Niki Kantor Rubin, proprietress of Papery & Cakery in Boca Raton, Florida brings a unique background to her unique business, a stationery and patisserie boutique. With an educational background in history and a law degree from George Washington University, Niki began her career clerking for a criminal judge. From the beginning, her law practice failed to be completely satisfying and she had never shaken her lifelong passion for design, art and creating. Then a few years ago she starting planning her wedding to her “camp sweetheart” – they met while both working as counselors at a summer camp nearly a decade ago – and realized how much she loved planning all of the stationery and paper details that they incorporated in their celebration. Along the way, she met the owner of the stationery store that is now Papery & Cakery – one thing led to another and when Niki was offered the opportunity to buy the store she did so. And she never looked back.
These days, Niki loves working with clients to create the stationery of their dreams. Unlike her days in law practice, she’s now inspired by what she does and feels lucky to help people celebrate the special occasions in their lives. Niki shares, “I’m inspired by everything around me. Florida weather is truly amazing. We live near the ocean and walk our golden retriever [and Papery & Cakery mascot], Ray, to the beach almost daily. I try to carry environmentally friendly vendors, like Smock for all of my clients. I’m a magazine junkie, and get butterflies when Martha Stewart arrives in the mail. There is so much to see on the web, I try to keep up with the blogging world, and keep my blog contemporary and chic.”
We’ve mentioned it before, but in addition to all things paper and letterpress, here at Smock we have a pretty deeply rooted love for yummy treats, too. The Papery & Cakery blog is one of our favorite reads because it celebrates two of our favorite things – stationery and delicious sweets. Each week, Niki’s sister Ali, who was a pastry student when Niki launched Papery & Cakery and is now a freelance baker in New York City, shares her inspired recipes in her Cakery Friday feature. Last week, she showcased her recipe for festive pumpkin spice marshmallows, which Ali and Niki were sweet enough to share here on the Smock blog…
First up, you’ll need a 9 x 13 pan lined with aluminum foil, sprayed generously with nonstick cooking spray. Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar together and sprinkle liberally over pan, coating the bottom and sides well. Save the remaining cornstarch/powered sugar and set the pan aside for use later.
Place ½ cup cold water in mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment and sprinkle with 3 packages of gelatin. Allow to sit and dissolve for at least 5 minutes. The gelatin will clump up as it absorbs the water, this is normal.
In medium saucepan, mix together ½ cup water, 1 cup light corn syrup and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Place over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved stop mixing and insert candy thermometer.
Allow the mixture to reach 240 degrees, then remove from heat. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixing bowl. Be careful, as the sugar is extremely hot.
Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until it reaches high. Whip the marshmallow mixture for 10 minutes, or until it is stiff and shiny. You will know the marshmallow is ready when you lift up the beater and the mixture slowly drips down into the bowl in a thick stream.
While the marshmallow is mixing, place 1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree in small bowl with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon allspice.
Once the marshmallow mixture has reached the proper consistency, add the food coloring into the bowl and mix until it is a uniform orange color. I used a mixture of red and orange food coloring and made my mix a pale orange color. Finally, gently fold in the pumpkin puree mixture. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Allow to sit and firm up at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 8 hours.
To cut the marshmallows, sprinkle the top with the corn starch/ powdered sugar mixture and flip it onto a clean surface covered with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife dipped in the corn starch/ powdered sugar, cut the marshmallows into big squares or whatever size you desire. Dust all exposed areas with the corn starch/powdered sugar mixture, as it is VERY sticky. You can also cut with a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. Store marshmallows in airtight container at room temperature. (These should be eaten quickly as they go stale within a week.)
In true Smock fashion, we had a few more questions for Niki…
What are your top picks for ‘must see’ and ‘must do’ sights and scenes for first time visitors to Boca Raton?
Boca Raton isn’t the retirement community that people think it is, despite what ‘Seinfeld’ episodes may say. I definitely recommend a trip to the beach, and a drive up and down A1A. I love shopping at Town Center Mall. My husband, Cole, and I live in Delray Beach, just a few minutes North of Boca and spend a lot of time on hip and trendy Atlantic Avenue. We eat often at Cut432, a great steakhouse and 32 East, an awesome restaurant. Mizner Park in Boca is also a great place for an afternoon of lunch and shopping outdoors. There are plenty of places to play golf and tennis year round. A day trip to Miami is definitely recommended. Try to check out a Miami Heat game–I’m a huge fan!
If you could be pen pals with any famous person in history who would it be and why?
This question is a little tricky, considering I am a history buff. I think I’d probably most like to have Leonardo Da Vinci as a pen pal. He was such an influence on so many facets of society: art, science, medicine and design. I’d love to find out more about his life and what inspired him.
What’s your idea of a dream vacation? Where would you go, what would you do, who would go with you?
I’m a warm weather girl, so my dream vacation definitely includes a gorgeous beach and lots of relaxing. My husband, Cole and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, which is my favorite place in the world. I’d love to venture back to the South Pacific and make it to Bali or Tahiti someday. I love exploring and sightseeing but my ultimate vacation would include aqua waters, white sand, a fabulous book, a pina colada and a great tan. I’m also a huge gourmet so I need to go somewhere delicious! I’d definitely go with Cole and would be so thrilled to take Ray, too. Eventually, I’d love to be able to take my [future] children. Since we don’t have any right now, just Cole and I and the dog would be perfection.
What’s your favorite current trend in weddings/events? What do you anticipate being the next big thing?
I’d have to say that blogging is my favorite trend in weddings right now. It’s amazing the variety of information and images which can be dissipated on the internet so quickly. I do believe that imitation can be the highest form of flattery, so today’s bride can look to so many other weddings for inspiration. I hope that the blogging world continues to grow and flourish. I’m anticipating that the Papery & Cakery blog will be the next big thing!
If you could describe your personality in letterpress, which Smock letterpress invitaion would you be and why?
I think I would be the new Sabion invitation. Instead of the pink background color I’d love a light aqua wash, for a beachy feel. I really adore the fonts on the sample design. The invitation has a comfortable, classic Bohemian chic feel, which is expressive of my style and personality. I’d add great metallic edge painting for just a little bit of unexpected fun. Mostly, I think this invitation is indicative of me because it’s cheerful and happy. My decision to leave law and follow my heart wasn’t something easy, but I’m so blessed to wake up each day and be doing something that I absolutely love. I’m not sure many people are lucky enough to have that opportunity. I’ve come realize how important it is to love what you do.
We have to extend a heartfelt thank you to Niki for allowing us to take a peek behind the scenes at what makes Papery & Cakery tick! And don’t forget to check out the Papery & Cakery blog today for Cakery Friday!