Saturday, February 22, 2014

This week in the bakery… I listen

I am the boss of me but I'm not always a very nice boss to me. In example, I often make myself work through lunch, forcing myself to consume my mid-day calories in liquified form from a takeaway mug (I moved on to soups. At least I've quit the baby food. That's progress...). On a Saturday morning, however, when the alarm goes off at 6am, I am thinking very kind thoughts to my employee self. "Snooze that there alarm. 20 more minutes' sleep is grand. You'll make up the time when you get there by working quicker." As if it's possible to work fast at that ungodly hour when you feel like the rest of the world is cozy under their warm duvets.  

It isn't the joy of baking that gets me out of bed so early on these occasions. It's not pride in my work or a feeling of responsibility to the customers awaiting their cake. It's the podcast. 

I strategically store up episodes of my favorite podcasts for tasks that I am less than enthusiastic about. Ginormous pile of dishes to wash? Joy the Baker podcast makes it fun! Tons of cake boxes to stamp and fold? This American Life makes it fascinating. Stirring butterscotch as it slowly changes from pale to golden brown? The Savage Lovecast makes it kinda crazy.

Here is a list of my favorite audio entertainment:

For when I feel like hanging out with my girlfriends - Joy the baker Podcast

For when I want to be inspired - This American Life

For a bit of smut, good advice and to feel like my life is very normal in comparison to some - Savage Lovecast

When I want to be transported by a good short story - The Moth Podcast

When I want to laugh - Uhh Yeah Dude

Audiobooks are more of a "making a wedding cake"-type time commitment - David Sedaris Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

Tina Fey Bossypants

And now you can go forth and enjoy folding your laundry.

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 
Dublin 6w, Ireland

Monday, February 17, 2014

This week in the bakery… I find myself

This week in the bakery I was having an identity crisis. 
Nothing to do with Valentine's Day. I don't mind any occasion to wear festive socks

I was having an identity crisis, but then I found myself. Or an alternate version of me. In fairness, an entirely other person with enough in common with me to make me acknowledge, as I often do, that the world is funny. In a weird way. 

I had been toying with the idea of moving away from the bakery's trading name, Caryna's Cakes. People seem to struggle with the Caryna part. "Carnya?" "Carvna?" "Ca-rye-na?" It's the Y that throws people. To add to the confusion, there is another Carina in Cork making cakes, and goes by Carina's Cakes. What are the chances of that in a country as tiny as Ireland? Slim,  but there you have it. I have and she has

I thought I'd just go back to the registered name of the business, Lovin' from the Oven Ltd. Here is the odd sequence of events that followed:

  • was already acquired by one of those American domain collection companies who sell the website address from a massive profit. How much for $23,000.00!! Pfffttt...
  • wasn't an option either. It was taken (what??!!)This is odd in Ireland because unlike in America, you must have the company name before you can acquire the website name. 
  • I had a look at… It was a cake company (no shock there). Run by a girl named Corrina (wait, what??!!). 
  • My company is Lovin' from the Oven Ltd. so there could not be any other company in Ireland called Lovin' from the Oven. I searched the Company registration website and found that Corrina's company was indeed also registered as Lovin' from the Oven (hang on, what??!!).
  • How could this have happened? How could both companies be called Lovin' from the Oven? Before my company was processed as registered on the 11th March 2011, no company by that name came up on the search. Well as it turns out, Corrina's company registration was processed on the 10th March 2011, just ONE DAY before me (w-what??!!). This must have been the reason for the oversight at the Companies Registration Office.
  • I rang Corrina and explained this very odd collision of similarities. She was so nice, equally shocked and was like, "where is your accent from?" "Oh, I'm Canadian but I've been living here in Ireland for 10 ½ years…" "What??!! I'm Canadian too" (of course you are!)
  • So there you have it. Lovin' from the Oven is available on the East and West coast of Ireland, brought to you by 2 Canadian Caryna's/Corrina's who had the bright idea/s to call their bakery companies the same thing at the same time. We are organizing a meet up and pictures will follow, as long as we do not cause a tear in the time/space continuum. 

So the bakery shall remain Caryna's Cakes. Caryna may be a unique way to spell the name, but that's me.

Here is a picture of me earlier today, in all my individual weirdness 
Glasses: a Dublin Flea Market purchase. The lenses are glass. I have no reason to wear them other than for inspiration. Wearing glasses inspires me to do my accounting.
Jumper / Sweater: Sequence multi-coloured bows on angora. This was a gift from my sister. She has an OBSESSION with ugly sweaters. Like, intervention - level obsession. This one reminds me of Rose Nylund (aka Betty White) and so I love it.
E.T.: He is the bakery mascot. Isn't he cool in his teeny hoodie? He's usually the one sporting the hipster gasses.
In the snack cupboard over my left shoulder: Miso cup o' soup and chia seeds.
Also in the snack cupboard: A collection of stamps from letters received where An Post was less than thorough with the postmark, allowing me to recycle.
Laptop cover: Aquamarine. My birthstone color. Made in Hong Kong. Bought on eBay.

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 
Dublin 6w, Ireland

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This week in the bakery… we're all over the news

This week was a busy one. There was going to the store to pick up this issue of Easy Food magazine, with a nice mention of Caryna's Cakes baking classes...

Followed by another trip to the store to pick up this month's issue of Irish Bride magazine, with a nice photo spread of Niamh and Francois' wedding. Niamh's lovely mother Pauline baked these fruit cakes for the happy occasion and designed a Google-themed cake with a bride who loves running and cycling, and a groom who is writing a sic-fi novel. 

Cake of the month is a 2014 initiative. Here's how we are rolling: every month I introduce a limited edition cake. You can order it whole by contacting or buy it by the slice at the Dublin Food Co-op on Saturdays, the Dublin Flea market on the last Sunday of the month, and at those independent coffee shops being supplied by Caryna's Cakes. February is a fine one indeed - Strawberry Meringue Cake. 
The base is a vanilla sponge with pureed strawberries folded in. Halfway through baking, a topping of soft meringue crowns the cake and what emerges from the oven is light yet wholesome and rustic

Irish Countrywomen's Association 
I have written about my love and appreciation for the Irish Countrywomen's Association. These ladies are a class act. Although I am no longer a member (purely due to scheduling conflicts) I was asked to return for an evening Cake Decorating demonstration. 

One of the Valentine's themed projects was personalized fortune cookies. The women were asked to write something nice about someone else in the room and were then folded into fortune cookies and served at random. Here's a fortune from Milltown ICA to me (and you), "Always cheerful and positive"

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 
Dublin 6w, Ireland

Saturday, February 1, 2014

This week in the bakery… we try and keep warm

Logic would have you believe that I work in a balmy environment. It is a bakery after all. 

This is sadly not so. 

From November until February the spacious Caryna's Cakes bakery is baltic. With a concrete floor, concrete high ceiling and the heat dependent on the output of one hard working oven, it often takes hours before my breath vapors become invisible. 
And so, like the wilderness in the tundra, we adapt to our environment. We layer up and bake on. Here are some of our techniques for keeping the hypothermia at bay.

I always start with a hot breakfast. We only use Free Range Irish eggs, which are perfect for a healthy portion of boiled eggs in the morning.

Hoodies. Eliminating that neck gap where pesky drafts can creep in is a key tactic. Here I am setting up the new printer looking like Banksy. 

Chaufettes. It's a much better word than the English term, "hand warmers". From time to time we may need to take a break and get the blood flowing. 

LAYERS. Fleece-lined Crocs over socks, over long johns, over socks

A fine alpaca hat my sister brought me from Peru. It limits the hairstyle options, but one must remember one's priorities.

Wearing this scarf is more than just a patriotic gesture. It is…wait for it… heated! It's like a battery powered, scarf-shaped electric blanket.  

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 
Dublin 6w, Ireland