What’s new on the blog this week?
Regular readers of Mr Baker’s Blog may recall that last year I interviewed the very talented Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design. During the exclusive interview, she told us all about a project she was working on called The Cake Retreat: an all-inclusive, four-day cakers’ break in Northern Ireland. She explained that it was going to be a long weekend of being wined, dined, massaged & well and truly CAKED, which she was organising with Jill Condell from Caledonia Cake Studio.
The weekend before last, Emma’s plan finally came to fruition and the first ever Cake Retreat was held and, although I couldn’t make it along myself, I reached out to one of the attendees, Helen Ducker of Helen Ducker Cake Design to tell us all about it.
I also raced by on Friday to tell you a little more about the craziness that was the last week. What with a full week of teaching, a mammoth clear-out-and-sort-out of my cake room, the blog to look after, a wedding to attend and, oh, just the small matter of the aforementioned wedding’s cake to make, it has definitely been a busy one! You can read a bit more about that here and I am thrilled to share the cake (albeit just a phone pic for now – sorry!) that kept me so busy all week:
I’m so glad it is a bank holiday – I might actually get to sleep at some point soon…
Have you heard…?
There was a fair bit of buzz this week around episode three of the new series of BBC One’s ‘A1: The Longest Road’. The documentary series tells the stories of the individuals who work and use the A1, the longest numbered road in the UK, stretching from London all the way to Edinburgh.
You might be wondering why a daytime TV show that follows people working along and using Britain’s longest road has been a hot topic of conversation in the cake groups, but a glimpse at the episode’s summary may give you a clue:
“Traffic officers battle to reach the scene of multi-car pileup which gridlocks the road. Police use the A1 to catch shoplifters on the run. And a mission to drive a life-size iced TV icon through the night proves anything but a piece of cake.”
Yes, episode three followed Sandra Clennell of SUGARFUN Cake Artistry’s epic 100-mile journey from County Durham to Birmingham last November, to deliver her incredible life-size David Attenborough piece to Cake International.
Watching Sandra’s bumpy drive and roadwork detours brought back all sorts of horrible delivery-drama memories of my own and I bet we could all sympathise with her last-minute panic to get the cake ready for the table in the dying minutes of the drop off window. The worst part to watch had to be every time Sandra had to lift the piece though. I think my heart stopped about three times during the delivery scenes!
Fortunately for Sandra though, all the dramas were worthwhile once she saw that her incredible showpiece had earned her a well-deserved gold award and it was certainly a popular piece at the show.
Congratulations, Sandra and thank you for giving the public a little insight into what goes into getting our crazy cake creations to the shows for them to enjoy…
If you would like to watch the episode, you can find it on iPlayer.
Have you also heard…?
Some of the most EXCITING news I saw on Planet Cake this week was that…
The Cake Dutchess Modelling Tools are now in production! Etty personally flew out to the Netherlands on Thursday to collect the first batch ready to be hand-delivered to her Kickstarter backers at Cake & Bake Germany in Essen this weekend. And she assures me that she plans to be shipping out tools to the rest of her backers within the next few weeks.
When I caught up with Etty ahead of the show, she told me she hopes that her new tools will live up to everyone’s expectations.
“I’m sure people will find different creative use for them – they’re not just modelling tools. It’s intended for all kinds of different mediums, from fondant to chocolate to isomalt. People might find them a little on the heavy side at first, but you quickly get used to the weight and you won’t have to worry about breaking them!”
Stupidly, I talked myself out of backing the project on Kickstarter, during one of my rare ‘I don’t need all the tools’ periods, so sadly I will have to wait even longer before I get my hands on a set of these long-awaited gems, but I am looking forward to hearing what the lucky first recipients think of them.
I couldn’t live without…
This week’s gues contributor is multiple gold-award-winning cake artist Becky Jenkins AKA Becky Jenkins – Sugar Artist. Becky recently started her training to become a fully accredited British Sugar Guild Demonstrator and this week she tells us all about her newest favourite cake tool…
The one tool I can’t live without at the moment would have to be my straight edge smoother from Cakes by Carol. I hate covering cakes and creating those essential sharp edges literally takes me forever – most of the time, I rub the edges so much that I end up with dips in the rest of the cake. Another problem I used to find was the sugarpaste would start to dry out before I had completely finished smoothing the cake.
The new straight edge smoother is just effortless. It not only give me beautiful sharp edges, but keeps the sides and top straight too – mainly down to the fact that it has an extra long surface making it ideal for taller cakes too.
With the tool, I can achieve sharp edges in minutes, which gives me more time to spend on the decoration and finishing touches. In addition, it gives very consistent results, so no matter what the conditions, I end up with a beautiful finish on my cake.
I also love the fact that it’s transparent so I can see any dips and air bubbles that need working on and check my results as they happen.
It does cost a little more than traditional smoothers, but like any good cake tool, it’s a real investment – one that will pay for itself with the time you save. And like I said before, it gives consistency, which, if you are a busy professional cake decorator, is a dream come true!
I would also say that the tool is suitable for artists of any skill level – novice or pro and I wish I had been introduced to it sooner.
Thank you, Becky!
If you would like to order your own Sharp Edge Smoother, you can find it here.
The hottest ticket in town!
Joyce Marcellus of Toxic Sweets Shop and Kassy Jimenez of Cakes & Crafts by Kassy met online in 2016 and since then have worked hard to develop an online community full of creative and positive bakers – Sweets University. After arranging a Cake Bar Social meet up with their members, which was a huge success, their next exciting challenge has been to take all of their past successes and use them to inspire a one-of-a-kind cake show called The Cake Bar Cake Show which will take place from 7th-8th July 2018.
Inspired by all things 80s, the first ever Cake Bar Cake Show is being held at at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach, California and will host a range of fun classes, demonstrations, vendors and an exciting competition showcasing amazing, showstopping 80s-themed cakes. There will even be an 80s prom-style after party, with food, drinks, a DJ playing all your favourite 80s jams, raffle prizes and even an exclusive 80’s Prom Swag Bag!
For more information and to buy your tickets, visit the event website. And if you fancy making it a family day out, you can take advantage of their special promotion, buy two tickets and get another two free – using discount code FamilyPack.
I wish Kassy and Joyce all the success in the world for the first ever Cake Bar Cake Show!
I wanna make that!
After you all saw how excited I was to attend Carla Puig’s first EVER class in the UK at Zoe’s Fancy Cakes a couple of months ago, you have probably figured out that I am a but if a fanboy as far as this talented lady is concerned.
So naturally, I was really excited to see that Saracino UK have just released a FREE tutorial ‘Modelling a Life-Size Hand’ by none other than Carla Puig!
The photo-tutorial is a step-by-step guide to creating a realistic human hand using Saracino’s own Choccolato Plastico Bianco (white modelling chocolate) is posted as an intermediate skill level, but I think it would make a fabulous introduction to realistic modelling to anyone who fancies having a go.
The Collaboration Station
It seems after being totally spoiled over the last few weeks, collaborations are having a wee break this week. Fortunately, I have heard tale of beautiful things to come in the next few weeks, so worry not, dear reader.
As always though, if I have missed your collaboration this week – give me a shout and I can edit it in… 😉
Spotlight on the boys…
I have been dying to share the work of legendary artist Ben Fullard AKA Ben the Cake Man ever since I first started Something Sweet, as I absolutely love his work. An utter genius with all things sugar, he never fails to wow me with his simply stunning creations and the hardest part of writing about Ben is choosing when would be the most appropriate time to write about him.
Luckily, this week he solved that conundrum with something so fun and tongue in cheek, it needed to be included in this week’s weekly round up of all things cake!
Created for the very personal wedding of Sam and Joe at The Wood Norton in Worcestershire, his humorous cake featured a beautiful tiered affair being totally ruined by the groom on his motocross bike! When set alongside Ben’s usual, more opulent work, it just goes to show that while Ben may be a jack of all trades design-wise, he is equally a master of all…
You can check out more of Ben’s beautiful cakes over at his Facebook page.
Meanwhile on Twitter…
In case you have been under a rock for the last few years, this week saw Star Wars Day – or May the Fourth – celebrated by fans of George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise all over the globe. While it is apocryphally claimed that the term was coined by the Conservative Party in 1979 to welcome Margaret Thatcher to office, it wasn’t until 2008 that the term was appropriated by fans of the movies to celebrate all things Star Wars.
Every year on Twitter, the hashtags #MayThe4thBeWithYou and #MayTheFourthBeWithYou could both be relied upon to deliver a glorious collection of Star Wars-themed tweets and some stunning bakes and cakes from some of our favourite cakers.
Oh, and me of course. I do love a bandwagon!
And while it wasn’t at all cake related, I have to mention this awesome homage to the day by the staff at Heathrow Airport! Sheer genius!
Cakes of the Week!
I was torn this week! I have seen so many cakes that could easily have been this week’s Cake of the Week – my social media timelines have been a riot of beauty! So, in a break from tradition (can one call it a tradition after only twelve weeks?), I have decided to choose TWO Cakes of the Week!
Our first Cake of the Week was designed by a familiar face to Mr Baker’s Blog, inspired by the recent competition held by Cake Masters Magazine in association with Renshaw to create a stunning 2 deep tier or 3 tier wedding cake suitable for a Royal Wedding. Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design’s Royal Wedding cake also took the couple themselves as her inspiration, incorporating Meghan’s love of peonies and a nod to the early Instagram posts that hinted at their blossoming relationship – can you spot the cuddling bananas?
The result really is breathtakingly beautiful – as Emma said in her own words, “An elegant design fit for royalty.”
The second of this week’s Cakes of the Week is a far less serious affair, but it is no less accomplished in its finish by any means. Inspired by the new Peter Rabbit movie, Lara Mason of Lara Mason Cake Art sculpted this incredible standing replica of the titular character from red velvet cake for Matthew’s fourth birthday and I can only imagine how blown away he was when he saw the masterpiece his mum’s best friend had created for him!
It’s certainly one he will remember forever, I’m sure and, along with Emma’s stunning wedding cake, an absolutely stunning Cake of the Week.
Congratulations to both of this week’s talented artists!
And don’t forget to post your latest cakes in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook Group – you never know, this time next week, you could be our next Cake of the Week!
My mind was well and truly blown this week by these stunning Pink Cymbidiums crafted by Arati Mirji of Sweet Symphony. Arati is a phenomenal sugar artist, creating some of the most realistic sugar flowers and foliage I have ever seen.
She was demonstrating how to make these incredible blooms at the Bangalore Bakers Meet at the Halcyon Residences in Bangalore yesterday and I am green with envy of everyone who was lucky enough to see them crafted in person!
If you haven’t yet checked out Arati’s page, I insist you do – you won’t regret it!
I’m still on the look out for more amazing baking themed events and shows to head to over the next few months, so if you are involved in an event that you would like featured on Mr Baker’s Blog or even previewed as a ‘hot ticket’ in a future issue of Something Sweet, please do get in touch and let me know!