#JustBakecauseCommunity: Johanna Knapp
Today we are continuing the Just Bakecause Community Series with Johanna Knapp from Delicately Sweet Confections! Based out of Seattle, Washington, this baker started out by selling at local farmers markets and now she's making desserts for every occasion, and also teaches amazing workshops!
Read on to learn more about Johanna, and the best part - she's sharing her ultimate Vanilla Cake recipe!
I love that you grew up learning how to bake from your mom! What was one of the most valuable things she taught you?
My mom had me in the kitchen as early as I can remember. Everything we made was from scratch. She taught me the importance of using real, whole ingredients and she never discouraged me from making a mess in the kitchen. She taught me the proper way to measure ingredients and let me try new recipes all the time. Early on I received a subscription cookbook, where each month I would get new recipe cards in the mail to add to the cookbook. I loved that book! When I was in the 4th grade, I entered a baking contest at our church's summer picnic and I won! I have know idea what I made other than it had blueberries. :)
Do you have advice for bakers wanting to host their own baking workshop?
I've just recently started hosting workshops, but a few things I've found important is to first find a space that's reasonably priced or better yet, collaborate with the space and work out some sort of trade if they are open to it. And making sure that space has everything you need, ie. refrigerator and counter space. I keep my workshops fairly small (10-12) so, that I can get around to each attendee and instruct or answer questions. I have found that selling the tickets myself is more cost effective for me rather than having a third party add on all those extra fees. The credit card processing company that I use has invoices that I can modify and can easily send out. To get the word out about them, promote them on your social media sites and stories and newsletters.
How would you describe your baking style?
I'd say my baking style is classic. I love the nostalgia of those old recipes I grew up with from my mom and grandma and anything that falls in that category. We can learn so much from our past by learning about these old recipes. I am also loving anything from BAKE from scratch magazine currently.
What is one baking trend that you love right now?
I am loving the painted cakes right now and can't wait to dabble more into that!
If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Although I do love cake... I have a very sweet spot for Coconut Cream pie.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
These days inspiration is everywhere. I get a lot of my inspiration from other creatives that I look up to and admire.
Is there a recipe you would like to share? OR If there is one dessert that anyone should master, what would it be?
I'd love to share my simple Vanilla Cake recipe. I think everyone should be able to master baking a cake from scratch and this cake is a simple one to try out and can be easily adapted to Lemon Cake by adding in fresh lemon zest. Then pair it with your favorite buttercream.
Vanilla Cake - Makes 30 cupcakes or two 9” rounds
3 cups sugar
3 egg whites
3 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup canola oil
3 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cupcake tins or grease and flour cake pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg whites and sugar. Beat till light in color and slightly thickened.
3. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. Mix the vanilla and milk together. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternating with the milk.
4. Add in the oil and mix till combined.
5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ the way full or divide batter between cake pans.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes. The center should spring back when touched or a toothpick should come out clean.
What was it like selling at the Farmer's Market? Do you have any advice for bakers out there thinking about going this route?
I started this business as a side hustle at the Farmers Markets so, I have a lot of respect for those small businesses out there setting up each weekend. I think they are a great way to start and to get your product out to the public. I learned so much in those 7 years that I wouldn't have without that experience. Besides all the back end things like permitting, etc, you learn what people like and keep coming back for. You will also learn what demographic your product sells well in. And the ebb and flow of market days. I had 7 seasons out at the markets and this will be the first summer that I will be moving on from the markets allowing more time for weddings and other larger events.
What is your favorite part about baking?
I'd say my favorite part of baking is the finishing touches. Adding that buttercream to a layered cake and seeing all the pieces you've created, all come together gives me so much satisfaction. And then finishing it off with fresh flowers or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I love that creative part, where clients give you freedom to create something beautiful for them.
Where do you usually shop for ingredients and supplies?
I get the bulk of my ingredients from the large bulk stores like Costco, Cash & Carry and Restaurant Supply. When I'm looking for specific hard to find ingredients, then I go to more of the specialty grocery stores. For supplies, I try to do what I can with online bulk orders to keeps my costs down but, when I'm needing something last minute, I'm so thankful we have a couple great cake supply stores here in Seattle that are always so helpful; Dawn's Cake & Candy and Home Cake Decorating.