'Sweet release' turns into busy job

For Wellington's Kristine Bartley, baking began as a "sweet release" for an illness that left her housebound.

Today, the 29-year-old IT contractor has turned her love of baking treats into a fulltime job, with the launch of her new business, Sweet Release Cakes and Treats.

But it has not been an easy road to baking success. "Three years ago I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which meant I had to stop work and stay at home for eight months. I was always hungry and there were no biscuits in the pantry, so I decided to start baking."

Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by an overactive thyroid, which controls temperature, hormones, metabolism, eating and sleeping patterns.

"There have been times where I haven't been able to sleep for two nights in a row," she says.

"I had to have radiation therapy last year when things got really bad."

Bartley will be on medication for the condition for the rest of her life. But when baking, her attention is on measuring flour and sugar, rather than other challenges in her life.

Her sweet treats first gained popularity when she held a baking fundraiser at work last year to help people in the Philippines – her birth place – recover from the devastating typhoon.

The baking business is now booming as she delivers weekly treats to many offices in Wellington.

A client favourite is "inception" cookies – white chocolate chip cookies topped with dark chocolate chips and filled with an Oreo.

Her biggest challenge lately was her own three-tiered chocolate and red velvet birthday cake, with layers of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman-themed fondant icing. "Because I was a baker all my friends were expecting me to make an epic cake."

To budding bakers, she advises sticking to the recipe, making sure butter is at room temperature and not being afraid to try risky treats.

Now, she has a commercial kitchen space at the corner of Victoria and Vivian streets.

THE DETAILS

For more information on Bartley's baking see her Facebook page: facebook.com/SweetReleaseCakesandTreats.

The Dominion Post