Forget the four food groups suggested by Canada’s Food Guide. At Colleen Brownridge’s shop in the village of Wellesley, cake is the only food that matters – and she always has room for dessert. “When we go out for dinner my husband always comments that I never finish my plate,” said the 31-year-old while standing in the front of her bakery, located at 3692 Nafziger Rd.
“I always save room.”
Brownridge opened her shop, Frosting on Top, last September just in time for the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival after a year of hard work getting the store ready.
After leaving her job as a police officer in London, the Baden resident moved to Wellesley with her husband, Jason, who is one of the owners of the Milverton-Wellesley Veterinary Clinic.
Having served five years on the force, it was time for a change of pace and she had a desire to stay home and raise a family, and she said that her family and friends prefer her new job over her old one.
“It keeps me home at night,” she said.
Brownridge’s love for baking dates back to when she got her first Easy Bake oven as a child for Christmas, but she got her start baking cakes professionally back in 2004 when her brother asked her to make his wedding cake, and her interest in the idea for her own business grew from there.
She took a three-week course at the Klara Johnson School of Confectionery and Pastry Art in Cambridge, and has taken several more since then.
She has also learned a lot through trial-and-error, and when it comes to baking, there aren’t many people around her complaining.
“That’s what family is for, right? Practice on them,” she said with a laugh.
The couple moved to Wellesley in September of 2010 when Brownridge was three months pregnant with their first child, and they were hoping to have the shop up and running by January, but delays pushed the opening back and after their daughter Eloise was born in March, they didn’t get the shop open until this past September.
“You don’t realize when you get into doing renovations how long things can actually take.”
Formerly the home of Parkside Hair Salon and situated beside the parking lot for Wellesley Pond, the couple did all the renovations to the 600-square-foot shop themselves, from removing one of the walls to refinishing the floors. The two large windows at the front entrance provide lots of natural light, and when combined with the pink décor throughout, it is very bright and inviting space.
“I had to go with pink, it’s my favourite colour,” said Brownridge, who even has a couple of streaks of pink in her dark hair.
The store specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and cookies for any occasion, and there is a broad palate of flavours available, including vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, banana, and more.
There are even more flavour combinations available for the frosting and filling, from the traditional strawberry and chocolate, to peanut butter and mint. Her favourite combination is the chocolate-peanut butter, but the chocolate-caramel is good, too.
Business has been steady, and she says she makes between three and eight cakes a week for customers in Wellesley, Baden, New Hamburg and Waterloo.
There is really no limit to the number of people she can serve, she just needs enough notice to get all of the work done.
“If it’s going to be a wedding for a couple hundred then I’ll need some time, a few months would be good,” she said. “It takes a while to make the flowers and let them set and get everything else ready.”
Currently a one-woman operation, eventually Brownridge would like to offer a store-front shop where customers can just come in and pick up cookies or cupcakes as they’re passing by, but that is still a few years down the line, Brownridge said.
“Eventually I will, maybe once Eloise is bigger or in school, we plan on doing the daily thing.”
More information is available at her website, www.frostingontop.ca.