All Content, Blog

Wedding Bells and Wedding Belles…

Hey cake chums and a happy Friday to you all!

I do hope you are having a good week – particularly those of you who are juggling having the kids home for the holidays whilst trying to get your cake orders out of the door!

Things are still ridiculously busy at Mr Baker’s Blog HQ too, with another collaboration deadline this weekend, my first ever trip out of Europe looming ever closer next week and the biggest event of the year, as far as we’re all concerned – my sister’s wedding day tomorrow!

As well as fulfilling the role of her ‘maid’ of honour, naturally I am also making the wedding cake. Luckily, everything is on track with that and today is all about the fun bit – the decorations! While I’m working on that though, it seemed like the perfect day to share a very special project with you…

Dubai-based cake designer and tutor, Reema Siraj of Reema Siraj Studio got in touch last month to tell me all about a very special challenge she undertook for the Cake Talks event in Muscat, Oman.

 

Originally conceived five years ago, Cake Talks started with just 15 women coming together at one of their houses to share some delicious home baked cakes and a hot cup of tea. Their ideology was simple: ‘The little I have, I share with you; the little you have, you share with me. Together we all have a full share of everything!’

However, fuelled by her passion for baking, event creator Rubeena Ibrahim assembled a team of three equally dynamic women Reena Mathias, Cassie Menezes and Shakila Faisal and, five years later, the Cake Talks family has evolved to include 250 talented bakers in Muscat alone, with their online community reaching 18,000 across the world.

Their annual event has also evolved to become a bigger platform for cake enthusiasts and hobby bakers to reach out and share their edible art, for aspiring cake designers as well as professionals, to discuss their ideas, share pictures, interact, assist, upgrade their design and technical skills. It also provides the perfect opportunity for hobby bakers to take part in an exhibition for the first time. With the added incentive of various competition categories, this year’s event saw 12 professional level cakes entered, 25 non-professional cakes, eight cupcake arrangements and 25 uniquely flavoured cakes, which had to be tasted and evaluated, one by one, based on neatness, precision, technique, design, creativity, overall appearance and originality.

The competitions were judged by chef Thomas Oomen, chef Asanka Dharmaratna and chef Achyuthanan Das from the Omans Chef Guild (OCG), Poornima Subramanyam and Reema, of course.

As well as serving as a competition judge, Reema was also asked to contribute a beautiful showpiece to the event and she was immediately clear on what she would create.

She explains, “My fondness for mediums such as lace, pearls and edible fabrics is what drew me to the idea of constructing a life-size wedding dress cake.

“Heavy embellishments were fundamentally the focus of this cake, so I needed inspiration from a dress that already encapsulated this.

“I looked to the exemplary designs of Ziad Nakad, a sensational wedding gown designer from Beirut, who specialises in eccentric fabrics and unconventional beading styles! To inspire my piece, I explored his 2017 and 2018 bridal collections, before developing my design.

“Bringing the sketch to life was my next step. I started by preparing a mood board using all of the elements and textures which I could possibly use in this project. This helped me a lot when deciding what would suit the design best.”

With all of the details in her dress to be entirely handmade, Reema began by crafting the embellishments one by one, starting with delicate wafer paper flowers, centred with varying sizes of edible pearls. This truly was a long process as over 2,400 individually hand-crafted flowers were needed to bring her design to life.

Lace was another main feature of Reema’s creation, with over 3000 individual lace flowers covering almost 90% of the entire dress. It was definitely an area that required a great deal of attention to detail, with each flower that formed part of the lace design having to be individually hand cut and positioned on the dress to ensure the design was flowing and faultless.

And this was all before she even started constructing the life-size dress!

Luckily for us all, Reema has documented the process of creating her stunning gown in this video, so rather than listen to me try and describe it, you can see it for yourself!

The entire project, which was generously sponsored by Satin Ice, took Reema over three weeks and 180 hours to complete, although that doesn’t include all of the planning and preparation time before she started! It was certainly a labour of love and the results are certainly breathtaking.

To see more of the project and to check out more of Reema’s stunning creations, you can find her on Facebook here or why not follow her on Instagram?

Thank you so much for getting in touch to tell us all about your incredible showpiece, Reema. I have loved seeing the process you went through to craft your exhibit and the result was mind-blowingly incredible! All those tiny details really came together to create a wonderfully realistic and beautiful dress.

I definitely can’t wait to see more from this talented lady!

All Content, Blog

My day at Cake International on Tour 2019

Hey cake chums and welcome back to the blog.

This weekend saw me head up to the Excel, London to check out Cake International on Tour. In the midst of a rather hectic couple of months at Mr Baker’s Blog HQ, I was looking forward to the chance to have a bit of a break, meet up with some of my favourite cake chums and generally have an all-round fantastic time.

As you saw in my preview video, we had been promised a whole host of exciting sights and exhibits to get our teeth into (not literally, unfortunately), so I was looking forward to checking out Sweet Wedding in Bloom, Cake Side of the Moon, the Cake Live Championships, the wonderful demonstrations and, of course, the always-inspirational cake competitions.

 

Now, you may have noticed that in most of my other videos from the shows, I have developed a terrible habit of forgetting to record while I’m chatting to people, so this time I made a conscious effort to get some of those conversations on film. Now I’m not saying I did a brilliant job of it, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Head straight to the video here!

If you would like to find out more about some of the fabulous new products you saw in the video, you can pre-order Natalie’s new book at her website here, check out Molly’s Creature Creator at this link and to order the Dinkydoodle Carry Cake Kits, you can head here. #notsponsored

I’d like to say a massive congratulations to everyone who helped make this first ever Cake International on Tour a huge success and an extra special well done to all of the wonderful competitors. I swear the standard of work in the competitions gets higher and higher with every show!

If you fancy checking out the full show in Birmingham in November, then head to the Cake International website now to book your tickets. You can find it here.

Thanks so much for checking out my latest video guys and I’ll see you soon.

Take care!

All Content, Blog, Review, YouTube Video

NEW VIDEO: The Gravity Defying Turtle Class at CakeArt Creations The Studio

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At the weekend, I was invited to attend a class at CakeArt Creations the Studio in Atherstone, near Birmingham.

Hosted by the inimitable Lynda Gilbey of CakeArt Creations, the class was being taught by my dear friend and Mr Baker’s Blog favourite, Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend a class with Rhianydd before and, as I explained at the time, having been active within the cake world for over 20 years, Rhianydd is a veritable font of knowledge when it comes to cake decoration and design.

Usually based in Pontypridd, in South Wales, Rhianydd has booked in a whole selection of her 2019 classes at CakeArt Creations the Studio, as, in addition to being a lovely, purpose-built teaching space, it’s central location – just outside Birmingham – means that it is easily accessible to cakers from all over the country. In fact, on the day of the class, I travelled up from Mr Baker’s Blog HQ, just outside Portsmouth, and was able arrive for the 9:30am start, without having to leave ridiculously early at all. I was also delighted to discover that parking at CakeArt Creations the Studio was free too – always a plus when you are taking part in a class that lasts the entire day!

The class that I was invited to attend was one of Rhianydd’s new classes for 2019: The Gravity-Defying Turtle Class. As many of you will already know, I love creating gravity-defying structured and sculpted cakes, so this one was going to be right up my street!

Arriving right on time for the start of the class, there was just time to set up my camera equipment ready to film the experience for my YouTube Channel, and to grab a welcoming cup of coffee, before we were ready to begin.

As always, Rhianydd was impeccably prepared for the class and we had been provided with everything that we would need to create our gravity-defying turtles. However, with her own sugarcraft supplies store mere moments away from the Studio and a whole wall of tools, cutters and more available for purchase within the Studio itself, I’m sure Lynda would have been able to cater for anything that we felt we were missing, should the need have arisen (obviously I had to check out the store for myself – and pick up a not-so-little souvenir to bring home with me).

Rhi had prepared all of the internal structures for us in advance, but was careful to ensure that we all understood the process of building them, so we would be able to do it again ourselves and she also showed us how to make the structure food safe – a vitally important step when creating your own gravity-defying creations.

Unfortunately, being the woefully inexperienced YouTuber that I currently am, I managed to leave my spare memory cards at home, so I wasn’t able to catch all of the footage that I wanted to, but I still think I managed to capture enough to give you a little taste of what one can expect from a class at CakeArt Creations the Studio – and of the fun you can have while learning with Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes. You can check out my video here:

Regular readers may well recall that last time I learnt from Rhi, I faced a fair amount of mockery for how neatly I like to work, when I am creating (although I would like to point out that this is only when I am out and about – my workbench at home never looks like this!).

A picture of my super neat workstation from my last class with Rhi

Naturally, that was referenced again at the weekend AND my neat-freakness remained in force for my turtle as well, as you will have seen in the video. At least I didn’t end up with a ‘plaster of shame’ this time.

When lunchtime arrived, many of us had brought food from home, but Lynda was also able to direct some of my classmates to a variety of local shops, as well as provide the menu for a local café that not only provided a wide selection of very reasonably priced hot and cold food, but also delivered it directly to the Studio! Very convenient and something I shall remember for next time!

Joining me on the class were a whole host of cake artists and enthusiasts at various points in their caking journey, from the near-beginners right through to the seasoned pros with many years of experience under their belts, and yet, as always, Rhi was able to teach the class in a fun and engaging way, ensuring that everyone felt supported, but no one felt that they were being taught to suck eggs. This is something that she always does so so well and that, along with her top tips for various elements of sugarcraft and the subtle nods to the experts and artists that came before us, ensure that the entire day is thoroughly interesting, engaging and, most importantly, fun!

Based in Pontypridd, Rhianydd teaches a huge variety of regular classes, locally to her at the Pantygraigwen Community Centre and both nationally and now internationally at a variety of locations, including CakeArt Creations the Studio, of course. Her repertoire is inexhaustible and her current schedule includes classes on wafer paper flowers, figure modelling, sharp edges, gravity-defying sculpted cakes and even more besides.

Next up at CakeArt Creations the Studio, Rhianydd will be returning with her gravity-defying Fairy Cottage class on Sunday 12th May, while on Sunday 9th June, she will be back again to deliver her aforementioned Wafer Paper Peony Class.

To find out what other classes she is also offering, you can also visit the Classes and Demonstrations section of Rhianydd’s website.

All in all, as you saw from the video above, I had a fantastic time at CakeArt Creations the Studio with Lynda Gilbey and Rhianydd Webb. I left having been challenged, entertained and having learnt an awful lot. As I have said before, I highly recommend learning from Rhi because, in all honesty, the experience is fantastic. Regardless of their existing experience level, every single person leaves feeling empowered and able to produce an awe-inspiring creation – I couldn’t think of a better testament to the quality of the teaching and learning experience.

I must say a huge thank you to Lynda Gilbey of CakeArt Creations the Studio for inviting me along to take part in Rhi’s fabulous Gravity Defying Turtle Class and for being a wonderfully welcoming host. She had us all at ease from the start and kept us all well-stocked with beverages and snacks throughout the day. I hope that I’ll be able to come back and visit again soon!

If you would be interested in taking a class at CakeArt Creations the Studio, in Atherstone, whether with Rhianydd Webb, Lynda herself, or any of the other incredible tutors who will be teaching there in the coming months, you can visit the CakeArt Creations the Studio website right here to find out more and to book your place.

A special thank you must also go to Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes for allowing me to sneak into her class and run amok with my camera for the day. I hope you’ve recovered from the experience Rhi and I’m already looking forward to our next playdate (more on that later!).

I hope you all enjoyed finding out a bit more about CakeArt Creations the Studio and taking a little sneak peek at what you can expect from a class there. If you have taken a class with Lynda or one of her guest tutors and would like to tell us all about it, feel free to post in the comments below, or why not get in touch through one of my regular channels?

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

In the meantime, thanks so much for reading/watching and I’ll see you next time.

Until then… happy caking!

x

 

Disclaimer: My space on the Gravity Defying Turtle Class with Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb was provided for free by CakeArt Creations the Studio. However, my review and the opinions therein remain 100% my own. Mr Baker’s Blog will never knowingly provide a positive review for a product or service that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in.