holiday. So it was stale-dated and had gone off.
I decided to write a blog tonight instead of impale myself with a rose nail.
About half our business income comes from ice cream sales. Luckily for us, we also have the bakery-cafe which accounts for the other half and keeps us going through those long, cold, dark, winter months when no one is buying ice cream. Not so for our neighbours, the other four ice cream shops here on East Beach. They`re not even open for six months of the year.
One of the things the previous owner of our shop, "Andy", always offered was the cheapest two-scoop cone on the block. He called it "one scoop is two scoops" which meant that you paid for one scoop, but got two. We have tried to maintain his tradition of the cheapest two-scoop by setting the price at $3.99 which (unlike for Andy) includes a free waffle cone. Most shops charge at least a dollar extra for the cone.
Walk farther east on the beach and you'll find that a 2-scoop (without the waffle cone) is $4.25, $4.65 or $5.25.
Unlike the others, we do charge the same for ice cream served in a cup or a cone as they cost us about the same. Our cups are made (in Canada) of plant material - corn and sugar - so they're 100% compostable in your green can. If we bought plastic ones (made in China with fossil fuel) they would be infinitely cheaper, the planet bearing most of the cost.
Despite our great price on the 2-scoop in a waffle cone, someone inevitably complains about the price about once a week. Storms out yelling what rip-off artists we are or some such. "I WON'T BE BACK" exclaimed the last woman, who obviously hadn't bought ice cream since 1950. We are always gracious, and offer to take the ice cream back and return their money, although no one has yet taken us up on that. I guess that expensive scoop of ice cream soothes their anger and outrage on the walk back to the car.
If people get outraged at us, I feel bad for the other ice cream shop owners. We all own or lease OCEAN-FRONT PROPERTY in Greater Vancouver. When ice cream was 5 cents, the property they sold it out of did not cost a million dollars. Not only are rents high, but shop owners only have two big months and another two or three fairly good ones to make all their money for the whole year. Same goes for the fish & chips places. We have to pay all our overhead expenses all year, with no income to offset them: gas, hydro, phone, water, internet, insurance, loan payments and equipment maintenance. Every year we have to train new staff. And we`re all at the mercy of a single ice cream distributor who raised prices this year from $24 a bucket to $32.50.
I guess my point is an educational one - none of these shop owners is rich. Most struggle to stay in business at all. Huge corporations (known as "grocery stores") can sell you food for cheap but they cannot offer you the experience of enjoying a slow lick on a salted caramel ice-cream in bare feet on the beach or watching a child`s face light up when they`re handed that luscious scoop of double-chocolate with a kind word and a smile.
White Rock city workers have been on strike since May 12, although they appear to have reached a tentative agreement. Still the garbage piles up. For most small businesses in the city the impact is grave - hundreds of extra dollars for private disposal companies to pick up garbage normally collected three times a week. But not for us.
Spiritual Ingredients (named for the way we source our ingredients so as to maintain a spiritual relationship with the earth) strives to be a "zero waste" facility. This costs us money, but so does organic produce and real butter. The earth deserves the extra cash invested.
What does zero waste mean?
How can you help?
Pastry Artist, Environmentalist and Spiritual Leader Alex Bois-Bonifacio attended Vancouver School of Theology where she studied for a Masters in ecological theology. Alex has loved both baking and artwork from a young age and is thrilled to have launched "Spiritual Ingredients" in 2011.