Welcome to issue 14 of your weekly slice of Something Sweet…
What’s new on the blog this week?
Last weekend, I headed back to the motherland (Wales) to take a class with a truly awesome cake talent, Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes. I had a fantastic day learning all about how to work with wafer paper to create a fabulous peony arrangement and have written all about the experience right here.
Make sure you check it out and, if you would like to know more about classes with Rhianydd, head to the dedicated Classes and Demonstrations section of her website.
A little later in the week, I confessed that I had been shopping again. Oops.
But since publishing my post all about my beautiful new Cerart tool caddy (which I love so so much), I have been inundated with messages from people telling me that they also have them and love them, which is lovely, but was I really the last to discover these little beauties?
You can read all about how much I love it and find out how to get your hands on your own beautiful case (if you are one of the only two people left on planet cake that doesn’t already have one) by reading the full post.
Have you heard…?
A few people have asked me if I have any more news on the Rolkem situation this week, particularly after seeing conflicting statements emerging from various sources, including Rolkem themselves.
The current line from Rolkem seems to be that the recall has been initiated in response to a contaminated batch of ingredients making their way into the manufacturing plant late last year, which is why it showed up during testing earlier this year.
However, as I understand it, the batch of Super Gold was tested by the FSA back in October and the Special Rose Gold was tested only a few weeks ago, meaning that the initial tests pre-date the alleged contamination and could not fall within the time-period being discussed in the current Rolkem statement. My source also assures me that contrary to the explanation from Rolkem that only a select batch of dusts are being recalled by retailers as precautionary measure, the recall originally initiated by Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd was actually in direct response to an FSA ruling and is indeed an FSA-mandated recall on ALL batches of Rolkem Super Gold and Rolkem Special Rose Gold.
So please ensure that you disregard all advice to the contrary and ensure that you continue to avoid using the affected products on your bakes, instead contacting your retailer for advice on how to exchange your product for a suitable alternative.
I couldn’t live without…
This week, international cake sensation Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes School of Sugar Art shares the simple piece of equipment that she simply couldn’t live without when she is creating her masterpieces…
I know there aren’t everyone’s thing, but for me, the essential piece of cake kit has to be a pair of vinyl gloves.
I originally started wearing them when I worked in a commercial bakery from the age of fifteen onwards and they were a must for us. They kind of became like a second skin and I didn’t want to touch food without them.
More recently though, I have found them so incredibly useful once again. I have very hot hands and I also love modelling chocolate – however, the two don’t pair well together.
By adding a pair of vinyl gloves to the mix, my hands become the best tool possible, allowing me to mould and smooth without the modelling chocolate getting sticky or becoming overheated. These days, I feel absolutely batty if I don’t have my gloves!
I have to agree, Avalon. After being introduced to the simple wonder of vinyl gloves when trying to use my radiator hands on modelling chocolate (by Carla Puig no less – name drop alert!), I wouldn’t even attempt to use it without them now. They are game changing! I was a bit worried about them causing imperfections in my finish, but I have found that by wearing a slightly too small size, they are like a second skin and don’t cause me any problems at all.
An excellent tip, thank you!
The hottest ticket in town!
Stop the press! The Cake Retreat is returning in 2019 and tickets have just gone on sale!
If you haven’t yet checked out Helen Ducker’s guest post all about this year’s fabulous retreat, then that should be your next stop – once you have finished with the rest of this week’s issue of course.
The Cake Retreat 2019 promises it’s guests a long weekend of cake, relaxation and fun in the stunning surroundings of Caledon, Northern Ireland, from Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th April 2019
The package includes two fantastic classes with leading cake talents, Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design and Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ From the Oven, four nights accommodation in some adorably quaint local cottages and all of your meals – including a special nine-course tasting experience within the sumptuous surroundings of the 2 AA Rosette award-winning Snaffles restaurant at Castle Leslie. This is after your visit to the Castle Spa’s stunning Victorian Treatment Rooms of course…
Emma’s class will teach you everything you would ever need to know to be able to execute a flawless two-tier wedding cake – including sharp edges, design artwork, transferring artwork, royal icing piping, stencilling, layering details and statement flowers.
Corinna’s class promises to indulge your inner novelty caker, with a two-day sculpted cake class being planned as we speak.
The entire experience will cost £1,275, but there is a payment plan available. To find out more and to book your place, head to the Cake Retreat Facebook page or contact Emma Stewart directly.
I wanna make that!
I do try not to repeat myself too regularly, preferring to vary the talents I feature in my weekly roundup of all things cake, but sometimes needs must – particularly when one of my favourite cakers tackles one of my favourite subjects!
For those that don’t know me in real life (yet), I am a huuuuge fan of all things Marvel Comics. Already this year, we have been spoiled with the biggest Marvel movie adaptation of all time (Avengers: Infinity War for those who aren’t up to speed), but the latest Marvel hero (or antihero) to return to the big screen is the Merc with a Mouth himself, Deadpool.
This week, Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes released her latest FREE tutorial and it’s only a freakin’ awesome Deadpool cake!
Sadly, she didn’t deliver it to me (I was hopeful for a second there), but it looks like a really fun project and the perfect cake for the comic fan in your life.
You can find the full tutorial over at Zoe’s YouTube channel, as well as over 350 more fantastic free tutorials for everything from character-filled 2D and 3D cakes to adorable animal-themed modelled toppers. Don’t forget to subscribe.
If you’d like to know more about learning opportunities with Zoe, you can also check out last year’s post about my glorious weekend of classes with Zoe’s Fancy Cakes…
The Collaboration Station
A collaboration of 50 international sugar artists, ‘Let’s Dream Together: The Collab In Pairs’ is a collection of more than twenty stunning displays made by artists in tandem with one another – some separated by many thousands of miles.
The sweet creations span many forms of edible media, from cookies to cake, and represent couples or groups from a variety of sources, including literature, religion, film and television – but they all have one thing in common: they are utterly breath-taking!
Be sure to head to the dedicated collaboration page to check out the full collection.
Spotlight on the boys…
This weekend sees the International Cake Show Australia from the Australian Cake Artists & Decorators Association (ACADA), so it seems only right and proper that this week, I shine my spotlight on an Australian talent – in particular the wonderfully talented Greg Cleary of Sweetums Designer Cakes.
Based in Kenmore, near Brisbane, baking and designing cakes has been Greg’s passion for over 30 years and his natural flair for design enables him to create cakes that are both stunning and sophisticated.
His latest cake creation, inspired by this weekend’s Royal Wedding, is currently on display at the ACADA Cake Show featuring a dazzling display of his many talents and is adorned some beautifully crafted roses, azaleas and hydrangeas.
And I was also thrilled to see that Greg’s incredible talents were also recognised at the show’s Cake Oscar Awards this weekend, with him winning Sugar Floral Artist of the Year. Many congratulations Greg!
Head to his Facebook page to see more of his stunning creations and be sure to give it a like to see what incredible masterpieces he crafts next…
Meanwhile on Twitter…
Of course, one of the biggest stories in cake this week has surely been the much-anticipated reveal of the long-awaited Royal Wedding Cake for the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they are now known.
The baker selected for the high-profile commission was Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery in east London, and she worked on the spring-inspired creation in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace for five days.
Assisted by a team of six other bakers, including Violet Bakery head baker Izaak Adams, the cake was made from 200 Amalfi lemons, 10 bottles of Sandringham elderflower cordial, 20kg of butter, 20kg of sugar and 500 organic eggs from Suffolk.
The cake itself was a lemon sponge, drizzled with an elderflower syrup and then filled with an Amalfi lemon curd, before being covered in a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) flavoured with elderflower.
Claire explained, “I’m really interested in a good balance of flavour, so where the buttercream is sweet, the lemon curd is very tart. You get a really lovely kind of thing happening when you take a bite, which is to get all of those flavours and sensations and hopefully it’s perfectly balanced.”
Before it was revealed that they couple had chosen Violet Bakery for their contemporary take on a Royal Wedding cake, there had been a lot of discussion around what they might choose and who might get the illustrious commission, with some left feeling disgruntled that they didn’t go on to choose a smaller, less-known British baker. However, Claire explains, “I’ve worked very hard for a long time doing what I love and so, when you get a request like that, it feels very exciting and it’s been a joy to do.” I’m sure we can all relate to that.
The finished cake was posted on Twitter yesterday by the Kensington Palace and while the reactions I saw were somewhat mixed, I’m just pleased that the couple have been able to break with tradition and choose a cake that they know they and their guests will enjoy.
What did you all think of the cake?
Cake of the Week!
It’s one for the youngsters this week, with a stunning take on Disney’s Rapunzel by Italian cake artist, Patrizia of Dolcidea Creazioni.
Created for Alice’s birthday, Patrizia’s cake is a fabulous blend of edible prints, delicate flowers and stunningly accurate modelling. It really jumped out at me when I saw it earlier this week and I am willing to bet that the birthday girl absolutely loved her special cake.
After seeing this cake shared by the Saracino Facebook page, I knew that I had to go and check out more of Patrizia’s beautiful cakes and I wasn’t disappointed. If you too would like to peruse more of her work, then visit her Facebook page or why not check out her website?
Congratulations Patrizia on being this week’s Cake of the Week!
Have you seen the latest creation from my buddy north of the border, Kelly McWilliam – Cake Artist? On Friday evening, Kelly posted her stylised take on Helena Bonham Carter as Harry Potter’s Bellatrix Lestrange and I absolutely love it!
Created because she wanted to develop her female face-crafting, Kelly battled some particularly warm weather to pull this together. Kelly is always so spot on with the finer details that bring a character truly to life and this cake is no exception. The eyes, the teeth, in fact all of it just work so well together to truly recreate the character that Bonham Carter brought to the role.
She’s given me an inkling of what she will be tackling next and I’m already excited!
If you have yet to discover the awesomeness that is the McWilliam, then you need to go check out the rest of her amazing portfolio. The woman is a genius! Find her Facebook page here.
Remember to keep those contributions coming in you guys. As we gear up to the busiest season of the year, I can’t always keep track of what you are all up to and I would hate to miss anything. The easiest way to let me know what’s going on in your corner of planet cake is to head to the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group and share it with us in the group.
I look forward to seeing you over there…