Something Sweet – Issue 2

What’s new on the blog this week?

At the start of the week, I posted my latest recipe for a Tiramisu Cake. Yes, you read that correctly – the luxurious classic Italian dessert, reimagined in cake form! I must confess that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth myself, but I was even eating this one for breakfast!

I also finally managed to pin down my #cakebro (yes, that’s an actual thing), Ben Cullen of The BakeKing for an exclusive interview following his successful run on series two of Extreme Cake Makers. Find out how the former tattooist first got swept up into the world of sugarcraft, what happened when he made the WRONG CAKE for a client and his own personal highlight of a whirlwind 2017.

Have you heard…?

Speaking of Extreme Cake Makers (again – what WILL we talk about now it is over for another year?!), the cake groups were all aflutter this week as the teams headed to the biggest cake show in the world, November’s Cake International. We were all eagerly parked in front of our television sets ready for the kick off time of 5.30pm and ready to relive the highs and lows of our annual calendar highlight.

Check out a certain young bear peaking out from behind Karen Keaney…

As the show interviewed various contributors and attendees, the inevitable screen captures started popping up all over social media – yes, even mine – and if my Facebook timeline was anything to go by, I bet Ben, Molly, Phil, Christine and everyone-else-involved’s notifications were off the charts.

After all the filming that took place over the weekend, I think the show’s producers could have filled an episode that was at least four times as long and, as such, a lot of what was filmed ended up on the cutting floor. While disappointing, I think it’s important to remember that the crew was there primarily to film its own stars and I thought that the show managed to give the public a fabulous bit of insight into what goes into producing the amazing displays, exhibits and competition pieces that cakers across the globe manage to produce year on year. Not to mention, it was so much fun looking out for familiar faces (and confections) as the cameras panned across the eponymous pink carpets!

Personally, I loved that so many of my friends’ faces and cakes flashed across my screen and it was exciting to catch a brief glimpse of the Magical Dragon Machine – the display that I was involved in last year.

I also loved getting to see what went into making some of the amazing pieces on display – what can I say, I’m nosy – especially if the cake in question scores highly in the competitions, like Molly’s amazing Orangutan Baby on a Tortoise (Congratulations again, Molls!).

But how about you? Did you watch the show? Did you get captured by the cameras? Was there anything that you wished had made it into the final edit? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

I couldn’t live without…

This week, our contributor is actually little old me, as I took the opportunity this week to meet up with my #sugarsister (yeah, these are just going to keep coming… #sorrynotsorry) Laura Dodimead of Life in Sugar to co-write a review of Cerart modelling tools for my guest column over at Fabricake: Why Are Cakers Getting Silly About Cerart?

Here’s a sneak peek at my latest guest post:

It has to be said that having friends that own a fabulous cake decorating supplies store has its perks – particularly when they send you some fancy new cake tools and ask you to try them out.

Fast becoming an industry favourite, Cerart Modelling Tools are finished with high quality food safe silicone and sturdy acrylic handles meaning that they are lightweight, easy to use and allow sugar artists to achieve top quality results with both sugar and chocolate.

I mainly work in sugar and so when Hayley and Michael asked me to have a play with some of their latest Cerart products, I knew that this would need to be a two-person job. I reached out to one of my bestest cake chums, chocolate artist and fellow Fabricake blog contributor, Laura Dodimead of Life in Sugar and asked if she fancied having a cakey play date.

The afternoon arrived and I popped over to Laura’s beautiful cake workshop and teaching space in Farnham, Surrey armed with my own set of Cerart tools (also available at Fabricake if you are interested) and the new additions to my collection.

After the final instalment of my Grumpy Pug collection, created last November as a tutorial for Cake Master’s Magazine (Cue a quick self-serving plug – back issue available here), I had pledged that I wouldn’t be making any more additions to the line-up, but I felt that being able to fall back on a classic design would be a great way to compare the new tools to those that I normally use. I also managed to convince my more chocolaty-inclined friend that a sugar portrait of me would also allow her to test the tools to their limit – and I’ve always wanted to be immortalised in sugar!”

To see the rest of the review, head over to the Fabricake blog page.

The hottest ticket in town!

Thanks to Rosie Dummer for the social media shout out for this week’s hot ticket. Sponsored by Zoopla, the Ideal Home Show returns to Olympia London from the 17th March to the 2nd April 2018. In their own words, ‘From kitchens and bathrooms, to bedrooms and basements, fixtures and fittings to fine food, gardens and the latest in home renovation, to fashion beauty and gifts, you’ll find it all under one roof at this award-winning show.’

‘But why are you mentioning this in a cake-zine?’, I hear you cry! Well, this year, to commemorate the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May 2018, the Ideal Home Show has invited amateur and professional bakers to enter the Royal Wedding Cake Competition being held at this year’s show. Tasked with constructing a wedding cake fit for the royal wedding itself, entrants will have their creations displayed throughout the 17 days of the Ideal Home Show for visitors to see. Sadly, if you haven’t already entered, you have now missed the deadline, but the show is still well worth a visit – not only to check out the cakes on display, but also to see some of the incredible displays, exhibits and panellists in attendance.

Oh, and the competition is also being judged by our very own Rosie Cake-Diva, so you might just get to see a familiar face too!

Tickets for the show are available from seetickets.com and do let me know if you have entered, so I know to look out for your piece when I am there on the 25th March.

I wanna make that!

I don’t know about you, but with the ever-continuing popularity of naked and nearly-naked wedding cakes, I have often puzzled over how one would go about creating a dummy version to display at wedding fairs. Not that I ever do wedding fairs you understand (just-for-fun caker, remember?), but I often lie awake puzzling over such inanities…

However, finally someone has solved that riddle for me and mastered the art of the dummy nearly-naked cake! Enter Becky Mayhew of Daisy & Fred…

In her accompanying blog post, Becky explains that she normally bakes real cakes to display at her fairs, but she was finding it a real waste of cake and she knew she had to crack the dummy dramas. Fortunately, after some experimentation with some household essentials, she had it cracked and has generously shared her method with the rest of us, via a time-lapse video and a handy tutorial.

You can find Becky’s tutorial over at her website, daisyandfred.co.uk and the video has been uploaded to her Facebook page.

Don’t forget to give Becky a shout if you have a go at making one…

The Collaboration Station.

I didn’t see any new collabs pop up this week, but that’s great because it gives me a chance to hop back to last week and two collabs that just got squeezed out by last week’s “Amore – a heart for children”.

Firstly, put together by Vicki du Plessis of Tiki’s Bakehouse, we have Cakes from the Dwarf, a collaboration celebrating thirty years of Red Dwarf, with the kind support of Grant Naylor Productions. Both my dad and my brother were big fans of the Dwarf when I was growing up and I loved getting to see the various elements I recognised from my childhood being immortalised in sugar.

Check out all the pieces over at the collaboration’s Facebook page.

Cakes from the Dwarf was the first collection brought to life by The Cake Collective, a Facebook group dedicated to all things collaboration, which welcomes any cake or sugar artist wishing to get involved in collaborations. Skill level doesn’t matter as it’s all about the enjoyment factor. Click here if you would like to join in with the fun.

The other collab that caught my eye last week was the Carnival Cakers celebration of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras – an international sugar art collaboration. Representing 19 countries, 38 Carnival Cakers came together to celebrate the sights and colours of the festival through beautiful sugar art!

Check out a mere taste of the fabulous pieces from the Carnival Cakers team.

You can find the full collection over at the collaboration’s Facebook page.

Spotlight on the boys…

Chocolate wizard Daniel Diéguez released his latest list of upcoming classes this week and revealed that he’ll be bringing his unique and astounding cake creations to pretty much all corners of the globe during the rest of 2018 – with even more to come…

If you would like to take this opportunity to learn from the master himself (I know I would!), have a look at the above image to find out when he will be in your neck of the woods. To book, Daniel advises to contact the hosts directly, but if you get stuck, pop him a message and he’ll point you in the right direction…

Help!

Last week, Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot asked for your help with pouring ganache. Sadly, no-one was able to help her out with temperature guidance (although a fair few people were interested to know what the answer was), however, I did manage to find this information at mycakeschool.com – I hope that proves at least a little useful, Cara.

This week, Gail Kingman would like some advice on stencilling. She is wondering how people prefer to attach their stencils to their cakes to get the best results and also the best way to apply a repeating pattern stencil. If you can help, post in the comments below, email info@mrbakerscakes.co.uk or you can post to the Mr Baker’s Blog Facebook page.

And if you’ve got a cake conundrum you can’t figure out, send it in and let our readers come to the rescue…

Meanwhile on Twitter…

Twitter has been buzzing this week about the return of the Great British Bake Off. Granted, a glance out of the nearest window will quickly remind us all that it is a bit early for tent-based baking, but this isn’t ordinary Bake Off.

Judges and hosts, Prue, Paul, Sandi and Noel are drafting in some well-known faces to raise some dough (see what they did there?!) with The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off. The mini-series of five episodes will see the tent welcoming some familiar faces for a jolly good cause.

As with previous charity specials on the BBC, each week will see four celebrity bakers take on a Signature, Technical and Showstopper challenge in a bid to be crowned the week’s Star Baker

Gracing the tent this year are Tim Minchin, Teri Hatcher, Stacey Solomon, Ruth Davidson, Roisin Conaty, Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, Perri Kiely, Nick Hewer, Melanie Sykes, Martin Kemp, Lee Mack, Kadeena Cox, Joe Lycett, Jamie Laing, Harry Hill, Griff Rhys Jones, Ella Eyre, Bill Turnbull, Alan Carr and Aisling Bea.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

Cake of the Week!

This week’s cake of the week was sent in by Louise Haythornthwaite of Alana Lily Chocolates & Cakes. Made for Mia’s third birthday, Louise’s cake features a stunning hand-modelled ballerina based on Felicie from the film Ballerina. I love how Louise left the cake so simple and clean to really showcase her topper in all its glory.

Congratulations, Louise!

Cake Show Showcase: That Takes the Cake, Sugar Art Show & Cake Competition

Some of the biggest and brightest stars of the Cake world have descended on Round Rock, Texas this weekend for the That Takes the Cake, Sugar Art Show & Cake Competition. Come back next week for your essential round up of the highs, the lows, the winners and the essential show gossip!

And finally…

You know what they say about the best laid plans and all that? Well, my plans for the school Easter break have fallen through and, rather than be sad about it, I have begun plotting something. With some (probably ill-advised) encouragement from yet another of my #sugarsisters, Kelly McWilliam, I am thinking about doing something completely crazy and taking Mr Baker’s Blog and Something Sweet on the road. Imagine a sort of cake road trip across the country, stopping in on some of the UK’s top cake and sugar artists along the way to share their creativity with you all. What do you think? Am I mad to even consider it? And if not, who would you want me to visit?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments…