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Going beyond the taste buds

Briana Ruppert has had a knack for baking ever since she and her grandmother found a cake-decorating kit at a store. She then started to take classes on decorating and eventually the addiction took hold of her, instilling the dream of becoming a professional cake decorator.

After sharing her creations via Facebook, she saw an opportunity when someone offered to buy a cake from her. She followed that up with a co-op experience at a local bakery before heading out on her own.

Ruppert has now been working as a part-time professional baker – she works as a secretary as her day job – for the last three years under the business name Briana the Baker, making use of an inspected kitchen facility in St. Jacobs.

While she may not get to devote as much time as she’d like to her true passion, she has found a way to do more with her baking.

She recently launched an initiative aimed at helping those with mental health issues, offering up cupcakes and cookies festooned with encouraging words to inspire and brighten someone’s day.

“It was just kind of this year that it really hit me with mental health – seeing so many friends and family really struggle was really hard for me. And then seeing myself struggle with different situations of life right now is hard to process, so I just thought this is my creative aspect. This is something that I’m seeing in the world right now being affected, and I thought ‘why not bring the two together?’ – cupcakes and cookies seem to make people happy, so hopefully, it can brighten somebody’s day, [those] that do receive the cookies and cupcakes,” said Ruppert of her fundraiser.

She says what sets her apart is her “attention to fine detail,” with a specialty on making figurines to sit atop the cakes. It is the fact that she strives to make every cake unique and special that inspired her to come up with an aspect for the fundraiser that will ultimately bring a some joy into people’s lives.

“All my baking is a lot about custom. So, it’s always nice for it to be personal, especially when you’re giving a gift. If somebody can see that, ‘hey, my friend is giving me this cookie and it’s their writing, and it’s their message,’ that’s a lot more special,” Ruppert explained. “And at least if they have something personal that they want to say to the person, they can do so through that. So, it’s just more personal and absolutely heartfelt.”

People who purchase the cupcakes and cookies are able to write messages for those who will be receiving the baked goods. She says each cookie purchased comes with an edible marker to write a message, and cupcakes can have a message put on by Ruppert.

While taking orders for this round of baked goods for mental health is over, Ruppert says she is planning to do so again in the very near future.

Visit her website for more information on her baked creations and to find out when the next round of encouraging cupcakes and cookies will take place.

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