west end cakery toronto

New cake shop started by high school student who couldn't get a job at Toronto bakeries

When a Toronto high school student was finding it difficult to get a job at a bakery due to juggling time constraints, she decided she'd start up her own baking business.

At just 15, Peri DeHaas has started up West End Cakery, designing cakes and desserts for the Bloor West, Roncesvalles and Junction Triangle neighbourhoods.

She started the small business around the end of September after going through the frustrations of job hunting that we're all familiar with, no matter our age.

"I had previously been looking for a job at a bakery, but hadn't been getting any responses from my applications," DeHaas tells blogTO. "I really wanted to get a job, but no one seemed to want to hire me, so I decided to start my own business."

She's never taken any classes and is totally self-taught, but she's been baking since she was eight years old.

"I just kind of figured it out for myself. I make all of my family's birthday cakes, holiday treats, and pretty much all desserts," says DeHaas.

"I'm the designated person to bring dessert to family events. The first time I sold something that I baked was last year when I made a birthday cake for a family friend."

She currently makes custom layer cakes in a range of sizes and flavours, and can custom decorate them according to the occasion, priced from $40 to $55. She also does "pop-ups" of a sort where she bakes a huge batch of one baked good and sells as many as she can in a weekend.

Posts on her Instagram include a coconut cake with naked icing and candied lemons, Japanese strawberry shortcake, pavlova, chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache, graham cracker crust lemon icebox pie, all beautifully decorated with touches like black icing and berries.

You can order via Instagram DM, and DeHaas will send you an order form to get all the details. Once the cost is confirmed, she can drop it off at your address. Her cake orders should currently be open for November.

The project has been successful, with DeHaas totally booked for $20 pumpkin cheesecake pies over Thanksgiving.

"I barely left the kitchen that entire weekend," DeHaas says.

Her mom originally helped her come up with the idea to start the business, and helps support her by picking up groceries, dropping off orders, and giving advice.

"Baking is something that I love to do. My mom always tells me that if you really love your job then it shouldn’t feel like work," says DeHaas. 

"She asked me what is something that I would actually enjoy doing every day, and I told her it was baking."

Baking was just a hobby for DeHaas up until this point and she doesn't have any concrete plans for the future at this point, but hey, maybe one day she'll be able to land that job in a bakery.

Lead photo by

Peri DeHaas

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