Rebecca Osborn was inundated with orders as soon as she shared her portfolio on Facebook
It’s Friday morning and Rebecca Osborn has a lot to do. She is baking a two-tier cake for a nine-year-old girl’s birthday, a chocolate cake a man ordered for her mother and 48 cupcakes for her neighbor.
Osborn moves around his kitchen to the rhythm of his dogs, Sisko and Diamond, snarling at the passing four-wheel drive, his four-year-old daughter, Diana, hitting a fish-shaped xylophone, and several Google timers telling her that the buttercream and the layers of crumbs have finished cooling.
This scene is what Osborn, who lives in Rankin Inlet, considers a scaled-down version of his home baking business.
“Rankin apparently loves pie. I can’t believe how many cakes I’ve sold in a city of 3,000 people, ”he says.
“It’s really humiliating, but most of all I feel responsible for making a product that makes people happy. There is a lot of pressure. “
Working in 30-minute shifts, which is the time it takes for a layer of frosting to solidify in the refrigerator, Osborn mixes red, yellow, and orange food coloring into the buttercream and whips up a bowl of golden sparkles.
“Mom, look!” Diana says from the floor, holding up the photo of a purple unicorn fairy from My Little Pony.
“Wow, you colored the lines so beautifully,” Osborn replies, squeezing buttercream onto a flat cake.
This cake will be Halloween style for a birthday. The colors blend together to create an ombre effect, something Osborn has never experienced before.
Osborn started making professional cakes over a year ago for fun. He was a hobby during the COVID-19 lockdown, but he always considered selling them if they continued to function well.
In June, a neighbor asked if anyone could make a cake for her twin children’s birthday and Osborn offered. Nervous about asking her neighbor to pay, Osborn posted a portfolio of her work on social media to see what kind of reaction she would get. In one day, she booked the entire month of work.
“I was just inundated with orders,” she said.
She soon found herself making 15 pies a month, which was too much to allow her to work on other things like volunteering with the Anglican Church, doing podcasts, and taking care of her dogs. So Osborn went back to eight pies a month.
He charges $ 100 for his standard, eight-inch, four-layer vanilla cake, which serves about 20 people.
Osborn normally makes themed cakes for children, such as Sonic the Hedgehog or Pikachu. Once, he made a four-tier birthday cake, ordered by the village’s top administrative officer, Darren Flynn.
What’s inside the cakes is still being perfected. Recently, Osborn switched from an oil-based recipe to butter because her oil-based pies stopped producing well. She says she has refunded more clients than she is willing to admit.
“It’s like the worst because like, you do this thing, you work very hard, it’s this creative effort and you do it to make someone happy,” she said.
“So when it doesn’t come out, it’s heartbreaking because it’s just the opposite. You ruined their party.
Osborn said he thinks oil-based pies are tastier and cheaper to make, so he wants to find a way back to them. The problem, he suspects, is his 30-year-old oven, so he ordered a thermometer to test its accuracy.
“Being able to do this in the north is really a matter of efficiency and economy of scale,” he said.
“This is the only way I can give people a reasonable price because food is so expensive. I take the ingredients out to sea and I have a large spreadsheet in which I have broken down all my costs.
Osborn holds the top tier of the two-tier cake, placing golden sprinkles on top.
Her gloved hands carefully lower the cake back onto the decorative metal turntable. She rolls up some round grains and approaches the edge. This part was pretty stressful.
“I’m sure he gave me some gray hair,” she says. “I’m more used to it now.”
As she works, Osborn whispers little reminders to herself: “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” “Gloves, Rebecca.” “Let’s see if it works.”
Osborn says he thinks he might want to give lessons someday. There are some people in town who make pies – some he collaborates with – but it would be nice to know how to make more.
She grew up in the United States, in a home where her mother made pies, and learned the basics at a young age.
“Help people celebrate. No, it is not a healthy food but it is something that makes you feel special. And when you’re struggling or when your life isn’t going great, you really need it.