Hey hey, cake chums and welcome back to another issue of Something Sweet, the (usually) weekly newsletter from Mr Baker’s Blog with all the latest news from the world of cake!
Before we get started, I must apologise that there was no issue last week.
For those of you that follow my social media channels, you may have seen that last weekend I was at the Welsh National Cake Show. It was a super fun weekend, but oh-so-busy!
Across the day, I was judging the competitions, demonstrating on Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb’s stand, as part of her live build, Gwydderig the Wild and, of course, running around like a mad thing to collect all of the footage for MY FIRST YOUTUBE VIDEO!
Yes, you read that correctly, so if you were unable to make it along to the show, then worry not dear reader, because MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL IS NOW LIVE and my first video was a vlog from the show.
Check it out:
YouTube excitement aside, this week’s issue is super special because it marks the one year anniversary of Something Sweet! Yes, can you believe it, we have been enjoying celebrating all of the amazing things happening in the world of cake for a whole year! We have seen some incredible creations, shared some wonderful experiences and given away lots of super awesome cake goodies to you all!
Now, in light of the fact that we have shared a whole year of cake related fun right here on Mr Baker’s Blog, I figured it was only right that we mark the occasion with yet ANOTHER super awesome giveaway, this time courtesy of my buddies over at Renshaw and Rainbow Dust!
Keep reading all the way to the end to find out how you can get your hands on the goodies!
In this week’s issue, since we had no new issue last week AND because it’s a celebration, I figured it’s only right that we look back on the last TWO weeks of awesomeness on planet cake…
What’s new on Mr Baker’s Blog this fortnight?
Subscribers will have noticed that, as promised, my new posting schedule is live which means that you have already been spoiled so far this February with both a new recipe AND a new tutorial from Mr Baker’s Blog.
On the first Tuesday of the month, I posted my Cheat’s Birthday Cake, the ultimate cheat’s guide to creating a beautiful and trendy birthday cake, whilst considering every possible shortcut to allow you to achieve a cake that you can be proud of, without all of the stress that goes into learning to bake and decorate the ‘proper’ way.
In spite of the fact that it used just some doctored cake mixes and premade decorations, I can attest to the fact that it was absolutely delicious and, even if you ARE a fully proficient baker, it’s well worth a go if you find yourself needing a cake in a pinch.
Last Tuesday, I shared with you the secret of how I create my absolute favourite technique for finishing my cake boards in my realistic Wood Effect Cake Board tutorial.
A quick scroll through my portfolio will quickly reveal that this is by far the most common trick I use to bring both my sculpted cakes and even the odd wedding cake to life! Of course, you can buy embossing pins, stamps, mats and moulds to help you achieve a wood grain texture, but I have found that I get much more realistic results creating mine by hand and all you need are a humble dresden tool and a basic edge scraper or even a ruler. It really is that simple!
But don’t just take my word for it, head over to the tutorial and take a look for yourself. You can find it here.
As I mentioned above, this week also saw my YouTube channel go live. In addition to my new posting schedule, which will see me posting a new and original recipe or tutorial every Tuesday, I will also be posting a new video to my channel every Thursday. Make sure you have subscribed to my channel to ensure that you don’t miss this week’s video, in which I take you along with me to the launch of the UK’s newest dedicated Cake Design Academy, The Sugar Lair. You might just recognise some of the other guests…
Have you heard…?
After having such a amazing time at the Welsh National Cake Show last weekend, I have been left looking forward to the Northern Ireland Sugar Expo even more now.
The exciting thing about these newer shows is that they are still quite small at the beginning, which means that you are far less likely to miss anything AND you get the chance to meet and talk to a lot more of your cake chums AND your cake heroes. The one thing that really made the Welsh show so successful was the huge amount of support from the local cake artists, so I do hope that we’ll see a similar story in Northern Ireland.
The latest news out of NISE HQ has been the launch of their demonstration schedule and you may have seen one or two familiar faces on it.
I’m really looking forward to heading over to Northern Ireland for the first time in many years and hopefully meeting lots more of you at the show. Do let me know in the comments below if you’re planning on attending, so I know to look out for you!
Cake Show Showcase:
As I mentioned above, last weekend saw the first Welsh National Cake Show descend on Cardiff Bay for a fabulous day of classes, demonstrations, competitions and, of course, shopping opportunities! With retailers like Sugar Press, Dinkydoodle Designs, Cakes by Carol’s Sharp Edge Smoother, Sugar and Crumbs, Amy’s Sweet Stamp, Immaculate Confections and many more – it was impossible not to love the shopping opportunities!
One particular highlight had to be the collaboration displays, including the latest collection from The Sugar Junkies Collaborations group, the Year of the Pig and Pharaoh’s Tomb – A South Wales Cake Artist Collaboration. Head on down to this week’s Collaboration Station to see more of those.
Lots of our favourite cake artists were also there, including some of Wales’ biggest talents, like Emma Jayne, Rhianydd Webb, Paul Williams, Ceri Griffiths, Gareth Davies, Cara Maiden and even more besides. I also loved how many of our non-Welsh friends had made the journey up to support us at the first show. Thank you, guys!
I am confident that after such a successful first event, the Welsh National Cake Show will certainly be back next year, so, if you missed it this year, be sure to look out for it in 2020.
Hopefully, I’ll see you there!
The hottest ticket in town!
As I explained in a recent issue of Something Sweet, I am a huge fan of classical sculpture. As a result, I quickly fell in love with the beautiful marble-effect creations of Margherita Ferrara of Fashflower’s Cake – in fact, regular readers may have seen me share them on the blog in the past.
Because of this, I was really excited to see that Margherita will be coming to the UK to teach for the first time later this year!
Unfortunately, her visit coincides with my trip to Northern Ireland, so I won’t be able to attend in person, but if you’re not joining us at NISE, why not swing by The London Cake Academy instead and learn how to create a stunning classical sculpture in sugar.
If you’d be interested in booking a spot at this amazing class with the gorgeous Margherita Ferrara, head over to The London Cake Academy website to book your seat. You can find it here.
And if you’d like to come back and tell us all about the class afterwards in a guest post, then that would be even better!
The Collaboration Station
One of the main features at the Welsh National Cake Show, Pharaoh’s Tomb was a collaboration of seventeen Cake artists from South Wales. The collaboration was conceived and organised by Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot, Paul Williams of Happy Occasions Cakes and Cathy Hill of Celebration Cakes by Cathy Hill.
Discovered in in 1922 by Howard Carter, the tomb of King Tutankhamun was rare, in that it was largely spared from desecration and from the tomb clearances that took place at the end of the 20th Dynasty, although the tomb was robbed and resealed twice in the period after its completion.
The collaboration display featured a selection of many of the treasures that were discovered by Carter and his team, including canopic jars, a selection of weapons and jewels and a variety of statuary.
Of course, as always, this is just a small selection of the full collection, so be sure to swing by the dedicated collaboration page to check out the rest of the pieces. You can find it here.
The Welsh National Cake Show also played host to the latest collaboration to be released by The SugarJunkies Collaborations group, Year of the Pig – themed all around Chinese New Year.
Featuring a dazzling collection of both pig- and China-themed pieces, the collaboration display at the show contained both pieces that were delivered to be displayed and images of those pieces that were created from further afield and submitted online.
The collection was curated by Cheryl Gaulton of Jammy Jam Cakes and it was great to see her at the show, presenting the fabulous display.
Again, this is just a selection of the full collection, so be sure to head to the Sugar Junkies Facebook page to see the rest and, if you would like to join The Sugar Junkies Collaborations group and get involved in their future projects, you can find them at this link.
The last collaboration I would like to share with you in this week’s issue is the stunning collection arranged by Catalina Anghel of Catalina Anghel azúcar’arte, in support of World Cancer Day 2019, which took place on 4th February.
The World Cancer Day Sugarflowers and Cakes in Bloom collaboration is now in its fifth year and it has become an annual opportunity to allow all of the members to remember and honour those that they or their family and friends supported through a battle with cancer.
Through their stunning works, they are able to show their support for their dear friends and family members and also remember them in an incredibly poignant way.
The collaboration also pays homage to the carers, the survivors and the families left behind.
As the Catalina explained, for many artists and creators, making our works is an incredibly therapeutic process, but even more so when the piece we create represents a loved one.
They also hope that the collaboration will help to highlight the importance of early detection and raise awareness of the many that face cancer in silence.
I also just wanted to say a special thank you to Catalina, as, following the cancellation of another collaboration in honour of World Cancer Day, she swooped in to save the day by inviting the members of the cancelled collaboration that had already completed their works to publish their pieces alongside the members of the World Cancer Day Sugarflowers and Cakes in Bloom collaboration.
Again, I have showcased a mere handle of the full collection here, so be sure to swing by the collaboration’s dedicated Facebook page to see the rest of the works.
It has been a busy couple of weeks for collaborations over the last fortnight, so I’m sorry if your collaboration has not been included in Something Sweet by Mr Baker’s Blog this time. Please do continue to send me the details of your collaborations via the channels at the end of this week’s issue – I always try my best to include as many as I can.
Meet the maker…
As last weekend was all about the Welsh show, I thought it only right that our community section focused in on one of my favourite Welsh cakers this week: Cara Maiden of The Polkadot Teapot.
What is your name?
Cara Maiden from The Polkadot Teapot in Llantrisant, South Wales. The Teapot is both a cake studio and a vintage tearoom.
How long have you been making cakes?
In a previous incarnation, I was a doctor working with children. Cake decorating became a hobby to manage the stress of my day job after someone asked me to make a celebration cake about 10 years ago.
Hobbyist or professional?
Professional – at the moment at least! I love bold, graphic designs and incorporating multiple ideas into one piece. My absolute favourite sugar media is hand painting though.
What was your first cake?
My first cake was a truly awful baby shower affair.
It had giant building blocks, decorated with teddy bears, rattles and booties. I don’t have a picture of it and I really wish I did now! At that time, I didn’t even know icing smoothers existed.
What is your favourite of all the cakes you have made?
Oh, that’s a challenging question. I think I can narrow it down to three?
My Black Seed Wedding Cake that won the best in Category award at Cake International in 2016, my Japanese-Style Wedding Cake that won a gold award at Cake International in 2017 and my most recent creation, a 6’ 4” Tutankhamen for the Pharaoh’s Tomb – A South Wales Cake Artist Collaboration.
If pressed, I think the Japanese one is probably my absolute favourite.
Who is your cake hero?
It would have to be Ron Ben Israel, the legendary New York-based wedding cake artist.
I find his lines and floral work, designs and concepts incredible.
Where can we see more of your work?
If you would like to be featured as a Something Sweet spotlight ‘maker’, you can get in touch via the contact links at the end of this week’s issue.
Cake of the Week!
I hope I’m not going to get into trouble for posting this, as I don’t think the talented caker responsible has even posted it on her page yet, but it is so incredible, it had to scoop this week’s Cake of the Week award.
We’ve actually seen the work of Trudy Smith of The Chain Lane Cake Co. in the Cake of the Week section before, but whereas last time it for one of her sculpted pieces, this time it is the supreme level of elegance that caught my attention.
I know that Trudy was worried about pulling this one off, but I had every faith in her and she certainly didn’t disappoint.
And what an amazing 21st birthday cake to receive! I bet the birthday girl was delighted with her special cake.
Congratulations to Trudy on a stunning creation and a wonderful Cake of the Week.
Head to Trudy’s page, The Chain Lane Cake Co. to see more of her beautiful work. You can find it here.
On this, the one year anniversary issue of Something Sweet from Mr Baker’s Blog, I would like to say a massive thank you to all of you that have supported both me and the ‘magazine’ so much over the last twelve months.
As you can probably imagine, it does take an awful lot of work to pull each issue together and I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of the fabulous people who have got in touch and sent me their contributions each week. As I’ve said many many times, Something Sweet is written for the cake community by the cake community and, as such, it relies on your submissions and contributions to work. So please do make sure that you are getting in touch each week to let me know all about your latest cakes and projects, collaborations, events, special announcements and more.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to those of you that regularly share each issue on both your personal social media channels and your business pages. Although Something Sweet from Mr Baker’s Blog does focus more on what is happening in the UK and Ireland, that is simply because I am here and know far more about what is going on in the cake world than in places that are further afield. Thanks to you guys sharing the issues, we are able to reach more of our international friends and as a result, receive more content submissions from them too. Please do continue to share each issue with your Cake Chums – together we can overcome the appalling reach of modern day social media for content creators!
My biggest thank you has to be reserved for those of you that have chosen to subscribe to Mr Baker’s Blog to ensure that you never miss one of my posts. In such a busy world, it means so much to me that you would take time out of your lives each week to visit my website and read my content and I promise to work hard over the next twelve months to bring you even more new and original content to thank you for your support.
To show my thanks to you all even more, as I mentioned above, I got in touch with my buddies at Renshaw and asked if they wouldn’t mind donating a little prize for another subscriber giveaway and I am delighted to announce that they said YES! Read on to find out more…
It’s GIVEAWAY TIME!
Yes, in celebration of one year of those lovely peeps at Renshaw HQ have put together one of their legendary prize hampers for one lucky winner – I actually started doing some occasional work with Renshaw after winning one of their competitions a couple of years ago and receiving one such hamper myself. I can absolutely attest to the fact that they are VERY awesome!
Inside the hamper (sorry, there isn’t a picture), they will give one lucky individual a selection of the fabulous Renshaw Extra pastes (my favourites), including some of the new Renshaw Extra coloured pastes AND a few packs of the new Ready to Roll colours for 2019, Cool Grey, Sapphire Blue, Dark Brown and 2019 Colour of the Year, Cassis. You can see all of the new Ready to Roll colours used on my recent Festive Llama Tutorial – head to the tutorials tab above to check it out.
They will also be popping in a selection of Rainbow Dust products too, including some powder colours, some ProGels Professional Grade Gel Colours, Colour Flo liquid colours and Edible Food Art Pens as well!
See what I mean? Renshaw prize hampers are better than Christmas!
To get your hands on this awesome prize in celebration of one whole year of Something Sweet from Mr Baker’s Blog, you simply need to make sure you have subscribed to Mr Baker’s Blog and comment ‘Done’ in the comments at the foot of this post (if you are a first time commenter, I have to approve your submission, so don’t panic if you don’t see it appear right away). If you haven’t already subscribed, you can find the sign up box over in the toolbar on the right if on desktop or at the bottom of the page if on mobile.
After entering your details in the sign up box, you will also need to hit confirm in an email that will be sent to you – be sure to look out for it! For an extra chance to win, why not head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe there too – pop a comment on my latest video to let me know you’ve done it and I’ll make sure your name is entered into the draw a second time.
As I already mentioned, Something Sweet relies on your submissions and contributions to work, so please do make sure that you are getting in touch each week to let me know all about your latest cakes and projects, collaborations, events, special announcements and more.
And if you have more to say, I also welcome guest posts on the blog too. If you would like me to publish a comment piece, a tutorial, a recipe or coverage of an event, experience or even just a topic you are passionate about, make sure you get in touch…
Mr Baker’s Blog
PO Box 752
Until next time… happy caking! x