Fifteen-year-old twins Devyn and Cora Hogg of Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, are making a name for themselves as award-winning bakers.
The two-time gold-medal winners in Skills Canada NL competitions also have two Youth Venture Awards for excellence in customer service among their accolades.
The sisters, who operate a home-based business called Cakes by Two Peas in a Pod, enjoy using their culinary skills to give back to their community through various fundraising events.
The Grade 10 students at Exploits Valley High took time recently to do a phone interview with SaltWire Network about their booming baking business.
How old were you both when you first started baking?
Cora: It was something we’ve been doing since we were four years old. We have a lot of aunts who are into the culinary aspect of life. They are always cooking and that’s a big part of our family. We helped them when we were younger and we started getting into it more when we were older because we were more capable to do more things on our own.
When did you start Cakes by Two Peas in a Pod?
Devyn: January of 2017. We were only 12 then, in Grade 7. Our mom had a family friend whose daughter had her own cake-baking business. We just happened to be in St. John’s at the time and the woman asked if we wanted all the baking supplies. Once we got them, we had thousands of dollars of cake supplies. We knew we wanted to make something of it and not just let them sit in the cupboard.
How supportive have your parents been over the years?
Cora: Our parents (Suzanne Hogg and Duane Hogg) and all of our family are extremely supportive ... if we were baking and we were missing something, they’d run to the store for us ... they share things on Facebook for us to help publicize our business. Our Poppy (Al Brisson) is really big into business ... he really helped us out with the business aspect of things. And that’s extremely helpful.
What can you say about community support?
Devyn: It’s really crazy how much the community has supported us. We are only 15 and they can go to multiple other bakers who are older than us but lots of people come to us because they just love to see youth do something different and be responsible. We always get multiple customers who come back to us for weddings, birthday parties, baby showers ... and, in the community there’s a cafe called Common Grounds ... we supply them with treats and things. They are so supportive, and they love having products in their coffee shop that have been made by youth.
What is one of your favourite things to bake?
Cora: We love making peanut butter cups. They are something that have been in our family for so long. They are super simple to make.
What is the most difficult cake you’ve made?
Cora: Most of the time, it’s wedding cakes that are super stressful. It’s their wedding and they want two 15-year-olds to make their wedding cake. We really appreciate that they want us to do that but it is a bit more stressful. But we handle it pretty good. We take things slow and we work on the details.
When you aren’t baking, what do you like to do?
Devyn: We’ve always been involved with sports ... in junior high, we played baseball, hockey, volleyball and we were in the band. This year, in high school, we made the softball team ... and we are also on two different hockey teams ... Cora is in one band, I’m involved in two bands. It’s pretty crazy but it’s amazing.
What do you hope to do after high school?
Devyn: I want to be a dietitian and, of course, I want to have a business aspect to my career.
Cora: I’m hoping to be a physiotherapist that works with sports teams ... I also want to bring the business aspect to it. The young entrepreneurs that we are now, I want to bring that into the future.
Peanut butter cups - Cakes by Two Peas in a Pod
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
170g chocolate chips
2 tbsp cooking oil
Mix the first five ingredients, form the paste into balls and flatten a little into paper cupcake liners.
Melt chocolate and oil together and pour over individual cups.
Refrigerate and enjoy.