Sabrina Perfitt knows exactly what she wants her latest wedding cake to look like down to the stubble on the good-looking groom sitting atop her design.
Three tiers will sit on top of a log base, each tier circled in bark made of fondant; intricate and true-to-life gum paste versions of the bride and groom on snowboards will sit at the very top, designed down to the polka dots on the groom's tie; a replica of the couple's vintage red Austin Mini will come out of the bottom tier. Little tin cans will lie behind the car and a "just married" sign will go hang below the license plate, which will, of course, be a miniature copy of the real license plate.
She's still waiting to hear if the groom will be clean-shaven, or have his customary stubble on the day; it's the little details like that which all make the difference, she says.
It will be a wedding cake to remember.
"I can't wait to see it done," adds the bubbly custom-cake designer.
But there are hours and hours of painstaking work ahead before she sees her mind's eye transformed into edible art. There will be nights filled with worry and stressful moments like when she applies the paper-thin wedding dress to the delectable bride, knowing full well it could shatter in a moment if she makes the wrong move.
"It's going to be so much fun!" she says of the work that lies ahead this week.
Perfitt is the one-woman force behind Sugar Momma Pastries, which she started five years ago, bringing custom wedding cakes, and birthday cakes and any-kind-of celebration cakes, as well as other treats, from concept to reality.
She flips through pictures on her phone, showing one creation after another. There's a large replica cheeseburger cake, a cake with an edible wine bottle for a wine aficianado, a cake drapped in Scottish tartan for an 80th birthday, there are ghost cupcakes and snowflake fondant cookies.
There's something, it seems, for everyone, and if there isn't, Perfitt can create it.
The Vancouver native moved to Whistler 14 years ago for the same reason many people moved to Whistler — a job — and began working at the Val d'Isere Restaurant.
And though she is a self-professed "non-mountain girl," Whistler turned out to be a good fit. Her parents had retired to the summer home in D'Arcy and there were opportunities here, opportunities that could combine her sweet passion and her education — first in interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and then pastries at the Dubrulle Culinary Institute in Vancouver.
It took a few years to find her feet and then Sugar Momma Pastries was born.
For the last few years it has been her full-time job.
So what's the secret to her success?
In addition to the natural talent, Perfitt just loves what she does.
"If I didn't love it, I wouldn't have stayed with it," she says.
Love that is baked right into her desserts; it's love that makes it critical to know that license plate number of the red Mini, love that sees her use fresh ingredients from her parents' garden because it makes a difference.
Perfitt spends as much time as she can in that D'Arcy garden, a treasure trove for her kitchen and creations.
She grows raspberries and other fruits that she uses in her cakes and cupcakes. She and her mom make the jam, which she uses too.
"I make everything from scratch, using natural ingredients, in small batches; I know what goes into my product and I know that it's good," says Perfitt.
"It's not just ingredients, there's love that goes into it."
In addition to creating custom cakes, Sugar Momma Pastries "pop-up shop" can be found at the Whistler Farmers' Market.
Right now she's experimenting with different flavours of French macarons.
"I love to make people happy," she says.
(This column first ran in February 2014 and has been updated.)
For more information check out www.sugarmommapastries.com.Gran's Shortbread
This is the recipe where a Perfitt honed her skills as a little girl.
2 cups of flour
1 cup of butter
half a cup of berry sugar
Mix all of the ingredients with hands.
Roll into balls.
Squash with a fork.
Bake at 325 ºF for 20 to 30 minutes (the bottom should just be starting to turn golden).