Story by Christina Wong
Photos by Quin Hauck
Baking is often touted as a science. But these days, a new breed of baker is emerging, one who mixes art and science with an almost magical skill. From the creation of mythical creatures and impossible flavours to painting water coloured details and golden swatches, cake artistry has emerged as a new way to enjoy baked goods, and there is no shortage of great artists to enjoy and admire in Calgary.
Tamara Rutschmann is the owner and cake artist behind Bake My Day, a bespoke cake shop in Calgary, creating decadent confections that taste as good as they look. Rutschmann practices a craft that is rooted in an almost scientific love for experimentation and creative expression that pushes the boundaries of what a cake is supposed to look and taste like. Whether it’s infusing a classic recipe with exotic flavours from Southeast Asia, or designing a cake in the shape of a bucket of fried chicken, Rutschmann is fearless in her experiments, and that’s definitely a good thing.
For Rutschmann, the result of her work in the kitchen strikes a delicious balance between science and art, primarily because her work draws on her background in both subjects. While studying General Science at the University of Lethbridge, Rutschmann took some time off to backpack across Europe and experience the pastry culture of the continent before returning to Calgary to complete the Baking and Pastry Arts program at SAIT. She started Bake My Day shortly after to create cakes her way. The result? Edible art pieces featured on dessert tables around the city and on wedding blogs across Canada.
Bake My Day’s style is a reflection of Rutchmann’s love of texture, expressing itself in a modern-yet-earthy way. Her creations combine clean cut and simple silhouettes with natural textures and painted flowers, and Rutchmann’s style is constantly evolving as she learns new techniques. When asked about where her inspiration comes from, Rutschmann always goes back to her love for experimentation. While she is always mindful of her client’s vision when creating bespoke cakes, Rutschmann finds opportunities to push the limits of her creativity and support others like her through editorial shoots with other Calgary businesses.
“Everyone is so willing to let you have your creativity,” she says of these collaborative experiences, “and the work that we do together helps each other’s work shine.”Rutschmann’s love of experimentation and dedication to pushing boundaries has contributed greatly to Bake My Day’s success. Coupled with her love for helping her clients, she now finds herself in the enviable position of doing something she loves every day. Never mind that doing what she loves often involves staying up until one in the morning to ensure that her client’s vision comes true. The long hours are worth it, especially during wedding season.
“I’m a workaholic, but that’s because I love what I do,” Rutschmann states.
After two and a half years of working on her company while continuing to work at SAIT, Rutschmann is ready to take the next step to make Bake My Day a full-time bakery.
“I don’t need to be the best known cake artist in Calgary; I don’t need a crazy storefront or a franchise,” Rutschmann admits. “I just want to keep doing what I love.”
Fortunately for all of us, what Rutschmann loves – and Bake My Day specializes in – is something that we can all get behind: delicious cake.