Umm, it’s 2018!

So…. it’s been a while.

Since the last blog post, here’s what’s happened:
– We moved to Helsinki in January 2015, where I started my internship at one of Finland’s largest and most popular patisseries.
– I graduated from pastry school after said internship and continued working at the patisserie for the summer.
– I started business school in the autumn of 2015. 🙂
– My dad passed away shortly after that (September 2015). We spent Christmas 2015 in the Philippines with my mom and brothers.
– My husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, and we got pregnant not long after.
– We moved into a bigger apartment in June 2016, when I officially went on a year long break from school.
– We travelled to America for a summer holiday (officially our last vacation as a family of 2).
– Baby girl arrived in September 2016!
– Our first Christmas (and everything) as a family of 3!
– We travelled to Dubrovnik, Croatia as our first family vacation in the summer of 2017.
– Baby girl started daycare after she turned one and I am now back as a full-time student by day (still remain a diaper changer by night).

And here we are, all caught up! On the food front, I have kept busy over the past year and half making baby purees, and then moved on to bite sized toddler meals and now back to the regular programming of basic home cooked food! I am also now getting back into the swing of baking, having made fresh cinnamon buns this morning. I am now working on flavor experiments for my daughter’s upcoming half-birthday in March! I will try and remember to update here with pictures.

In the meantime, there’s instagram: @heyyrenee


Restaurant Day

Restaurant Day is exactly one week away, and I have not even begun to prepare! The only thing I have ready is the menu, which I suppose is the most important part anyway. I spent the day making a princess doll cake for a friend of a friend (pictures to be posted on Facebook tomorrow after the cake is picked up by its owner), and it turned out quite nicely so I am patting myself on the back as I write this and allowing myself the rest of the evening off. I remember my very first Restaurant Day experience, way back in August 2012 (it’s been more than two years!!!) – it was quite a spontaneous decision to join, made one week prior to the actual event! Now that I think about it, it is one of the bravest decisions I have ever made in my life – and it is one that I am SO happy that I did it. This was the very first concrete step that I took into building my little future-business as it was then that the name Baby Bites was conceptualized. 🙂


And here we are at my FOURTH restaurant day pop-up restaurant! As has become quite a tradition, I will be with my good friend Sri (who specializes in selling gluteen-free treats) and this time, we are joined by even more friends selling their own creations! 😛 I am SO excited, but also, as it happens each and every time, a bit anxious. I hope that the menu that I have planned will be successful – it’s always risky introducing new items to customers as it is impossible to predict what people like/dislike!

For this restaurant day, I will be selling CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES with DULCE DE LECHE FROSTING, GLÖGI CHEESECAKE, TROPICAL FRUIT FLAVORED MACARONS and lastly, CAMILA’S CINUTELLA COOKIE CUPS! I am most worried/excited about Camila’s cookie cups (not because I doubt they are AWESOME, because clearly they are!) but I am anxious about living up to Camila’s recipe! I hope I am able to execute it with her precision & grace… we will see!

If you are in the Rovaniemi area, please come by our restaurant!

The Equivocality of Chocolate

As the students at pastry school all enjoyed a much deserved one-week autumn holiday, the adult group diligently came to class and had a mini 3-day chocolate workshop! (We also have tomorrow and Friday off as a pseudo-holiday). I must admit that after around half a year in this program, chocolate work has truly been the highlight of my study!


Triple threat chocolate (white chocolate shell, milk truffle filling and dark chocolate base) with crispy rice.

We made an assortment of different flavors of what is referred to in Finnish as konvehti, which I assumed were truffles or pralines… or maybe bonbons. And whenever I have a nagging question in my brain, here comes Google to the rescue! According to various websites (and my understanding of them, which may very well be wrong), there is a huge confusion about what these little chocolate bites are actually called. What is commonly called a truffle is a ball of ganache that is dipped in chocolate and rolled around in cocoa, nuts or coconut flakes. These can also be flavored or filled. Etymology lesson: truffle comes from the Latin tuber, which means ‘lump’.

On the other hand, a praline is also known as a Belgian truffle. And, still in the realm of pralines, there still seems to be some sort of confusion regarding what it actually is. In America, pralines are creamy and milky (like a truffle basically) and resemble fudge. But what is considered to a Belgian praline is what I made in school: a hard chocolate shell with liquid or cream fillings. In some parts of Europe, the only confections that qualify as pralines (aka French pralines) are those with nuts in them. Etymology: named after a French guy. Period.

In addition to this already confusing conundrum, let me introduce the bonbon. A bonbon is defined as ‘a sweet that is enrobed in chocolate.’ Basically, this could mean chocolate-covered gummies, caramels, dried fruit, etc. It should be no surprise that the word’s roots are also traced back to the French, wherein bon means good, so a bonbon is doubly good!

*Sidenote: In France, a Belgian praline is called a bonbon! And in Belgium, a bonbon is a cookie or candy, that is not made with chocolate! Plus, we all probably have Ricky Martin’s Shake Your Bonbon now playing in our heads right now. So, yeah. 😛 Is your mind spinning yet? Shall we continue with the fact that there is technically a difference between a praline and a praliné? Don’t ask me – I don’t know!

So let’s just keep it simple and call a spade a spade. It is what it is, and these delicious lumps of goodness are simply knows to me as chocolate. YUMMMMM.

Below is a sampling of my chocolate creations:


My very first creation: a citrus (orange-lemon) flavored treat.

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These are both filled with coffee-hazelnut filling, but the white chocolate ones have actual chopped up hazelnuts on the inside.

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These are 2 different versions of cookies’n’cream. My little brother loves Oreos, so I decided to run with that theme as I chanced upon 2 leftover cookies on the shelf. They weren’t technically Oreos, they were Dominos, the Finnish version (which, honestly, just aren’t as satisfying as the real deal in my opinion.) The ones with little chocolate (okay, I google translated the word ‘rae’ because those are what those little balls are called in Finnish, and it claims they are ‘granules’ or ‘grains’. I beg to differ and will instead call them round sprinkles) on top are filled with cookies and cream only, while those cute little black and white lumps have layers of cookies and cream and milk chocolate truffle ganache.


And of course, I had to make the classic mint filled bite. 

Today, I decided to change it up and step away from the little konvehti molds (I was beginning to get addicted) and went instead to these fun little shaped chocolate shell molds. The school has an assortment of easter eggs, bunnies and CHICKENS (Okay, I have literally NEVER had an Easter CHICKEN chocolate!!! Is this normal?!?!?!) and also some Christmas Santas. I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy (I may be a little bit of a grinch this year!) so I went with the cutest bunny I found and a couple of eggs! As seen in the picture below, I got a little messy with it. 😛 I’m extra happy with how the bunny turned out though – and they are still here sitting (standing?) in my apartment, with a handful of chocolate pralines/truffles/bonbons/whatever they are… waiting to be eaten. 😀



Minion Dave and Minion Me


I decided to bake a 3D character cake for the very first time over the weekend – and though it was not entirely perfect, I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I made the goggle and eyes a few days in advance, though perhaps I did not get the timing exactly right because the marzipan was in between soft and hard and thus not very easy to attach to the cake via toothpicks (hence, the crooked eyes). I attempted to use my toy Dave (the one that talks, rolls its eyes and farts) as a model and was hoping to get the cake to scale, but unfortunately my brain must have not clicked because i was only able to come up with half of what he was meant to be. (I premade parts of the overalls, i.e. the Gru logo, and his shoes but they all went straight into the trash can after the cake was assembled.) Inside is 3-layers of 6-inch red velvet cake, frosted with cream cheese icing (which I now realize I should have put a LOT more of).

After making the cake and taking pictures and being proud of myself for a good three minutes, it suddenly hit me: HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO CUT THIS CAKE? I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the easiest of tasks and I didn’t even attempt to do it myself. Knives and I – let’s just say we aren’t besties. After a few minutes of “no, you do it…no, you!”, my good friend Pedro did the honors, and I have to say, we teased him all night about being a minion murderer. Is that called minionicide?


After seeing this, I will now rethink suggesting this cake for young children’s birthday parties…but what do I know? They might even get a kick out of it anyway! 😛 I just hope that no birthday celebrant gets nightmares from the sight of his birthday cake.

… But onto less gruesome things…. it looks like I myself will become minionized in the coming months. I have just been accepted as a slave trainee for the months of January – April in my first choice patisserie in Helsinki! I’m quite excited about the internship… and also about moving back into the big city! 🙂 Friends and family, it will now be easier to come meet up with me as I will no longer be a resident of the Arctic Circle next to Santa Claus. 😛 Though I will miss the few dear friends I have made here in Rovaniemi, I am so ready to live in a place that has an actual shopping MALL, instead of the two teensy “shopping centers” they have here. So Minion Me is ready to put the overalls on and head to work!

But before that, 3 months left here and I’m going to make the most of it! 🙂


In Development: Gingerbread Cheesecake

First snow has arrived in Northern Finland! We had about an inch of snow on the ground last week … which eventually turned into slush (and of course, this had to happen while the car is at the mechanic – and on my 25-minute walk to school in the morning, I got splashed by wonderful bus and car drivers a grand total of three times!). Apparently, there is a law in Finland which obligates these splash-causing drivers to pay the laundromat bill of the splashee, if they are able to write down your license plate number (of which I did no such thing). Note to self: there is a need to buy waterproof pants!

Anyway…. as anybody that knows me is aware, winter blues are in the air and there is only so much self-medicating (i.e. chocolate) that one can take per day. (BTW, I scoffed down one 200 g bar of Fazer Biscuit Crisps in Milk Chocolate yesterday.) As such, it is back to being in front of the oven and a slave to my hand mixer. I have been thinking about making this Gingerbread cheesecake all week!!! Though it hints at a Christmassy taste, believe me when I say I am still in grinch-mode, though baking obviously warms my little baby grinch heart.

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I decided to make 2 versions: 2-inch single-serves & a 4-inch family sized cake.  As this Baby Bites product is still in development (that is, far from perfected), I will not yet be sharing the recipe. Hopefully, it will be ready before Christmas!

In other news, I am planning to make a DAVE the Minion (from the Despicable Me series) 3D cake in the coming weeks! Gotta keep those winter negativities away! 😛


My food-themed jewelry collection.

As I was browsing on Facebook today, I came across some handiwork by my friend and fellow pastry school student Jenni. She is apparently not only an amazing sketcher, but she has also made some super cute polymer clay jewelry! I wanted to buy them, but she is apparently temporarily out of the jewelry-making business as her tools are lost in the abyss (that may or may not be her parents’ house). I went to have a look at my costume jewelry box (i.e. a little paper bag from Claire’s) — and decided to take a picture for the purposes of this blog update.

Here below is my food-themed jewelry collection, all purchased from one of my favorite stores Claire’s. (This post is not sponsored by Claire’s, I promise!)


And I am obviously looking to expand this little collection, so if anybody knows where I can get some cute little food jewelry, please drop me a comment!


Life as a pastry school student.

Guess who is back on the blogging horse? That would be me, once again! After promising myself that I would update this frequently, I found myself drowning in many social/school activities just being lazy. (Truth time!) I think it was perhaps a little too much pressure that I tried to blog in Finnish as well, because I am very much aware that there are many grammatical and spelling errors in my Finnish writing — and that translates to me not being motivated to post anything at all. If I stick to english for now, maybe I can slowly but surely find myself writing a little bit more.

As I previously stated many months ago, I have begun attending pastry school – and not just some short course amateur cooking classes. I am working on a degree program in baking & confectionery. At school, I have learned how to make traditional Finnish pastries such as the infamous korvapuusti (literally ‘ear bun’ which is actually their version of a cinnamon bun, sans the oh-so-sticky-and-delicious Cinnabon cream cheese glaze!), braided breads, rice pastry (which is a savory little rye ‘pie’ filled with rice porridge) and little Swiss rolls filled with a lot of cream. Oh how Finns love their cream. ❤ I have also made literally hundreds and hundreds of croissants, danishes (both sweet and savory!), breads, dinner rolls, and sometimes, little cookies. I have also ventured for the very first time into the deep and dangerous world of gluten-free / egg-free (aka special dietary needs) products, which I would never consider making a career out of because it is a great big challenge that I simply do not enjoy.

I have also become more experienced in working with sugar (pulled and blown), fondants, marzipan, chocolate work and other decorative arts. I have also experimented more with choux pastry, puff pastry and, of course, cakes! 🙂

Pictures can be found on Facebook and Instagram (and also this Instagram).

As for upcoming projects… I will be experimenting  developing a gingerbread cheesecake recipe this weekend. And for Halloween (or possibly sooner!), I will be working on a bloody zombie murder cake! 😀

And if anyone out there is reading this, please remind me to update more. Please and thank you!


I know, I know. I said I would blog once a week, and, well, my only excuse is that life happened. After a huge disappointing blow, I picked up the pieces and it all worked itself out. I must be doing something right because I AM NOW ENROLLED IN PASTRY SCHOOL! 🙂 today was officially my first day, and so far, so good.

i have also been keeping busy outside of school, making little projects, as seen in the photos below:

Westie cupcakes for my sister-in-law.

Swimming moomins on a friend’s birthday cake.

Four dozen angry pirates for a friend’s 6-year old son’s party.

More baby bites to come! Baby bites and friends will also be participating once again in Restaurant day on may 17! Details to follow 🙂

Cheer-Me-Up Cinnamon Wreaths (eli Lohduttavat kaneliseppeleet)

Cinnamon Wreath and coffee!

Cinnamon Wreath and coffee!

I must admit I’ve been feeling a little bit down in the dumps lately – and the worst part is, I can’t seem to figure out why. Days have just merged together, one day blurring into the next and all I want to do is sleep it all away. I guess if I had to try to explain what it feels like, the only thing that comes to mind is that it’s as though my life is on a diet. And let me preface my explanation by saying that I think dieting is absolute torture. I love food and I love sweets and the thought of limiting the intake of all these glorious tastes horrify me. Which is not to say I haven’t tried eating my feelings as per usual (that’s usually how I work myself out of these mini-depressions). It feels as though my life is currently lacking the excitement and the thrill. I guess it can be thought of as making a batch of cinnamon buns in the oven and being ready to pull them out, and there’s no sweet smell wafting out of the oven 😦 and sure, you can eat them and they may even taste nice – but there’s just something lacking.

Minun täytyy myöntää, että tunnen itseni aika masentuneeksi askeittain – ja pahinta on se, että en itsekään tiedä miksi. Haluan vain nukkua koko ajan, kunnes paha olo menisi pois. On vaikea selittää, mitä tämä ilmapiiri oikeasti on. Ehkä voin sanoa tuntevani, että minun elämä on kuin ”dieetillä”. Olen aina uskonut, että dieetti on kamala. Pidän ruoasta tosi paljon, erityisesti makeita leivonnaisia, ja minua pelottaa niiden rajoittuminen.  En voi väittää, että en ole yrittänyt syödä herkkuja, kunnes ilo tulee (tämä prosessi yleensä minun mielestäni toimii hyvin!). Tällä hetkellä tunnen, että elämässäni ikävä kiihdyttävää kokemusta. Tunne on kuin kauniit pullat uunissa ilman sen lehahtava huumaava tuoksu. 😦 Vaikka pullia ovat vielä syöttäviä (jopa herkullisia), jotakin vielä puuttuu. 

So to combat this blaaahhness (throughout which I’ve only been baking little no-brainer boring mini loafs that I will eventually blog about), I’ve decided to make Cinnamon Wreaths that make the entire room smell like heaven. They look dainty and delicate but are absolutely easy to make! Perfectly paired with a hot mocha (I literally just added unsweetened cocoa powder to my brewed coffee.) I completely forgot to take photos of the making process, but there is a blog called Totally Love It ( with amazing detailed illustrated instructions. The only difference is that I chose to make little individual wreaths instead of a giant one.

Tässä pitkästyttävässä ajassa olen leiponut vain tylsiä superhelppoja limppukakkuja (joista kirjoittaisin tässä blogissa myöhemminkin), joten päätin tehdä nämä kaneliseppeleet, jotka tuoda taivallista tuoksua koko huoneeseen.  Nämä aistikkaidennäköiset herkut ovat yksinkertaisia ja viehättäviä. Sopii täydellisesti kahvin kanssa (olen itse laittanut 1 tl kaakaojauhetta kahviin – pikamokka!) Leipomisprosessista kuvien ottaminen on täysin unohdettu, mutta Totally Love It –blogissa ( löytyy kuvalliset yksityiskohtaiset ohjeet! Ainoa ero on se, että tein pieniä erillisiä seppeleet ison pullan sijaan. 

I won’t claim that this delicious treat got me back to my usual perky self, but it sure did make me feel better. 🙂 Perhaps the solution is to keep baking. I’ve been wanting to make these little cheeseburger-looking (not flavored!) cupcakes. Hope I can get to that soon.

En oikeasti totea, että tämä herkku vie masennukseni pois, mutta parempi olo (ja iloinen masu) tulee. 🙂 Ehkä pitäisi leipoa enemmän. Olen halunnut jo jonkin aika tehdä juustohampurilaistennäköisiä (ei hampurilaismakuisia!) kuppikakkuja. Toivottavasti tekisin lähitulevaisuudessa.


The recipe for these easy cinnamon wreaths is found after the jump.

Kaneliseppeleiden resepti löydätte alla oleva linkistä. 

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Checkered Cake

Been meaning to update the blog but haven’t been able to come up with something worth posting. In the meantime, here is a picture of the cake I made for our little housewarming party last Saturday!