Thursday, May 12, 2011

Living Colour

Since I started Lemon Tree a couple years ago, I've always maintained the policy that everything I bake should be from the most natural sources possible and of the best quality so that the finished product is nothing but delicious. I avoid artificial flavours and prepare most of the macaron fillings from scratch so that I know exactly what is going into them. The cakes I make have never seen the inside of a "mix" box and I use copious amounts of vanilla bean and extract in almost everything because I can't get enough of it myself. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day and a Landmark

Remember about three or four weeks ago when I was just back from vacation (*sigh* vacation) and I mentioned I had hit the ground running? Well, little did I know it was a marathon I was running and I haven't stopped yet. 

This week - week four of said marathon - I hit a pretty big mark on the patisserie bake-o-meter (I just made that up, but now I kind of actually want a bake-o-meter in the patisserie).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Macarons

Just like a fairy tale - Kate and Wills leave Westminster Abbey in a carriage towards Buckingham Palace
I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. There are bakers out there who are waking up and heading off to work at 4am to prepare breads, pastries, tarts, and cakes for those who rise early for the first taste of a crisp croissant or the smell of freshly baked sourdough.

I am not one of those bakers.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not A Typical Easter.

 I have to admit that for the last week or two I have not been thinking about Easter. I haven't been stocking up on foil-wrapped chocolate eggs; I haven't been gluing cotton ball bunny tails on any crafty-type easter projects; I haven't even been staying up to date with my favourite blogs where I know the easter-inspired baking will keep me entertained for hours. Strangely enough, even church has not been preparing me for the festivities - not a palm frond was to be found at last week's Sunday service. How does one celebrate Palm Sunday without palm fronds?? So far this has not been a typical Easter. Sunday is yet to come.

I have, however, been spending every waking hour in the patisserie, baking and turning out cakes, macarons, cupcakes and all sorts of confections. Last week it was a wedding. This week it was the grand opening of Petite& Sweet in Toronto and macarons are always in demand there. And to adorn the sweets tables, a couple of gorgeous meringue towers were put together as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vacation and Market Menu


 The following images may incite feelings of jealousy and wistfulness. The content of this post may not be suitable for those under the influence of winter and should be avoided if the reader has no access to sunshine within the next 2 hours. Should you notice symptoms of desperate longing for warm weather after reading, click here for the cure. Continue reading at your own risk.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Market Menu - 25 March

As usual, you can find Lemon Tree on the lower level of the St. Lawrence Market this weekend! The macaron flavours are always changing and this Saturday you can choose from:

Salted Caramel
Vanilla Bean
Chocolate Mint
(cinnamon vanilla bean)
Roasted Pistachio

Petit Fours
(see the previous post for the recipe)

See you at the market.


Estabar and Chocolate Flourless Cake

A couple years ago, when Husband and I were newly weds and traveling through Australia, we stayed for a time in a city called Newcastle, just a couple hours north of Sydney. I had visited Newcastle first in 2007 when I stayed with my college roommate, Rachel, who had married an Australian and left Canadian winters behind forever. Smart girl.

The small city with it's laid-back Novocastrians worked it's magic on me when I first visited and so Husband and I were eager to "get away from it all" and find our newly-wed life in a warmer clime. We packed our bags, said our goodbyes and left it all behind indefinitely.

It was a great decision and it looks even better as I sit here in our sixth month of Toronto winter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Market Menu - 19 March

I haven't prepared a post with insightful things to say this week so I won't go on about nothing. I did, however, snap some photos of this week's treats for the Market and they say it all. I'm still crazy about cherry blossoms and they've worked their way into the market spread this week again. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Strawberry Mocha Tin-pan Cakes

I have a surprise.

With a few extra hours, and some left over strawberry preserves a girl can accomplish a lot! I've added an extra item to the Market Menu for tomorrow so look for these oh-so-cute cherry blossom tin-pan cakes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Chocolate PB & Cherry Blossom Market Menu - 12 March

Chocolate. Peanutbutter. Cherry blossoms.

Wait.... what?

While the first two make a stellar combination, I can't say the natural next step is to cherry blossoms, it's true.

In my last post I mentioned a serious craving for cinnamon buns. I'm still craving them and just a general range of sweet and yummy comfort foods that winter and dreary, cold weather inspire. We are having our share of it (cold, dreary weather, that is).

Sitting at the top of my favourite comfort food list are both chocolate and peanut butter. Not just chocolate on it's own, and certainly not just peanut butter, but the perfect collaboration of the two joined in peaceful and harmonious bliss.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's been a whirlwind of a month and suddenly I find myself sitting quietly, after the rush and enjoying a pause. I even went to the gym this week! Twice! **pat myself on the back**

Last week I put together the brightest macaron tree I've made so far and I think it's my favourite. It was for a moroccan themed wedding shower so the orange and the red were just two colours of the dessert table being designed. Since the bride loves salted caramel macarons so much, the whole tower was graced with just that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Market Menu - 5 March

Hi There,

Happy March!

I know, I know - shame on me for skipping the Market Menu last week. The days just keep flying by and they all seem to be filled with wedding events. Either I'm attending a wedding, baking for a wedding, or attending and baking for a wedding! It's got my head spinning. And I didn't think it was even wedding season yet. When spring rolls around, the bridal bonanza will only intensify. Last week, I was wrapped up in putting together a macaron tree and other treats for an engagement party. This week I'm scheduled for another tree, but this time for a bridal shower. I've also been experimenting with the traditional look of macaron trees. What do you think about a macaron pop tree??

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Macaron & This Weekend's Market Menu - 19 February

I can't believe it's Thursday already!

I've been wrapped up this week preparing an order for a baby shower. My client decided that macarons would make the perfect take-home favour for the guests at the party and I couldn't agree more. There isn't much you need to do to a macaron to dress it up and whether they've had a macaron before or not, most people only need one look to know that this pretty little pastry, all filled with cream, is going to taste delicious.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life after V-Day

So it's come and gone and you're saturated with pink, red (and every shade in between), chocolates, roses (though one can never receive too many roses), and love. So what now?

That's the question that hits me the day after every holiday or big event. My mind has to shift out of one gear and sometimes reluctantly into another. Quick! Get every heart-shaped cookie cutter out of my sight! Pack away the hot pink glitter and hide the conversation hearts lest they tempt me to draw out the theme long after it's appropriate.

A good black & white theme ought to shake the pink out of me. These are monogram cookies I designed for a little girl's birthday dessert table put together by Elle & Yolanda of Sweetfix. Check out their website, they are doing some pretty glamourous things here in Toronto.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Je T'aime le Marche

Thanks so much to everyone who showed up on Saturday to pick up their Valentine's treats! The market was bustling even as I arrived early in the morning and it wasn't long before I had put together a pretty little display.

It's energizing to be in the midst of the crowd on a Saturday morning. Most of you stop to say hi and I get to meet some pretty great people. This week my family decided to surprise me by coming down to see (and taste) the treats too. I felt so loved! My dad's sweet tooth got the better of him and he left with a box of petit fours.

And some of you who stopped by later in the afternoon would have been served by my very own mom who came down to help me out.

Next week I'll be attending a dear friend's wedding on Saturday so I won't be at the market myself. However, my mom has graciously offered to fill in for me, so make sure to stop and say hi to her if you're passing by. She's one of the sweetest women I know.

And my Valentine's Day? Well it's still going on right now, but so far it's consisted of a heart-shaped banana pancake breakfast and a "get out of folding laundry" coupon which I immediately cashed in! Later today (though it's pretty gray) we're heading to the Colonel Sam Smith skating trail so hopefully it doesn't rain on us while we're enjoying the scenery by the lake. Then we'll come back home and cozy up for a movie. No fancy dinner necessary.

Love and chocolate from me to you today!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Love is in the Air...

Or is it flour in my hair?? Actually it's a bit of both. I've just slumped down into a nice comfy easy chair after finishing a huge week of baking and preparations for Valentine's Day. I really went all out this year - the inspiration bug bit and what else can you do but treat it? With cookies and macarons and petit fours! Oh my!

On top of the regular agenda of whipping, mixing, folding, beating, and baking, I also snipped, glued, stuffed, and punched (paper, that is - not people) in order to specially package all these treats so that you can give that special gift to that special someone for Valentine's Day. I had so much fun!

And I'm not alone. Twitter has been buzzing with so many amazing Valentine ideas that it's been hard to stay focussed. For example Cherry Lamingtons by Whisk Kid, and All of This from Bakerella. But Valentine's Day isn't just about cakes, cookies, and chocolate.... Well mostly it's about that, but take a look at this table for two by Desiree Spinner Events, and this animated valentine by Tiger in a Jar. I played this over and over again while I danced around the patisserie. Like I said - hard to stay focussed.

Amidst the chaos that ensued in the LT Patisserie this week, I managed to take some photos to share with those of you who are just too far away to make it down to the St. Lawrence this weekend.

I have to say that my favourite finds were these die-cut stickers from the Martha Stewart collection. They really brought all the packaging together with just a little extra touch of love.

The popcorn boxes came together beautifully and I loaded them full of individually wrapped macarons. I've always loved the way amaretti is wrapped up like bon bons at Christmas and macarons look just as pretty all wrapped up too.

I can't wait to see these sugar cookies hanging on the display board tomorrow!

Everyone else seems to be sending out "happy Friday" wishes, but for me the week all leads up to Saturday! I'll be up bright and early to get down the market and put the table together. So Happy Friday to you, but I'm looking forward to a full day tomorrow and then a bit of down time after such a crazy week. To tell you the truth, the perfect Valentine's Day for me would be a day at home with my husband, watching movies and staying warm. I'm a simple girl.

Enjoy your romance (and sweets) this Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Market Menu - 12 February

Hi All,

Here's a quick post of this weekend's macaron flavours and a menu of sweets to treat your Valentines!


Chocolate Passion
milk chocolate ganache spiked with tangy passion fruit pulp

Coeur de la Creme
vanilla buttercream with an organic strawberry centre

Raspberry Pistachio
pistachio buttercream with a raspberry centre

Tres Chocolate
rich bittersweet chocolate ganache

Vanilla Bean
Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean buttercream

Salted Caramel
gooey, salty, sweet caramel & vanilla buttercream

Petit Fours
design inspired by Sweetapolita

Raspberry Mocha
chocolate cake with mocha buttercream and raspberry filling


Sugar Cookies
vanilla bean biscuits sandwiched with raspberry filling

Find these treats (and maybe more) at the Lemon Tree table on the lower level of the St. Lawrence Market from 8am until the treats last. Hope to see you there!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Preparations

With Valentines Day just around the corner, I've been pouring over amazing and creative ideas for special treats and beautiful packaging, looking for inspiration for the Lemon Tree table this coming weekend. There are so many ideas flooding my head and it's likely there won't be time to create all of them, so I'm focusing in on a few that you can purchase at the St. Lawrence this Saturday for that special someone.

I especially love coming up with new packaging ideas for the macarons. This weekend I spent some time with glue gun in hand to make these popcorn boxes that will be filled with individually wrapped macarons. It was the perfect activity for Superbowl Sunday! I can't say I'm especially enamored by the sport, but put some coloured paper and ribbon in my hands and I'll sit and "watch" any amount of football!

The template for the boxes was free online here. I cut out the individual pieces and scalloped the top of each before assembling the box using a Fiskars border punch. The die-cut stickers are from the Martha Stewart Collection.

I've also been working on a special table display for the occasion and the pieces are slowly coming together in a mock-market style on my dining room table. I can't wait to set all the cakes and macarons in place! This is just a taste of the final display.

And those inspiring Valentine's ideas? They're just too good not to share with you! These Valentine's Love Letter Cookies from Sweetapolita are at the top of my list.

Check out Rosie's blog here to see more images.

A downloadable template from Fossil's DIY page by Creature Comforts for cupid's arrow cupcake toppers and cupcake wrappers. Too cute!

And I can't get enough of these "box of chocolate" cakes - again by Sweetapolita.

You may be seeing some like these on Saturday at the Market. Speaking of which, I have lots to prepare in order to bring you a full array of Valentines treats! Check back for a listing of the featured Valentines Macaron flavours later this week.