What’s new on the blog this week?
It’s been an exciting week over at Mr Baker’s Blog, starting with an exclusive guest post from Sam Hughes, the face behind Aunty Sam’s Cakes. Last week, Sam was lucky enough to attend a modelling class with the one and only Silvia Mancini at Zoe’s Fancy Cakes’ beautiful classroom in Leeds. She generously agreed to write a few words to share the experience with us all and I was TOTALLY jealous of the wonderful time she had! Silvia also kindly got in touch to let me know the dates of her next UK classes and you can find these at the bottom of the post. Do let me know if you are planning to attend.
The blog also marked the return of the Great British Bake Off to our screens for the first of five 1-hour specials in support of Stand Up To Cancer with a spoiler-ridden blow-by-blow account of the action, so make sure you check it out and get caught up before the next episode on Tuesday.
Finally, I teased the fact that I was off to the Squires Kitchen Exhibition for the first time ever (which continues today by the way and is well worth a visit). Obviously, I will be following this up with a full piece later in the week, but in the meantime, thanks to everyone who made my day there absolutely gorgeous and to those that came and said hi. It was so great to see everyone!
Have you heard…?
This week, the cake groups have been chockfull of International Salon Culinaire chatter – as the UK’s largest and most prestigious chef competition returned to the London Olympia.
In the absence of the spring Cake International shows, the country’s leading cake decorators staged a full-on sugar invasion of the prestigious show and from last weekend’s drop off dramas, to the anxious wait for the all-important results and, of course, sharing in the successes of our bestest cake chums, it’s safe to say that this week has been ALL about Salon.
Personally, I was thrilled to see so many of my friends recognised with a huge array of medals, awards and prizes and it’s great that what has previously been a fairly niche competition experience in the cake world has finally received the exposure it deserves.
One of the big winners of the week was Becky Jenkins Sugar Artist and I am delighted to say that she is penning a guest post as I type to let us all in on the secrets of Salon. So, stay tuned to find out what you missed and how you can get involved in International Salon Culinaire 2019.
I couldn’t live without…
Emma Stewart, the genius behind the gorgeous wedding cakes at Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design is completely in love with her Agbay cake leveller and regrets the fact that it took her six years to realise how much she needed one!
Emma used to spend ages trying to level her cakes accurately to achieve perfectly even and equal layers and would waste so much cake in the process through cut offs. Not to mention the time and mess it created! Her Agbay has revolutionised that whole process and she actually looks forward to leveling cakes now – because it means she gets to play with her (Yes, ‘her’. She has even named her – Aggy the Agbay). Cake leveling is now super quick, makes barely any mess and all of her cake layers are perfectly level and even – with very little in the way of off cuts.
Emma says that she has tried numerous cheaper options in the past, but, in comparison, they just wobble all over the place and don’t cut as cleanly – they’re just not sharp enough.
Although it might seem expensive, with the time you’ll save on each cake and the reduction in your cake wastage, you’ll have earned the cost back within a few cakes.
In Emma’s own words, “Honestly, I procrastinated for so long, initially put off by the price – I just wish I had listened when I was told to get one years ago (*says nothing*). It’s life changing!
I’ll be honest, I have struggled to find the Agbay in stock ANYWHERE in the U.K., so I’m sorry that I can’t post a ‘You can buy it here’ link, but if you know better, let me know and I’ll add a link…
The hottest ticket in town!
I’m sure we all have those sugar artists whose work we completely look up to and adore and, for me, one of them has to be Spanish artist, Carla Puig – Sugar Atelier.
After bursting onto the international cake scene only a few years ago, Carla’s lifelike sculpting has ensured that she has become a instant sensation. Her breath-taking work has been published in magazines all over the world and she has won numerous prizes and awards, including the Best in Show – International award at Cake International Birmingham in 2016. She also received the highly coveted Best Sculpted Cake Award at last year’s Cake Masters Magazine Awards – known to most as the ‘Cake Oscars’.
Recently, she has started offering courses in cake carving and chocolate sculpting in schools all over the world, including Taiwan, the US, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Indonesia and Costa Rica among others and I am delighted to say that she is finally coming to the UK!
For that reason, this week’s hottest ticket HAS to be a place on one of Carla’s upcoming courses and – I can barely believe that I get to type this – I’ve got one! Next weekend, I’ll be heading up to Zoe’s Fancy Cakes in Leeds and taking part in Carla’s Nadine course.
Don’t worry though, I’ll be sure to come back and tell you all about it when I get home!
I wanna make that!
This week, Vicky Turner of Yellow Bee School of Cakecraft and Sugar Art went Live on Facebook to reveal that she has been beavering away behind the scenes with the lovely Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The-Old Piping Bag to create a line of exclusive food-safe silicone moulds, cast from her very own models.
Well-known for her stunningly clean cakes and her cute and adorable modelling, award-winning Vicky has now made it possible for us all to emulate her stunning work ourselves!
Available in two different poses and with a choice of accessories, the darling bunnies come in a set of two moulds, including one Cute Rabbit mould and one Accessory mould. You can also mix and match, by purchasing the extra Accessory mould or take advantage of the special launch offer for all four of the unique moulds – for the bargain price of just £27.50!
They’re simply perfect for all of your Easter cakes and available just in time for the big day! I don’t know about you, but I am itching to get my hands on some to have a play. To purchase, you can head directly to Rachel’s website, The Old Piping Bag.
The Collaboration Station.
A truly international celebration of the 104th International Women’s Day, the Cake Page Circle Collaboration Group presents the work of 21 outstanding Sugar Artists from all over the world. All are members of the Cake Page Circle group and they came together to raise awareness of all forms of discrimination against women everywhere and to promote equality.
The stand out piece for me had to be this remarkably lifelike stylised sculpture of one of the powerhouses of the British fashion industry and active civil rights campaigner Dame Vivienne Westwood – by Elza Baldzhiyska.
A fun collection for an important cause, you can find the rest of the works over at the collaboration’s Facebook page.
Spotlight on the boys…
Another International Salon Culinaire winner and one of the Boys Who Bake (oh yes, we have a group just for the cake boys dontcha know?!), Gavin Puttick of Putty Cakes scooped a silver medal with one of his ultra-realistic handbag cakes this week.
I love how effortless Gavin makes these detailed beauties look and wish him the hugest of congratulations on his award. Well done, Gav!
After two weeks with no submissions, I think I’m going to retire this section as a standard weekly feature, but please do reach out if you think the Something Sweet readers can help you out of a cake bind in the future…
Meanwhile on Twitter…
The return of British Bake Off to our screens can only mean one thing when it comes to Twitter – the GBBOTwitterBakeAlong is back too!
As always, those taking part can choose between the week’s signature, technical or showstopper challenges to emulate at home and the Star Baker of the week gets to take home a weekly prize!
This week’s prize is generously sponsored by Sugar & Crumbs and to get your hands on it, you simply need to whip up a batch of cupcakes, a traditional Crêpes Suzette or a 3D biscuit scene (‘simply’ he says!).
To find out more, check out the hashtag over on Twitter: #TwitterBakeAlong.
Cake of the Week!
I absolutely loved so many of the pieces that were entered at Salon Culinaire, but one of my favourites had to be this stunning wedding cake by the aforementioned Becky Jenkins of Becky Jenkins Cake Artist which took home not only a gold medal, but also the best in class award.
Becky describes this cake as her never-ending project due to the fact she lost count of how many hours she spent on it – after it passed the two-hundred-hour mark. The four-tier cake is balanced on a reinforced pedestal stand, decorated in edible rocks, coral and sea creatures all crafted from white Saracino modelling paste before being painted with Rolkem dust colours. The cake itself was airbrushed with an hombre effect and then freehand painted with fish and other sea creatures using cocoa butter.
Amazingly, the cake also features over 200 miniature handmade shells and pebbles. Congratulations Becky, it is an absolute masterpiece and a well-deserved Cake of the Week!
Melanie Underwood, Cake International Event Manager, surprised many of us this week with the following announcement:
“I am thrilled and very proud to announce Karen Keaney as Cake International Head Judge.
Karen is known for her airbrushing skills, sculpted cakes and detailed tiered designs. Her unique approach to cake art has accumulated many awards including: Cake International Best in Show Overall, Senior Irish Chef of the Year, Cake Masters Sculpted Cake Artist of the Year and being named as one of the top ten Cake Artists in the World. Karen is a proud member of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland, contributes to several Sugarcraft publications and teaches worldwide.”
Known professionally as Roses and Bows Cakery, Karen is not only an incredibly talented cake artist, but also a fantastic teacher and a friend to many of us all over the world. I am sure you will join me in wishing hearty congratulations to Karen on her new role.
I’d also like to thank out-going head judge Sally Owens for all of her hard work in the role and wish her the very best of luck for her future endeavours.
And that’s your lot this week, cake fans. See you the same time next week for another slice of Something Sweet… xx