Sort-of Secret: Nutmeg Spiced, a one-woman micro-bakery in Oakwood Village making exclusively Grenadian desserts
Part of our series spotlighting the city’s edible hidden gems
The sort-of secret: Nutmeg Spiced, a micro-bakery with a weekends-only walk-up window
You may have heard of it if: Someone else told you about it—the owner would rather the baked goods speak for themselves
But you probably haven’t tried it because: It’s hidden within a residential area off Eglinton West.
Sonisha Paul wasn’t always good at baking. Her first attempt was at 11 years old: she rounded up all of the necessary pantry items—flour, sugar, baking powder—and, without using a recipe, made a “cake.” The end result was something more akin to a rock. She was so embarrassed of her creation that she hid it inside a compartment inside the fridge. When her mom came back from work later that day, there were signs that her daughter had been up to no good in the kitchen. But, when she asked Sonisha if she had made anything in her absence, she denied it. Not buying it, her mom opened the fridge, causing the weighty cake to fall out of its hiding place and land right on her foot.
“She still tells that story,” says Sonisha. “Probably because she can’t believe I’m actually a baker now.” Her cut-cake, currant rolls and coconut drops are among some of the most sought-after Grenadian baked goods in the city. Nutmeg Spiced may also be the only 100 per cent Grenadian bakery in Toronto. (Sonisha hasn’t found another one, and neither have we.)
When Sonisha started developing her recipes, she had only her memory to go on. She used the techniques she learned in culinary school to develop recipes similar to the ones she ate growing up, based on the flavours she remembers tasting. A lot of her desserts are coconut-forward. Other spices—bergamot, cinnamon and, of course, nutmeg—are imported from Grenada, otherwise known as “spice island.” “I stand proud on bringing focus to my country,” says Sonisha.
The star of her lineup is the cut-cake, a cinnamon roll–like pastry with a flakier pastry dough and a ruby-red filling of shredded coconut and spices. The currant roll, black rum cake, cheese straws and coconut fudge aren’t far behind as customer favourites. She also bakes treats that aren’t staples on the island but have a Grenadian twist here and there, like “bbronies” (her version of a blondie with Grenadian spices) or a bread pudding and rum cake mashup.
At first, Sonisha didn’t think anyone would buy her pastries because she puts her own spin on them: the cut-cake filling, for example, is more melt-in-your-mouth than the traditional bread-like texture of the cake filling in Grenada. But, when she opened in 2021, Nutmeg Spiced took off. Prior to baking sweets full-time, Sonisha had a juicing business called Juice Wealthy. She was working out of the basement of the same building she bakes from now, creating juice plans for clients while developing her dessert recipes on the side. Friends started putting in orders for her desserts, and eventually she left juicing behind and moved to a bigger unit on the building’s main floor. The new space came with a window where customers can walk up to place or pick up orders.
Customers can also place orders on Nutmeg Spiced’s website, with 48-hour notice for pick-up or local delivery. The walk-up window is open most Saturdays and Sundays for people who have orders to pick up (Sonisha typically confirms her business hours on Instagram), but for anyone who hasn’t placed an order and has a craving for some cut-cake, the window is open for walk-ins every Saturday from 1 p.m. until whenever the goods sell out. With over a dozen items currently on the menu—and only three toaster ovens at her disposal—Sonisha makes most things fresh on the day of pick-up. Everything needs to be done by hand: mixing the filling, rolling the dough and grinding the spices. She doesn’t take shortcuts with ingredients either—the cut-cake is made with butter, not Crisco, as is the usual practice—and her commitment to quality and perfecting her skills is paying off. “I’m still nervous when I hand an order off to someone,” says Sonisha. But she’s yet to receive a single complaint.
While Nutmeg Spiced is a celebration of her childhood, Sonisha’s childhood was a difficult one. In 1990, her mom was preparing to make a new life for her family in Canada. But, before she could take Sonisha and her siblings along, she trusted a few people she knew to take care of her kids while she tried to find a job in a new country—they weren’t reunited until six years later. “Unfortunately, the people I was left with weren’t so nice,” says Sonisha. “I grew up in a toxic environment with a lot of trauma. But, around Christmas time—like magic—our caretakers would be so nice to us. They would make us all of the treats that I now make for my customers. It’s the reason why I’m so passionate about Grenadian pastries—because they remind me of the happier moments of my childhood.”