Happy Sunday everyone! I am writing to you LIVE from the very glamorous surroundings of the Travelodge Bury on the first leg of Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour. But panic not, your weekly slice of Something Sweet is still here with all your essential cake news from the last seven days…
What’s new on the blog this week?
It’s been a big ol’ week on Mr Baker’s Blog this week. On Tuesday, I posted my most popular blog post EVER, garnering over a thousand views within the first 24 hours. The title of the blog was ‘I applied for GBBO – here’s what happened!’ and it seems that it caught people’s interest. And purely because I am mean, I’m not going to tell you what happened here – you’ll have to check out the full post if you want to know. You can find it here.
On Thursday, I headed off on my grand adventure: Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour. The first leg brought me to the outskirts of Manchester, from where I have been exploring the delights of the Bolton Food & Drink Festival.
Now in its 13th year, the Bolton Food & Drink Festival is the largest festival of its type in the north and across the weekend, celebrity chefs including Michael Caines, Ainsley Harriot, James Martin and Nadiya Hussain are hosting a series of live demonstrations and events.
I have been posting a daily blog from the event and so far, highlights have included a day shadowing my friend and the star of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers Rosie Cake-Diva as she delivered her showstopping cake to the launch party and then on to its final resting place at the Market Place Shopping Centre; and a day of meeting up with some incredible talents, including a very special Saturday Brunch with Nadiya Hussain and a fantastic demonstration from former MasterChef champion, Simon Wood.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to ensure you can follow the rest of my tour adventures.
Have you heard…?
You probably need to get used to the fact that for the next couple of months, The Great British Bake Off is going to form at least a small part of each issue of Something Sweet. I hope that this isn’t a problem for the rest of you, because I really do love it.
The biggest news this week, other than my aforementioned blog post of course, was the announcement of the newest cohort of bakers to be facing the challenges of the tent.
With a line-up that includes a banker, a blood courier, a DJ, a PhD research scientist, two stay-at-home parents and a mental health specialist, the bets are now on as to who will be the first to leave, who will quickly become a favourite and who has what it takes to sail straight through to the final.
Have you already checked out the bakers’ profiles? Or have you gone one better, like me and tried to find them on social media so you can check out their baking?
If not, you can check out their profiles on the official Bake Off website and don’t forget to let me know who you think could be this year’s Bake Off champion!
Cake Show Showcase:
Sorry to nag guys, but you now have less than a week to take advantage of the Cake International Early Bird entry window!
I really can’t comment, because I STILL haven’t got my entry in either. But seriously, get to it guys. And chase me up too!
Nobody wants to have to pay the higher entry fee for a late entry!
This week also saw this week’s judges announced too, so it really is all becoming very real… *gulp*
This week I am mostly loving…
I haven’t actually used this product myself yet, but I keep seeing incredible cakes that have used the Sweet Stamp by Amy Coyle of AmyCakes to add some fabulous calligraphy. As a result, I thought it was high time it made it’s mark on Something Sweet! <- See what I did there?
As Amy explains on her website, it’s never been easier and prettier to apply personalised messages to your cakes. With the Sweet Stamp by AmyCakes you can easily emboss your message or name into your sugarpaste and then paint it.
There is no longer any need to mess around with frustrating and time-consuming cutters or struggling to find modern and elegant lettering.
I think (although I could be wrong) that the Sweet Stamp is already available in four different fonts, as well as a variety of other useful shapes – including unicorn eyes and elegant curls and swirls. I think Curly is my favourite and I am told that it is incredibly easy to use.
You can see the Sweet Stamp in action here.
To find out more or to purchase your own Sweet Stamp, you can head to the AmyCakes website here.
The hottest ticket in town!
Have you seen the incredible buttercream cakes created by Butter & Blossoms?
Since discovering the art of piping buttercream flowers in 2016, Tanaporn Vivi of Butter & Blossoms has worked hard to develop her signature style of creating beautiful buttercream cakes using just a small palette knife.
Since seeing her stunning bakes appear in my timeline, I have been eager to learn more about her work and so I was very excited to see that she is actually touring, teaching her signature style with unique classes.
Unfortunately, she isn’t coming to Europe any time soon, but for those of you who are local to Singapore, you will be pleased to hear that she will be teaching a variety of florals, including dahlias, chrysanthemums, forget me nots and more) at her classes at Butter and Bake on the 21-23 September.
If you would be interested in booking one of these classes, head to the Butter & Bake website here.
And for those of you with teaching spaces, we need to get Tanaporn Vivi over to the UK soon!
The Collaboration Station
This week saw the return of the Disney Deviant Sugar Art Collaboration for its second year, with another incredible array of Disney favourites, transformed in a variety of ways to produce their ‘deviant’ counterparts.
There are so many beautiful pieces in this collaboration, that it was impossible for me to share them all here. Instead, I offer just a sample of them and would strongly encourage you to visit the collaboration’s dedicated Facebook page to check out the rest of the collection.
I particularly loved this anthropomorphised take on the Lion King’s Scar, by Lulú Lucero of Lulú Lucero Sugar, which was inspired by the art of Fernanda Suarez; and this incredible realistic take on Inside Out’s Sadness, by Valentina Terzieva of Valentina’s Sugarland.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the pieces here.
Spotlight on the boys…
Chef Serdar Yener has over 40 years of experience in cake decorating and his vast international experience and artistic talent has long been recognised by his peers both in Australia and further afield.
He has been competing in international competitions for many years, winning his first Pastry Artist of the Year title in Igeho, Switzerland back in 1987.
His Sugar showpieces are displayed in museums all over the world, including the Culinary Art Museum in Switzerland and The National Museum in Singapore and he has also judged at major culinary competitions in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and the USA.
After many years working as a head pastry chef at 5-star hotels in Europe and Asia, he moved to Gold Coast, Australia in 1992, where he opened his family business producing truly incredible wedding and novelty cakes.
In April 2014, he founded Yeners Way Online Cake Art Tutorials, an online cake tutorial website where he publishes detailed video cake decorating tutorials that make it possible for almost anyone to replicate his amazing creations.
Recently, Serdar has been experimenting with millefiori (meaning a thousand flowers), a technique originally used for glasswork in which canes or rods are produced with hidden multicoloured patterns, which are only viewable when the ends are cut. These are then cut into discs and arranged to produce a pattern.
Serdar has been using this technique to produce some incredible cake finishes and these have naturally proved very popular in the cake groups.
Meanwhile on Twitter…
The return of The Great British Bake Off also heralds the return of the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, hosted by Jackie Heaton and Rob Allen.
Each week, all of those who wish to join in are encouraged to attempt one of the three challenges from that week’s Bake Off episode, posting their results to Twitter, with the hashtag: #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong.
Each week, the panel of judges will choose a winner and they will receive a prize!
As a previous two-time winner, I can assure you that it is a really fun way to join in with GBBO and this year, Jackie and Rob has managed to attract a sponsor, who will be providing some fantastic prizes.
If you fancy joining in with the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong, head over to Twitter and make sure you are following Jackie at @thebakingnanna1 and Rob at @Rob_C_Allen and tune in to the hashtag #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong after next week’s episode of The Great British Bake Off.
While you’re there, why not give me a follow too at @MrBakersCakes? I look forward to seeing your GBBO bakes!
Cake of the Week!
I’m sorry, but there was only ever one contender for this week’s Cake of the Week.
When I saw Lynette Brandl of CoCo’s Cupcakes post her meat cake, created for the birthday of a family friend who just so happens to be a butcher, I was stunned. I couldn’t get my head around how she had managed to create such a realistic finish using just sugarpaste.
Many were trying to claim foul play (with their tongues firmly in their cheeks of course) however, Lynette kindly posted a video of the cake being cut to reassure us that it was indeed a tasty chocolate cake and that she hadn’t actually secretly nipped out to buy a joint of meat.
I am still amazed at the incredible effect that Lynette was able to create and for that reason, she had to be this week’s Cake of the Week. Congratulations Lynette! I can’t wait to see what meaty creation you cook up next!
My favourite crazy Scotswoman has been playing with her icing again, this time recreating one of my FAVOURITE movie characters of all time!
Winifred Sanderson is one of the infamous Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches who are the main antagonists in the 1993 live-action Disney film Hocus Pocus. As the leader of the group, Winnie is the primary villain and Bette Midler managed to bring the role to life with both humour and terror too!
It remains essential Halloween viewing for anyone with taste and Kelly McWilliam of Kelly McWilliam – Cake Artist has done an admirable job of bringing the primary villain to life.
I do hope that you are planning on adding Mary and Sarah to the line-up next, Kelly?
Although I’m on tour, I still want to hear about what your corner of the cake world is talking about; to know which tools or products you are loving this week; to hear about any exciting events or classes you have coming up; to hear about 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!