Stirring creations in the medium of cake

Local baker revels in the artistic side of her craft

Marieke Nijenhuis recently opened Coastal Cake Company in Parksville

Marieke Nijenhuis recently opened Coastal Cake Company in Parksville

Swiss Chocolate with espresso buttercream, cinnamon carrot with cream cheese icing or gluten-free citrus finished with chantilly cream, these are just a few of the fresh and natural cake ingredients available at the new Coastal Cake Company in Parksville.

The cake-maker is professional pastry chef and confectionary artist Marieke Nijenhuis who recently moved to the area from Calgary. 

Nijenhuis’ love affair with pastries and cakes began at a young age, watching her mother create dazzling and delectable desserts. 

She said it must have something to do with their Dutch heritage, that both she and her mother love sweets, but Nijenhuis took it one step further when she made the choice to do it full time.

With encouragement from her parents, she decided to first get an academic education and graduated with a bachelor of science degree. 

After this four-year endeavour her desire to create pastries remained unwavered and she began the Baking and Pastry Arts Program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). She graduated at the top of her class and went on to receive Red Seal certification, an apprentice program recognized nationwide that ensures high standards in both in the practical work and theory of baking.

Nijenhuis worked for three years as head pastry chef for the largest catering company in Western Canada before making the move to Parksville.

Crafting chocolate and sugar into showpieces is one of her favourite parts of the job, she said, and making the cakes, cupcakes and cake pops into works of art. But it’s when she can look at a final product, glistening with colours, shapes and impeccable design, that she feels the most satisfaction. 

“It’s just this overwhelming joy when I finish a cake and it looks amazing. I think that makes it all worth it.”

Nijenhuis caters to all dietary needs, and has been busy making gluten-free and dairy-free cakes since she opened a month ago.

“We like to cater to everyone because I think it’s sad when people can’t have dessert,” she said with genuine concern.

Committed to using fresh, natural, high quality ingredients, Nijenhuis said she doesn’t substitute any fake fillers into these cakes and the results are just as amazing as her regular desserts.

Although grocery store cakes have their uses, Nijenhuis is happy to be offering a fresh alternative to local cake lovers.

“There is a purpose and a place for [grocery store cakes], but if you’re having a special event, why not have an amazing cake to go with it?” she said.

Nijenhuis does tastings and sales from her home studio bakery in Parksville and will also be selling her products at local markets. She specializes in special occasion cakes, but can create anything in the dessert field, such as rich cake lollipops, chocolate mousse cups, and Lindt Couverture dipped strawberries, and she delivers.

For wedding cakes allow three weeks, and a week for special occasion desserts, with some exceptions made for those in a hurry. Check out her website for a full list of ingredients and cake designs., e-mail her at or call 250-607-7339.