Cake + Loaf

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Anticipation had been building well before Cake + Loaf opened its doors to the public. The Kirkendall neighbourhood was looking for a spot where they could enjoy a good coffee and pastry. So when word spread of a Cake + Loaf opening, the community was eager for it to happen quickly. What many don’t know is the artisan bakery was many years in the making. Partners Nicole Sherman and Josie Rudderham met back in 2003 while completing their culinary studies and pastry apprenticeships at Niagara College. Four years after graduating, the two reconnected, decided they would be perfect business partners and began planning their bakery. But it wasn't so easy. Life throws it's curve balls and there were a number of setbacks after purchasing the building on Dundurn back in 2008. Delays from construction, contractors and permits slowed the process. “In January and February it felt like construction would never begin,” says Josie. To lift their spirits, she and Nicky decided to throw a party and through its planning stages, the party evolved into a huge community bake sale and fundraiser with half the profits supporting research at Juravinski Cancer Centre, and half supporting construction of the retail space. “It was a wonderful day and really was our coming out party for the neighbourhood.” With a successful community supported baking service, stands at local farmer's markets, and the support of the neighbourhood, Josie and Nicky pressed on to open the retail location.

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“People seem to love having a real from-scratch bakery in the neighbourhood,” says Josie, “and they appreciate what we’re doing.” It's easy to see why. The atmosphere is charming, Josie, Nicky and the interns are friendly and knowledgeable, and the location is perfect. Located directly across from a school, we can picture mums and dads dropping up their kids, and stopping in for a delicious coffee and muffin before heading to work. Even before the storefront opened, we would visit their stand at the market after work only to find it would be sold out. We quickly learned to place our orders for pie ahead of time. And with it's grand opening just a couple weeks ago, the bakery is showing the same signs of success. Loaves of bread literally fly off the shelves. When your options include chocolate orange, or whole wheat pumpkin seed loaf, it’s no surprise why. You know you are getting something really special when you purchase it from Cake + Loaf. The quality of product really sets the bakery apart.

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Above, orange peanut butter and mint chocolate chip cookie sandwiches

The products at Cake + Loaf contain all locally sourced ingredients. And while this term is loosely thrown around by some, Josie and Nicky can explain why this is important to them. The shorter shipping distance for local products ensure they are more fresh than their counterparts. As such they retain more of their nutritional value. It also makes it easier to ensure responsible growing and harvesting practices were involved. But more importantly, using local ingredients and products benefits the community, sustains Ontario's farmlands and supports local farmers. If you are like us, we like to know where our food is coming from. We learned they source eggs from La Primavery Farms in Dundas, flour from Oak Manor Farms, and milk from Hewitt's Dairy in Hagersville.

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Our favourite of the breads is the cheddar onion & beer loaf, made with Jensen old cheddar, Hewitt’s milk, local beer, Oak Manor organic whole wheat flour and local green onions. Lucky for us, there were two loaves left sitting on the shelf which we quickly scooped up. But really, there's so many varieties to choose from and something to please everyone's tastebuds. We suggest you try one of the vegan options, there's a roasted potato garlic & rosemary loaf. It's baked with olive oil, roasted local garlic, rosemary and black pepper. There's also a hemp + flax loaf made with flax meal, hemp hearts, and brown sugar.

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We were impressed to learn that Cake + Loaf's commitment to sustainability is through and through. The bakery produces at most one bag of garbage per week, with eight bags of recycling and eight bags of green waste. By using local suppliers, there is a decreased need for packaging. They also look for products that are compostable like biodegradable cups or products that can be recycled.

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As for beverages, the bakery features locally roasted coffee from Detour, one of our favourite coffee shops located in Dundas. A couple of our favourite drinks include the apple pear cider soda, berry berry iced tea and the harvest latte made with housemade spice syrup, Hewitt's milk, Detour espresso and topped with a spicy sugar sprinkle. And that photo on the right, those are incredibly delicious maple syrup caramel apples. Stephanie went home with a couple of these to satisfy her sweet tooth.

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The selection at the bakery does not stop at cakes, cupcakes and bread, Josie and Nicky do their own canning and feature their homemade preserves. There is red pepper jelly, which is yummy on sandwiches, apple ginger marmalade, downtown jelly and apple butter. For Thanksgiving they even offered a cranberry sauce with orange, sage and rosemary for your turkey. Hopefully they bring this back for the Christmas holidays. There is also a roasted tomato sauce and their own salsa.

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You may remember before the bakery opened, there was a community supported baking service available. Worry not, we hear it will return in January with delivery options available. As for other new ventures? "In the near future we will be developing a line of sourdough and crusty French breads with the help of Sara Guinan, the former owner of Amuse Bouche" Josie tells us. The gluten free line will be discontinued as the demand just isn't there.

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If you are looking for lunch options, Cake+Loaf has a wonderful selection of  soups, sandwiches, vegan mini pizzas and braided loaves (try the sweet apple cinnamon variety). At their grand opening Stephanie tried the turkey brie which was delicious and on our most recent trip Jacklyn had the brie and cucumber with red pepper jelly (featured below). We've heard rave reviews about the meatball subs which are available exclusively on Fridays. Some of the soups they've featured include beef and veggie barley, roasted potato leek with potato croutons, and vegan sun choke and pear.

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Stay tuned to their Twitter and Facebook for features of the day. They are always adding new items to the menu and this is often the first place you'll hear about it.  "I love Twitter," says Josie, "It really gives me a chance to interact with customers and get honest feedback from them." For local businesses, social media really provides an opportunity to build a loyal following and engage with customers on a daily basis. And as Josie pointed out to us, she is generally in the kitchen and unable to interact with customers in the storefront. "Having Twitter is like having everyone in Hamilton over for coffee every night, " says Josie, "I get all the local news, and it helps us feel connected to the neighbourhood."

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If you haven't yet visited Cake + Loaf, the bakery is offering a special deal to customers via livingsocial.com. From November 8 - November 10, you can purchase a $15 voucher from Cake+Loaf for only $7!  They have set a goal of selling 500 vouchers, and if they meet this number, those who redeem their voucher will receive a complimentary decorated cookie.

Cake + Loaf Bakery

321 Dundurn Street South

Hamilton, ON