Bake with Anna Olson

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Prestigious pastry chef Anna Olson, showcases her delectable world of baking mastery, from muffins to meringue and from cream cake to croissants in this tantalizing new instructional series.

Like your favourite professor in college, Anna’s kitchen-wit and wis­dom makes learning enjoyable and entertaining. Each episode Anna focuses on a foundation baking skill and builds on it, taking viewers on an exciting learning curve from beginner baker to master.

Anna may start by teaching the perfect puff pastry dough then progress to a classic fruit tart before kicking it up another notch to a complex Chocolate Napoleon. Finally Anna reveals the true master’s skill of creating something new, like her own delicious savoury Hors D’oeuvres.

In beloved Olson style, Anna adds the icing on the cake with personal anecdotes, touches, tips and tricks. The series promises to deliver a go-to repertoire of excellent recipes for all skill levels.

Episode 1 – Pâte Sablée

In this episode, Anna shows viewers the basics on working with a standard in a baker’s kitchen, ender tart dough, more commonly referred to in the baking world as pâte sablée.

For a more elegant dessert featuring sablée dough, Anna bakes a classic fruit tart, one that you might find in a bakeshop window, Peach Raspberry Custard Tart (orange liqueur or brandy). And finally Anna prepares a scrumptious assortment of icebox cookies made with Pâte Sablée dough: Lemon Icebox Rounds, Earl Grey Squares and Chocolate Pinwheels.


Episode 2 – Chiffon Cake

Light and airy, chiffon cakes combine the richness of a butter cake with the light spring of a sponge cake and they are the foundation for many favourite desserts.

Anna starts with a basic chiffon cake, sharing her recipe for Angel Food Cake.

She then adds fresh lemon and prepares Mini Lemon Chiffon Cakes. The texture and flavour of lemon and chiffon are a natural fit—both light and refreshing. For a dessert that is restaurant worthy, Anna creates Warm Maple Almond Chiffon Cakes. The layers of flavors in this cake are mouth watering and sure to impress. And finally Anna shows viewers how to transform chiffon cakes with four different styles of garnish: one for each season.


Episode 3 – Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is a key element in any French bakery and in this episode, Anna teaches viewers everything they need to know about puff pastry. Anna prepares basic puff pastry dough and demonstrates the principals behind making this buttery, flakey yet delicate pastry. She then takes her puff pastry dough and makes three individual Puff Pastry Tarts: Apricot Vol au Vent, Salted Caramel Pear Tart and S’Mores Tart. Big and little kids will love the last one! Anna advances the puff pastry lesson when she creates a classic French dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Napoleon. Lastly Anna takes any leftover puff pastry and bakes delicious Savoury Hors D’oeuvres: Pesto Palmiers, Sesame Cheese Straws and One Bite Tapenade Pockets.


Episode 4 – Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a pop culture phenomenon with countless bakeries devoted to them. Anna teaches viewers how to make a variety of styles and flavours, everything from simple vanilla to decadent edible works of cupcake art. Starting with basic Vanilla Cupcakes, Anna shows how she perfects tasty and fluffy classic cupcakes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. Advancing the technique she then creates a more challenging version: Chocolate Spice Cupcakes. Traditional ice cream cones inspire Anna next, when she creates her delicious Dulce de Leche Cupcakes. And finally, what cupcake lesson would be complete without a little icing 101.


Episode 5 – Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is a classic bistro dish of smooth custard with a caramelized sugar topping—an important dessert for pastry chefs to master. To begin, Anna demonstrates how to make a traditional Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with chilled creamy custard under a layer of crackling burnt sugar. Next Anna expands on that basic recipe with Fresh Berry Crème Brûlée. This version has a different cooking method and a layer of sweet and delicious berries underneath the velvety custard and crunchy brûlée covering. But for the ultimate in indulgence, Anna shows viewers how to make a Caramel Apple Crème Brûlée, using the apple as both an ingredient and a vessel to serve this decadent dessert. Simply scrumptious. Lastly, Anna gets creative and sophisticated making an elegant Icewine Crème Brûlée (ice wine or dessert wine).


Episode 6 – Pie Dough

There are few things more rewarding than a freshly baked pie. In this episode Anna shares her secrets and techniques to making the perfect pie dough. She starts off with her standard pie dough recipe—it bakes flakey and tender—and she forms it into sweet, sticky Pecan Butter Tarts. Next Anna adapts her pie dough to perfectly compliment a delicious filling and bakes her classic Pumpkin Pie with a braided edge. Then, for a challenge and a restaurant-worthy dessert, she bakes Individual Coconut Cream Pies (rum). Lastly Anna bakes up a rustic yet pretty tart, Apple Cinnamon Galettes.


Episode 7 – Choclate Cake

Chocolate cake is a favourite dessert for both young and old and an essential element in any bakery. Anna starts by teaching viewers the fundamentals of chocolate cake when she prepares a Classic Devil’s Food Cake. She then advances the lesson with a delicious Red Velvet Cake that is sure to impress. But for the ultimate in chocolate cake, Anna shows how to make something a little more challenging but worth it—Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake. And if that’s still not enough chocolate, Anna finishes with yummy and pretty Chocolate Glazed Petit Fours.


Episode 8 – French Meringue

In this episode Anna shares her secrets for making perfect French meringues. She starts by teaching viewers meringue fundamentals with Birds’ Nests. These light, airy and crunchy meringues are delicate vessels for fresh fruit. Next Anna moves to a more exacting meringue recipe, Classic Passion Fruit Pavlova. Named after the graceful Russian ballerina, Pavlova, it has a crunchy exterior but a soft and delicate inside, served with passion fruit and whipping cream. For a real showstopper that is certain to impress guests, Anna creates an elegant yet challenging layered dessert: Hazelnut Dacquoise Torte.


Episode 9 – Pastry Cream

Anna knows that all great pastry chefs have a recipe for pastry cream in their repertoire and, in this episode, she shows how to perfect this thick, rich custard filling to create delicious, versatile and delicate cakes and pastries. She begins with a basic vanilla cream and prepares Strawberry Cream Tarts. Next Anna takes those principals and bakes individual Apricot Orange Soufflés (orange liqueur). For the ultimate dessert featuring pastry cream, perfect for that special someone, Anna prepares a classic Caramel Birthday Cake with caramel-flavoured pastry cream. And for something a little extra with pastry cream, Anna shares with viewers how to make Mini Cannoli (brandy) with yummy pastry cream filling.


Episode 10 – Choux Paste (Cream Puff Dough)

Choux Paste, also known as pâte a choux or cream puff dough, is a wonderful airy pastry that can be used in countless ways to prepare cream-filled desserts. Anna starts with the fundamentals and teaches viewers a basic choux paste and makes simple sugar-dusted Crullers. Next Anna steps up the complexity with Profiteroles & Éclairs. For the ultimate in choux paste Anna shows viewers a French patisserie classic, Gateau St. Honoré. And finally Anna has a little fun building a glamorous cream puff tower—Croquembouche.


Episode 11 – Croissant Dough

Croissants have long been staples of French bakeries and patisseries but home cooks can make them too. In this episode, Anna gives a lesson on to how to bake them like a pastry chef. She starts with basic Croissant Dough recipe and then works that dough into Classic Filled Croissants: almond, cheese and irresistible pain au chocolate. Expanding on the tips and techniques learned, Anna takes these buttery pastries and transforms them into a decadent dessert—Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding (Irish cream liqueur). Finally Anna makes Mini Croissants, perfect for a party!


Episode 12 – Jelly Roll Cake

Jelly roll cakes range from straightforward tea time sweets to elaborate decadent desserts. They are fundamentally thin sponge cakes that are filled and rolled. Anna starts with a Classic Raspberry Jelly Roll and then moves on to a recipe that is a little more complex—Tart Lemon Roulade. For the ultimate in elegance, Anna prepares a rich and delicious Flourless Black Forest Roulade. And finally Anna combines a raspberry jelly roll with Bavarian cream and transforms it into a spectacular Charlotte Royale.


Episode 13 – Cheesecake

Anna knows that a great cheesecake is a restaurant favorite, and in this episode she shares her secrets for creating this delicious smooth and rich dessert. She starts with the classic New York Cheesecake. Next she’ll advance the technique teaching viewers individual Chocolate Swirl Cheesecakes. For a real challenge, Anna shares the ultimate dessert for the cheesecake lover— velvety Key Lime Cheesecake. And for a playful take on this popular dessert, Anna makes adorable Cheesecakes Pops. Kids of all ages will love them!