Previously occupying a space down at King and Portland, the bakeshop/teaching studio found itself with too little room after about a year in Toronto (the best dilemma to have as a business, of course) so owner Lisa Sanguedolce began looking elsewhere.
Finally settling at the corner of Dundas and Montrose, a month of renovations means the space bears little resemblance to its past as a rock-inspired hair salon. The west end of the shop is now the retail section, offering freshly baked chocolate and vanilla cupcakes ($2.50), Augie's ice pops, Tealish tea, Detour coffee, and other Le Dolci sweet treats. The adjacent space (separated by a sliding barn door) is where the baking and instruction magic happens, with a bright open kitchen area and a long metal table with about a dozen seats.
Lisa is off in Paris (guiding Le Dolci's first international Foodie Trip to Europe), but her longtime friend Nicole Lippa-Gasparro offers to show me around the new shop.
"In our old space, our classes were capped at about eight or 10," she says. "Here, we can seat 12, and sometimes even more depending on the program."
Le Dolci has a long list of courses on its roster, most of which run for two hours and cost $80 per person. The classes include basics such as "Introduction to Cupcake Decorating" (which teaches the tools of fondant and buttercream), to increasingly popular options such as "Marvelous Macarons with Maddy." Le Dolci will also be hosting themed cupcake decorating classes in time for TIFF and other local events.
Nicole tells me that the business actually began unintentionally, with Lisa (who was living in the U.K. at the time) offering to bake a wedding cake as a gift for a friend. Word then spread of Lisa's baking talents (which were self-taught), and rumours eventually flourished into a full-fledged business. Lisa soon made the decision move back to her hometown of Toronto, opting to leave the PR/communications world behind in favour of a Toronto-based Le Dolci.
The shop now does everything from private parties to corporate events, kids-only classes and custom orders, but the true test for me is its off-the rack cupcake. I opt for the classic vanilla, baked by Amy that day with all natural ingredients. The cake is soft and moist with that true "home-baked" taste, and the buttercream icing has a superbly smooth consistency and would definitely appeal to those with a ravenous sweet tooth. It's not, perhaps, as visually impressive as the Blue Jay jersey-decorated cupcake, but delicious all the same.
Nicole says Le Dolci is planning on plenty of new events for fall including afternoon teas and wine and sweets pairing nights, with the bake shop open throughout to satiate those cupcake-and-more cravings.
Photos by Morris Lum