What’s new on the blog this week?
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I posted my take on a Black Forest Cake – a decadently delicious treat, perfect to share with your beau.
I also sat down with essential ingredient of any UK-based cake show and current star of Channel 4’s (UK) Extreme Cake Makers, Rosie Dummer, for a chat, where she told me what it takes for her to unleash the Cake-Diva, how it feels to put your head above the parapet on national television and just what it is about giant cakes that keeps her coming back for more. Check it out!
Have you heard…?
Speaking of ECM, the hottest talking point in the cake groups this week was in response to the show’s comment that the average price of a birthday cake in the UK was £28. With numerous posts accumulating hundreds of comments, many cakers were completely aghast!
But as the host went on to explain, the cakes featured on the show are anything other than average and surely one could presume that the same could be said for the majority of custom cake makers. However, there was certainly an element of Chicken Little’s THE SKY IS FALLING – particularly when those who had not watched the show picked up on the comment, without the full context.
As a humble blogger and just-for-fun caker, I can only imagine how dispiriting and annoying it can be as a professional to have people approach you with little-to-no understanding of the time and work that goes into a completely bespoke cake, but fortunately some level-headed folk were on hand to suggest that this figure probably includes £10 supermarket jobbies and the like.
As one of the show’s stars and this week’s interviewee, Rosie said herself, “I’m going to go out on a limb and say the price they quoted is probably right. They said birthday Cakes rather than just ‘cakes’ and birthday Cakes at between £5-£15 are sold in their millions at supermarkets. Our speciality cakes account for just a tiny part of the market.”
I reached out to Hannah Edwards, the Cake Illusionist for her thoughts: “The biggest problem some cake artists have is they quote based on what they think the potential client is willing to pay rather than calculating their costs accurately. They treat every person as a potential client and bend and twist to try and get the sale no matter what.
It is better to find/focus on those few clients who value your time and appreciate the skill behind your art. They will pay the true cost because they are investing in you specifically. Yes, there will be less of them at the beginning, but they are worth so much more to you, as, over time, your returning client base is made up of the right clients.
The rest have options available to them, which aren’t you. That’s ok too.
Always compete on being the very best at what you do and you’ll never have to compete on price no matter what a tv show appears to says you are worth. If you decide your worth and stick to it, everything else becomes irrelevant.”
I couldn’t live without…
Across the pond, many of our stateside chums were sharing selfies of themselves posing with their new Cake and Cookie Planners, from Avalon Cakes School of Sugar Art and McGreevy Enterprises.
Avalon had toyed with the idea of creating a planner for cake artists for some time and so she teamed up with the McGreevys to help bring her dream to fruition. Months of development, design, sourcing, editing and so much more went into the creation of the planner and the result is a thoroughly gorgeous, weighty tome that features calendars, week-to-view cake schedules, shopping lists, conversion charts, innovative cake designing stencils and much much more.
The stencils alone have many people excited, with their ability to allow you to customize the size of your tiers and keep full perspective for a true-to-life and professional result every time! As Avalon explains, now there is “No more worrying about if your “not-so-perfect” sketches reflect your cake talents.”
Priced at $89.99, the planner sold out almost instantly, but the team are working hard on getting the next batch available. In the meantime, you can register your interest.
The hottest ticket in town!
Thank you to Nuala Mukadam, who this week sent in an invitation to us all to attend the Irish Sugarcraft Show in April. Hosted by the Dublin Sugarcraft Guild, the show returns to the City West Hotel, in Saggart, Co Dublin on the 28th and 29th April. Featuring a host of trade stands, a live demonstration stage, children’s workshop, the fabulous cake competitions and more, the closing date for entries is 23rd March 2018. Find the competition schedule here.
To enter, you can download the entry form.
Let me know if you are planning on attending!
Oh, and if anyone wants to fly me out there to cover it for the blog, then I could probably make that work… 😉
I wanna make that!
For those of you looking for an egg free recipe, this one is perfect and, if you substitute unsweetened soya milk for the milk required, it can be made entirely dairy free too! Kerry whipped one up earlier this week and, in her own words, it was delicious!
The Collaboration Station.
Going live on Thursday, the “Amore – a heart for children” team, headed up by Nathalie Müller-Künzig and Khamphet Che-Bui, were proud to present a collection of 51 pieces of edible art to show their support for International Childhood Cancer Day.
Check out a mere taste of the fabulous pieces from the Amore team.
A beautiful collection for a wonderful cause. You can find the full collection over at the collaboration’s Facebook page.
Spotlight on the boys…
This week, I am absolutely loving this stunning bust by Marc Suarez of Le Doux Collage.
Created in memory of his late grandmother, Marc’s stunning chocolate sculpture is entitled Brit Grandpa and he explained that it is probably his favourite piece to date. I can totally see why!
Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot would like your help with ganache. Particularly when using it for the trend that isn’t going away any time soon, the drip cake. She is unsure of the consistency she should be looking for when using ganache for a ‘drip’ and asks if any can let her know the correct temperature she should be aiming for, for optimal drippage.
If you think you can help Cara out, you can either post in the comments below, send me your tips firstname.lastname@example.org or post to the Mr Baker’s Blog Facebook page – the best advice will be posted in next week’s Something Sweet…
And if you have a cake conundrum you just can’t figure out, send it in and let our readers come to the rescue…
Meanwhile on Twitter…
This week, Twitter has been full of passion, as the #TwitterBakeAlong bakers tackled the theme: Baked with Love. Hosts @thebakingnanna1 and @Rob_C_Allen have put together a lovely lil’ prize, so if you fancy getting involved, head over to the ‘other’ social network and search the hashtag!
I was also thrilled to see the baking powerhouse, @janespatisserie announce that she is finally biting the bullet and giving up her job to go full-time blogger.
Jane is probably my favourite baking blogger and I love her recipes. If you haven’t checked her out before, you can find her blog here and I wish her every success for her new career!
Cake of the Week!
This week’s cake sharing theme was inspired by St Valentine’s Day and we were sharing all things LOVE! You guys didn’t disappoint and I was completely awed by the beautiful cakes you were sending in…
I’d actually already spotted this week’s Cake of the Week over on Instagram, so I was thrilled when Teresa Taylor Davidson of Next Generation Cakes by T posted it to the Mr Baker’s Blog Facebook page. I love how Teresa has used wafer paper to create the effect of years of love letters scattered all over her Key to my Heart cake. So original…
Congratulations Teresa, you are our first Cake of the Week winner!
We were all left reeling by some terrible news this week and I couldn’t let it pass without at least mentioning the sudden and untimely passing of one of the members of our cake family. Nessie, known as the Cake Witch, was a stunning talent and her loss has been felt by us all. Please join me in keeping her daughter in your thoughts and prayers…
Well known for her life-size cake sculpts of celebrities, Lara Mason of Tasty Cakes by Lara Mason has positively raised the bar as far as smash cakes go! Her beautiful twins turned one this week (how has it already been a year?!) and Lara wanted to mark the occasion with a cake smash shoot. If you’re not sure what that is, a cake smash shoot is a US trend that seems to be growing and growing. Typically, the child is served a whole cake to explore and destroy, while the whole process is captured for prosperity by a talented photographer. But don’t panic, there is usually another cake for the rest of the family to enjoy too!
In typical Lara fashion, she decided to go one better though and combine their first birthday cakes WITH their smash shoot and the twins celebrated their special day with their life-size cake doubles! Apparently, Lara will be cleaning buttercream out of the floorboards for the next few months, but I’m sure you agree that it was 100% worth it.
In Lara’s own words: ‘Cake Smash? SMASHED IT!’
This week’s top contributor receives a prize generously donated by Hayley and Michael Wisken of Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd.
All who sent in a contribution were added to a hat and the winner was Teresa Taylor Davidson with her submission to this week’s Cake of the Week!
Congratulations, Teresa! Please get in touch to claim your prize!
And thus concludes your first round up of a week in the world of cake. Thank you to all who sent in their contributions and to the rest of you for reading – I’ll see you next week for another Weekly Slice of Something Sweet…