Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhiannon Szymanowski.
Hi Rhiannon, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m currently a keto, gluten-friendly, sugar-free, diabetic-friendly home baker. My passion for this way of baking comes from my own diabetic health struggles. Within my process, I was able to incorporate my love of art into what I do.
Growing up, we never really stayed in one place, which you can imagine might be difficult for some kids like myself, especially being an introvert. I had a really hard time making personal connections. But at the same time, the constant change of surroundings really opened up some doors and allowed me to experience different styles and cultures when it comes to food and art. I remember the influence this had on me and wanting to draw from that inspiration and just embrace it. Endless hours of sketching and various artwork and projects. As time went on, I took an interest in famous artists and their history and styles. Little fun fact… I even used to sell famous prints within the Bay Area of California at the time just to get by.
Fast forward, I moved to Michigan with my daughter as a single mom. Hardships naturally came our way and my artistic passions were put on the back-burner in order for me to provide for my little family. Eventually, I did meet my husband, who adopted my daughter and soon after, we had another daughter together. Of course, pregnancy comes with its own set of struggles. It started as gestational diabetes and then afterwards progressed, forcing me to change my eating habits altogether and prompting the start of my baking journey. Having a partner to go through this with me and having that love and support allowed me to step out of survival mode and once again embrace the artistic side of myself that I had once buried and now apply to my specialty cakes.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The hardest part in my journey was learning to make baked goods that I could enjoy as much as the other sugar and carb-filled ones that lined the windows of every bakery. It was hard for me to feel like I had to constantly choose between my health and the desserts and foods that I love. I just wanted to eat healthy, stay off medication, enjoy what I was eating, and get results. However, I found out quickly how expensive the ingredients are and how much is involved in getting these flavors and textures right; it didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t the only one having these same struggles. At the end of the day, what you eat has to truly taste good. If you can’t enjoy it, why would you stick with it?
Cake is a perfect example… sounds simple enough, right? Cake used to be my nemesis. I’m not much of a crier but I can admit that my partner has seen me ugly-cry over a cake that I’d spent waaaaay too much time on trying to perfect. I’m pretty sure that cake made me delirious. I’m glad to say that cakes are now my friend and not my enemy, haha!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m not a brick and mortar business on a main street. My original intent was not to sell, but deciding to sell has introduced me to a lot of great people with inspiring stories of their own, plus it’s a great outlet to express myself as well. It’s also important to show others that they can have their cake and eat it too.
If you’re wanting something truly unique, artful and super delicious, my passion for painting on cakes allows me to pretty much deal edible art among other treats out of my home. You’ll find me in Hamilton, MI tucked away in the woods in a cozy cabin.
I believe what sets me apart as a specialty baker is my cultured palate and appreciation for well-made food, as well as my ability to balance out flavors. My goal is to not only give you something that tastes amazing but to give you a visual masterpiece.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
A book that I always like to keep within reach is Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. Her personality really shines through this book and I like her approach to mastering flavors.
Kalyn’s Kitchen is another great reference. You can find her on Instagram. If you’re looking for great keto or lowcarb lunch or dinner ideas, she’s one of my favorites!
Feature photo: Anna Vanderberg Photography