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Baked Goods

Sullivan & Bleeker Baking Co.

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on October 8, 2012

sullivan and bleeker torontoSullivan & Bleeker Baking Co. is all about decadence. "Cupcakes, after all," says owner Elyse Wahle, "are supposed to be extravagant." And indeed, these cupcakes certainly are. I'm standing in Sullivan & Bleeker's totally nut-free North York bakery space (there is no retail store), exercising my self-control in front of a tray of the bakery's so-called "Dirty Dozen."

"We used to just have 12 flavours and that was our 'Dirty Dozen,'" Elyse says. "But now we have a lot more, so we switch them up."

sullivan and bleeker torontoToday's Dirty Dozen is comprised of various cupcakes piled high with icing and adornment. There's the Cookie Dough cupcake made from vanilla cake, then filled with fudge and topped with cookie dough frosting and a chocolate chip cookie; the S'mores chocolate-filled graham cake topped with marshmallow and a chocolate bar; and the Sundae chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, fudge, sprinkles, and a cherry. Among others, of course. I told you they were decadent.

sullivan and bleeker torontoDespite the professional-looking presentation (and later, as I discover — delicious cupcake taste), Elyse tells me she hasn't had any formal culinary or baking education. "I was in sales for a long time," she tells me, adding that she's spent the last 10 years of her life living in New York. "Then, I started baking for my nephew, and somehow, it got away from me to the point where it is now."

sullivan and bleeker torontoWhere they are now is Sullivan & Bleeker sending out 8,500 cupcakes per week, along with cookies, jarred cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and specialty cakes. Named for the New York intersection that Elyse called home (albeit, with amended spelling to make for easy online searching), the bakery has done remarkably well for having just acquired its own space less than six months ago.

sullivan and bleeker torontoYou can find its baked treats in high-end specialty stores such as McEwan and Summerhill Market , or you can always place an individual order.

sullivan and bleeker torontoSullivan & Bleeker is constantly rolling out new cookies (i.e. Oreo-infused) and cakes (i.e. bacon on maple cupcakes), though Elyse says a retail space isn't necessarily on the horizon. "So many things are happening right now," she says. "The situation has to be really right for me to consider it."

sullivan and bleeker torontoFor now, Sullivan & Bleeker has a great gig. Operating out of a former woodworking space, rent is low (compared to downtown) and production is high, with a total of five employees churning out 450 cupcakes in 15 minutes.

sullivan and bleeker torontoRecipes are pretty much a product of trial and error stemming from group brainstorming sessions and customer suggestions. Personally, I love the idea of the jar cakes (no crumbs on the bed!), and the Oreo cake I sampled was incredibly moist with a not-too-sweet, yet still creamy and buttery frosting.

Next for Sullivan & Bleeker: the Policeman's Special cupcake made with chocolate cake, coffee frosting, and a powdered doughnut on top. Sign me up.

Sullivan and BleekerSullivan and BleekerPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

28 Comments

Helene / October 6, 2012 at 08:52 am
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Scrumptious, decadent and every order made fresh. Too delicious!!
Justin / October 6, 2012 at 04:38 pm
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The Jar Cake that I had was not just a "gimmick". These things are truly delicious, which is honestly (in my opinion) hard to find in a cupcake. Sullivan & Bleeker really makes a dessert that is a joy to eat and not just about the sugar. Love.
cathie / October 8, 2012 at 09:35 am
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I hope that the woman in the denim shirt and long hanging hair was simply posing for the photo (and their standards of cleanliness are higher)
M.A. / October 8, 2012 at 09:38 am
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Really, really amazing cupcakes!!
Delia replying to a comment from cathie / October 8, 2012 at 10:07 am
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Yes, the woman with the long hair should be wearing a hair net and notice she is not handling the cupcakes with gloves? This is the problem with these "production" facilities. A customer never truly knows what goes on. I prefer to buy my baked goods at a retail bakery.

Aside from that, I tried their cupcakes at a corporate event and everyone complained how dry they were. I believe they were previously frozen as they were not soft and were were cool to the touch. Plus, I'm not a fan of all that food coloring in the frosting.
Bunny / October 8, 2012 at 11:43 am
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You're worried about a hair, Dahlia?!

You should worry more about factory farming animals (XL foods).

That's much more serious than stray hair.
j / October 8, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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Classic - stealing the new york trends and bringing em up north...
seanm replying to a comment from Bunny / October 8, 2012 at 02:27 pm
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Is it really necessary to push your factory farming agenda in an article about cupcakes?
Elyse replying to a comment from cathie / October 8, 2012 at 02:39 pm
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Hi Cathie,

Thanks for your comment, as the owner of the bakery (and the woman in the denim shirt) I can let you know very clearly that I was in the bakery with no hair net only for the shot. As you can see from the other staff member in the photo all health and safety standards are always followed. We are inspected regularly by the health dept and as is the case with all food establishments in the city, you can view our record of inspections online.

Thanks,
Elyse Wahle
M / October 8, 2012 at 06:22 pm
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Sullivan & Bleeker cupcakes are the best! So delicious (& fun to share).
I've brought them to dinner parties, and they are a bigger hit than a bottle of wine.
My friends & I love to eat them & discuss the incredible flavour combinations.
Lesley / October 8, 2012 at 08:19 pm
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I get these at McEwans all the time and I have to repeat the poster above. They are always a hit - gotta love the Salted Caramel cupcake!
Martin / October 8, 2012 at 08:55 pm
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Tried the mini cupcakes at Toronto underground market last weekend and they were really good. Wish I was eating one right now. . .
Gia / October 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm
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I didn't find these cupcakes any better than what you get at Sobey's, only more expensive. I agree with the above comment about the cupcake not tasting fresh. The packaging is tacky.
Cookie Lover / October 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm
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Just had a Sullivan & Bleeker s'mores cookie. What a delicious surprise! I loved the marshmallows and chunks of chocolate that were in there. The cookie was off the charts!! Can't wait to try your other flavours.
Sweet Tooth / October 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm
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I just tried the cupcake after reading this article. Amazing! Had to go for seconds immediately.
bah / October 9, 2012 at 10:25 am
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Tried a jar cake, was super dry and had overly sweet icing. There are too many bakeries with similar product, probably will not buy another one.
Dairy-Girl / October 9, 2012 at 01:45 pm
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I have been a long time fan of Sullivan & Bleeker, I love all there products and think they are the best cupcakes around. As always, the look and quality of the product is always of the highest standards and they take lots of pride in what they are putting out. The very nice young lady who owns Sullivan & Bleeker is a sweet heart she is always very delightful to speak with. I would recommend her to everyone. The product speaks for itself and if you disagree then you don't know what quality is, I'm just saying.
Cake Lover replying to a comment from Gia / October 9, 2012 at 03:23 pm
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Madam you could not be more wrong.

The packaging is simple and clean, elegant, the opposite of tacky.

I personally blame the Maple Bacon cupacake for ruining my diet. I dare you to eat just one.
Gia replying to a comment from Cake Lover / October 10, 2012 at 01:35 am
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Bacon on a cupcake? Very gimmicky and personally I don't like animal fat when eating a cupcake. They have better packaging at Tim Hortons than the tacky, non-recyclable crap they use!
K-apps / October 11, 2012 at 12:18 am
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How about re-use? A glass jar has many purposes, I think the packaging is brilliant!! Maybe I'm just a fan of being able to smuggle cakes with me and not worry about some horrible disaster you get when frosting gets stuck to the lid of a box..
Zane / October 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm
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I'm biased: Elyse is my friend. But when I had to choose a wedding cake for my sister's wedding reception, friendship didn't matter as much as quality and I only wanted the best. Elyse brought the cake herself and decorated it with simple flowers and ribbon. It was a huge hit. S'more on top and red velvet on the bottom with a creamy vanilla frosting. Perfect (and no discounts in case you were wondering - real friends pay full price).

I'm thrilled to see Elyse get the attention she deserves.
Jacob P / October 15, 2012 at 06:14 pm
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I've had the opportunity to try some Sulivan and Bleeker cupcakes over the last few years and they are no question the best cup cakes i've ever had.

I normally don't even like cupcakes all that much, but Elyse' cupcakes are the greatest.

Jody / October 15, 2012 at 11:54 pm
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OMG. Multiple Kid's Birthday cakes, jars, cupcakes, mmmmmmm icing. Top-quality and you can taste it.

This stuff is so damn good. You have to get to the the mint inside the dirty dozen before anyone else does.
Andrea Lokshin / October 16, 2012 at 09:00 pm
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Wish I lived in Canada so I can try some of your amazing looking cupcakes! I'm putting in an order now for Thanksgiving time, when I hopefully see you at the TRU Times Square store! Congrats on all the success!
perry / January 9, 2013 at 12:20 am
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cupcakes were very dense not cooked all the way through
Lyla / February 20, 2013 at 08:39 am
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After trying these cupcakes at TUM, my husband and I were hooked and we ordered a few hundred of Elyse's fabulous jar cakes and mini cupcakes for our wedding last September, in lieu of a cake. It was a good thing we ordered way more than we needed, because our guests devoured them. I was hoping for some leftovers, but there was nary a crumb left. We received tonnes of compliments and many guests still talk about them. The flavours are fun and unique and so delicious. Sullivan and Bleeker's cupcakes are one of the reasons why our wedding will always be remembered by those who attended.
MishyC / February 23, 2013 at 12:38 am
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They look delicious. Do you know where I can get ahold of these cupcakes??
Jean / August 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm
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Your cupcakes are gross. Really cheap ingredients with no creativity... oh wait lets put a cookie on top! Now that's original. NOT.

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