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Holiday Recipes

Special to the Langley Advance
December 09, 2008

Tracy Dueck shares a few of her favourite cookie and high tea recipes, but has to keep her cupcake recipes a well-guarded secret, for obvious reasons.

“It’s so important for me to share meaningful moments with my friends and family throughout the year, but at Christmas time, I really enjoy making those moments extra special with a delicious array of homemade treats like Christmas cookies, traditional high tea goodies, and of course, some holiday cupcakes.”

FINGER SANDWICHES

Cucumber sandwich

  • 6 slices of bread
  • 1 cup herb cream cheese

One cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise Spread the cream cheese on each side of the bread, preferably white. Lay cucumbers sliced lengthwise, on one side of the bread. Place one side on top of the other and slice off crusts on all four sides. Cut into three finger slices.

Egg salad sandwich

  • 2 eggs, shredded for egg salad
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • dash of dill

Place two slices of bread on cutting board, spread with one Tbsp. egg salad. Place one side on top of the other and slice off crusts on all four sides. Cut into three finger slices.

Turkey (or ham) sandwich

  • 2 slices turkey
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. mayonnaise

Place the bread (preferably whole wheat) on a cutting board. Lightly cover one side with one tsp. mayonnaise. Lightly cover one side with butter. Add two thin slices turkey or ham. Place one side on top of the other and slice off crusts on all four sides. Cut into three finger slices.

SPICY GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • additional sugar for rolling

Beat margarine until fluffy, add sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Bake at 375ºF until done (approx. 9-11 min.)

TRACYCAKES SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 cups margarine (or butter)
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tsp. milk
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Beat margarine until fluffy, add sugar, eggs vanilla and milk. Add dry ingredients. Bake at 375ºF until done (approx. 8-10 min.) Frost with icing and enjoy! Share if you must…

BUTTER TARTS

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup raisins, currants or Craisins
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup Creamo (half and half)

Boil water and pour over raisins, drain and add melted butter and remaining ingredients. Pour into unbaked tarts shells and bake at 400ºF for 10 minutes.

Sweet dreams are made of this

Marcia Downham
Published December 2008

Mom’s the word (and owner) at expanding Tracycakes Bakery Cafe’s

Going from a conventional stay-at-home-mother who loved to bake to a successful business owner, Tracy Dueck is now a firm believer that if you build it they will come. Offering scrumptious cupcakes and other sweet and savoury delicacies, Dueck’s Tracycakes cupcake concept cafe is the only one of its kind in the Fraser Valley
– and it has tempted many to indulge in a little piece of sugar heaven. Her cafe makes any customer feel warm and welcome, as it is elegantly filled with antique furniture, crystal chandeliers and the unmistakable aroma of fresh baked treats.

“Our main focus is to make everyone feel like they matter, like they belong – and the cupcakes are just a catalyst for that,” said Dueck. It is important to Dueck that she and her staff always leave a lasting impression on their customers. One of the ways they try to achieve that is by handing each customer special handmade business cards containing thoughtful quotes. “It’s a little food for thought, when our customers leave we don’t want them to remember just the cakes, we want them to remember the conversations they had and how they connected with family, friends or colleagues,” she said.

Dueck opened her first Tracycakes in September 2006 in Fort Langley’s Marr House, but because there was such a high demand for her specialty cupcakes and fresh home-cooked food, Dueck decided to open a second Tracycakes in Abbotsford at 101-2636 Montrose Ave.

“Before I was having to turn people away – it was so successful that I knew I needed more space,” said Dueck. It wasn’t long after she opened her new Abbotsford location (nine months ago), that she began to have a steady flow of loyal customers, she said. “It became apparent that people in Abbotsford love their sweets.” Dueck was thrilled with the results of her business decisions.

“I was just a mom with a dream – and this is just icing on the cake.” Dueck has no former culinary credentials, stating she is just passionate about what she does. Tracycakes Bakery Cafe offers 35 varieties of cupcakes including flavours such as Va-Va Vanilla, Smartie Pants and Peppermint Patty. All the cupcakes, offered in two sizes (regular and babycake) are hand-decorated and topped with buttercream icing.

Whether it be pick up, delivery or sit-in, Tracycakes aims at catering to everyone’s needs. They also do birthdays, graduations, bridal and baby showers, holiday and corporate events. In addition to cupcakes, Tracycakes serves mouth-watering homemade soups (a customer favourite is Dueck’s Borscht), salads, sandwiches, cheesecakes, dessert rounds, continental breakfasts, quiche and shepherd’s pie.

Getting into the Christmas spirit, Tracycakes is holding a winter poem contest for students eight to 12 years of age. The students’ poems must be about their love for Christmas or the winter season – the winner will receive a dozen free babycakes every month for a year and have his or her poem showcased at the cafe. There will also be a Jazzed Up High Tea Christmas event with live jazz music and specialty loose leaf teas on Dec. 12 in the Langley location (9090 Glover Road) and Dec. 19 in Abbotsford.

 

VA VA VANILLA and other delights

The Vancouver Sun
Mia Stainsby
September 4, 2008

VA VA VANILLA and other delights – Cupcakes worth a detour of a few kilometres

I’m familiar with Tracycakes cupcakes and they pass the yummy-in-the-tummy test with flying colours. I happened to be passing through Abbotsford one Saturday and thought I would try Tracycakes’ savoury side.

This is the second Tracycakes, the first having launched in Fort Langley (9090 Glover Road.)

The one in Abbotsford looks like a page out of Liberty furniture store with dark antique tables, crystal chandeliers and a heritage feel – it’s feminine but not in a frilly way.

I ordered the salad special, a taco salad, which looked like an alarmingly generous heap of salad. It was topped with ground beef, but I was relieved the bulk of it was greens studded with taco chips. My partner hoovered down his soup/salad combo for $9.95, both ample and homey. We were glad we’d ordered our cupcake dessert ahead of time because suddenly, during our lunch, a blizzard of customers came in for cupcakes, one woman wanting two dozen for guests. The kitchen had more coming out but we wouldn’t have had as many choices.

The most popular cupcake, interestingly is the simplest – Va-Va-Vanilla. Other flavours include Sleepless in Seattle (chocolate mocha cake with chocolate buttercream and a shot of java); A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (coconut cake with vanilla cream icing and shredded coconut); Twenty Four Karat (carrot cake with cream cheese icing); Princess (white cake with pink lemon buttercream and sprinkles); Creamsicle (vanilla cake filled with Bavarian cream, topped with orange buttercream and candied orange); It’s Five 0’Clock Somewhere (vanilla cake filled with raspberry filling, topped with lime buttercream, raspberry-like a cupcake margarita). Anyway, there are about 35 in the roster (not all available at one time) and come in baby size or normal size ($1.50 & $3.25). There worth a detour of a few kilometres. On Sunday the farmer’s market is just down the street from Tracycakes so it will be double worth it.

Lunch items, by the way, include quiche, chicken pot pie, chilli, shepherd’s pie, sandwiches, soups, salads. Afternoon tea is also served with finger sandwiches, scones, lemon curd, dainties, baby cupcakes, fruit and, of course, tea.

mstainsby@vancouversun.com

 

Edible City: Tracycakes Bakery Café

Mark Laba
The Province
September 04, 2008

Lowdown: Owner and manager Tracy Dueck had a dream that she would be the queen of cupcakes. Well, not really, but she did envision a wonderful place where folks could gather for a bit of lunch, a spot of tea or coffee and, of course, a tasty treat. Well, not only did her dream come true, but now she’s branched out to open a second venue due to the success of the first.
What to eat: I went for the cupcakes, so didn’t sample the breakfast, lunch or high tea, but that didn’t matter after I gorged on these creations. The Sleepless in Seattle, with its chocolate mocha and java-zapped whipped cream, was great, as was the Boston Cream construction, the Va-Va-Vanilla, the Fill-Me-Up-Buttercup with lemon cake and meringue and the All Canadian with maple syrup and caramel filling. The buttercream icing that tops each cupcake is amazing and I’ll be sure to return.

9090 Glover Rd. Fort Langley, 604-888-1984, #101 2636 Montrose Ave., Abbotsford, 604-852-1904

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Life is Sweet

Abbotsford News
August 18, 2008

LIFE IS SWEET

Businesswoman invites guests to have their cake and eat it too
Written by Joe Millican

When Tracy Dueck lay on her couch at home, considering how she could put her baking skills into practice, there was little to indicate she would eventually be rewarded with a thriving small business and countless new friendships.

Having spent a number of years raising her kids at home, Dueck had no formal culinary training but had always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen as a young girl and later honing those talents cooking for her family.

Four years later, and Dueck has now opened her second Tracycakes Bakery Café on Montrose Avenue in downtown Abbotsford. It follows the opening of the flagship store in Fort Langley 18 months ago.

Sitting in the buzzing dining area of her Abbotsford location, surrounded by cupcakes and other treats, Dueck admits her surprise that all has gone so well.

“But if you are passionate about what you do, I think you can succeed,” she says.

“I just figured I would sell some cupcakes and somebody would come in, but I always felt a voice saying ‘If you built it, they will come’ – kind of like Field of Dreams!” she laughed.

Tracycakes appears to have found its niche – focusing on weddings, schools, showers, parties, and well as the casual pedestrian.

Making between 500 and 1,000 cupcakes a day, Dueck says treats with such bizarre names as Mellycake, 5 O’Clock Somewhere, Ra-Ra Raspberry, Fill-Me-Up Buttercup, 24 Karat Cake and Jessicupcake are all proving popular with shoppers looking for a sugary bite.

And with Abbotsford customers buying approximately three times more cupcakes than in Fort Langley, Dueck is more than happy with her choice of location.

“They like their sweets!” she says.

According to Dueck, there is no science to naming her cupcakes, which she says come in more than 35 varieties.

It will just come to me. Some of them are named after my kids and some are named just because they are fun,” she said.

While specializing in cupcakes, Tracycakes also offers a lunch and dinner menu.

But while much of the focus is on food, Dueck points out that different dishes are just part of the equation.

Not only does she reiterate that she wants her customers to meet together and fully enjoy their eating experience, but she also maintains that same philosophy for her employees.

“If you have happy staff you have happy customers and a better world. I want them to find value here,” she says.

As an extension of that, Dueck says that her employees care strongly for their customers.

As one example, Dueck highlights one couple – married for 50 years – who regularly come into the café. The husband underwent heart surgery, and Dueck said one of her employees went to the hospital to pay him a visit.

Now well-established, Dueck is looking to the future – and has her sights on a third store in either White Rock or Steveston.

“I am just a girl with a dream,” she stresses.

“It’s very risky and if you know me I’m not really a risk taker in my general personality but I have really enjoyed it.” I have learned a little bit about myself – that I can be brave.”

 

Langley Times: Tracycakes

By Andrew Bucholtz – Langley Times
August 16, 2008 12:00 PM

Fort Langley proved to be a great launching pad for Tracy Dueck’s business. Dueck opened her first Tracycakes bakery/cafe in Fort Langley’s historic Marr House back in September 2006. The business quickly became popular, allowing her to open a second outlet on Abbotsford’s Montrose Avenue earlier this year.

Dueck told The Times that she decided to expand because the Fort Langley location couldn’t supply the demand for her cupcakes.
“We just had a real need for more room,” she said. “We just weren’t keeping up with the volume we needed.”

Dueck said that she chose Abbotsford for her second outlet because she had previously considered setting up shop there.
“I had first looked at Abbotsford before I came to Fort Langley,” she said. “The downtown’s becoming a really neat location and I wanted to get in on that.”

Dueck said she looked at various locations in Abbotsford last October, then signed a lease in December and opened the second outlet in February. She said the new location has been a tremendous success so far.

“Abbotsfordians, they love their baking,” she said. “For about three months, it’s been about three times the volume [of sales, as compared to the Fort Langley store].”

Dueck said the second outlet, with its larger commercial kitchen, has allowed her to streamline her cooking process. All of the cupcakes are now made in Abbotsford.

“We bake them in Abbotsford and transport them to Fort Langley fresh every day,” she said.
Dueck’s bakeries and cafes offer more than just cupcakes, though: they also have an extensive dine-in menu, featuring quiche, shepherd’s pie, homemade borscht and chili, among many other items. Some of the items are made in Langley, while some are made in Abbotsford. Dueck said the greatest benefit of her second location is the ability to streamline production of each of the items her cafes offer.

“Having the new kitchen is the best thing,” she said.
Dueck said the Abbotsford clientele is more focused strictly on cupcakes, while the Fort Langley clientele prefers a fuller dine-in experience.

“For now, Abbotsford is pretty large on the cupcakes,” she said. “Fort Langley is larger on the lunch.”
Dueck said her Abbotsford outlet’s sales are about 50 per cent cupcakes and 50 per cent full meals, while only 30 per cent of her Fort Langley outlet’s sales are from cupcakes alone. She said that the historic building her Fort Langley store is in also helps to draw in the eat-in customers.

“It’s quite quaint,” she said. “It’s quite lovely.”

Tracycakes also offers a “High Tea,” which features specialty loose-leaf teas, sausage rolls, fresh fruit, lemon curd and Devonshire cream, among other fancy offerings. Dueck said it’s been more successful in Langley than Abbotsford so far, though.

“It’s quite a nice presentation,” she said. “If I could expand one thing, I’d like to get more people to High Tea in Abbotsford.”
In addition to their in-store business, Tracycakes also caters for weddings and events. Dueck said they were especially swamped with the rash of weddings on Aug. 8, due to the perceived good luck of marriages on 08/08/08.

“We must have made 3,000 cupcakes,” she said. “That was really crazy.”

Tracycakes offers 35 different cupcake varieties. Dueck said four of the most popular are “Lovely Bunch of Coconut,” “La-La Lemon,” “German Chocolate,” and “Boston Cream.”

Dueck said the biggest challenge associated with the expansion to a second facility was training the new staff. She now has 24 employees over the two locations.

“The hardest thing was teaching staff how to do what you want, how to learn the system,” she said.

Dueck said her staff members have proved adaptable, though.

“I have such fabulous staff,” she said. “You’re only as good as your staff.”

Dueck said another difficult task has been trying to co-ordinate both outlets’ activities.

“I need another one of me,” she said.

Despite the challenges, Dueck said she’s very happy she made the decision to open a second location.

“Oh yes, oh yes, I love it.”

 

Tv Week Top Ten Things To Do

By Anna Dupas
Aug 16 – 22, 2008

8. Sweet Spot

Abbotsford just got a little sweeter with the opening of Tracycakes Bakery Cafe (101-2636 Montrose Ave.). The popular eatery, which joins an inaugural branch in Fort Langley, can now officially be declared the Fraser Valley’s favourite cupcake destination. These little handfuls of heaven, topped with hand-piped buttercream icing, are available in over 35 flavours, including Smartie Pants, Peppermint Patty and Va-Va Vanilla. If you prefer heartier fare, the café also serves up everything from scratch-made soups and sandwiches to quiche and chili. For owner-manager Tracy Dueck, a culinary queen with a knack for snacks, the success of her shop is just the icing on the cake.

Tracycakes is the icing on the cake

Roxanne Hooper
Langley Advance
July 18, 2008

Be still my heart. Cupcake heaven is expanding.

Tracy Dueck of Tracycakes Bakery Cafe in Fort Langley has announced the expansion of her business.

She’s making the world – okay, it’s actually on the Fraser Valley, but close enough – a little bit sweeter. If you haven’t already checked out the original Tracycakes store, which is located in the historic Marr House on Glover Road in the heart of the village, plan to stop in.

While she serves up continental breakfasts, salads and light lunches such as quiche, chilli and shepherd’s pie, I prefer her array of soups worthy of slurping. I’m told she makes a mean Borscht and great chicken noodle soup, but I can only speak to the mouthwatering flavour of her creamy homemade chicken vegetable soup.

All those dishes aside, however, I have to confess it’s really her cupcakes that are to die for.

With more than 35 irresistible varieties offered, she bakes up only a limited quantity each day to ensure freshness. With that in mind, I’ll warn you that if you’re heading out to Fort Langley on the weekend – stop by early or miss out.

The other option, which I’ve already alluded to, is sampling her wares at the new shop on Montrose Avenue in Abbotsford.
“It has been my dream to create a place where people can connect over tea, coffee, a light meal and, of course, my signature cupcakes in an atmosphere that is rich in beauty and ambience,” Dueck said.

“It’s amazing to me how well the concept has been received in the Valley since we first opened about a year and a half ago. Having a second location in Abbotsford means we’ll be better equipped to deal with the growing demand for all of our menu items and allow us to better serve our community, one person at a time.”

 

Cupcakes: Love at first bite

Mia Stainsby
Vancouver Sun
May 24, 2007

Fort Langley bakery whips up 200 fresh-baked cakes each day in 35 delectable flavours

I haven’t been able to find it but apparently there’s a Tracycake Fanatics fan club somewhere on Facebook.

“They post their experience when they come in,” says Tracycake Bakery Cafe owner Tracy Dueck. “It made my day to hear about it.”

All she knows is that they’re women between the ages of 20 and 30.

Ahhh! An age when cupcakes aren’t lethal to waistlines.

And cupcakes are what Dueck does well. She has 35 flavours and you can buy the baby cakes for a buck each or the normal sizes for $2.65. They go by teaser names like Love at First Bite (apple spice doused in caramel butter icing filled with Bavarian whipped cream), Va-Va Vanilla, Peppermint Patty, Smartie Pants, Sleepless in Seattle (“chocolate mocha with whipped cream infusion and shot of java for when you need a lift”), Fill-me-up Buttercup (lemon cake filled with whipped cream and iced with meringue). She offers about 10 flavours a day.

Back down on earth, Tracycake sells an assortment of lunchy items — soups (including the Doukhobor style of borscht with a dill tomato base), salads (the apple Waldorf is the big seller), sandwiches, quiche, crepe, pot pie, and chili.

Every afternoon, from 1 to 3 p.m., there’s a high tea ($23.95 for 2) with finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and lemon curd, assorted dainties, baby cupcakes and fruit.

“Everything’s made from scratch,” says Dueck, who opened the business last fall. She was previously a stay-at-home mom who loved to cook. “I’m living out my dream,” she says.

Tracycakes is in historic Fort Langley in the historic Marr House. The entrance is on the side and opens out to a garden in the back.

She’s open every day from 10 to 5 p.m. and her 200 fresh-baked cupcakes sell out each day.

mstainsby@png.canwest.com
© The Vancouver Sun 2007