Something Sweet – Issue 11

What’s new on the blog this week?

It’s been a quiet week on Mr Baker’s Blog this week. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve had a bit of a week at the day job and so, sadly, all things cake had to take a bit of a back seat. As soon as the weekend hit though, I was quick to fill you in on what you can look forward to in the next couple of weeks: Cheers to the Freakin’ Weekend.

And as I said in that post, when I wasn’t working – or sleeping – this week, I spent most of my time trying not to book a last-minute flight to Dublin to join some of my favouritest cake chums at the Irish Sugarcraft Show this weekend! I think it was only the lure of seeing Avengers: Infinity War on Friday night that managed to convince me to stay at home!

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, as Tuesday saw an exclusive new tutorial, by Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes go live and you can find out more about them in this week’s ‘I wanna make that!’ below!

 

Have you heard…?

If, like me, you are watching the new NISE show page with any kind of interest, you will have seen that this week they announced the first of many exciting caking legends that will be crossing the Irish sea for the first ever Northern Irish Sugar Expo.

After a teaser post across all of their social media channels earlier in the week, yesterday the team confirmed what most of us had correctly deduced: that the one-woman-legend that is Rosie Cake-Diva will be lending her incomparable hosting skills to the show’s inaugural event next March.

I am led to believe that this announcement is merely the first of many exciting developments and I will certainly be keeping my eyes and ears open for more information as it emerges!

 

I couldn’t live without…

This week, we are joined by multi-award winning cake artist Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot as she shares the once piece of cake kit she simply couldn’t live without…

I absolutely love my cake steamer and I use it on pretty much every cake I make.

It can be used for so many different purposes, including removing any excess cornflower or icing sugar, which is particularly helpful on darker cakes, and I would actually say it is essential for black cakes.

As a result, it really makes your colours pop and, if you use it multiple times (allowing it to dry between each application), it can create a nice shiny effect.

It also sets and stabilises the colours on dusted sugar flowers, giving a more realistic texture and colour blend and I’ve even been experimenting with using a light steam on painted cakes. It seems to work well and continues to bring out the colour. It’s also great for lustred cakes too.

I used to use the steam button on an iron, but found it was too hot and much too forceful, but since discovering my cake steamer, it’s paid for itself over and over – really good value for money and a must-have for all cake kits.

Mine is a snazzy pink one and it could also double up as a kettle for a nice cup of tea when you’re on the road.

Thanks Cara! I also love my cake steamer and wouldn’t be without it! I’m not sure if using it as an emergency kettle is recommended, but it certainly DOES heat up fast… Lol.

 

The hottest ticket in town!

Speaking of new shows, there has also been a fair bit of buzz this week around the announcement that in February 2019, “Wales’ biggest and best cake and sugarcraft exhibition” The Welsh National Sugarcraft & Cake Show will be taking place in Cardiff.

The team behind this show aren’t known to me as yet but I’ve done some digging and have discovered that the show will feature all the essentials you can expect from a UK cake show, including a masterclass, open class and children’s class competitions with sponsored prizes, at least one pretty spectacular collaborative display, a variety of exhibitors and stalls selling all your caking essentials and live demonstrations and appearances from an abundance of well-known cake artists.

No names have been confirmed, but with a wealth of Welsh talent to choose from, including Emma-Jane Morris, Rhianydd Webb, Ceri Griffiths, Cara Maiden, Paul Williams and Gareth Davies to name but a few, I’m sure we’ll be seeing at least some of them in attendance.

 

I wanna make that!

This week’s hottest make has to be Sarah Bray’s Miniature Picnic Cupcakes Tutorial – an adorable collection of intricate picnic-themed toppers created exclusively for Mr Baker’s Blog!

An award-winning cake artist and tutor from Wokingham, in Berkshire, Sarah had always enjoyed all-things-artistic, but making cakes was something she used to do purely for fun. It wasn’t until she sold-out a school cake sale that she realised that she was actually pretty darn good at it. Eventually she started her business, Daisy Cakes and, as she continued to refine her skills, Sarah realised she really enjoyed making cupcakes – and in particular miniatures.

Unbelievably, this is Sarah’s first EVER published tutorial and I’m sure you’ll agree, she absolutely smashed it! I’m planning on tackling it myself at some point – when I’m not knee-deep in other exciting projects – and Sarah tells me that even my giant radiator man-hands of doom will be able to recreate these beauties…

I am delighted that Sarah agreed to create her first tutorial exclusively for Mr Baker’s Blog and particularly one so stunning. I am confident we’ll be seeing a lot more tutorials from this hugely-talented lady in the future!

 

The Collaboration Station

At the start of the week, Lizzo Marek of Sugar Geek Show unveiled a stunning collection: Wedding Cake Trends 2018 – The Collaboration.

Wedding cake trends are ever-evolving and, while 2017 was filled with some trends that remain popular this year, such as rustic cakes, naked cakes and metallics, there were some that appeared from nowhere and took the internet by storm, including geode cakes and marble cakes.

Lizzo explains that predicting cake trends can be vital to snagging high-end wedding clients but guessing what brides will be asking for months down the line can be a real challenge. Then, of course, you have to actually make a cake to embody that trend, as brides will not order a cake they can’t see.

While researching upcoming trends for tutorials, Lizzo became so inspired by all the beautiful colours, textures and themes, she just wanted to make them all, but she realised that there are many talented cake decorators out there who already specialise in these particular styles that happen to be trendy right now.

She decided to bring a selection of those talents together and have them design a cake around each trend and, with just their own inspirations and imagination to answer to, that is exactly what they did!

You can find all of the artists’ amazing creations over on the Sugar Geek Show blog and check out their predictions for what will be this year’s must have trends in 2018 – including Dark Wedding Cakes, Jewel Tones, Hand-Painted Cakes, Industrial Modern, Greenery and more!

And the best part? Each artist has also prepared a short tutorial alongside their collaboration piece to allow you to master that trend too! Enjoy…

 

 

The latest collaboration project from the Cake Collective collaboration group, ‘Cake is not the issue here…’ is a celebration of the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett, the English author of over 40 best-selling fantasy novels and creator of the legendary Discworld series, a humorous and often satirical sequence of stories set in the colourful fantasy Discworld universe.

Inspired by Pratchett’s unique and wonderful imagination, like-minded fans of his work came together to honour the literary legend, on what would have been his 70th birthday, by creating extraordinary sugar replicas of some of his most recognisable creature creations.

Sir Terry Pratchett sadly passed away in 2015, following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. As an active supporter of Alzheimer’s research, Pratchett campaigned for an increase in dementia research funding and the team of talented artists are also hoping that their collection will generate lots of support for Alzheimer’s Research UK. You can find their fundraising links at the collaboration’s Facebook dedicated page.

The collection will also be displayed at Cake International, Birmingham in November and, rather excitingly, the collaboration coordinator Vicki du Plessis has extended an invitation for any Pratchett fans who would like to join them at Cake International to get in touch – they may just be able to squeeze in a couple of extra pieces. If you would like to join them, you can find the Cake Collective collaboration group here.

The team are grateful for the cooperation and support of Dunmanifestin Limited, who hold the Intellectual property rights to all of Pratchett’s creations.

 

Published just this morning, Cake Con International 2018, coordinated by Mayra Prado Estrada of Cake Creations by ME, marks the collaboration’s third year of uniting some of the most talented cake artists in the world to celebrate all things movies, television, gaming and more.

Nominated for the Best Collaboration Award at last year’s Cake Masters Magazine Awards, the ‘by invitation only’ collaboration remains as stunning as ever and, as we have come to expect over the last few years, each individual piece is simply breathtaking.

As a complete and utter comic geek (and a bit of a closet gamer), it remains one of the highlights of my year.

I know I always say it, but I really struggled to choose a selection to share with you today – mainly because I would happily have shared ALL of the wonderful pieces with you! Instead, I have included a mere selection and you can find the rest of the showstopping pieces over at the collaboration’s dedicated Facebook home: Cake Con International.

Go and show them some love…!

 

Spotlight on the boys…

In last week’s collaboration station, I featured the wonderful Le Musée Éphémère de Jules Verne: a beautiful collection of sugar art by French and Swiss cake designers, inspired by the published works of Jules Verne. The collection was unveiled at Paris’ premier sugar show, Sugar Paris & EXPOGATO and, while I knew some of the artists involved, I was also delighted to stumble across a whole selection of new and inspiring talents.

One such discovery was Pedro León of Lion’s Cakes, whose piece for the show was an absolute treasure trove of immaculately-crafted elements. I lost a considerable amount of time exploring all the photos that I was sent from the show and it inspired me to go hunting for more of Pedro’s work.

And while it was his modelling skills that initially caught my attention, it seems that Monsieur Léon is a jack of all trades, with stunning patisserie, intricate sugar floristry and much more besides adorning his Facebook page.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, then I strongly recommend that you do!

 

Meanwhile on Twitter…

One of the things I most commonly hear when I mention Twitter around cake people is, “Oh, I don’t get Twitter…” and I can kind of understand where they are coming from. When I first joined back in the early days of the ‘other social network’, it felt like I was talking to an empty room and where’s the fun in that?

However, after persevering with it for a while, I realised that actually Twitter is a fantastic network for meeting and socialising with new people and an amazing resource for professional networking. I actually have a whole collection of Twitter accounts – a personal one (that sadly gets pretty neglected these days), a caking one (@mrbakerscakes) for discussing all things cake, a teacher one and even more besides for various projects and events I am involved with. And in all honesty, I have had some awesome opportunities come my way via Twitter, so if you’ve been considering making more of it, now is the time to start.

For cakers looking to get into Twitter, weekly meet up chats are a fantastic place to make new connections and find people to follow.

Every Tuesday between 8-9pm, the #cupcakehour regulars, hosted by Poppy’s Cupcakes (@poppyscupcakes) and Kitchen & Cook Shop (@kitchencookshop), meet to talk all things cake, with experienced and new cakers and bakers all sharing their latest makes and bakes.

Alternatively, from 9-10pm on Thursdays, you could join @SouthendSlice for the new #craftingsugar weekly twitter chat hour, with weekly chat themes to get those cranial juices flowing.

To get involved, log in during one of those sessions and search the hashtag. That will bring up all posts tagged either #cupcakehour or #craftingsugar and you’ll be able to join in. Don’t forget to hashtag your posts too!

 

Cake of the Week!

I love it when I see cakers push themselves out of their comfort zones and really challenge themselves to end up producing something absolutely incredible. All to often, I think we are afraid to try something new, but actually, if we never did that, how would we get better?

This week, Andrea Massarella of The Tasty Muffin Maker celebrated her daughter’s wedding day and gave her daughter and new son-in-law the gift of the most wonderful cake.

Her daughter had requested a garden-themed cake adorned with a multitude of springtime flowers as her new husband originally proposed to her in a bluebell wood.

In spite of never having made around 75% of the flowers before, Andrea managed to craft over 300 individual blooms, including roses, cherry blossoms, two varieties of jasmine, three varieties of dwarf iris, tulips, pansies, primroses, sweet peas, crocuses, bluebells, snowdrops, hyacinths, lilly of the valleys and daffodils, to produce this stunning centrepiece to the day.

It gives me great pleasure to share Andrea’s stunning cake as this week’s cake of the week. Congratulations!

 

Honourable mention…

Last weekend saw the much-anticipated residential four-day cake class, The Cake Retreat, take place at the Caledon Cake Studio in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Before they began their intensive four days of learning, the participants arrived to an informal meet and greet evening where they were presented with their special gift boxes (I want one!), before spending the following day with Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes By Design, rolling, smoothing, lustring, ruffling, cutting, veining, wiring and dusting. By the end of the day, all of the participants had been able to produce some stunning wedding cakes, with super sharp edges, high-shine lustres and beautiful sugar flowers.

Day two saw a relaxed painting class with the fabulous Louise Vincent of The Rose on The Cake, which was followed by an afternoon of spa treatments at the Castle Leslie Estate and an evening of being wined and dined with a nine-course tasting menu at the exquisite Snaffles Restaurant in Castle Leslie.

On Saturday, the group were taught to model the perfect bridal topper by Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ from the Oven by Corinna Maguire (how DOES she fit this all in?!), before learning how to create fresh flower arrangements for wedding cakes.

Finally, Sunday gave the guests a chance to assemble their sugar flower arrangements, before being taught all things cake photography by Catriona Corrigan of Divine Photography.

All in all, it sounds like a truly amazing experience and well worth the premium price tag. If like me, you would like to know more, you will be pleased to know that I have been able to convince one of the lucky attendees to pen a guest post all about the four-day weekend and I’ll let you know when it’s published!

Oh, and if you would be interested in attending The Cake Retreat 2019, you can register your interest with Emma, via her Facebook page. Who knows, maybe I’ll even see you there!

 

And finally…

I’m sure you are all dying to find out who the lucky winner of my Celtic Caker giveaway is, so without much further ado, let’s get to it!

In the early hours of this morning, I placed all of my subscriber’s email addresses into a hat (well a virtual one, thanks to the wonder of modern technology) and one was selected at random. And do you know what’s really hard? Doing a giveaway when all the information you have is the entrants’ email addresses. I would really have had to up my Facebook-stalking game to track the winner’s actual name down had she not used her business address…

But anyway, I am delighted to announce that the winner is…

*drumroll*

Nicola Jolliffe!

Congratulations! If you could get in touch via my Facebook page Nicola, I’ll arrange getting your copy of The Celtic Cakers Tutorial Book posted out to you!

Thank you to everyone who took part – don’t forget you can still grab a copy of the book on Amazon! And don’t go anywhere because I’ll be holding another subscriber giveaway soon! x