All Content, Blog

Is there any better gift… than cake?

If you’re following my social media (and if you’re not, why not?), then at the weekend you will have seen that I dashed up to the outskirts of High Wycombe to celebrate one of my oldest friend’s baby shower in the beautiful surroundings of Bedlow Ridge.

I have known Rhonda for almost 15 years and so it was an absolute privilege to be able to create a surprise cake to mark such a special occasion.

Originally created as a Christmas cake for a school fundraiser last year, my Gift of a Hug cake proved very popular online, and those of you who made it along to the NISE Show back in February will already have seen me create a birthday version on the demonstration stage.

However, since then, I have often wondered what it would look like as a more ‘babyfied’ design. Teddy bears for babies tend to be less fluffy, with more of a fleecy texture, so recreating that was the key challenge for this cake. I wonder if any of you can guess how I achieved it?

I also decided to give my favourite wood-effect board a bit of a makeover (find my tutorial for that here), opting to start with a pale grey base (using Renshaw’s Cool Grey), airbrushing with Fractal Colors’ FlowAir in Black, rather than my usual brown. I loved how it came out and it provided the perfect backdrop to really make the baby blue and white colour palette pop.

Rhonda hadn’t been told that I was coming to the party, let alone that I was making a cake, so the combination of my arrival and it’s unveiling actually brought her to tears (happy tears, I hope… 😳) and I don’t think I could have asked for a better reaction than that!

Inside, the cake was made up of six layers of deliciously moist and fluffy lemon sponge, sandwiched with alternating layers of a light lemon buttercream and zingy lemon curd, before being crumb coated with white chocolate ganache and covered with my favourite Renshaw Extra sugarpaste, coloured baby blue.

It went down an absolute storm with the guests and was certainly the perfect end for a wonderful day.

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Following my previous social media posts about Mr Baker’s Cakes potentially moving into teaching sugarcraft classes, my Gift of a Hug design could provide the perfect launch pad for someone who is looking to start moving on from basic round cakes into simple, more-sculpted designs – covering simple techniques including my hand-finished wood effect board, sculpting a teddy bear bust from either RKT or cake, texturing, basic airbrushing and simple finishing touches (such as ruffles and sugarpaste appliqués). If you would be interested in learning how to make my Gift of a Hug cake, then be sure to let me know in the comments down below…

All Content, Blog, Competition, Interview

Getting to know you… with Natalie Porter of Immaculate Confections

This time last year, I introduced you to Natalie Porter, a talented wedding cake designer and the founder of Immaculate Confections, responsible for the creation of the Rapid Rose and the Perfect Peony kits, which have made sugar flowers accessible to sugarcrafters all over the world.

This month saw talented innovator, artist and entrepreneur Natalie add yet another skill to her CV – published author – with the release of her first book, Book One: Sugar Flowers.

A colourful and easy-to-follow guide to creating beautiful, yet achievable sugar flowers, Natalie’s book features clear and easy, step-by-step instructions that will help you to create a whole host of sugar flowers, buds, berries and leaves and turn your cakes into works of art!

Regular readers (and viewers) will know that I have been very excitedly following Natalie’s journey to bring her first book to life (check out my video from April’s Cake International on Tour 2019 to see more), and it seemed only right that now it is here, we sat down with Natalie, and husband Chris, to find out how she got started in sugarcraft, discover what inspired her to create her range of products and learn how she was able to finally bring her vision to life in her new book.

Head to this link to read my exclusive interview with Natalie and find out how you can get your hands on a FREE copy of Natalie’s book, Book One: Sugar Flowers.

All Content, Blog

I have a rather exciting announcement…

Hey Cake Chums and welcome back to Mr Baker’s Blog…

As you guys know, the last few months have been fairly crazy here at Mr Baker‘s Blog HQ, with lots of travel, a healthy sprinkling of cake shows, plenty of cake projects and a lot more besides.

However, in addition to all of the crazy cake adventures I have been going on, there have been a few other fairly big developments that I have been waiting to share with you.

As many of you may know, for the last five years, Mr Baker’s Cakes and Mr Baker‘s Blog have very much just been side-gigs to a very demanding full-time job as a primary school teacher and head of KS1. If I’m honest, I’ve spent years deflecting comments such as, ‘You should give up teaching and make cakes full time!’ and the always popular question, ‘Why are you still teaching?’

Long story short, I love teaching and I love working with children. It has never even entered my mind to take my hobby and make it a full-time gig and, having seen firsthand the emotional rollercoaster that full-time cake making takes you on, I definitely don’t think it’s for me.

However, clearly something has had to give or I run the risk of burning myself out!

With that in mind, over the last few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can make these two huge passions coexist alongside each other. And I have some news…

I have a new job!

Yes, from September I will be working in a new school – and a very lovely school, I must say – and I will be working PART TIME!

In a most uncharacteristic move for me, I will be taking that blind leap of faith and finding out if this whole cake-blogging and YouTubing gig is something that can be sustainable while still keeping that link to teaching.

This hopefully means that I will have all the time I need to create amazing content – both through the written word and on video – as well as still maintaining a wonderful career in education.

There are still some practical issues to consider – including how I will make up the income shortfall – and as such, Mr Baker’s Blog is now officially open for business (let me know if you think I should have a proper launch party, by the way)! To that end, I am starting to consider some of the requests that I have had to write for other websites and publications, to teach cake-decorating classes and so on – hopefully there are a few irons in the fire there.

My new studio kitchen is also FINALLY starting to come together – the electricians were in this week installing the new lighting (and the new fuse board which was a delightfully unexpected additional expense!) and up next is the plasterer so hopefully there isn’t much longer to wait before I can start shooting ‘proper’ videos, rather than just ‘out and about’ vlogs.

Check out my studio teaser video from back in February…

One way that you can help is to make sure that you have subscribed to my online channels – both here on the blog and over on YouTube. The more tangible subscribers I have, the closer I can get to monetising those platforms – boring yes, but hopefully a small-but-handy source of regular income to fund future cake adventures and projects.

To subscribe here, 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. You simply need to pop in your email address and then hit confirm in the confirmation email that will be sent to you. To subscribe to my YouTube channel, click on the graphic below and then hit the big red subscribe button. 🙂

Oh, and while you’re here, I also pledged that May would hopefully be the month when I relaunched my weekly round up of the latest news in cake.

*looks at calendar guiltily*

Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to slightly miss the deadline on that one, but the plan is still very much to bring it back – but, I also need your help there. As it stands, one issue of Something Sweet can take anywhere up to 15-18 hours to compile, with all of the content sourcing, research, writing, editing and so on. With that in mind, when I relaunch, I am going to need to be a lot stricter with only featuring submitted news – I simply won’t have the time to always go hunting for it. So if you haven’t already joined my dedicated Facebook group, Cake Chums – with Mr Baker’s Blog – head over there and request to join, then make sure you are sharing your latest news, cake projects, collaborations and so on… let’s make it the community resource I really want it to become!

So yeah, that is what is going on with me at the moment – scary times, but also very exciting too!

I must say a huge thank you for your ongoing support – it is thanks to all of you that I finally feel ready to make this leap into the unknown and I look forward to bringing you guys with me on this next exciting stage of my cake adventures.

But until next time, happy caking! x

 

PS. If you are a brand or organisation and would like to work with me, you can reach me through my Facebook page, the dedicated Cake Chums – with Mr Baker’s Blog Facebook group, by emailing me directly or why not drop me a line at:

Mr Baker’s Blog
PO Box 752
FAREHAM
PO14 9RZ