What’s new on the blog this week?
Did you see? After a couple of weeks of lameness, I actually published some content this week! And not just once either – twice!
On Tuesday, I posted my review of a tool that I had been looking forward to playing with for an absolute age.
The Sharp Edge Smoother by Carol Smith of Cakes by Carol is a food safe acrylic cake smoother, designed to help you achieve sharp edges and smooth, vertical sides on your cakes.
Like most of you, I always strive to achieve a perfect sharp edge on my more traditionally-shaped cakes and have sworn by my acetate smoothers for years now. However, I do have a tendency to be rather heavy-handed with them and I have lost count of the number of times that I have given myself the dreaded bulge around the top rim of my cakes!
As a result, Carol’s smoother had been something that I had been umming and ahing over purchasing for quite some time, so when she got in touch to ask me if I would like to have a play with her exciting new tool, I was eager to have a go.
To find out more, you can head to the original post, right here – or why not, scroll on down to this week’s ‘This week I am mostly loving…’?
A bit later in the week, David Brice of the Paul Bradford dynasty got in touch to tell me a little more about their long-awaited rebrand for the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School – Cakeflix is here!
Having released a tutorial every week since his online learning platform, the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School launched seven years ago, Paul Bradford prides himself on always having his finger on the pulse of what his online audience are looking for.
However, last year, Paul and his partner David started to notice that things were changing. Their weekly tutorials were getting fewer views, while shorter, snappier techniques, and their hints & tips-led content, were growing in popularity.
With more and more cake artists beginning to share their own content via short videos and tutorials on YouTube, it seemed that cake decorators were starting to find themselves spoiled for choice.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Paul and David decided to look to their discerning members to see how they could develop their platform to meet the evolving requirements of their subscribers.
All in all, a lot of changes happening at the same time is always going to be a bit risky, but as Paul and David have identified, you have to be able to move quickly if you want to say relevant in any developing industry, and none seem to be moving as quickly as the cake industry at the moment. It really is a great industry to be involved in, but as Paul and David have identified, our clients and customers can never be taken for granted, so it’s important to listen, learn and act in response to what they want.
I said something very similar in a recent issue of Something Sweet, and I am so impressed by how reflective Paul and David have been in ensuring that they continue to meet the ongoing needs of their incredibly loyal members. With their Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant status and having won the Cake Masters Magazine award for the Best Learning Experience three times in the last four years, Paul and David already have some excellent foundations on which to build this great new brand and I wish them every success with it.
Read the full post about the launch of Cakeflix here, and then why not head over to Cakeflix itself to check it out. Paul and David are even offering a seven-day free trial to let us all explore some of the amazing new features and functionality on offer…
Over the rest of the week (when I wasn’t at school, of course), I busied myself with a very special favour for a friend. I was absolutely honoured to be asked to proof and edit a very special book that will be coming to the market later this year and I really enjoyed my advance preview. I won’t say any more about it now, but keep your eyes peeled for more info soon…
Have you heard…?
I think the hottest talking point this week has to be Cake Master Magazine’s announcement that nominations are now open for this year’s annual Cake Masters Magazine Awards!
As you know, Mr Baker’s Blog (from Mr Baker’s Cakes) is all about recognising and sharing all of the wonderful things that you are all up to in the world of sugar, so I always look forward to a chance to celebrate the brightest and best of the Cake World at the annual awards evening.
Since starting the blog, nearly six months ago however, I have come to know even more amazingly talented people, which will make it incredibly hard to choose just one favourite in each category – I will clearly have to give this some thought.
If you would like to nominate your favourite cake talents, then you can head to the Cake Masters Magazine website right now, by clicking this link.
No category for Best Cake Blog though, eh Rosie? Maybe next year… 😉
Have you also heard…?
Did you see the unusual edition to the London skyline that appeared on Monday morning?
Star of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, Michelle Wibowo of Michelle Sugar Art joined forces with Mr Kipling to create the delicious looking giant to celebrate the new limited-edition Mr Kipling and Roald Dahl range.
The 7.32-metre-tall creation was constructed using 7,500 Mr Kipling Cakes and it weighed in at a whopping half a ton!
It took Michelle over 200 hours to create everyone’s favourite giant, which was erected on a bench atop London’s trendy Primrose Hill in the early hours of Monday morning.
Michelle explained, ‘It was a pleasure to create such a loved character using some of Britain’s most iconic cakes. The sculpture included a range of cakes, including traditional Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells to new The BFG’s Strawbunkle and Cream Fancies.”
Cake Show Showcase:
You may recall that last week, I told you that the Cake International team had invited us all to submit our questions, comments and concerns regarding our competition entries for this year’s show ready for a live Q&A with new Head Judge, Karen Keaney of Roses and Bows Cakery and Senior Judge, Ben Fullard, AKA Ben the Cake Man.
Well, the questions are in, so now, all that remains is to join Karen and Ben tomorrow (Monday 30th July) at 7pm, where hopefully they will give us all the information we need to ensure that we are able to enter this year’s legendary competitions with confidence.
I hope I’ll see you all there…
This week I am mostly loving…
As you may have gathered, this week (well, last week really) I have been playing with the Sharp Edge Smoother, from Carol Smith of Cakes by Carol. As I explained above, Carol’s super new tool is a food safe acrylic cake smoother, designed to help you achieve sharp edges and smooth vertical sides on your cakes.
When used alongside some acrylic plates, the Carol’s Sharp Edge Smoother allows you to achieve some simply stunning results in mere minutes.
I’ll be honest with you, before I had my play, I was expecting it to be another faddy tool – you, know the sort of ‘time-saving tools’ that we’ve all experienced, which actually throw up their own complications and usually require mastery of a whole new set of skills – but honestly, this wasn’t the case. I was SO very pleasantly surprised.
I was so impressed with it, that in the original post, I pledged to do my first ever Facebook Live demonstration, just to show you how quick and easy it is to use. I’ll let you when that will be happening in the next couple of days…
In the meantime, if you would like to try out the Sharp Edge Smoother for yourself, Carol has agreed to offer a 10% discount to all of my readers! As I mentioned above, to use the Sharp Edge Smoother by Cakes by Carol, you will also need acrylic plates and these should ideally be 6” larger the cake itself, otherwise your precious smoother will get scratched. If you already have some acrylic plates in amongst your cake gear, then you can pick up the smoother on its own, right here.
However, if, like me, you are new to acrylic plates and need to grab some of those along with your smoother, then Carol also offers a Smoother Bundle – which contains the smoother itself and a whole set of acrylic plates in 12″, 16″ and 20″. You can find the bundle here.
To take advantage of Carol’s generous 10% discount, exclusively for readers of Mr Baker’s Blog, simply enter the code MRBAKER18 at checkout. The code will be valid until the 9th August 2018 – so get in there quick!
The hottest ticket in town!
If, like me, you are a huge fan of Little Cherry Cake Company – and let’s be honest, of course you are – then an opportunity to learn how to create cakes the Little Cherry way is not one you want to miss.
This week, the talent behind Little Cherry Cake Company, Tracey Rothwell announced a new class designed to allow you to master sharp edges (that seems to be a theme this week), before going on to explore a number of other amazing techniques, which will allow you to take your cakes to the next level.
The Sharp Edges Misty Cake class works in real cake (and you know how much of a fan I am of that!) and you will learn how to fill and ganache your cake with an all-important sharp-edged foundation, before covering it with sugarpaste and achieving those highly sought-after sharp edges.
You will also learn how to achieve a misted airbrush effect, create your own standing Kawaii figure, how to craft adorable animals, how to create stunning looking details and all of this will be created by hand – with no moulds at all – meaning that you will be able to replicate these fantastic skills on all of your cakes at home!
If you would like to attend Tracey’s newest class, then you have two options: Saturday 22nd September 2018 OR Saturday 13th October 2018. It is a one-day class, running from 9.30am-5.30pm (although, there is a lot to fit in, so you may run over) in Bacup, Rossendale, Lancashire.
To find out more and to book your place, head to the classes section of Tracey’s website.
The Collaboration Station
Although it was actually scheduled for release last Saturday, I know that The Arabian Nights International Collaboration was plagued by some internet connectivity issues, meaning that publication got pushed back until Sunday afternoon, meaning it missed my deadline.
Not to worry though, because as promised in last week’s issue, I am delighted to feature this beautiful collaboration in full in this week’s issue instead.
Originally known in its native Arabic as One Thousand and One Nights, the Arabian Nights is a collection of Persian folk tales which have been edited, retold and developed for many years and include some of our most favourite stories, including ‘Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp’, ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’, and ‘The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor’ – although, interestingly, these three tales were added to the collection in more recent years by Antoine Galland and other European translators.
The stories all feature the common themes of hidden treasures, magical powers, beautiful ladies and heroes overcoming monsters and the 42 incredible artists that contributed to this beautiful collaboration have tried to capture the magic and beauty of the stories into their vastly diverse pieces.
As always, this is just a snippet of the full selection, so be sure to head to their Facebook page to see the rest of the stunning pieces on display.
Congratulations on a fabulous collection, Nermeen and team! It really is breathtaking…
Spotlight on the boys…
One of my favourite things to come out of Mr Baker’s Blog has been the new friendships and connections I have been able to form with amazingly-talented individuals from all over the cake world. One such new friendship is with the fantastic Sébastien Haramendy, of Un Cupcake, l’Addition! based in France.
I first discovered Sébastien and his work when I covered Le Musée Èphémère de Jules Verne earlier this year and I learned that, like myself, he combines his passions for art, photography, writing and pastry – particularly cupcakes – by sharing his many talents over on his blog, Un Cupcake, l’Addition!
Being a huge fan of his super-fun cupcake art, I was delighted to see some more of his instantly recognisable work land on my doormat this month, as the cover star of this month’s Cake Masters Magazine (Issue 71: August 2018).
As one might expect, his cover is a riot of colour and he has created a wonderful display of character-filled creations. And the best part? Inside, you will find a full ELEVEN PAGE spread to enable you to recreate them for yourself! Amazing!
Congratulations on a wonderful cover, Sébastien – I’m thrilled that even more people will be able to experience your fantastic work for themselves!
Meanwhile on Twitter…
I don’t always manage to include a wee feature on what some of my favourite Twitter bakers are up to, but this week, I couldn’t let this one pass without comment (or fanfares – possibly even a parade).
My fellow blogger, Becky Chester of @BecksBakes is a simply lovely individual and a super-talented baker (not that she’d ever admit it). Luckily though, I am not the only person to have noticed her fabulous work and this week, one of my favourite foodie magazines got in touch with Becky to ask her to create her own guide to the perfect afternoon tea at home.
Cake of the Week!
To ensure I keep up with what all of you are up to on Planet Cake, I am in a LOT of cake groups. And I mean a lot.
It was while I was perusing one of these earlier this week (Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste Community if you’re interested), I stumbled across an absolutely breathtaking wedding cake topper by Ana Jaramillo of Artisan Confections by Ana.
While not strictly a cake, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share these incredible cake toppers that Anna created from Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste to help a couple celebrate their special day.
Look at how true to life they are! I bet the happy couple was blown away by both the likeness and the sheer amount of hard work that had gone into their gorgeous topper!
Congratulations Ana, on a truly well-deserved ‘Cake’ of the Week win!
In last week’s issue, I told you all about a very special challenge that Dot Klerck of Eat Cake Party had taken on as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations this month.
All week, Dot has been working with a children’s cancer charity, Cupcakes of Hope to build a three-metre-tall, edible statue of the former president entirely out of cake – LIVE in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg to try and raise R6.7 million for the foundation.
If you have been following her progress, through the local press coverage and Dot’s own Facebook Lives and social media posts, then you will see that she has done an absolutely incredible job.
The Live launch event took place yesterday, in collaboration with Sandton City, Hot91.9FM and, of course, Dot herself, and the entire celebration was watched over by Dot’s incredible creation.
I know that Cupcakes of Hope are so grateful to all of their contributors for supporting the event, which was used to celebrate the lives and memories of Cancer Heroes as well as Mandela’s centenary.
You can support their wonderful cause by donating in honour of your cancer hero – to find out more, visit their website.
Don’t forget to get in touch this week to tell me all about what your corner of the cake world is talking about; to share which tools or products you are loving this week; 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!