I am SO excited to share a new series I have been working on called: Just Bakecause Community.

I started this in order to create more connections and form communities of bakers and foodies across the world!

I believe stories and food go hand in hand.  Both have the ability to connect souls on a deep and intimate level.  There is so much beauty in sharing and hearing people's stories, and my hope is that you will become inspired by the amazing people I highlight throughout this series. 

Today, I am featuring a Bay Area native who currently resides in Seattle: Candice Maldonado Ward!  We connected through Instagram, and it has been so awesome watching her and her business grow.  I haven't had a chance to taste all her treats yet, but she sent me her caramels one time, and they were out of this world. I asked Candice a couple questions to get to know her better, so read on for the interview :)

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What is your most favorite memory of food?

I am half Puerto Rican so every Christmas, my grandmother makes traditional Puerto Rican dinner: Lechon (pork), Spanish rice, plantains, and yucca. My siblings and I fight over the chicharon as the pork comes out of the oven. Come to find out, its basically fried pork skin!

What is your favorite thing you like to bake?

It’s a toss up between chocolate chip cookies and caramels. My business sprouted from my chocolate chip cookie cravings. I made it a house rule in college to always have the pantry stocked with ingredients for Chocolate Chip cookies in case I had cravings! And caramels because that was the first confection that I taught myself to bake when I started experimenting in the kitchen.

What is your favorite bakery and what do you order there?

This is a hard one! I have a favorite bakery back home in Los Gatos called Icing on the Cake. It's probably more so because of nostalgia but my mom would get me a banana cake from there every year on my birthday. Whenever I’m visiting home, I always stop by for a Maple Moon or Pumpkin Moon….so yummy!

How did you get started with your business?

I’m a Cali native that picked up and moved to Seattle, WA 6 years ago. It was during that time that I went through the biggest growth and self reflection. I started baking to cope with dark, rainy days and a job that I wasn’t invested in. After time I realized that baking brought me happiness and I made it a mission to teach myself everything I could! I spent a year experimenting, taking classes, and learning the science of baking. I didn’t ever think I would start a business though. I started a blog to document my recipe’s and journey which ultimately turned into a business after friends and family kept asking me to bake for events! So I said, why not? What's the worst that can happen? And here I am a year later baking for weddings! Who would have thought?

Where do you get your inspiration from?

A lot of places! I think most people would assume that I sit on Pinterest all day. In all honesty, I NEVER (maybe twice per year) go to Pinterest for inspiration. I want my ideas to be my own and I find that it stunts my creativity. I am very inspired by the seasons and love incorporating seasonal ingredients like berries, herbs, and florals into my recipes and cake decorations. And of course I am very inspired by my fellow bakers, like Just Bakecause!

Is there a recipe you would like to share?  Also, if there is one dessert that anyone should master, what would it be?

I’m going to say that everyone should have a GO TO chocolate chip cookie recipe. There are so many variations! I would love to share a Paleo Recipe that I make as a healthy alternative. Check it out HERE!  

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

It’s a toss up between the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook and Ovenly. I love both of those bakeries!

What is your favorite baking tool?

Hands down the turntable. When I started baking, I didn’t have one. It was a life changer and worth the investment!

Where do you usually shop for ingredients and supplies?

For seasonal ingredients- local farmers markets. Trader Joe's has a lot of organic sugar options and I use King Arthur Flour so any grocery store! For supplies I shop at Sur la table or online at Craftsy to name a few.
 

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Want to connect with Candice?

Visit her site HERE, and check out her Instagram HERE!