I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many times again, while I have had so many amazing experiences and opportunities during my adventures in cake, the most special and important to me are the much-cherished friendships and relationships I have been able to forge with some incredible individuals across the globe.
I love meeting people, but new acquaintances are often surprised to discover that I am initially quite shy around new faces. I have been trying hard to overcome this, particularly recently – after all, a shy blogger surely can’t be an effective blogger – and this includes saying yes to opportunities that I might have shied away from in the past.
Opportunities like spending the day ‘babysitting’ the awesome Dorothy Klerck during a day of her current visit to the UK, at the invite of the lovely Gwen Powell from dragéekíss®. Even though I have known Dot as the friend of many of my friends over the last couple of years, I’d never actually had the pleasure of speaking to her so I was really pleased that I was able to overcome my shyness and spend the day getting to know her better. She really is as beautiful inside as she is out.
Possibly riding high from my lovely day with Gwen and Dot, I reached out to Carla Puig this week to see if she wanted some company while she was over in the UK teaching at Farnham’s Squires Kitchen. We got together with Farnham local, Laura Dodimead of Life in Sugar for a gorgeous dinner and an evening of putting the cake world to rights.
It has been a thoroughly gorgeous week spending time with such awesome people. Thank you to Gwen, Dot, Laura and Carla for the company…
EDIT: And yes, I do own more than one shirt = honest!
What’s new on the blog this week?
In case you have been living under a rock and the entire previous section just left you wondering… who? South African cake artist, Dorothy Klerck of Eat Cake Party is an incredible talent, known the world over for larger than life cakes with more than a little bit of character and movement, life-size conservation-inspired animal builds and awe-inspiring, gravity defying sculpted cakes – she never fails to amaze and inspire.
From her home, less than an hour outside of Cape Town, the art graduate and long-time lover of design first discovered she had a bit of a talent for cake artistry when she began creating birthday treats for her own brood of four beautiful children.
During my Day with Dot (as it will henceforth be known), she was kind enough to agree to sit down with me (in the glamourous surroundings of a Krispy Kreme store, no less) for an exclusive interview for Mr Baker’s Blog.
While most of my interviews are emailed out to the interviewees with them completing them in writing, when I do get the chance to sit down with an interview subjects, I think it makes for a much more personal interview.
Obviously, the work is far more intensive – you can probably imagine how long it takes to transcribe a 45-minute chat before editing it into something that works in written form – but I’m sure you’ll agree that the results are far worth the efforts!
I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you haven’t checked it out – you can find it here…
Have you heard…?
One of readers got in touch this week to revisit a discussion that flares up pretty regularly online: the delicate topic of emulating or even outright copying someone else’s work. She had seen a Facebook post this week wherein someone had copied another artist’s design to enter a competition, with the original artist understandably surprised that the creator of the new piece had not said anything to her – in spite of the fact that they actually know each other.
Having been in this position myself, I will say it was somewhat… surprising to stumble across a recreation of one of my cakes while perusing the competition entries at a recent cake show.
I appreciate that we’d all like to be 100% original 100% of the time, but, in reality, that isn’t always possible – particularly when one has clients asking for particular designs and I would be the first to admit that I have previously been inspired by the work of some other incredible artists when creating celebration cakes for those dear to me.
However, with so many of us seeing competitions as an opportunity to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and try something new, it does seem a little strange to me that someone would choose to replicate the work of someone else when given this opportunity.
And then, of course, you have the issue of credit.
I know that on the two-or-three occasions when I have been inspired by someone else’s work, I have always been careful to ensure that I contact the original artist to get their blessing in advance and to credit them when posting my final creation, but I wonder, is that me being overly cautious or is it just considered good manners?
I know that when people have recreated my designs in the past, either in part or in full and sent me a message to let me know, I am always incredibly touched and am always quick to share them on my own social media channels. And with so many of us now producing our own tutorials, whether online or in print, one might suggest that we are directly inviting people to pay homage to our work – so where does one draw the line?
It’s a conversation that I’ve been having with myself for a while this week, ever since my reader originally got in touch, so I thank you for indulging my wonderings. I’d love to know your take on it too, though. Is there a right way to pay homage to the work of others?
I couldn’t live without…
The cake sculptors are uniting this week in their passion for the one cake tool that we ALL couldn’t be without…
Milka von Essen-Vilov – Cake Pirate:
For me, it would have to be my PME dresden tool because you can do everything with it – sculpt, smooth, add texture and so on. When I first discovered it, I was able to replace several different tools that I had been using, particularly when making figures.
It really is just perfect and amazing. And while the PME is often imitated, it is never duplicated. Copies are far less stable and much more prone to breakage – it’s far better to stick with the original and the best!
Dorothy Klerck – Eat Cake Party:
The tool that I absolutely use the most is a Jem dresden tool. The black one. It’s different to other dresden tools because it’s flatter and less sharp. It’s my go to and I always have like fifteen in my bag because all my students inevitably end up spiriting them away during classes because they love using them so much. I definitely couldn’t be without one.
Rob Baker-Gall – Mr Baker’s Cakes (yes, that’s me!):
I love love love my dresden tools (yes, plural) and I couldn’t be without them. I have assembled quite the collection over the years and probably do 90% of my pieces using them. Whether it’s my Jem dresden (the black one), which I prefer for modelling; my Cerart dresden (the white one) which I use more for fine work; or my humble old PME dresden, which is where it all began and my number one essential tool for sculpted cakes, I couldn’t be without them. In fact, my PME dresden is so essential to my work that I even wrote a dedicated blog about it last year!
Vicky Teather – Yellow Bee Cake Co:
Me and my PME dresden. What can I say? It was the first tool I purchased in 2011 and it’s still going strong. I use it for literally everything. You could take away quite a few of my tools and I don’t think I’d notice but take away my dresden and I’d be utterly lost. The pointed end is great for texturing, shaping and drawing and the round end is perfect for blending seams, shaping and creating eye sockets. There are other dresden tools, which I do also use as they’re all excellent, but the PME one is my all-time favourite.
The hottest ticket in town!
As you may have gathered from the introduction above, Carla Puig was back in the UK this week, teaching her 1920’s Flapper Girl at Squires Kitchen. Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co (yup, she keeps popping up this week) was lucky enough to be there and she got in touch to tell us all about it…
When I saw Carla Puig was going to be teaching at Squires Kitchen, I was so excited. The class couldn’t come around soon enough. And last week it was finally time to learn from a true master!
I had no idea what to expect, or how I’d do. I make a lot of cakes, but never anything like this.
But, you know what? I’ve come away so happy! I’ve learnt so much from Carla. She didn’t just teach me how to create her design, she taught me theory that I can use to make bust cakes going forward AND my goodness has she inspired me! I’ve already ordered everything I will need to make my own design.
One of the best things about this class was the amount of time we had. It was a three-day class, so it was good to be able to take my time and really get everything right.
I’ve never attended at class at Squires before, because they charge a premium and that always put me off in the past. However, I can now say with certainty that you get what you pay for. The teaching room was large and spacious, with everything we could possibly need.
We were also provided with an excellent lunch each day as well. I was expecting maybe a few sandwiches, but we were treated to roasted vegetable couscous, dressed salads, fresh breads, quiches and a very tasty shortbread. There was even a dedicated area to sit and eat too.
If you’re looking at attending a class, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend both Carla Puig and Squires Kitchen.
Thanks Vicky! I also had a great experience learning from Carla, which you can read about here, and I fully echo your recommendation.
I wanna make that!
Regular readers will know that I have recently had my first dalliance with wafer paper after being invited to attend one of Rhianydd Webb’s classes at her home in Pontypridd. When you add that to the incredible creations constantly being produced by amazing artists like Daniel Guiriba, you may well understand why this form of sugar artistry has really caught my attention.
That’s why I was delighted to see that the latest free tutorial to be added to the line-up of offerings over at the Saracino website was a delightfully simple wafer paper rose that will allow even the most nervous of cakers the chance to experiment with wafer paper for the first time.
Carmen Montero of De un bocado has put together a pictorial guide that will allow you to create your first wafer paper rose without the need for any specialist tools or equipment (other than a leaf veiner) and the resulting bloom is beautiful.
You can find the tutorial here and don’t forget to share your results with me (and Saracino of course) if you decide to have a go!
The Collaboration Station
Last Sunday saw the return of The Couture Cakers: An Annual International Sugar Collaboration. Sadly, it was revealed too late make it into Issue 18, but obviously, I couldn’t let such an incredible celebration of couture fashion in sugar pass by without inclusion.
The Couture Cakers are a world-wide group of insanely talented sugar artists, assembled by Heba M Elalfy of Sweet Dreams by Heba, that have returned for a second year with their fashion-inspired show of inspirational couture through edible mediums including cakes, cookies and figures.
As always, I have only included a mere selection of the stunning creations that have made this collaboration a huge success for the second year running, so do ensure you head to the collaboration’s dedicated page to really give this collection the attention it deserves.
And if you would like to join their line up for The Couture Cakers: An Annual International Sugar Collaboration 2019, send Heba a message via the collab page. You never know, we may well be seeing you right here, this time next year!
After the horrors of Hurricane Maria, during which the Island suffered horrific damage and loss of lives, Maritza wanted to celebrate the way that they islanders have come together to rise from the ashes left behind by the disaster and the resulting collection of sugar art is a touching tribute.
Maritza was touched by the support of the many talented cake artists who joined her to create this beautiful collaboration and she is so proud of the wonderful art they have created. Head to their Facebook page to see the rest of the delightful pieces.
Spotlight on the boys…
This week, I discovered the Instagram of Siraç Çiçek, Sous Chef at The Land of Legends theme park in Turkey.
His timeline is a riot of colourful, fun and larger than life cakes and I lost so much time exploring them. And how fun does it sound to create awesome cake installations for a theme park?!
Head over to Instagram to see more!
Meanwhile on Twitter…
I’ve loved seeing all of the fun and excitement of the Birmingham leg of the Foodies Festival tour this weekend and it’s making me super keen to head along to next year’s events.
I know that Birmingham is a hot spot of caker talent, so have any of you headed along to the festival this week? I’d love to know what you thought and if it’s worth a visit?
Cake of the Week!
As you know, I don’t sell my cakes, but I’ve still made my fair share of wedding cakes (I’ve hit that age where all my friends are settling down). As a result, I can totally relate to the times when I hear how excited people have got when their clients have said they want something very ‘different’ to the traditional wedding cake, only to find that they didn’t REALLY want something different at all!
That’s why I absolutely love this gorgeous creation by Karen Geraghty of Bake Cake Create in Dublin, Ireland.
Karen’s client wanted a cake that was bright, colourful, fun and most-importantly sweet-themed and I think Karen absolutely nailed it!
A thoroughly well-deserved cake of the week! Congratulations Karen!
I’ll be honest, I really struggled to choose this week’s Cake of the Week as my various social media have been absolutely stuffed full of beautiful creations! I always create a working document that I add stuff to over the week and this week I had saved three or four potential candidates for this week’s Cake of the Week to it.
Because they were all so awesome and amazing, I thought I would share the other candidates with you too in this week’s honourable mention…
Shelby Bower of Shelby Elizabeth Cakes:
I loved this stunning gravity defying engagement cake created to match the bride-to-be’s engagement party dress and adorned with handmade sugar flowers.
Angie Scott of Angie Scott Cakes:
This incredible cake by Angie was created to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Cineworld in Ipswich and although it was delivered a few weeks ago, she shared it this week – so it totally still counts.
Hayley O’Beirnes – Gadget Cakes:
Creating a character that is as well-known as Nintendo’s eponymous mascot Mario can be a rather daunting prospect, but Hayley has pulled it off perfectly with her awesome and enormous Mario Kart cake!
I say it every week, but Something Sweet is a community resource – written by you for you – and it relies on your contributions to truly bring it to life…
Make sure you get in touch this week to tell me all about what your corner of the cake world is talking about; to share your must-have tool or product; to tell me about any exciting events or classes you have coming up; to share any recipes or tutorials you have discovered this week and are dying to try; and about anything else that has grabbed your attention on Planet Cake.
And of course, don’t forget to nominate your suggestions for the Cake of the Week. Maybe it’s one you have seen or perhaps it’s one of your own!
You can submit your contributions by messaging my Facebook page, by posting in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group or by emailing me directly.
I look forward to hearing from you!