Baker Gatherer finds a sweet fusion with food

Baker Gatherer Dane McGregor with his inventions, which include s'mores brownies and a cream donut cake.
KELLEY TANTAU/FAIRFAX NZ

Baker Gatherer Dane McGregor with his inventions, which include s'mores brownies and a cream donut cake.

He's the creator behind the lolly log cheesecake that flooded social media and could become a Kiwi classic.

But "weekend baker" Dane McGregor, isn't doing it for the fame.

His brand Baker Gatherer stems from his love of working in the kitchen.

Dane McGregor's lolly log cheesecake. The recipe proved very popular with people online.
Dane McGregor

Dane McGregor's lolly log cheesecake. The recipe proved very popular with people online.

Last year, after getting a taste of a baking business with a friend, Hamilton man McGregor turned his attention to online opportunities.

"I started my website and that gained momentum because people like food," he said.

Baker Gatherer is a food blog showcasing McGregor's experiments with new flavour combinations and turning them into cakes, slices and all things sweet.

Beer and bacon brownies, peanut butter and jelly cake, and marmalade toast cupcakes are only a few of his recent concoctions.

His social media sites have more than 7000 followers collectively and he has also been picked up by an Auckland brand management agency.

Baker Gatherer has been up and running for one year, and McGregor juggles the brand in between working fulltime at a Hamilton kindergarten.

His lolly log cheesecake went viral among groups of people online, after The Edge showcased the recipe on their Facebook page.

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"I love cheesecake, I love lolly cake, I don't know why it didn't exist.

"It just came to me, and I thought, how Kiwi is that?"

The power of social media has definitely increased his popularity, making his food blog stand out from the rest.

"I like to think I have a point of difference. I think it's the curiosity people have, they want to try that."

McGregor often sees sweet treat ideas online. But with no recipes to make them, he concocts his own.

It took around three attempts to make his s'mores brownies, which use his mothers marshmallow recipe and are a big hit around Halloween.

"I like to fuse different ideas, already existing flavours or concepts and then twist it."

A lot of experimentation is involved, McGregor said, and a lot of "complete failures".

Try telling that to his salted vanilla cheesecake cookies, or his salted caramel pretzel blondies that look mouth-wateringly good on his website.

He also takes food photographs himself, something that goes beyond just making the food and eating it.

But plating up does take a lot of work, he said.

He uses natural lighting and colours and tries to take each image at the same time of the day when the light is the best.

He bakes "frantically" in the evening or morning, so that if the recipe does work, he has the afternoon sunlight to take photos.

McGregor hopes to grow Baker Gatherer across more types of cooking.

To follow his journey, visit: www.bakergatherer.com

 - Stuff

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