Hey hey hey, Cake Chums! What have you all been up to this week? You see I’m asking, like I haven’t spent the last few days stalking your timelines, catching up on all of your news and making notes on it all – but it’s polite to ask right?
If your schedule is anything like mine, now December is here, it’s reached that time of year where both my teacher life, my caker life and my personal life (if I had time for one) put the pedal to the metal and I’ve been spending my days trying to teach six-year-olds nativity songs, learn choreography – oh, and trying to squeeze in some actual lessons, of course; the evenings have also seen me hard at work, planning my Christmas bakes, developing some new festive recipes, baking of course, looking ahead to some of my 2019 projects AND creating my latest tutorial for my buddies at Renshaw (look out for that in the next week or so). So yeah, it’s all a little bit mad this end.
Just make sure you keep sending your news my way to ensure I don’t miss anything, mmmkay?
What’s new on the blog this week?
As part of my ridiculously busy week, I managed to find some time to have a play with the latest innovation to come out of the Magic Colours laboratory.
In my exclusive preview post, I used the some of the as-yet-unnamed glitter (Disco Dust is purely it’s working title) on a batch of deliciously indulgent salted caramel cupcakes, stuffed full of caramel sauce and topped with a caramel-stuffed chocolate truffle. The gold sparkle was the perfect finishing touch and the lucky birthday girl was delighted with them.
I teased a very exciting opportunity for one lucky Mr Baker’s Blog reader as well, but, to find out more about that, you’ll have to head to the original post, which you can find here.
In the same post, I also announced the winners of my CAKE LIVE Demonstration Day giveaway. Congratulations to Xenia Robeson and Jayne Machin, who will both be receiving a goodie bag.
Have you heard…?
In the latest episode of her podcast, Eat the Evidence, this week, Kimberly Chapman was talking counterfeit cake tools and moulds, highlighting the damage that they can cause to our industry. Fun fact: I had actually been planning a blog post about this for a while, but when I heard that Kimberly was already working on a piece about this emotive issue, I was happy to be able to contribute my two cents worth with my first ever podcast experience.
Kimberly did a fantastic job of speaking to a whole range of individuals who have experience of being ripped off by the knock off merchants and, like always, the episode and its accompanying show notes are impeccably well-researched.
Previous episodes have included coverage of last month’s Cake International show, interviews with some of your favourite cake artists and even more besides. If you haven’t checked out Eat the Evidence before, it really is worth a listen.
You can listen to or download Eat the Evidence via this Soundcloud link, by heading to Kimberly’s website or by finding it in your favourite podcast app (iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, etc.) – just search ‘Eat the Evidence’.
It is always free to listen, so why not subscribe to ensure you never miss another episode.
Cake Show Showcase:
Cake International announced this week that head judge, Karen Keaney will be returning to our screens with another live Q&A session ahead of Cake International on Tour next April.
During the Q&A, which will take place on 10 December, Karen will be answering all of your burning technical questions and providing any clarification on the rules that you might need before getting your entries in for London.
If you would to submit a question for Karen to answer during the live Q&A, then you need to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Weds 5th December.
And to watch the Q&A as it happens, head to the Cake International Facebook page at 7pm on Monday 10 December.
I’ll see you there!
This week I am mostly loving…
Have you seen the latest news?
Just in time for Christmas, Baileys Irish Cream have announced their newest product: Irish Cream-flavoured Chocolate Baking Chips!
The north American division of Diageo has teamed up with US baking powder manufacturer Clabber Girl Corporation to unveil a range of baking products flavoured with Baileys, starting with the chips.
According to the company, they are delicious and unique, pairing the instantly recognisable Baileys flavour with rich, semi-sweet chocolate to create this decadent treat.
While you can happily eat them by the handful on their own, they have been designed to be mixed into your favourite baking recipes, delivering on both the aroma and flavour of everyone’s favourite Irish Cream liquor.
The chips are only available at a few select retailers in the US right now, but they are planning on a larger roll out ahead of Easter next year. Hopefully that means they will make their way over the pond too! I can think of at least one or two people who would be thrilled if these were to be added to my baking repertoire…
In the meantime, stateside readers, you can find them on Amazon. And if any of you fancy sending me some, then get in touch! 😉
The hottest ticket in town!
Tracey Mann of Tracey’s Cakes got in touch this week to tell me all about her new online classes, which begin January 2019.
With hand-painted cakes becoming more and more popular, Tracey is keen to show people that although it looks complicated, she has developed a simple step-by-step process to allow anyone to get started with painting with cocoa butter and dusting colours and quickly achieve a good standard, which, like anything, will get even better with more practice.
The course is designed for everyone, whether you have never picked up a paint brush or you just want to improve your skills. The 8 lessons, which are broken down in clear steps, will consist of three cat projects and three dog projects and two additional technique lessons.
In addition to their weekly lessons, the students will also have access to a closed Facebook group and weekly live sessions with Tracey to support them as they learn.
Check out a little more in the official promo video here:
If you are interested in taking the Online Animal Painting Cake Class with Tracey Mann, then you will probably be very interested to hear that Tracey is offering an early bird discount until 25 December – you can pick up the entire course of eight lessons for just £99 (after Christmas, it goes up to £150).
To find out more, you can message Tracey via her page, Tracey’s Cakes right here.
The Collaboration Station
Vikings – The Cake Collaboration 2018 saw a small group of international artists unite in their love for Vikings (the television show) to celebrate its return to our screens.
Assembled by collaboration host, Ana Ferreira of Anna Sugar Art Boutique, the fifteen artists involved took inspiration from the show to create the edible homages to their favourite characters and scenes.
The artists involved have all done Ana proud and I really enjoyed exploring the collection to choose just some of the pieces to share with you all.
As always, this is just a mere snippet of the full collection, so be sure to head to the dedicated Vikings – The Cake Collaboration 2018 Facebook page to check out the collaboration in all of its glory.
Congratulations, Ana! It’s fabulous!
Meet the maker…
Time to meet another of the faces behind the amazing cakes that brighten up our newsfeeds every day…
What is your name?
How long have you been making cakes?
Hobbyist or professional?
What was your first cake?
A Christmas cake with very dodgy looking penguins!
What is your favourite of all the cakes you have made?
My favourite cake from this year has to be this wedding cake with wild sugar flowers, as it matched the venue styling perfectly, although the flowers did take so long to make!
Who is your cake hero?
So so hard to choose as there are so many I admire, but I guess it would have to be Karen Portaleo. Not only is she an amazing cake artist, but she is such a lovely lady too!
Where can we see more of your work?
Via my Facebook page, Julie’s Cake in a Box.
Cake of the Week!
Now, if you have been anywhere near the internet this week, then you surely can’t have missed this showstopping cake.
Created by Cindy Sauvage of MADL creations for her daughter’s 10th birthday, this incredible confection stands at 1.28m tall and took sugarpaste, icing, chocolate transfers, edible wafer paper, isomalt and a lot more besides.
All in all, Cindy spent around 200 hours bringing her daughter’s special cake to life, setting a new personal record for the longest amount of time she had spent on a cake and I know that at one point, she was worried that she’d never ever get to see it finished.
Luckily for us though, she did get it finished and the results are utterly incredible – especially when coupled with the stunning decorations at the party (check out the rest of the party decorations at this link).
I can’t even imagine how amazed Cindy’s daughter was when she saw her fabulous cake, but (speaking from experience, remember this?) I dread to think what she will have to do next year to top this one!
Congratulations on a wonderful creation Cindy and an undisputed shoe in for thus week’s Cake of the Week! I can’t wait to see what you do next!
WOW CAKES #1!
Star of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, talented cake maker and all-round lovely lady, Suzanne Thorp of The Frostery announced this week that the team at The Frostery had got a bit behind with posting their summer of wedding cakes, so as a result, they will be treating us all to an advent calendar of gorgeousness, posting one of their stunning creations every day until Christmas.
They started yesterday with this vision in pink from Anam & Hassan’s stunning wedding at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa back in September. Suzanne explained that they were spoilt for inspiration when designing this cake, picking out elements of the bride’s beautifully intricate bridal wear in the hand-piped detail.
If Suzanne is going to be spoiling us with beauties like this every day throughout December, then it’s going to be an exquisite month!
This week, I received a very special request from one of my Welsh Cake sisters, Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot, who wished to include a special shout out in this week’s issue.
Over to you, Cara…
In early November this year, Sarah Jones of The Chocolate Strawberry announced that she had decided to hang up her teaching hat and will no longer be offering new classes to us cakers. Although I’m sure Sarah will continue to play with the big hitters in the cake scene, we’ll miss her terribly and I wanted to acknowledge it in some way.
Sarah is an incredible tutor who has taught hundreds of us to apply paint to cakes and create masterpieces that we never thought possible on icing. She’s incredibly talented and her clear, clean, graphic and fine art style is incomparable – you can always recognise a distinct Jonesey. Sarah also has an incredible ability to spot trends and be seasonal and topical at just the right time.
Sarah and I first met on the set of Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas the first year Kirstie ran a cake competition. Despite being nervous, her incredible style and sense of humour shone through. Sarah is very very funny and she has massively influenced me in business. Her ideas on being topical, on-trend and graphic have influenced my marketing and style. I truly believe I would never have learned how to paint on cakes and could never have achieved what I have done in competitions without her imparted knowledge.
So, what can I say Sarah? Thank you, from all of us who have become mini Picassos and have-a-goers – oh, and for bringing Tunnock’s Tea Cakes back into fashion. Good luck in your new ventures.
We will miss you so much (and there’s quite good money in Masterpiece forging I hear).
And another honourable mention…
Oh, and before we go, I just want to say a very quick happy birthday to the Cake Collective, which turned one this week.
Having already treated us to a multitude of stunning collaborations over the last twelve months, I can’t wait to see how they top them in their second year!
Many happy returns, you guys!
Once again, thank you to everyone that has already given me their vote in the UK Blog Awards.
Yes, it’s true – the ‘powers that be’ have shortlisted Mr Baker’s Blog for the ‘Best Culinary Blog’ 2019.
If I am to proceed to the finalist stage, it is now down to your votes. So, if you haven’t already voted and feel you would like to, then you can find the voting form at this link.
Handy hint: I am on the second page of the culinary blogs.
While you’re there, you can also vote for your favourite blogs in all of the other categories if you wish, but don’t feel you have to.
Thank you and thanks for your ongoing support!
Oh, and before you go, don’t forget that I am always on the look out for your contributions Something Sweet. And if you would like me to publish a tutorial, recipe or a guest blog about an event, experience or even just a topic you are passionate about, I’d love to hear from you too.
To get in touch, you can reach me in a variety of ways: you can comment below this week’s issue, message my Facebook page, post in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group or email me directly.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a good week! xx