Catering to those who want something a little different, and a little geeky, pastry baker Jenny Burgesse has created a niche for herself as the owner of Geek Sweets. Running her home-based bakery out of Vancouver, Canada Jenny bakes cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other yummy baked goods inspired by geek culture. ”Everything is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients, just like grandma used to make. If grandma made cookies shaped like weighted companion cubes and Battlestar Galacticakes,” she says. Sure, white wedding cakes and cupcakes are more traditional; but colorful and unique cakes and cupcakes that convey the bride and groom’s personalities are more memorable. “Wedding cakes have really taken leaps and bounds in terms of coolness in the past 10 years and are nothing like the marzipan-covered, gumpaste-flower-adorned towering tiers of their time,” says Jenny.
Cupcakes also make wonderful wedding favors, the perfect take-away gift that everyone will enjoy. You can personalize them in terms of flavor (the bride and groom’s favorite flavor) and decoration (be it a cupcake from a galaxy far, far away to the cutest little cupcake in all the Marvel Universe) and gift-wrap them in individual boxes.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself? What makes you a geek?
I’ve always been a bit of a geek and a tomboy, ever since I was little. But when I got to high school I met a great group of people, around whom I could really let me geek flag fly. We wrote our own X-files fan fiction, picked apart Star Trek Next Generation episodes and played each other’s homebrewed RPGs. I even dated a guy who ran an anime club. It was quite freeing actually, worrying less about my hairstyle and the brand name on my purse and more about what it might feel like to stroke Riker’s majestic beard.
2. What made you get into baking, and eventually, opening your own company Geek Sweets?
I have an entrepreneurial spirt – ask my printer parents, who were asked to print up business cards for a new venture every week when I was a kid – and I love being my own boss. So when I found I had a knack for baking, it was a perfect fit. I also work part time as a graphic designer, which actually lends itself to baking quite nicely, giving my goodies a nice, clean visual style.
3. What do you like best about being a pastry baker?
Taste testing the products, of course! And the look on the faces of clients when they pick up their custom creations is a close second.
4. What is your favorite geeky creation?
I think my favourite, and the all time most popular treat I make, is the Cthulhu cookie. It’s a relatively simple cookie to make, and delicious, but more importantly, adorably geeky. They’re always the first to sell out when I bring them to conventions and events, and people’s faces just light up when they recognize them. Though I may curse their little tentacled faces after churning out 200 of them in a row, I really do love the little guys.
5. Any advice for couples looking for non-traditional wedding cakes or cupcakes?
Don’t listen to your parents / grandparents / great aunt’s advice when it comes to your wedding cake. Wedding cakes have really taken leaps and bounds in terms of coolness in the past 10 years and are nothing like the marzipan-covered, gumpaste-flower-adorned towering tiers of their time. Don’t feel pressured to ‘stay within the box’ – sit down with your baker and figure out how to infuse your personalities into the display to really make it yours. Who cares if your mom and dad don’t know what a cylon is, if you want it made life-size out of cake, DO IT.