This month marks our fifth birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to eat all the cake?
And we’re not talking about the grocery store variety you pick up last minute on your way home from work. This is a special occasion after all, and deserves some proper planning. In honour of that, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to get custom cakes across the province. From Calgary to Edmonton, and out in Canmore, these are some of our top picks that truly do cake justice. You only turn five once, so make it a party to remember. All great parties necessitate an even greater cake!
If you’re searching for a custom-made cake in Calgary, look no further than Swirl Cakes. As owner and lead designer Lynnette MacDonald puts it, “we are fueled by a desire to make cakes that defy physics and push beyond conventional boundaries into the extraordinary realm of exceptional desserts.”
Not only does she meet with clients one-on-one for design consultations, all of her cakes are made fresh in her kitchen for each and every order. Because of this, you can be sure you’re getting exactly the cake you want that is as unique as any other cake that’s come before. Her most popular option is their chocolate cake, but it’s not just any chocolate cake. There’s a layer of raspberry filling, airy chocolate mousse, and salted caramel buttercream to finish.
If that’s not decadent enough for you, Lynnette’s personal favourite is her toasted coconut cake filled with passion fruit curd and topped with a Madagascar vanilla buttercream. It’s like a trip to the tropics without having to book a flight and pack a suitcase. Regardless of your taste for sweets, there are dozens of cake, filling and frosting options to choose from so you can customize your cake to your heart’s content.
Canmore’s Kake by Darci has been open for just over a year, but in that time she’s already made quite the name for herself. As Darci Weil puts it, her geode cake “blew up on the internet” last year, and the momentum has only continued to build ever since. Not bad for someone with no formal training who decided to open a bakery on a whim!
The bakery doesn’t have a storefront, meaning you can only get custom cakes made for your special occasions, but that doesn’t seem like such a bad proposition. If you’re curious about what your options are, her Instagram account @kakebydarci will definitely suck you in with its stunning, yet playful designs. Darci personally loves the classics, like vanilla and chocolate cake, but says that her strawberry pink velvet cake is also very popular.
She also isn’t afraid to get creative with more unique flavours like black sesame and lavender (many of which can be found featured on Blake Canmore’s dessert menu). And don’t forget the buttercream! It’s a European style, meringue-based buttercream that’s rich but not too sweet. “I could eat it by the bowl full,” Darci admits, and we can definitely get on board with that, too.
The Teatro Group’s Alforno Bakery and Café isn’t just a place to pop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, although you can totally do that, too. They also offer a selection of pastries and other sweets, all made in-house daily.
Plus, they do cakes and you definitely can’t forget about those. You can grab them by the slice if you’re craving a little something sweet, or you can call ahead to order an entire cake for your special occasion. Just be sure to give 48 hours notice for a custom cake, or 24 hours notice if you’d like to personalize one of their preexisting cakes. The only question that remains is, what to choose?
Alforno’s chocolate cake is surely a crowd pleaser, with four layers of fudgy chocolate cake and a decadent chocolate frosting to seal the deal. After all, you can never go wrong with chocolate on chocolate. They offer other standard flavours, but also love to get creative and are constantly changing their offerings.
Seasonal rotations can include everything from black forest cake to strawberry banana mousse cake. Or if you have an idea in mind you are really keen on, send them a request so they can customize a cake to your desires. And if you really do need something last minute, you can always see what’s in the display case and pick something right then and there!
The Art of Cake
Gloria Bednarz and her partner Guenter Hess have been designing custom cakes since 2007, but the history of The Art of Cake extends far beyond the past 10 years.
“Our carrot cake is a very old family recipe that we’ve been using for 30 years,” Gloria says.
When asked what’s so special about it, she’s hesitant to divulge any specific trade secrets, but explains that it contains lots of carrots, just the right amount of spice, and is topped with a traditional cream cheese icing that she emphasizes, “is not too sweet.”
Tradition is a theme at The Art of Cake. Their chocolate cake is an old-fashioned style with plenty of sour cream in the batter to add richness and moisture. “It’s just like my grandma used to make,” is one of Gloria’s favourite compliments. Even if your grandma wasn’t a baker, her cakes scream childhood nostalgia. Whether you’re looking for a single tiered cake or an elaborate custom design for a milestone birthday or any other special occasion, The Art of Cake will whip you up a masterpiece. Oh, and don’t forget they also offer a selection of cookies and confections if you really want to go all out with dessert!
Sugared & Spiced Cakes
Amy Nachtigall has been baking her whole life, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to debut her treats to the world. In the past five years, she has gone from sharing her sweets at a stall in the Highlands Farmers’ Market, to graduating from the baking program at NAIT and being featured in a variety of local and national publications for her creative desserts.
Her “cake club” is essentially a subscription to receive cakes for three special occasions per year. Memberships are tough to get, but you can check her website to stay up to date if new spots open up. Her cakes come in a variety of popular flavours like chocolate peanut butter and cookies and cream, but she also takes special requests for any new and exciting flavour combinations you may have in mind.
Double up on dessert and be sure to order some cookies as well, for him and for her. Her “man’s man” cookie is loaded to the brim with peanut butter, peanut butter cups, chocolate and bacon, and her “girl’s night in” cookie contains the perfect mélange of chocolate, caramel, raspberry dessert wine, and sea salt to round out the sweetness. Either of them is good enough to make celebrating birthdays with cookies your new tradition!