What’s new on the blog this week?
It’s been a busy old week on Mr Baker’s Blog this week – anyone would think it was the school holidays or something…!
At the start of the week, I shared my latest FREE cake tutorial: The Painted Giftbox Cake. While visiting the Squire’s Kitchen Exhibition a few weeks back, I stumbled across the new Squires Kitchen Edible Wafer Papers by Natasha Collins. The British cake artist and cake-painting specialist behind Nevie-Pie Cakes teamed up with Squires Kitchen to produce a whole range of beautiful ‘painted’ designs on strong, flexible and ultra-fine wafer paper, making it suitable for all kinds of uses in baking and sugarcraft. This got me thinking and I wondered if it would be possible for a cake decorating novice to use the papers to create a show-stopping cake without the time and effort that professionals usually put in, and thus, my Painted Giftbox Tutorial was born.
I also posted a full review of the new Edible Wafer Papers which you can find here.
On Wednesday, in probably the most intrepid reporting I have undertaken, I visited one of my favourite sugar artists and modelling-chocolate-master, Laura Dodimead at her new base of operations in Bordon, Hampshire. In case you haven’t yet heard, Laura is diversifying her artistic profile somewhat – and not merely by dallying with other types of sugar either. No, Laura has taken her artistry in an entirely new direction by starting a tattoo apprenticeship. Naturally I had to head down to find out more and I might have indulged in my own permanent memento of the day too. Read all about it here – and don’t tell my mother!
Finally, towards the end of the week, I published my latest exclusive interview – with the one and only Cake Dutchess herself, Etty van Urk. As the powerhouse behind Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste, the hotly anticipated Cake Dutchess Modelling Tools and a lot more besides, Etty really is an inspirational individual and it has been a real pleasure getting to know her a little better. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d highly recommend that you do!
Have you heard…?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really am lucky to know a huge amount of incredibly clever and talented individuals within the cake community and I particularly enjoy watching their well-laid plans come to fruition.
One such example has been seeing Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design work with Alessandra Williamson of Alico Crafts to turn a wandering thought into the newest and most hotly-anticipated cake show in the UK!
The Northern Irish Sugar Expo – or NISE – will be coming to the village of Templepatrick, Country Antrim on the 9th and 10th March 2019 and I am already excited.
Emma explained, “We thought it was about time that we had a show over here in Northern Ireland. There are already two great shows down in Ireland, in Dublin and Cork, but we felt that the north needed one too.”
I’ve been lucky enough to be let in on many of the secrets that the NISE team have in store for us all and, although I am sworn to secrecy, I can already tell you that it’s not going to be an event you’ll want to miss.
Head over to the NISE Facebook page and give it a like to ensure you stay up to date on the latest news as it is released and, of course, make sure you block out your diary now!
Hot Off the Press!
This week, I was lucky enough to get an advance look at a truly remarkable book that is launching very soon.
Compiled by the awesome Corinna Maguire, The Celtic Cakers brings together a team of some of Ireland’s top cake designers to produce a huge array of step-by-step pictorial guides to creating fantastic cakes of all skill levels.
The book offers readers the chance to learn techniques such as hand-modelling, creating stunning sugar flowers, crafting wired figures, carving cakes, structuring cakes, working with gelatin and much, much more.
Alongside the fabulous tutorials, The Celtic Cakers take you on a journey around the stunning Emerald Isle itself, introducing themselves and their cake stories, alongside beautiful photographs of their local regions.
When I first received my advance copy of the book, I literally spent about two hours reading it from cover to cover – I genuinely couldn’t put it down. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it is quite simply breath-taking. Corinna has managed to capture the beauty and well… almost the very essence of Ireland and combine it with some truly stunning tutorials from some of the greatest talents her little corner of paradise has to offer.
I can’t wait for you all to see it for yourselves.
The Celtic Cakers will be officially launched at the Irish Sugarcraft Show on 28th and 29th April, after which it will be available for purchase from Amazon. I’ll let you know the all important links to purchase as soon as they become available!
I couldn’t live without…
This week’s interviewee, Etty van Urk AKA the Cake Dutchess shares the one piece of kit that she simply couldn’t be without…
In addition to my Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste of course, it would have to be my white non-stick work board.
I love it because, when I use it in combination with my modelling paste, I never have to use anything to prevent it from sticking.
It honestly saves me so much time – and mess! It also makes a great white background for taking photographs of my work.
I’d definitely recommend it.
Etty sells the White Non-Stick Board in her online shop. Its highly polished surface is designed for non-stick performance and it is made from a high-quality food-safe plastic.
The hottest ticket in town!
Oh, speaking of Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design, I am really excited that she will shortly be making her way across the Irish Sea and down to the south coast to teach a class in Nicola Tomkinson (of Weddings by Nicola and Sweet Creation Ltd’s) new classroom space.
We rarely get anyone coming this far south and so I am truly delighted that Nicola now has a classroom large enough to attract some really exciting tutors to my local area!
Emma will be teaching her Sugar Peony & Dahlias Class at Nicola’s workshop in Portsmouth on the 23rd & 24th June 2018, where students will learn to create a stunning arrangement including open peonies, dahlias, cosmo, foliage and berries. These will all be displayed on a sharp-edged covered dummy, that you will also be taught in the class.
I wanna make that!
Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes has done it again with yet another stunning portrait cake tutorial – this time of Disney’s Moana.
I don’t know about you, but I love how Zoe manages to take a seemingly complex-looking design and then break it down into a series of super simple steps, meaning that absolutely anyone can create the most fabulous looking cakes.
You can find Zoe’s Baby Moana Cake over on her YouTube channel at this link and while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe!
Zoe has published well over 350 videos on her channel since its inception back in 2013 and she has tutorials for everything from character-filled 2D and 3D cakes to adorable animal-themed modelled toppers, so you might want to block out some time to take it all in… 😉
The Collaboration Station
I’m not sharing a collaboration this week – instead I have a collaboration opportunity for you all and a somewhat unusual one at that.
Hayley O’Beirnes, of Gadget Cakes is looking for some awesome cake makers who would like to be part of an interactive display she planning on creating in Birmingham later this year.
In aid of cancer support charity, Help Harry Help Others, Hayley is planning a Santa’s Grotto made up of insanely awesome light up and moving mechanical cakes.
Help Harry Help Others is a charity started in memory of the late Harry Moseley, an inspiring young fundraiser, to raise funds for brain cancer research. Harry was inspired to act following the death of his close friend and fellow patient Robert Harley. He raised over £650,000 selling fundraising bracelets before his death in 2011 and his fundraising success resulted in a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 JustGiving Awards. Harry wanted to create his own charity and his parents fulfilled that wish in 2012.
The event will allow visitors to walk through the fully immersive display for a small donation and it is hoped that these and an auction of the displayed pieces at the end of the project will raise oodles of funds for the charity.
Don’t panic if you aren’t feeling brave enough to tackle something moving either, as Hayley would also like people to contribute other edible Christmas-themed decorations, including baubles, wreaths and more!
If you would like to know more or to get involved, Hayley has created a dedicated Facebook group for the project – to be added to it, get in touch with her directly via her Facebook page.
Spotlight on the boys…
Seventeen-year-old Jarid Altmark, the multi-award-winning cake artist from sunny South Florida, discovered his passion for art at an early age. Popular Food Network shows such as Ace of Cakes and Food Network Challenge initiated his culinary infatuation and, by the age of 13, Jarid had made his first cake – he has not looked back ever since.
Constantly growing and expanding his repertoire, Jarid’s first competition at the age of 14 was at the That Takes the Cake Sugar Art Show in Austin, Texas, where he got the opportunity to meet and learn from his some of his cake idols. Jarid’s gravity-defying creation stole the show, winning 1st place and best of the teen division.
His competition bug has since thrived from competing at other shows across the country and Jarid now travels the country teaching his craft and sharing the secrets of his whimsical sculpted cakes.
Jarid has now been welcomed to The International Federation of Pastry Gelato and Chocolate (FIPGC) USA Division as a new member and candidate for the FIPGC USA Qualifying Competition at So Flo Cake & Candy Expo in Miami on 28th and 29th April 2018.
Jarid explained, “After hearing about the qualifying rounds at Soflo Cake & Candy Expo, I knew if I didn’t enter I would regret it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and in my opinion one of the biggest honours in the entire industry, so I’m super excited to see if I have what it takes!”
Please join me in wishing Jarid the very best of luck ahead of the FIPGC qualifiers and make sure you give his Facebook page, Jarid’s Awesome Cakes, a ‘like’ to follow his journey – hopefully all the way to the finals in Italy in 2019.
Meanwhile on Twitter…
So who else has been watching Texas Cake House on Food Network UK? I’m a huge fan of Natalie (and Dave!) Sideserf’s work and I’m thrilled that we can finally have a wee peek behind the scenes at what goes into making some of their truly remarkable cakes.
This week, with absolutely no real advance notice at all, I decided to suggest a live tweetalong with Wednesday’s two episodes, which obviously didn’t work (although thanks to Louise for stopping by, so it wasn’t JUST me talking to myself for an hour) – so I thought I’d make it a bit more official this week and pop it in here!
Food Network UK air two episodes of Texas Cake House every Wednesday from 9pm, so if you are a Twitter user, come online at 9pm and lets tweetalong with the episode using the hashtag: #texascakehouse
Incidentally, you can find me on Twitter at @mrbakerscakes and I hope to see you on Wednesday!
Cake of the Week!
This week a cake popped up in my timeline from a cake artist that I hadn’t come across before, so naturally I had to delve a little deeper and find out more.
That is how I discovered the beautiful cakes AND beautiful photography by Emily Coyle of Emily’s Cakes – I don’t think I have ever hit that like button so quickly!
And for this week’s cake of the week, it has to be that one that initially caught my attention and directed me to her cake page…
Standing at nearly three feet tall and decorated with delicate sprays of hydrangeas and leaves, it was a real showstopper and I bet the lucky bride and groom were absolutely delighted with it.
Just as I am delighted to announce that Emily’s cake is this week’s cake of the week! Congratulations!
In case you haven’t yet heard, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome the one-and-only Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb to the blogosphere.
And not only has Rhianydd finally started blogging, but she has also reactivated her YouTube channel too! She explained that she was becoming increasingly aware that not everyone uses Facebook these days and is hoping that the combination of both her new blog and her YouTube channel will enable her students to stay updated on what and where she is teaching next.
She has already started posting content, with this cute and simple bear topper going live this week and she added that she will start with some basic techniques first before building up to some more complex projects in the future.
With her wealth of knowledge of both traditional and modern cake artistry techniques, I can’t wait to see what else Rhianydd has got planned for us!
I also happen to know that she will be posting an interview with an actual bonafide sugar floristry LEGEND later this week, so make sure you head over and subscribe to ensure you don’t miss it going live!
You may have seen me post about it already so apologies, but this week I realised I had made a little bit of a booboo. If you think back to my overexcited posts about the fact that I was heading to Internationale Tortenmesse AKA Cake and Bake Germany, I realised I had forgotten one small detail…
That’s the weekend of my stepbrother’s wedding.
And I’m making the cake.
Not one you’d think I’d manage to forget, right? So, sadly I won’t be heading to Essen this year after all but, luckily, I have managed to rope in a willing volunteer to head to the show and report back on all the exciting news, gossip and creativity on my behalf. Worry not dear readers!
And thank you so much to all the people who got in touch to make me feel so welcome ahead of my planned trip – while I am devastated I will not be seeing you so soon, I hope to be able to make it over to see you next year instead!
Until next week, happy caking!