In 2011, after former careers in law and banking, Jean Blacklock opened up her first Prairie Girl Bakery, offering freshly-made cupcakes to downtowners. Since then, she’s opened two more locations in Toronto and published a cookbook. We caught up with her to find out a little bit more about her business.
After so many years in law and banking, why did you make the switch to cupcakes?
I’ve always loved baking. I knew I wanted to start my own business and when we opened in 2011, Toronto lacked a fresh-baked bakery.
Your cupcakes are made from scratch. What does that mean?
We don’t freeze any batter and don’t use any mixes. Every day, we cream the butter and break the eggs. It’s old-fashioned baking.
Besides your standard menu, you rotate in new flavours all the time. Can you give me an examples of some of them?
Yes, we’re always in the midst of launching new treats of the week. So right now we have pear ginger. And we’ll soon have a Nanaimo bar cupcake and a Bounty bar cupcake.
What’s your favourite?
From our standards, I love the toasted coconut. But when something new comes in, I’ll sometimes switch my loyalties. My current favourite is the Vanilla Dutch cookie butter cupcake.
Prairie Girl makes a point of giving back. Can you tell us about that?
We never sell anything a day old, so we donate those daily to the Church of the Redeemer and other shelters. Also, four times a year we support charities based on applications made through our website. It’s important to give back to the community, and we like to hear from our customers about the causes that are close to their heart.