The aroma of chocolate and caramel fills the air at her suburb home. There are sounds of a mixer buzzing in the kitchen. Devon Lockhart, 22, is making a cupcake order that puts store-bought delicacies to shame.
Lockhart isn’t like any other young adult — she turns simple ingredients into works ofart.
It all started back in high school. That time in life where everyone decides what they want to do with their lives. Lockhart pondered over many different professions, from one of Alberta College of Art and Design’s art degrees all the way to the University of Calgary’s teaching degree, but nothing really stuck. She loved to bake but never believed she would make a career out of it.
“I had always enjoyed baking, but having the opportunity to decorate a cake was something new to me and I welcomed the challenge,” says Lockhart.
After a gap year she decided to work full-time in retail but wasn’t happy. Months ago she slammed her foot down after a really bad break-up and decided she needed to take control of her life.
“I made a baby reveal cake for one of my co-workers the summer of 2016,” she says. “While I was making the cake I fell in love with the process, and it became almost therapeutic to me.”
Jenna Leveque ordered this baby reveal cake, which had pink and blue stripes on the side, and on top it said, “Boy or Girl.” Her second order with Lockhart was Paw Patrol themed cupcakes for her older son’s birthday. Leveque likes to support local businesses because of their better quality of service and products over store-bought items.
“I wanted to order from her because I believe in her and the future of her business,” says Leveque. “I would order from her again.”
The art of baking
Lockhart just missed the deadline to apply for SAIT’s pastry program. Only one in four people are accepted. It was good she missed the deadline because she needed to build up her portfolio first.
“Getting into SAIT would be a dream come true for me,” says Lockhart.
She dug into her wallet and attended professional classes at Lambert Academy ofSugarcraft to focus on different areas of the trade such as fondant, wedding cakes, and piping. She is treating the trade like art and wants to learn as many things as possible.
“I’m currently planning on taking some weekend classes at SAIT,” Lockhart says. “Bow Valley also offers some calligraphy classes that I feel would be extremely beneficial to take as well.”
Where there is success there is often struggle when learning something completely new.
“The first time I used fondant I made it way too thick, didn’t roll it out long enough, and definitely didn’t knead it enough,” says Lockhart.
She often makes dummy cakes to test her skills before applying it to the finished product. Her quick learning has earned her customers who demand more intensive designs.
“I only charge for the ingredients,” says Lockhart.
She is constantly slammed with many orders for family members, coworkers, and even people who have seen her work online. She does not wish to make a profit just yet, these are just to help her portfolio.
“She just keeps getting better and it is so convenient to have someone else bake for me when I don’t have time,” says Katrina Roy, who ordered a poop emoji cake for her daughter’s birthday.
It takes her two days to fulfill an order. She makes the cake in the morning so it has time to cool and by the afternoon she levels it. This is when the air is sugary and the kitchen is a mess. In the evening she does the crumb coat and lets it chill in the fridge overnight. Then the next day is spent decorating and putting on final touches.
One thing she loves making is buttercream icing. She chooses to make it with a meringue instead of the common surgery American way because it is less sweet and offers more flavour.
“It had a lot of flavour and the icing she used enriched the flavour of the cake,” says Roy who enjoyed the chocolate buttercream.
Lockhart’s little signature is an extra splash of vanilla for “good luck.” This combats the dry Calgary climate and adds more flavour. She doesn’t make her cakes overpoweringly sweet because she prefers to enhance the natural flavours more.
“Baking cakes work best in environments with lots of moisture, so I always have to tweak recipes a little bit differently every time depending on how dry the day is,” says Lockhart.
Lockhart dreams big and hopes to some day open her own local bakery called “Cakes by Devon” in Kensington because of the community’s unique collection of shops.
Editor: Rosemary J. De Souza | firstname.lastname@example.org