The Story Behind the Baker

Kat Murray | Owner + Exquisite Baker

I was born in 1974 which was several decades too late; as I would have lived my best life as a 1950’s housewife – cooking, baking and sewing for my family, adorned in polka dot dresses and a string of pearls everyday. I have grown to become an eccentric, rockabilly mama who is living out her life in modern times, with liberal views built upon traditional roots, simplicity and sincerity.

I consider my baking an art form – continually honing my craft by tinkering with a flood of new ideas. My creations are always thoughtful and magical, crafted with precision and scrumptious to the very last crumb.

I know I have succeeded when my products are woven into another family’s traditions. A mother asks her child, “What kind of cake would you like for your birthday?” The child answers, “A cake made by Kat”… this is how I know I’ve succeeded.

I love to make things fun and magical – combining whimsy with tradition. Creating beautiful things that leave a lasting impression is the way I show love and in turn it is the way that I help my clients show their love.

The Roots of the Modern-Day Gingerbread Lady


People often call me “The Gingerbread Lady”. Make no mistake, I am NOT The Gingerbread Lady. I am the Gingerbread Lady’s Daughter, and proud to be so.

My mother was a home economics teacher so naturally baking was a huge part of family celebrations when I was a child, and a tradition I’ve carried through into my family. My mom would make sugar cookies with us for every holiday and enough for every child in each of our classes at school. On Valentine’s Day Mom would make heart-shaped cookies and we would spend the weekend icing each cookie in a different way. For St. Patrick’s Day we would make shamrocks for everybody followed by the start of spring, making flower shaped cookies for classmates and those that we loved.

Then there was Christmas – it was next level. Our house turned into a gingerbread wonderland! My Mom would make a gingerbread house for all of our family friends. She paid attention to detail: in the yard of the gingerbread houses there would be little gingerbread people to represent each member of the family. For my family’s house there was my mom and dad and 4 kids in the front yard. When we got engaged, our fiancé would appear in the front yard with us and when we moved out we would be removed from the front yard and put in the backyard to signify that we had moved out. As grandchildren were born, more and more family members were added to the yard. It was a beautiful tradition that my mother is renowned for.

Aside from the gingerbread houses that Mom would make, she would create hundreds upon hundreds of gingerbread men, package them in little baggies and tie them with that red and green Christmas ribbon that we’d curl with scissors. Everyone we knew would get a gingerbread man. Some of my fondest memories as a child were the weekends that were spent around the kitchen table decorating hundreds upon hundreds of gingerbread men with my siblings and parents. We had so many laughs. These rich childhood traditions that my Mother started in our family are traditions that I hold very dear to my heart.

Not Just Cakes!


In 2004 I lived in England and used to bake for my partner who would take treats into his workmates. In England they use the word ‘cake’ for most baked things! Cake is a cake, zucchini loaf is a cake, a gingerbread house is a cake….so everyone would ask him, “Did you bring Kat’s cakes with you today?” Over the years it just became a new word in our vocabulary – ‘katscakes’. But that is not when the business started, it’s just where the name came from!

Ask Kat!

Kat’s Cakes started by accident! I was living back in Canada in 2010, with my daughters who were 5 and  1 years old. We lived at my childhood home helping to care for my Mother who has Alzheimer’s Disease.  She was no longer able to do her traditional gingerbread gifts so I did the Christmas baking for her – while doing the Christmas baking for her, I started to get creative with my own ideas.

My Father was a dragon boater – there was a gathering with his teammates and I set up all the gingerbread for decorations and lots of goodies to eat. People were asking how much would I charge for this or for that, so I just pulled random numbers out of my head…$10! $20! $50! and so on. By the end of the night I had a looooooong list of orders, got busy baking, then set out to deliver them. Then, a beautiful thing happened…friends and families of those who received gingerbread got excited about it and they called me to place orders of their own! Once Christmas was over, I received a call to make a cupcake buffet for a big New Years party, followed by a call for a ladybug birthday cake for 100 people.  I took on the challenge in my typical “all or nothing style”, and from then on more and more requests came in and Kat’s Cakes was born!

Thankfully, my sister is a graphic designer so she designed my logo – round like a cake or cookie with cream colour to represent vanilla and the brown to represent chocolate because my signature cake is vanilla with chocolate buttercream filling.

I bake and I create! I consider myself more of an artist than a baker. If you have a vision, I will create it in an edible form!

Gingerbread tends to be the gateway into Kat’s Cakes. Once someone sees and tastes my gingerbread I can almost always expect a call back to bake for their events during the year. When it is not gingerbread season, I specialize in precision buttercream cakes…no fondant covered cakes here!

From mid October until Christmas the Kat’s Cakes kitchen is dedicated to gingerbread only.

During the rest of the year, I bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes and cakepops for corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and showers. I’ve even made cookies for someone’s ‘1 year kidney-versary” (1 year after a kidney transplant)!

Everything I make is made upon request, using traditional and surprisingly simple recipes with my own special twist. My goal is to create beautiful, unique desserts and gifts that spark joy and bring the taster back to the nostalgia of their childhood.

Buttercream cakes are finally all the rage! For the past 10 years I have been proudly standing by my “no fondant cakes rule” in the face of a long lasting fondant trend. Despite many requests for fondant cakes, I held true to my values of baking with vintage recipes that I twist to make my own. During the fondant craze, I mastered how to make a buttercream cake that is smooth and flawless—the look of fondant, but the nostalgic taste and texture of decades past. And just as I predicted, the fondant trend is coming to an end and boutique bakers are now striving to learn the art of buttercream—my specialty, something I’ve been working with since i was old enough to hold a spatula.

Being able to stay home with the kids is the #1 perk. I am able to work the hours that suit my family’s schedule. But the down side of that is if our family life is very busy (which it is with 5 children!) I end up being a mom in the waking hours, and the baker/artist comes out when everyone is asleep—which does not always allow a lot of time for ME to sleep! Finding a mom-baker-life-sleep balance is the biggest challenge. It is a well known fact that during the months of October, November and December I bake gingerbread day and night and am lucky to get 4 consecutive hours in bed on any given day.

Needless to say Kat’s Cakes is closed in January to recuperate!

The best experiences are always the ones when my clients trust my creative abilities. The customer who phones me with their theme and their budget and they leave it all to me to create something amazing…that is my very favourite type of customer and in my opinion requests like this yield the most impressive product.

There have been so many highlights in my 10 years of business! I collaborated on a stylized wedding shoot for an international wedding magazine – making an elaborate Russian palace out of gingerbread for display at the wedding, along with some delicious desserts that echoed the style of the palace.

Then there was the year that I won the Hyatt Regency Gingerbread Competition for the first time. It was brilliant! I had no idea I was even going to get special mention! I’ll never forget that night:

They called up 3rd place…a team of over a dozen culinary students, then second place was a team of 20 from another culinary school…then they called up the first place winner…Kat Murray! Whaaaaat? Up I go to the front, just me with a 4month old preemie (my youngest) strapped to my chest. It was the best day and a very proud and funny moment!  I have entered and won several gingerbread competitions over the years. Now my business is too busy for me to have time to create elaborate gingerbread displays for fun, But I look back on the competition days very fondly.

I do all the baking and my family does all the cheerleading and taste testing! Both of which are extremely important roles. Everything that comes out of Kat’s Cakes is made by me, baked by me and decorated by me. Kat’s Cakes is a ‘boutique bakery’ a one person show…intentionally so…intentionally small.

The best way to reach me is through We will discuss the details of your event and the style of dessert that best suits your number of guests and your venue. We work together to design an edible piece of art that is unique to you and your guests.

From within! When someone contacts me with an idea, I almost always have a flood of ideas to discuss and tinker with to create a product that is beyond expectation.  I also have a pretty bulky file of ideas and inspirations as well as a long ‘baking-bucket-list’ for styles and techniques that I’d like to try. In the baking community, we share techniques and ideas and often we get inspiration from each other, taking care not to exactly replicate someone’s design.

The best way to contact me is to email

Like and follow my Facebook page @katscakesmapleridge and my instagram @katscakesca. By liking and sharing posts that I make on social media, you are sharing my name and my talent and by doing so you are helping me to bring my art to others!