Hey hey, cake chums and welcome back to another issue of Something Sweet, the weekly online magazine from Mr Baker’s Blog with all the latest news from the world of cake!
This week, I write to you from a barn-conversion on a working farm in deepest, darkest West Sussex, where I am hosting lots of ‘organised fun’ for my baby sister’s hen night.
As her ‘maid’ of honour, I have been responsible for the planning all of the games and activities and, as a primary school teacher, you can probably imagine how that is going. You can rest assured that sugarcraft has played a fairly central feature though, but you’ll have to wait for next Thursday’s video over on my YouTube channel to see exactly what I mean.
In the meantime though, let’s get down to business and check out this week’s issue…
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What’s new on Mr Baker’s Blog this week?
This week has been a really exciting week on Mr Baker’s Blog, as I was lucky enough to feature a brand new and exclusive tutorial from none other than the super-talented Vicky Teather of the Yellow Bee Cake Company.
In her first tutorial for Mr Baker’s Blog, Vicky shared some of her top tips for creating Pascal, an adorable puppy cake topper using her favourite Saracino modelling paste.
If you haven’t seen it yet, then you can find the full tutorial right here and, if you have a go at it, don’t forget to share the results with me – and Vicky, of course!
Thursday saw this week’s video uploaded to my YouTube channel, in which I took you on a little tour of my cake room, showed you a little sneak peek of some of the products and tools you will be seeing pop up on both the blog and over on YouTube in the next few weeks and also gave you a wee preview of the plans for my new studio kitchen.
We also headed out on a brief jaunt to my local hardware store (#notsponsored) before completely failing at DIY, so if you fancy a laugh at my expense (get used to that if you have already subscribed to my channel) you can find the video here.
Have you heard…?
This week, I had a submission from an anonymous caker, who is talking one of the more controversial topics in cakedom: pricing.
Another week and another mini drama in the cake world. This one was a mere storm in a teacup, but it’s not the first time that its reared its ugly noggin in the many cake groups on Facebook. I’m talking about that nefarious beast… money! More specifically the prices we charge for our work.
If you’re reading Rob’s blog, then you’re most likely to be in the industry, and you will know how much work we all put into our cakes on a daily, weekly, yearly (can I retire yet?) basis. And for all that work, we don’t even make minimum wage. You could work less hours in your local supermarket and earn more moolah than you ever will from cakes. Yet here we are, baking, decorating and selling our tasty wares to Joe Public. Why do we do it? Because we love creating awesome things from sugar.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see a post about Sharon the customer that doesn’t think your work is worth more than tuppence. You’re being ghosted by that cheapskate Sandy or insulted by Chardonnay who thinks that you’re “havin’ a laff!” and sends you lots of angry emojis! Bev is smart, she decides to get her cousin, mother, aunt, pet Cockapoo or the local binman (delete as appropriate) to create her cake, once she hears your price.
And on those threads, there are cakers frothing at the bit. Incensed by the sheer cheek of these people! “Do they not know how hard we work?!” you cry. And ladies and gents, I am with you! We do work hard and yet we do get paid peanuts for our skill and time.
And yet here’s the bit that confuses me no end and the actual reason why I am I’m writing this: Why, why, WHY do we then feel the need to attack our fellow bakers that do manage to charge a higher rate? So far, we’ve had the drama over Nevie Pie Cakes £495 Unicorn cake, that ended up being as Trump puts it “Fake News”. And now the slightly more modest price of £94.95 from Peggy Porschen for a 6” cutsie Llama Cake. The thread ended up with most people on the side of Peggy, which made me feel all warm and toasty inside, but there were still comments saying she was “ripping off” her customers.
So, come on cakers, let’s celebrate those that CAN charge £94.95 for a 6” cake. Peggy is doing us all a massive favour by leading the charge to better prices. Don’t denigrate her for it – cheer her on! The next time you see a cake with a huge price tag, think, “Good on ‘em”. If we all work together and stop giving our talent away for peanuts, we can all raise our prices and bring about world peace…. Ok, I might be reaching a little there, you get the idea.
Anyway, I’m off to roll around in some cake!
Thank you to The Secret Caker for their submission. I think it is well worth returning to the uber-talented Natasha Collins of Nevie Pie Cakes’ statement after the Harrods mislabelling saga:
‘Let’s be cheerleaders for each other, let’s celebrate each other’s good fortune and talent. In fact, let’s create a world full of fabulous rainbow, mermaid and unicorn cakes.’
Cake Show Showcase:
Can you believe that we are now less than a week away from the first ever Northern Ireland Sugar Expo? I am really looking forward to heading over to Northern Ireland for the first time in MANY years and can’t wait to see loads of my cake chums again. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make some new ones!
As we count down the last few days, I got in touch with show director, Emma Stewart to see how the last few details are coming together…
We’re now in the final countdown, with just a week to go! This past week has been a busy one with deliveries galore, judges’ briefings and a final walkthrough of the show with the team at the Hilton Templepatrick.
The competition is all set, the certificates are at the ready and the gold, silver and bronze medals (Ed: yes – there are ACTUAL medals!! I know right?!) are shining beautifully and waiting to be handed to those lucky enough to scoop and award. Not forgetting the fabulous prizes for the Best in Class winners and the exciting opportunity of being published in Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine for our overall Best in Show winner.
Our workshops are proving very popular, with the Sharp Edges 101 selling out in mere days.
Personally, I almost wish I wasn’t working for the entire weekend, just so I could snap up one of the few remaining spots in Sachiko’s classes… The opportunity to watch her at work, let alone take a class from her, would be an amazing opportunity!
Thanks for the final update, Emma! I can’t wait to see you at the weekend!
Do let me know if you’re planning on heading to the show, so I know to look out for you!
This week I am mostly loving…
This week, I have been creating flesh tones ahead of some of my upcoming projects, as well as helping out a friend with her own flesh coloured dramas, so as they’ve been so essential to my caking week, I thought it was only right to give a shout out to my favourite colours for creating a realistic flesh tone when aiming for the fairer end of the spectrum: Sugarflair’s Paprika/Flesh and Sugarflair’s Caramel Ivory.
I was originally introduced to this awesome colour combination by the lovely Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes and, since then, have never looked back!
I know many favour the Paprika/Flesh exclusively, but I have found it to be a little to peachy and pink on its own. However, couple it with a little caramel ivory and suddenly, you have the perfect base for a natural, healthy-looking skin tone.
If you would like to try out this top tip for yourself, you can find the colours at most leading sugarcraft retailers, including from my buddies at Fabricake, where don’t forget you can still take advantage of a lovely 10% off using my discount code, MRBAKER10. You can find Sugarflair Paprika/Flesh at this link and Sugarflair Caramel Ivory is here.
The hottest ticket in town!
This week, Cake International announced yet another mega exciting workshop to the line-up at April’s Cake International on Tour and this one has got me mega excited!
You will have seen me feature the stunning creations of art-teacher-come-cake-designer Elza Baldzhiyska of The Nightwitch’s Cakes on the blog here before, but now you can actually have the chance to learn from this incredibly talented creator!
Elza’s workshop will show you how to create her stunning Ebeneezer using modelling chocolate. Due to the tight time pressures of a one day workshop, you’ll be please to know that the head will be created for you in advance and the day will focus on how to sculpt all of the muscles and how to mould the facial skin.
You will learn how to create texture, and how to achieve wrinkles and where to place them. Elza will also show you how to create the stains on the face and enlarged pores.
Finally, Elza will show you how to colour the face, first with powder paints and a brush, and then using an airbrush.
It sounds like an absolutely fantastic opportunity and I am genuinely devastated that won’t be able to make it along to the workshop myself. Sadly, I will be at work… 🙁
If you would like to book your place at Elza Baldzhiyska’s Ebeneezer workshop at Cake International on Tour, then you can head to the Cake International website here.
And if you do take part, then I want to see lots of pictures!
I wanna make that!
I saw an absolute genius idea posted in one of the cake groups this week.
When Billie Walsh Wagstaff of Sugar Buttons by Billie found herself without any cake boards handy this week, she had the brilliant idea of grabbing an extra box of Ferrero Rocher instead.
I think it provides the perfect base for her loaded chocolate cake AND it means that even more people will get to enjoy some delicious chocolate alongside their slice of cake!
I definitely think I’ll be giving this a try!
Thanks for the top tip, Billie!
The Collaboration Station
I’m really sorry collaborators, but here at the hen weekend, I am having to write this entire issue tethered to my iPhone, and my signal is appalling! This means that I have been unable to load the myriad of beautiful creations that have made up the beautiful collections posted this week.
Please do continue to share them in my dedicated Facebook group [link] though and I will make sure that I give them a share later in the week.
Meet the maker…
What is your name?
Elaine Minett of Ginger Cat Cakery.
How long have you been making cakes?
Hobbyist or professional?
Honestly, a little bit of both. Professional sounds very grand to describe what I do, but it’s definitely more than a hobby. I set up Ginger Cat Cakery in 2015, but it has to fit around a very busy day job.
What was your first cake?
I made loads of cakes for my children when they were growing up, but then I spent a day with the lovely Rhu Strand decorating cakes and, from then on, I was hooked!
What is your favourite of all the cakes you have made?
I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one favourite, as it tends to be whichever one I’ve just finished.
I love the sugar art I create for collaborations and competitions just because I get to have the free rein to run with an idea and try to make what I have in my head (never straightforward!).
I guess my current favourite is probably the Wellington boots cake I made just before Christmas for my sister’s significant birthday.
Who is your cake hero?
Angela Penta. I can look at – and appreciate – loads of cakes, but I am always drawn to her style in particular.
Where can we see more of your work?
You need to insta-follow!
If you’re a fan of the florals, then you need to swing by and check out the beautiful creations of one Cynthia Irani of Cynzcakes.
The Montreal-based creator has a stunning feed, crammed full of beautifully photographed flawless cakes, all adorned with an incredible assortment of sugar floristry, buttercream textures and even more besides.
There’s nothing quite like an exquisitely consistent Instagram feed and Cynthia’s is certainly that.
You can find Cynzcakes’ Instagram here.
Cake of the Week!
The winner of this week’s Cake of the Week was one nominated a fair few times this week – I wonder if it’s because you all know just how much I love a pug…?
Karen Mitchell of Sugarlicious Cakes by Karen ventured into one of my favourite genres of cake sculpting with this fabulous little dude this week and I think he’s absolutely adorable. Just look at that little tail!
Karen has been developing her gorgeous lil’ pug as an idea for her first 3D cake class and I love the fact that he is all cake apart from his front legs.
I think that he’ll provide a fabulous learning experience and I can’t wait to see the results of all of Karen’s students’ efforts!
Congratulations on a fabulous Cake of the Week, Karen!
WOW CAKES #1!
Check out this wonderful creation by Jan-Michael Dörich of Jan-Michael Sugar Art!
Inspired by the gorgeous book, ‘Ich bin für dich da!’ (translation: ‘I’m here for you’), Jan-Michael’s edible sculpture features the book’s main characters peering out from within its pages.
It really caught attention when I saw it this week and I knew that I had to share it with you all!
Be sure to check out more of Jan-Michael’s work over at his Facebook page, Jan-Michael Sugar Art. You can find it here.
And the winner is…
Thank you to everyone that took the time to visit my YouTube channel and enter my Cake International on Tour giveaway. Up for grabs were two pairs of tickets to April’s event at London’s Excel. I gathered up the names of those that had commented and entered them into a random name picker online, and I am pleased to announce that the winners are…
VICTORIA BRIDGE AND MICHELLE BECKER
Congratulations, Victoria and Michelle! If you could get in touch using one of the channels below, letting me know your email address and which of the days of the show you would most like to attend (Thursday, Friday or Saturday) and I will arrange for the Cake International team to get your e-tickets sent out to you!
I say it every week, but Something Sweet relies on your submissions and contributions to remain topical and interesting, 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, do make sure you get in touch – and if it’s a little bit controversial, you can always be our next The Secret Caker.
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