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Cake & Loaf

Satisfy Your Cravings with Over 85 Recipes for Everyday Baking and Sweet Treats

by (author) Nickey Miller & Josie Rudderham

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
Baking, Desserts, Confectionery
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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An Irresistible Bakery Cookbook with Over 85 Baking Recipes.

Cake & Loaf, a cozy from-scratch neighbourhood bakery, started with a dream shared over coffee between college friends and business partners, Nickey Miller and Josie Rudderham. Genuinely passionate about food, sustainability, and community, they wanted to create a bakery with a dynamic atmosphere that fosters creativity and equality.Today, a living-wage employer, Cake & Loaf is beloved for its stand-out baked goods.

Full of flavour and homespun comfort, the recipes range from classics like Maple Syrup Butter Tarts and Vanilla Bean Nanaimo Bars, to local favourites like Pumpkin Spice Baked Doughnuts and Lemonlicious Cake. The book features over 85 recipes and variations to create your own sweets and treats at home, including everyday morning baking—muffins, scones, doughnuts, and granolas—cookies, decadent sandwich cookies, bars, layer cakes, tarts, and pies. The charming stories of the bakery’s roots, mouthwatering photographs, and beautiful illustrations throughout the book will transport home cooks to the bakery. These sweet treats and desserts are sure to please everyone!

About the authors

Contributor Notes

NICKEY MILLER and JOSIE RUDDERHAM are co-founders of Cake & Loaf Bakery in Hamilton, Ontario. They are living wage advocates and passionate about equality in the culinary industry. Their progressive leadership has earned them several national and local awards. Nickey and Josie have appeared on Food Network’s Donut Showdown.

Excerpt: Cake & Loaf: Satisfy Your Cravings with Over 85 Recipes for Everyday Baking and Sweet Treats (by (author) Nickey Miller & Josie Rudderham)

Our Story

Welcome to Cake & Loaf Bakery. We are Josie Rudderham and Nickey Miller, co-owners and founders of the bakery, and we are honoured that you have chosen to pick up our book and let us enter your kitchen. It is such a privilege and beyond any expectations we had for our little neighbourhood bakery to be sharing these recipes far and wide. We hope you enjoy the recipes, learn more about baking, and maybe have a giggle at our stories. As business owners, we have experienced more than a decade of personal and professional growth that has challenged us to confront many uncomfortable truths and has allowed us to transform in ways we had never dreamed. For better and for worse, here is our story.

We sat down for our first coffee date in late 2007. It had been four years since we had first met during our pastry apprenticeship at Niagara College and had connected over our shared hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. We were both a little nervous and excited to learn more about each other; we were, after all, pretty much strangers. We traded stories about the struggles we had each faced in the culinary industry. We connected over our shared desire to open our own businesses. Bakeries with a difference that were environmentally sustainable. Bakeries that put strong values over profit in every decision made. An accepting and open environment that would foster creativity and trust, free of the sexual harassment and toxic environment that can be common in some kitchens. Quickly, it became obvious that we shared the same dream, a passion for food, and a desire to give more than we take from our community. Nickey already had an experienced bakery manager’s drive, paired with natural creative talent. She was creating gorgeous cakes in her spare time and brought the refined pastry skills that Josie lacked. Josie had an entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills. She had grown up steeped in cooking seasonal, from-scratch food every day in her home. That coffee date was only the second time we had hung out socially, but by the end of that day we were committed to opening a bakery together. Some called it entrepreneurial love at first sight, and many called it incredibly foolish, but we had a dream and we were ready to chase it.

We quickly started scouring the city for real estate, and by early 2008 we had secured the perfect home for our one-day bakery. The two-and-a-half-storey red brick home was classic Hamilton turn-of-the-century architecture and had housed a well-loved barbershop for decades. With the help of our wonderful families and friends, we gutted the house, removing all the old plumbing, electrical, plaster and lathe, and flooring. We did our best to salvage what we could—from the original hardwood floors on the main floor to the chunky doors and window trim—to try to maintain a homey feel in the bakery. Everything else we rebuilt. At twenty-five and twenty-six years old, we did not have much renovation experience, but with our fathers’ guidance, we taught ourselves to lay hardwood floors, install drywall and tile, and do simple plumbing and electrical. We were excited to start building our bakery, but the world had other plans. The economic downturn of 2008 left us doubting whether our business was still a good idea. Who would buy premium pastries and breads in such an uncertain financial climate? As a result, Nickey continued to build her skills as a bakery manager with a side hustle of custom cakes in her mother’s kitchen and Josie began building her family. Months of municipal red tape meant that there was no way we could start baking out of our new shop. Instead, we did what entrepreneurs do: you fake it until you make it. We had Josie’s home kitchen licensed and launched a Community Supported Bakery (CSB) program. Working from the model of successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, we figured that if it worked for small-scale farming, maybe it could work well for baked goods too. The program was unique in Canada at the time, but our bet paid off and after a few months of promoting the venture we had fifty families picking up weekly baskets full of breads, pastries, and preserves. In 2010, Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd. was officially incorporated. “Cake” for Nickey and her gorgeous cake creations, generous nature, and more refined aesthetic, and “Loaf ” for Josie and her rustic breads, pastries, and stubborn politics.

We finally opened our brick-and-mortar bakery on Dundurn Street in August 2011. Our business was based on four core principles: Local, Healthy, Responsible, and Delicious. Our commitment to these foundations has carried through everything we do, from recipe development to the social activism that has defined Cake & Loaf ever since. Local means supporting local farmers and makers, sourcing ingredients as locally as possible, and not sacrificing to find a lower price. It means seeking out opportunities to give back wherever we can and a continued involvement in our small and greater community. Healthy means embracing and supporting the mental and physical health of both our employees and our customers. It means being a safe space, advocating for a living wage for all, and providing a work-life balance that recognizes the unique needs of each individual we employ. Responsible means planning for the future through environmental initiatives, extensive student training programs, and ingredient and packaging selections. It means we always make our business decisions based on principles over profit. One of our earliest and easiest wins for environmental responsibility was our recycling and composting program. To this day, we never create more than one bag of garbage a week and usually fill ten to twelve green bins of compost. Finally and most importantly, delicious means that we test a recipe until we can hear the groans of pleasure throughout the bakery. If we are not falling over ourselves for another bite, it is not good enough yet.

Entrepreneurship is a daily leap of faith and a roller coaster of emotions. We have had days when we are literally holding each other up and in tears over a sense of powerlessness or a decision gone wrong. We have had perfect moments when all the planning aligned and we could not believe this is our life. Cake & Loaf has been not only a business, but also the centre of our hopes and dreams. It’s our small corner of the world to make a better place. We are so grateful to have had the privilege of working with dozens of talented bakers, enthusiastic students, inspiring collaborators, supportive customers, and devoted employees. It is definitely not all sunny memories, but we are here to share the joy, and the best way we can do that is by bringing some Cake & Loaf deliciousness into your home. While you are baking your way through this book, we do hope that you will take a moment to think of bakers all over the country who are not yet making a living wage or who are facing unfair working conditions. What can you do to support makers in your community? Ask your favourite small business directly: Do you pay a living wage? Tell them you are willing to pay an extra couple of dollars to support a living wage business. Put your money where your ethics are. If we want to live in communities with thriving small businesses that add character and variety to our neighbourhoods, we need to pay for those goods. If we wish to reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to solving the climate crisis, we must consider alternatives to our current defaults. Prioritize human interactions and products that last, and invest in supporting local over convenience and cheap solutions. We build the world we want to live in with our daily actions. Small, thoughtful steps may seem insignificant, but they do lead to long-term change.

Why are we so political? Because it has never really been about the dough. Cake & Loaf, at its core, has never really been about food. Do not get us wrong, we really love food; eating is probably the best thing we get to do every day. However, when we sat down in that coffee shop and laid out our bakery dreams to each other, they were really about creating a space we wanted to go to every day. To build something that would address as many of the systemic issues we had seen in our own bakery jobs as possible. A place to foster creativity and feminist ideals. A business that would give more than it would take from the community and that centred sustainability in all its decisions. The results have not always been what we intended, and we are still learning how the systems in which we operate affect our biases and how we can continue to be better. It has been a financial challenge. Trying to operate in an effectively non-profit way in a capitalist system is fraught with compromises and disappointments. Luckily, we are resourceful folks and have had the honour of working with many amazing people over the years, so we feel like we have won the life lottery.

Writing this book was a completely unexpected adventure and a humbling experience for us. We have never had formal written recipes at the bakery. Our recipes were literally an ingredient list with two or three sentences, and we trained our bakers in all the secret techniques and skills they would need to complete them. We guess you could say we practise an oral history and passing of knowledge at the bakery, a very collaborative approach. It was definitely a challenge to distill all the years of contributions and small improvements we have made to our recipes. We are grateful to have the chance to share a decade’s worth of recipe development with you. We tested the recipes at home ourselves, and we enlisted friends and family and even Josie’s children, Finn and Lily, to test many of the recipes. Thank you to Josie’s husband, Luke, for supervising recipe testing and always being willing to serve as a quality control taster. During the photo sessions for this book, Nickey set up her spare room as a photography studio and took each shot in her home. Nickey’s husband, Alex, can attest to the delicious nature of every product that came through the door.

This book captures the best of our everyday baking and basic cake offerings from the bakery’s menu. This is Baking 101; you will find all the pastry fundamentals like pastry cream, butter pastry, and caramel in these pages, as well as more advanced recipes like layered cakes to take you to the next level of culinary achievement. The Morning Baking chapter includes all our daily customer favourites and the recipes we make most frequently at home for our families. Our scone recipes are our most requested, most accessible, and most often made by family and friends. The Cookies chapter is the fastest way to get from snackless to happily eating warm baked goods in a hurry. These are the simplest recipes and a great place to start if you are new to baking. Be sure to keep your cupboards and fridge stocked with pantry basics like flour, cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, and your favourite chocolate and you will be able to whip up most cookie recipes in less than thirty minutes. If you are looking to serve a crowd or make something beautiful to flex your baking muscles, turn to our Bars chapter. The bars range from simple Classic Fudge Brownies (page 97) to advanced layered bars like our Snazzy Bars (page 105). They were all designed to be photo-friendly (as well as delicious), so show off your skills!

For parties or to give as gifts, we love sandwich cookies. Basically, they are tiny, layered cakes, but more portable and individual. Our sandwich cookie recipes include buttercreams, compotes, and ganaches, and are a natural next step to cakes.

Both cheesecakes and layered cakes require some planning, so make sure you read the recipe through a few days in advance to ensure you have all the ingredients and the time needed to prepare all the components. We like to divide our cake making into at least two days. The day before you intend to serve the cake or cheesecake, make all the components, including the base cake, for your recipe. This is the longer bake day, as you may need four to six hours to make all the subrecipes for the more complex cakes. Think of it as the “dirty day,” since you might end up using every dish in your kitchen or have the whole counter strewn with recipe ingredients and cooling fillings. If you don’t have a whole day for baking, divide the recipes out over a week. Most cake subrecipes (though not the cakes themselves) last for weeks, so you have time to plan. The day you want to serve the cake is your “clean day.” All the pieces are ready to slot into place, and you will just need an hour or two to assemble the cake. Keep your assembling area sparkling clean and take your time to build your perfect cake. Once you have made one cake, you can make them all.

Pies are always a crowd-pleaser and usually quite nostalgic for folks. Many people have special memories of a lemon meringue pie or fruit crumble pie from their childhood; if you don’t have a family recipe to turn to, we hope you’ll make our recipes your own. We have included an extensive chapter full of icings, fillings, and other component recipes. Please take these and adapt our recipes to your tastes by swapping out fillings or icings. Fundamentally, we believe that baking should be a little messy and tactile. A sensual sensory experience. Taste as you go, engage in the feeling of flour and sugar on your fingers as you rub a crumble together, embrace the aroma of juicy cooking fruit or caramelizing sugar. Give yourself a cheer when you master a smooth icing finish, relish in the sense of accomplishment that pulling a perfectly baked pie from the oven creates, and take a moment to be present in your kitchen.

Editorial Reviews

“The thing that I love about Cake & Loaf is not just that it is a cookbook based on the real-world bakery experience of Nickey and Josie, but that it is about more than just baking. It is a book that comes at the subject of baking not just by way of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, but also by sustainability and responsibility. It’s nice to know how to make delicious breakfast pastries and party cookies, but it is so much better when we are shown how to make choices in our kitchen that we can all feel are healthy for ourselves and our planet.” —Duff Goldman, Food Network star, bestselling author, and owner, Charm City Cakes

Cake & Loaf truly delivers comfort food at its sweetest with this book! From the Funfetti Sugar Cookies to their Pecan Butter Tart Cheesecake, there’s something for everyone and we can’t wait to dig in.” —Ashley Kosowan and Jenna Hutchinson, co-owners and bestselling authors of Jenna Rae Cakes
“With their passion for delicious baking and experience as seasoned bakery owners, Nickey and Josie have crafted a timeless recipe collection for bakers of all levels. Their approachable writing and smart tips will guide you to success, whether you’re craving a classic Vanilla Bean Scone or a decadent Pecan Butter Tart Cheesecake. A winning combination of classic and inventive bakes, Cake & Loaf is sure to become a well-loved kitchen companion!” —Ruth Mar Tam, author of Baked to Order

Other titles by Nickey Miller

Other titles by Josie Rudderham