Rosie Daykin’s recipes for every occasion.
It’s not easy to make generalized statements about what special occasions mean; no two families are alike, after all, and not everyone grew up with home-baked goods demarcating every calendar holiday. But the wonderful thing about traditions is that they may be started anew at any time. “There are certain things that are comforting,” says Rosie Daykin, owner of Vancouver’s Butter Baked Goods. “I think people need those little moments of structure outside of daily routine.”
Daykin, who opened her pink- and pistachio-painted bakeshop in 2007, has just released her second cookbook, Butter Celebrates!: A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share with Family and Friends. Her first, entitled Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes from a Little Neighbourhood Bakery, was the top selling cookbook in Canada in 2013. “The first cookbook was everything we make on a daily basis. When I opened Butter, the idea was to do the kind of baking I did growing up. It’s not complicated, it’s not chichi baking,” laughs Daykin, “It’s a Hello Dolly.” (Hello Dollies, for the uninitiated, are a type of cookie-bar made with retro baking staples like condensed milk, pecans, and flaked coconut—they, like Daykin’s baking, epitomize a certain unpretentious, church-bake-sale-charm). “I’m a self-taught baker; I don’t have any superpower skills.” Her new recipes are similarly straightforward to make (an important factor for newbie bakers approaching their first Valentine’s Day “chocolate cake for two” as a somewhat high-stakes endeavour) but aim to generate a sort of gleeful coziness—holiday magic, so to speak. “For instance, I’ve included rumballs,” says Daykin. “I only make rumballs around Christmas, and they have developed a strong association.”
Butter Celebrates! includes recipes intended to evoke warm associations for a calendar years’ worth of occasions, from Hanukkah sufganiyots with raspberry jelly to St. Patrick’s Day soda bread studded with raisins and zest, and pastel éclairs inspired by those featured in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which Daykin suggests for Easter. “It’s rewarding to make your own dessert for a special occasion, there’s a satisfaction to that,” says Daykin. “Even if it’s just one little thing people discover in this book and keep coming back to, something that becomes their tradition, then I’m happy.”