I like to think my love for baking started the moment I was first able to reach up and touch the oven’s knobs. My mom recalls her friends’ shocked reactions when they learned she had taught me how the oven worked by the time I was four years old. I think she recognized the obsession in my eyes and knew she had no choice but to teach me how to operate it safely – I was going to try it with or without her help!
On an average Saturday during my childhood, you could find me baking up a storm (and a mess!) in the kitchen. As I got older, I started making desserts for Christmases and family get-togethers, and I loved watching the joy baked goods can spark in a person. Not only that, but my South African upbringing meant I was always surrounded by women who conjured up the most amazing baked treats. A visit to someone’s house always meant being stuffed with tea and cookies, tarts, and cakes; often lovingly made using recipes handed down from previous generations of Afrikaner (a South African ethnicity) women.
Pleased to meet you!
A "tuisnywerheid" in South Africa
This cultural orientation towards being a welcoming host, showering guests with treats, and generally having a “my door is always open” mentality, is what comes to mind first when I think about the Afrikaner culture I experienced growing up.
There is a healthy respect for baking skill – a specific baker’s goods are often sought out by their loyal customers at a “tuisnywerheid” (home industry) store, where home baked goods are sold, or even from their barber’s wives! (My Oupa used to loyally buy cookies made by his barber’s wife, dropping by to get a refill on his supply even when he didn’t need a haircut).
When people ask me what I liked most about living in South Africa, these things, alongside with the breathtaking beauty of its natural landscape come to mind. Many people whom have visited the country say that there is just nothing else quite like it. It is home to the most biodiverse floral kingdom in the world, the Cape Floral Kingdom, whose biodiversity of species exceeds even the richest tropical rainforest in South America.
Most interesting of all though is how truly unique this floral kingdom is, as about two thirds of the species are found only in this particular region of the world. The sugarbush, or protea, is perhaps one of the most iconic flowering plants associated with it, and is in my opinion one of the prettiest. It is called the sugarbush because of the copious amounts of nectar it provides birds.
My cakery was named after this flower for the symbolism it bears – with each cake I make, I am inspired to create something that is both exquisite to the eyes and tastebuds - just like the natural beauty of my homeland, and the nurturing both the sugarbushes and the average Afrikaner household provides their guests.
One of my favourite compliments I have received from family and friends is that you can truly taste the love I put into my baked goods. And I realized that while cliché, that is truly my magic ingredient. I put so much love and passion into every aspect of the process; from my meticulous approach to the baking science that results in the fluffiest, moistest cakes, right down to the tiniest decorating details that make my designs come to life.
Some beautiful protea flowers native to South Africa
With every cake going out my door, my mission is to help you indulge in the most precious moments life offers you.
Reach out if you have any questions!