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Yummy!

Software tester by day, in her off hours Jo-Anne is a creative baking ninja! (talk about multi-talented: she also has a black belt in kickboxing and Shotokan karate and a brown belt in Yoshukai karate) She recently opened her own catering business, Yummy Yume (yummy – English for delicious, and yume, pronounced “you may” – Japanese for dream).

Jo-Anne is one of my co-workers, and when she experiments with new recipes or techniques, like the two-tone waves of blue and silver frosting on the cupcake shown below, she sometimes brings them to the office for us to sample.

How would you describe what you do?
I take seemingly boring ingredients, add some creative magic and transform them into dreamy confections.

How long have you been interested in baking and cooking?
Since I was 7 and I realized that you didn’t have to follow the exact package directions on KD and Mr. Noodles.

Toasted marshmallow on Belgian chocolate with malt icing

Was there anything in particular that got you interested in the first place?
Wok with Yan Can – I used to watch that show all the time.

What has been the most challenging part of starting your own catering business?
Finding enough counter space – I am limited by my own kitchen right now, so I will have to do renos or find another kitchen.

These lemon cupcakes topped with guitar cookies were a hit at Mike's birthday party last year!

What is your favourite utensil or tool to work with?
I just got a bamix for Christmas – this is awesome! I can make homogenized sauces and velvety soups in seconds. I also love my double sided silicon spatula – it’s great on my non-stick pans.

What are your favourite flavours?
I love the spicy, earthy medicinal flavours of cinnamon and cardamom. Something about those flavours is very comforting. I also love the tangy taste and smells of citrus.

Peanut butter bacon cupcake with maple buttercream

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the foods and flavours of other cultures. When I travel, I only eat food from that culture.

What’s one of your creations that you are particularly proud of?
That’s a tough one. I’d say it’s a toss up between the Black Swan cupcake (a cupcake complete with a pair of black swan’s wings) and the Thomas the Train goes to Candy Land cake (a cake I made for my nephew with limited equipment).

Cupcake inspired by the film "Black Swan" for an Oscars-viewing party last year

What is something you haven’t tried yet, but would like to?
I would really like to try making French macaroons and different flavoured cream puffs.

When are you going to bring more cupcakes to the office?
You know you are my QA department!

All non-watermarked mouth-watering photos courtesy of Jo-Anne Redublo