Fat Tuesday time for paczki Filled with the traditional prune or with less “Old World” but more popular cherry, raspberry, custard cream cheese or blueberry, paczki is a taste of Poland that has in many ways been Americanized. Bostwick Lake Bakery owner Mike Moyer believes that the popularity of paczki would radically increase if people tasted those made at bakeries, where authentic dough is used and a variety of fillings are offered. His bakery was formerly owned by a polish man who, ironically, didn’t make paczki. In the last ten years Moyer has sold paczki prior and during Fat Tuesday, the Tuesday before the Catholic tradition of Lent. This year Fat Tuesday is February 24. Fat Tuesday is the day of feast before Lent, a time when Catholics give up sweets for 40 days before Easter. Paczki is a Polish tradition with a strong American following. Traditionally prune-filled, the treat features a dough heavier and richer than a bizmark, and is filled now with many fruit or even custard or cheese filling. Moyer said his bakery often offered paczki for a month prior to Fat Tuesday, but now sells them for about a week. The annual treat will be available at the bakery now. With a traditional, religious and flavorful reason to try this taste of Poland, there is no excuse not to enjoy this annual pastry.
Creativity and talent in pastries and sweet treats is abundant at Sweet Cakes Design, 6231 West River Drive, Suite A in Belmont. Opened in 2003 by owner and pastry chef Barbara Hoek, the cake boutique has a staff of five creative individuals who enjoy their work. Hoek worked for years in the finance industry, but left that field and enrolled in the Bakery/Pastry Program at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in 2001. She immediately fell in love with the profession. After completing the program she was asked to donate a wedding cake to a couple who could not afford one. After that she began doing business and is now known for the quality of her cakes and pies. Today Hoek is joined by pastry chefs Sara Soukup and Amanda Hoffman and assistant pastry chefs Patricia Bruin and Rachel Wahl. “I love my staff!” Hoek stated. Patricia is Hoek’s sister and brings 25 years experience working as a floral designer. “She has been my right hand from the start and is very creative,” Hoek said. She is talented in the placement of fresh flowers for a stunning look on cakes in addition to helping with production. Soukup joined the team in April 2007. Also a graduate of the Bakery/Pastry Program at GRCC. Soukup additionally has a bachelor of science degree in hospitality management. Bruin is a graduate of Calvin College with a bachelor of arts degree. Her greatest talent is in sculpting edible custom designs. “Her sculpting is amazing,” Hoek praised. Hoffman is a GRCC graduate with an associates degree in culinary arts and culinary management. She has a certificate of bakery/pastry arts and is responsible for much of the production at Sweet Cakes Design. “She brings a lot of new ideas to the table and loves decorating,” Hoek noted. The growth of the company over the years has been an enjoyable journey. The ability to offer nearly any kind of cake or pie filling to please customers is satisfying. Seeing the excitement in customer’s eyes is a wonderful reward. At Sweet Cakes, the staff helps advise event planners and offer tasting to those who aren’t sure what to order. “All our products are made from scratch using only the finest ingredients,” Hoek said of the […]