Hey hey hey, cake chums (totally gonna make #cakechums a thing btw – look out for merch in 2019!) and welcome to another issue of Something Sweet – your weekly slice of all the latest news from the world of cake.
Like many of you I’m sure, it continues to be a crazily busy time here at Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes HQ – why you ask? Well, as I may have mentioned last week, or for like many MANY weeks now, next weekend sees the WORLD’S BIGGEST CAKE SHOW, Cake International return to its home at the NEC Birmingham for its 25th anniversary celebration.
I’m sure that between us, there will be people competing, exhibiting, teaching, demonstrating or even just coming along for a fabulous day out – but one thing that we all have in common is how busy we are, making sure that all of our preparations will come together for when those doors open at 9am on Friday.
With so much going on across the three days of the show, it can be incredibly easy to miss something, so I thought I would see what I could do to help you plan your visit. To that end, I popped a wee shout out on Facebook this week to find out what all of my cake chums are up to across the weekend and the results follow below – I am happy to present the Mr Baker’s Blog guide to the perfect Cake International weekend…
What’s new on the blog this week?
Sticking with our Cake International theme, this week the blog saw a preview of one of the show’s most anticipated features – Peach Life.
Inspired by the stories of Roald Dahl, Peach Life is a collaboration of incredible international artists, who will be coming together to bring a host of everyone’s favourite author’s best loved characters to life in sugar and cake.
The feature included a selection of carefully cropped teaser images – enough to pique your interests, without giving too much away – and a selection of artists biographies from some of the artists involved.
To check it out, you can head to the full post by clicking this link.
I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to seeing this one!
Oh, and by the way, alongside their fabulous display, the team will also be handing out free cupcakes and free Roald Dahl-themed Rococo Chocolates – while stocks last – so get there early!
Have you heard?
The Cake International weekend also marks the return of the Cake Masters Magazine Awards, which I have already previewed in some detail now.
However, the weekend will also see the magazine crown its Top 10 UK Cake Artists for 2018. This year’s cohort includes a fabulous selection of talents, including some of the stars of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, Phil and Christine Jensen of Peboryon, Suzanne Thorp at The Frostery and Ben Cullen of The BakeKing.
I was also thrilled to see some of my dearest friends in cake amongst the rest of the line-up, which includes Claire Anderson of Clairella Cakes, Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes, Lara Mason of Lara Mason Cake Art, Kay Gajra of Kaykes, Jacqui Kelly of Totally Sugar, Enrique Rojas of Have Some Cake and Elizabeth Solaru of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium.
It really is fabulous to see so many wonderful artists receiving the recognition that they deserve and you will be able to see the top ten artists being presented with their trophies at Cake International on Friday 2nd November at 12.45pm.
Be sure to come and cheer them on!
Do you know what, I think I might scratch the regular format this week – it’s proving quite tricky to shoehorn everything into my regular features. Instead, let’s check out who will be appearing at Cake International, where you can find them and what you can expect during your visit.
Sweet Success Sugarcraft – Make sure you swing by the Sweet Success stand where the creators of tasty bakes and essential cake decorating supplies will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary – hey, just like Cake International!
They will be celebrating their special milestone with lots of awesome discounts and some delicious samples of some of their most popular cakes, as well as selling their famous fruitcake alongside sugarpaste, ganache and filled slices of cake to eat on the day or take home!
Catch them on Stand A01!
Cake Dutchess – I’ve already alluded to this, as I am part of the team bringing it to life, but Etty van Urk of Cake Dutchess will be launching her brand-new book, The Cake Dutchess Modelling Guide: Animals as well as selling her beautiful new stainless-steel tools and, of course, her fabulous modelling paste on her stand.
Alongside this, Etty will also be joined by whole host of talented cake artists who will be combining their talents and skills to complete an incredible live build across the weekend, right before your eyes. The line-up of artists involved includes Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ from the Oven, Janette MacPherson of Janette MacPherson Cake Craft, Kylie Mangles of Letterpress Bakery, Kelly McWilliam of Kelly McWilliam – Cake Artist, Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes and me, of course, as well as a whole host of Cake Dutchess Instructors.
To check it out, pop to stand F14 (and if you’re really clever, you’ll time your visit to coincide with the cutting of the live build cake at 3pm on Sunday!)
Faye Cahill Cake Design – Faye is one of Australia’s most talented wedding cake designers and we are hugely privileged that she will be returning to the UK once more to share her incredible knowledge and talents with us all.
Across the weekend, you will be able to find Faye on her stand F27, where she will be selling copies of her latest book, The Gilded Cake (piles of which are currently residing all over Mich Pattinson’s house!). Even more excitingly, anyone who buys a copy of Faye’s new book will be entered into an exclusive draw to win a set of stencils and lustre dusts. As a big fan of Faye’s lustres, this is definitely a prize worth winning!
Valentina’s Sugarland – Fans of supertalented Berlin-based cake artist, Valentina Terzieva will be thrilled to learn that she will be at the show with the English version of her stunning new book, Valentina’s Sugar Land.
Alongside her book, she will also be demonstrating her uniquely recognisable style of sugarcraft – believe me, you won’t want to miss this!
Head to Stand F32 to check out Valentina’s fabulous work!
dragéekíss® – The dragéekíss® team will be spoiling us this year with a thoroughly gorgeous display featuring 20 of the 60 pieces from the stunning SweetEasy Collaboration on their stand, K04 and fabulous demonstrations on their retail stand, J24.
You and a friend will also have the chance of winning an exclusive dragéekíss® Gold Prize Bundle each worth £80.00! To enter, strike your very best pose next to the SweetEasy: A Gatsby Inspired Collaboration stand and post it on Facebook, tagging each other and using the hashtag, #dragéekíss.
The Gold Prize Bundles includes: a dragéekíss® pearl applicator, the Continuous Quilting Mould by Katy Sue Designs, ten tubs of coloured sugar pearls and two FMM Sugarcraft Press Ice Tools.
Be sure to check out the exclusive show offers too!
Incredible India – I’m so excited that the lovely Tina Scott Parashar will be coming all the way from India, not only to share her amazing talents and skills through a main stage demonstration and additional demonstrations with Saracino, Magic Colours and Cerart, but also she will be launching the official book of the Global Sugar Artists Network‘s Incredible India – An International Cake Collaboration. With over 50 pages of step-by-step tutorials, some incredible recipes fusing traditional Indian flavours with western bakes, exclusive interviews, articles and of course the beautiful pieces that made up this wonderful collaboration, this is definitely one that I will be tracking down!
Daniel Diéguez – As I mentioned last week, Daniel Diéguez will be returning to Cake International with his Chocolate Magic team to create a very special display entitled, ‘The Greatest Cake Show’ to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary.
Once completed, the display will be sliced and shared with the public on the Sunday.
To see Daniel and his international team of legendary sugar artists in action, head to stand E27, opposite the International Theatre.
Twisted Sugar Artists – This year, the talented team behind 2016’s best showpiece finalist, Alice In Wonderland showpiece are back and, this time, they’ve gone darker than ever before with a gothic style banquet featuring several life size characters dining on dark and delicious faux food, bats, rats, ravens, rotten fruit, elegant gothic tiered cake and hand painted portraits will all feature along with a stunning special effects set up.
The artists featured this year are Karen Keaney (project lead) of Roses and Bows Cakery by Karen Keaney, Calli Hopper of Calli Creations, Daniel Diéguez of Daniel Diéguez / Cake Artist, Christine Craig of La Lavande Sugar Florist, Mich Pattinson, Isabel Tamargo of Tartas Imposibles by Isabel Tamargo, Angie Harris of Angie Scott Cakes, Janette McPherson of Janette MacPherson Cake Craft, Jacqui Kelly of Totally Sugar, Laura Dodimead of Life in Sugar and Stuart Harris of Motion Mapping.
The Celtic Cakers Tutorial Book – Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ from the Oven will be bringing her fabulous book, The Celtic Cakers Tutorial Book to Cake International via the Crafty Designs‘ Sugar Press stand, B10, where you will also be able to pick up a free sample of Vera Miklas modelling chocolate with every purchase!
The Celtic Cakers themselves will also be in attendance, building an Irish themed “totem-pole” showpiece at the stand over most of the weekend too! Make sure to swing by and see them – I’m sure it’ll be a great craic.
Magic Colours – It might be quicker to tell you what Magic Colours aren’t doing this year – as they appear to be popping up everywhere, including collaborations with brands like dragéekíss®, sponsoring Daniel’s Chocolate Magic and laying on a whole host of private demonstrations in the Magic Colours Vault, from incredible artists like Tanya Ross of Novel-T Cakes, Val Seitz of Vananas Bakery, Isabel Tamargo of Tartas Imposibles, Tal Tsafrir of Tal Tsafrir’s Cakes, Zoe Burmerster of Sugar Street Studio and a lot more besides!
You can also head to stand C10 where you will be able to check out even more demonstrations and peruse the full range of Magic Colours products, picking up some top tips on how you can use them to enhance your own sugar craft.
Dinkydoodle Designs by Dawn Butler – Mrs Dinkydoodle herself, Dawn Butler will be launching the BRAND NEW Dinkydoodle airbrush kit on the Fractal Colors stand, where she’ll have some great offers available and will be running an exclusive airbrush surgery! ‘A surgery?’ I hear you ask… Basically, if you are having any sort of problems with your airbrush (regardless of the brand), you can pop along to see Dawn on stand C30 where she will answer your questions and take a look at your airbrush (and hopefully get it working again).
Dawn tells me that she’ll also be launching two brand new products on stand C21 – the Cake Support Pin and her new Carry Cake Kit – I don’t even know what these terms mean, so I will definitely be swinging by to check them out!
Oh, and the Dinkydoodle Goody Bag IS BACK too! ‘What are they?’ I hear you ask? Well, they’re sealed gift bags, for sale at just £5 each. The contents is guaranteed to have a retail value of at least £5, but many of the gift bags will contain MUCH MORE!
Will you be lucky enough to bag yourself a brand new Dinkydoodle airbrush? Or hot pink spare pen? Maybe even a free Dinkydoodle airbrushing class? Dawn tells me that several brands have kindly donated products for these bags, so you really could win ANYTHING!
The bags are strictly limited to one per person, with only a set amount per day, so it’s first come first served!
Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine – The peeps at Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine are positively spoiling us at Cake International with a whole weekend of demonstrations from award-winning artists, Laura Dodimead and Enrique Rojas on stand F50.
Laura will be showing us how we can achieve some breathtaking results with modelling chocolate, while Enrique Rojas will be demonstrating his signature style across a tiered design over the three days.
You will also be able to check out their fabulous Christmas collaboration, created by a whole host of contributors. I haven’t had this confirmed, but I imagine there will probably be some fab subscription offers available too, so be sure to check out what they have available!
The British Sugarcraft Guild – Those legends of sugar, the British Sugarcraft Guild will be doing a live build over the entire weekend on stand C20, creating a cascade of poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One, in support of the Royal British Legion.
We are all invited to come along and get involved by creating a sugar poppy to be displayed on the cascade and show our support for a fantastic charity.
Karen Davies Sugarcraft – The Karen Davies team be will be hosting a variety of live demonstrations all day, every day on their stand A04, during which they will show us how to get the most out of our moulds.
This year will also include their biggest cake display ever, with over 40 different cakes, as well as a beautiful cookie Christmas Village, decorated cupcakes and edible Christmas tree decorations!
Do look out for the fabulous Sugar Flowers mould, which is stunningly beautiful – I think I am a little bit in love with it…
Renshaw – My buddies over at Renshaw will also be in attendance and this year the Renshaw Academy will be hosting a fabulous range of workshops, including Funky Friendly Sugar Veggies with Margherita Ferrara, Cute Kissing Mice and Baby Unicorn Sugar Modelling with Jacqui Kelly, Bows and Roses with Reva Alexander Hawk, Bunny in a Top Hat with Chrissie Boon and Cute Modelled Reindeer with Zoe Hopkinson.
Two of my favourite artists, Jacqui Kelly and Marc Suárez, will also be taking part in a Live Build across the weekend, so don’t miss out on a chance to see these too amazing artists in action!
Renshaw will also be launching four – yes FOUR – new coloured sugarpastes as part of their Ready to Roll range at the show, so be sure to swing by and check them out. Based on previous years, keep an eye out for free samples, goodie bags and competitions too!
In addition, they have partnered up with sugar flower legend, the one-and-only Nicholas Lodge, who will be demonstrating the most innovative line of moulds and veiners to come out in 2018 (his words – not mine). I’m already excited to see them! You’ll be able to find Nicholas at his Nicholas Lodge Flower Pro stand across from Katy Sue Designs.
Innovative Sugarworks – The Innovative Sugarworks team are coming all the way from the US to host a stand chock full of their amazing goodies AND I know that they are super excited about all the cool stuff they’ve got going down at their booth! They’re going to have an amazing exhibition of works by some of our favourite cake artists, plus live demonstrations and even some classes!
They’re even offering one class all about using their innovative (see what I did there?) Sugar Structures, where you’ll get to keep and take home your Sugar Structure kit! Wowsers!
Be sure to head over and check out the goodies on sale (taking advantage of the lack of shipping) and if anyone would like to buy me an Innovative Sugarworks Artists Turntable, I have been coveting one for years now! Feel free to throw in an Innnovative Sugarworks Turntable Expander too, if you’re feeling particularly generous… 😉
Sweet Creations and Crafty Designs – Miriam Pearson of Sweet Creations is traversing the Irish Sea alongside Breda O’Brien of Crafty Designs to man stand B10, where they will both be demonstrating the newest additions to their product portfolios.
Miriam will be bringing her new flower paste (which I may already have got my hands on – look out for a review soon!), while Breda will have her Sugar Press set ready for you to have a play with.
I know they will both be running plenty of hands-on demonstrations across the weekend, so be sure to check out stand B10 grab a hug from these lovely ladies and check out their fabulous products!
Evil Cake Genius – My absolute favourite Minnesotans, Robin and Brian Martin of Evil Cake Genius will have a whopping three (yes, THREE) stands this year, which will feature a huge selection of their stencils and contour combs, as well as a number of new edible products and moulds at their very own stand!
Be sure to swing by the main stand to see Robin’s own cake idol, Colette Peters signing her new book – Twisted Treats!
Oh, and if you whisper the super super-secret code word, ‘Horny’ to the team, you might just be rewarded with a free gift – while supplies last!
Finally, the first five women that manage to beat Brian in an arm wrestling challenge at the cake comb stand (E4) will receive a free Frostinator! Don’t panic ladies, I’m told he isn’t that strong – I guess he’s stopped lifting those super heavy cakes…?
The Old Piping Bag and Cakes by Carol – Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The Old Piping Bag and Carol Smith of Cakes by Carol are coming to Cake International for the first time to present their fabulous silicone moulds and my favourite product of 2018, the Sharp Edge Smoother respectively.
They will both be running a full demonstration schedule across the weekend on their stand, C28 – including one from me! Catch me demoing my new design, the Grumpy Pug: Christmas Edition on Saturday at 11am!
They will also have a Sweet & Surprise Machine (I don’t know what that is though, so, like you, I’m going to have to head on over and check it out) and a £100 free-to-enter prize giveaway!
The ladies will also be supporting the homeless charity, Coffee4Craig, who you may recall we fundraised for last year on The Magical Dragon Machine stand, so please do dig deep and donate what you can!
Saracino – The team at Saracino have been hard at work on yet another incredible feature for this year’s show, which is being created by 30 very talented artists from all around the world. I have only seen teasers so far, but if I have managed to follow their breadcrumb trail accurately, then this is definitely going to be one that you will want to see!
Their cake will be being cut on Sunday at 3pm, so make sure you pop along to grab a slice – before heading back to see us at the Cake Dutchess stand of course, for even more cake!
Saracino also have a whole programme of demonstrations at the stand, covering themes including modelling, hand-painting, sugar flowers and wafer paper.
They are also launching their new flower paste, so there will be lots of free samples on offer – again, get there early!
I’ve also been told that there will also be even more surprises at the stand across the weekend, but their keeping those close to their chest at the moment, so you’ll have to go and visit them to find out what those are… 😉
Emma Jayne Cake Design with Cake Masters Magazine – Now well-known for her incredible installations, having previously given us her Neytiri Avatar Cake, her Swan Lake standing ballerina, her Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, her stunning Wedding Dress Cake and, of course, last year’s poignant Warhorse installation, this year, Emma has gone one step further, with her spectacular showpiece for Cake Masters Magazine in association with Renshaw and Rainbow Dust Colours.
Guaranteed to steal the show, this year’s creation will be SUSPENDED IN MID AIR and taking pride of place right in the entrance of Cake International 2018!
The stunning showpiece will be a life-sized trapeze artist, inspired by the character of Anne Wheeler from the movie, The Greatest Showman and it will be suspended inside a spinning hoop.
The spectacular creation is being painstakingly crafted by Emma over 14 solid days using over 20kg of Renshaw sugarpaste, 40kg of Rice Krispies, 40kg of marshmallow and a whopping 60kg of Renshaw Belgian modelling chocolate. And if all that wasn’t dramatic enough, this unmissable feat of technical engineering and sugarcraft will then be finished with Rainbow Dust Paint Metallics, ProGels and bedazzled with Preciosa Crystals so that her costume truly sparkles.
Now, I may have been treated to a little sneak peek of Emma’s incredible creation, but sadly I am sworn to utmost secrecy – however, I can tell you that this is quite possibly Emma’s most stunning creation to date – I was left speechless, which never happens!
Be sure to swing (pun intended) by Stand C36, right in the entrance to see Emma’s first ever suspended piece! I am genuinely so excited and I cannot wait to see Emma’s beautiful creation on display at Cake International!
Competitors – If you are competing at the show, the collaboration group The Cake Collective will be hosting a ‘survivors’ breakfast’ in the NEC Wetherspoons, The Atrium. If you would like the chance to recover from the trauma of delivery and set up with your fellow competitors before the show opens, then be sure to head on in and look for the big group of exhausted-but-elated looking individuals. The Cake Collective will also be displaying their amazing Terry Pratchett-inspired collaboration, ‘Cake is Not the Issue Here’ (as featured back in Something Sweet 11) in the colleges and groups area – so do head on over to see the amazing pieces in the ‘flesh’…
Cake of the Week!
She might not make a lot of cakes, but when she does, boy does she do them well!
After a seven month break from cakes, Alyssa Alexandre of Sugar Canvas might have felt pretty rusty when her fiancé requested a Venom-inspired cake for his birthday, but, once again, she absolutely nailed the brief, turning layers of chocolate cake, Irish whiskey caramel buttercream, hazelnut ganache and hazelnut brittle into an incredibly realistic depiction of the latest Marvel antihero to transition to the big screen in his own movie.
Winner of 2017’s Cake Masters Magazine Rising Star Award, Alyssa crafted the tongue, teeth and letters from fondant, while the board is covered in royal icing. The oh-so-realistic drool was created with melted hard candies and everything else was sculpted from homemade modelling chocolate.
As always, Alyssa managed to bring everything together to create a truly showstopping piece and I’m willing to bet that her fiancé loved his special cake! I don’t think I would have been able to cut this one, so I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision!
Congratulations on yet another incredible creation and a well-deserved Cake of the Week, Alyssa! I can’t wait to see what you do next!
As you have probably realised, next week I will be far to busy with my demo, the live build, checking out the rest of the show, attending the Cake Masters Magazine Awards, catching up with my #cakechums and trying to snatch a little sleep as and when I can, to put together an issue of Something Sweet, so rather than palm you off with a poor imitation, I will instead be back the following weekend with a bumper-stuffed issue featuring all of the highlights and gossip from the show!
In the meantime, if you have anything that you would like me to share on Mr Baker’s Blog, don’t forget that I am always on the look out for your contributions for both Something Sweet and the blog in general. If you would like me to share or publish a tutorial, recipe or a guest blog about an event, experience or even just a topic you are passionate about, make sure you hit me up…
To get in touch, you can message my Facebook page, post in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group or by email me directly.
I do hope that I will get to see as many of you as possible at the show – please do feel free to come on over and say hi! I might even be running a lil’ subscriber giveaway for those of you who are in attendance at the show, so do keep an eye on the blog this week for more information about that…