12 Aug The Cake & The Giraffe
We discovered The Cake & The Giraffe while browsing on Instagram. Dalana is super talented and has a great sense of humour, so we knew we had to meet her! The first time we met her at North Van’s Friday market, where she seduces visitors with her amazing cupcakes every week. (She had us at bacon covered cupcakes.) One week later we met at her work space, where the big cake magic happens. It was amazing to watch her create a wedding cake. We never realized how many details come into play! Dalana was so gracious to grant us an interview, so enjoy and make sure to check out The Cake & The Giraffes website (we love the creative cakes section) and facebook page!
How long have you been in business in Vancouver, and what exactly do you do?
I was introduced into the cake community about 7 years ago, but I officially became “The Cake & The Giraffe” 3 years ago. I design and create custom wedding cakes and I also have a booth at the weekly Shipyard’s Night Market (at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver) where I sell cupcakes and other delicacies.
What is it about baking that makes you love it so much?
After graduating high school I had to choose between art school and culinary school, so I decided to pick the latter, because it combined both of my interests (art and the culinary world). During my training, I fell deeper in love with the pastry side. After finishing my culinary training, I immediately enrolled in the pastry program. I love baking because it just feels so natural, like I was meant to do it.
What would you say sets you apart from other cake bakers?
Definitely the way I work with customers. Upon receiving an email, the first thing I like to do is reply with a sketch. It really gets the ball rolling and puts a personal touch on the beginning of our experience together. I like to make consultations personal and don’t want them to seem like a business meeting. We sit down with tea and cake and just let the conversation flow like we’re old friends.
After settling on a design, it is time to pick the perfect flavours. I have a long list of flavours (about 30). It is always expanding and I love experimenting. So whenever a customers pitches a new idea, I go for it. Customers love it. I’ve even converted a few non-cake-lovers into addicts!
Can you tell us about a wedding cake you’ll never forget?
A while ago, I received an inquiry for a vow renewal cake. It had to be something special, because the customer hadn’t had a cake at her wedding 40 years ago, and wanted to make up for it. So I sent her a quote, but didn’t hear back from her.
A couple of months later, another customer inquired about a memorial cake in honour of her mother who had recently passed. I had no idea the two calls were related until about a week later, when in the consultation she said “My mother had contacted you last fall”. As it turned out, the mother was in the middle of planning her 40th wedding anniversary, when she had suddenly passed away. The memorial cake had to be something special! A cake the mother would have been proud of to serve at her wedding.
I was touched that I got to assist in making the memorial an extra special day.
What’s your specialty?
I love challenges! If I can replicate something close to the client’s heart into cake, I consider it a job well done! One of my favourites was creating a 2D 1932 Ford Jerry car. The client’s husband’s favourite car! Another was a couple that wanted a wedding cake of their favourite painting.
Sometimes a bride comes in with a cake they want replicated exactly. I will always encourage uniqueness. We work together to keep the traits they love and create something more personal for their special day.
Your flavours are so original! Where do you find your inspiration?
Through random thoughts and and sometimes even errors. For instance, I wanted to do something special for my boyfriend’s birthday, so I thought about his favourite food: bacon. So I created cupcakes with bacon (J&T: we tried the peanut butter-bacon cupcakes and they are delicious) At other times, friends mention totally weird flavour combinations, so I just try them out and see what happens, which is how the cinnamon cupcake with blueberry butter cream came around.
Do you have some advice for brides who come to you for their cake?
Come with inspiration, but an open mind, and we’ll create something amazing together!