All Content, Blog, Exclusive Preview, Review

Review: 10 Simple Wafer Paper Ideas – an online cake course from Lindy Smith

Evening all! I do hope you are all well and not too bogged down in all things cake and sugarcraft!

It has certainly reached that time of year when our schedules seem to go a bit mad – certainly in the UK, at least – as we limp ever onward towards the biggest weekend of our cake calendars: Cake International 2018.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Cake International team have promised us that this year’s show will be the biggest and best ever and, based on some of the whispers I have heard, I really don’t think they are exaggerating!

You may have noticed my use of the word ‘limp’ above and be wondering whatever could I mean?! Well, based on the record number of entries for this year’s prestigious Cake International competitions (almost 2000, I believe), I can assure you that there will be a whole host of busy cakers frantically working hard to finish their showstopping entries (as well as the amazing exhibits and displays that we all so enjoy) alongside their regular weekly orders. They really do work like Trojans to ensure that we have tables upon tables of beautiful cakes to gaze upon and enjoy and I applaud them all for it – whether an enthusiastic first-timer or a seasoned pro. Competing and/or appearing at the show really is a crazy experience and it certainly is a slog in the run up – but once all of the pieces have arrived safely, it is absolutely the best weekend of the year and I know we wouldn’t change it for the world!

I must confess though that I will not be competing this year – well not on my own anyway. Instead, I have been channelling all of my efforts into an elaborate centrepiece for one of this year’s collaboration tables, which is being organised by my dear friend, caking superstar, Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co.

But fear not, you will also be able to catch me throughout the weekend completing a live demo or two (more info on those to follow) and also taking part in a fantastic live build to celebrate the launch of darling Etty van Urk AKA the Cake Dutchess‘ first book: The Cake Dutchess Modelling Guide – Animals. I was thrilled to be able to contribute to what I hope will be the first of Etty’s many publications in the role of editor and I can’t wait for you all to check it out at the show – it really is a thing of beauty!

But anyway, this evening I thought I would take a break from the craziness of my Cake International prep to tell you about something new that I have been exploring recently…

 

Renowned throughout the world for her incredible cake designs, thoughtful writing and accessible and approachable teaching style, Lindy Smith is the extremely talented British cake designer, sugarcrafter and author responsible for many of the books that make up the essential reading list for anyone looking to get started in cake design – including The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible.

Her attention to detail and eye for colour have enabled Lindy to go from a humble home baker to a globally-sought-after demonstrator and teacher, during an incredible 25 years in the industry, and, while she continues to run a very successful business, Lindy’s Cakes Ltd, based in Buckinghamshire, UK, she has now expanded her interests to include an online shop, which specialises in sugarcraft products handpicked by Lindy, a jam-packed teaching schedule throughout the year and, of course, regular articles and editorials about all things sugar.

It is Lindy’s international travels that have enabled her to see first-hand how sugarcraft and cake decorating is constantly evolving around the globe and, inspired by this, she is now bringing the fruits of her latest ventures to life through a new online learning experience: 10 Simple Wafer Paper Ideas.

Check out the trailer:

If you haven’t had the wonderful experience of meeting Lindy face-to-face yet, then you might not have realised just how captivating and charming she really is, but you can rest assured that her passion for all things sugarcraft, her talent for teaching and her desire to inspire and help others develop their talents are abundantly evident in her enthralling, easy-to-follow classes. You are invited to let Lindy be your guide to the astonishingly creative world of cake decorating with wafer paper.

Having experimented with wafer paper a couple of times at home and then attending a rather wonderful Wafer Paper Peony Class with the lovely Rhianydd Webb of Dragions and Daffodils earlier this year, I have been rather keen to experiment more with wafer paper and so when Lindy asked if I would like to have a little preview of her new course, I almost bit her hand off in my enthusiasm! I am constantly in awe of the incredible things that I see people doing with this up and coming medium and I have been desperate to know more!

Lindy’s course is conveniently split into handy bitesize classes (similar to Craftsy) entitled Punch it…Cut it…Steam it…, meaning that you can pick and choose the order that you watch them in and they are clearly labelled with the type of class and the skills being used. Each section is also headed up with its own introductory video, within which Lindy will tell you the tools you will need for each project and suggest how you might use each project to enhance your own cakes.

With classes on punching out decorative trims, bands and all over patterns; punching out pre-shaped and hand-formed flowers; hand cut decorations; die cut decorations; and more besides, we really are spoilt for choice and I think Lindy’s course would make a fabulous starting point for anyone looking to start exploring the wonderful world of wafer paper.

Personally, I loved the sheer variety of ways in which Lindy showed how we can incorporate wafer paper into our cake projects – I’ve only ever really encountered wafer paper flowers before – and I also liked how she very clearly demonstrates each of the techniques before showing how you might choose to use the fruits of your labours on a variety of different styles of cake – both traditional and more contemporary.

It really has got me itching to get started on some of the projects and being such a wafer paper noob, this obviously meant that I had to to go shopping – what a hardship! 😉 I already have some punches on the way to help me get started with a couple of Lindy’s projects, so you’ll have to keep a close eye out for my follow up post where I will hopefully share the results of some fabulous wafer paper experimentation.

In the meantime, if you would like to check out Lindy’s 10 Simple Wafer Paper Ideas for yourself, you can head to this link where you can buy the entire course for the absolute bargain price of just £28.80! Once enrolled, you will have 24-hour, lifetime access to your classes, you will be able to ask questions at any point during the class, you can leave your own comments and share your creations with your fellow students. Oh, and if you opt to purchase the premium version for only a coupe of pounds more, you‘ll also receive personalised feedback on your creations from Lindy herself! That’s almost as good as having her in the room with you!

So what are you waiting for? Head to the link to enrol today and learn how to have fun with wafer paper!

Thank you Lindy for letting me have a sneaky peek at your new course – I really enjoyed watching my way through all of the projects and I can’t wait to get punching, cutting and steaming!

x

All Content, Blog, Exclusive Preview

A new look for Paul Bradford: Cakeflix is here!

Paul Bradford has a new look – and I don’t mean he got his hair did…

Having released a tutorial every week since his online learning platform, the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School launched seven years ago, Paul Bradford prides himself on always having his finger on the pulse of what his online audience are looking for.

However, last year, Paul and his partner David started to notice that things were changing. Their weekly tutorials were getting fewer views, while shorter, snappier techniques, and their hints & tips-led content were growing in popularity.

With more and more cake artists beginning to share their own content via short videos and tutorials on YouTube, it seemed that cake decorators were starting to find themselves spoiled for choice.

Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Paul and David decided to look to their discerning members to see how they could develop their platform to meet the evolving requirements of their subscribers.

After reviewing what their 195,000(!!) members were saying they wanted, they set about designing the new-look Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School – but then inspiration hit: why not use this as an opportunity for a full rebrand? And after a LOT of planning and hard work – including securing the all-important domains and Trademark – CakeFlix was born.

Having produced high quality content every week for seven years, Paul and David already had a huge number of fantastic classes and tutorials that were hidden away in the murky depths of the original site. It all needed to be catalogued and thus the Techniques section of Cakeflix came to be. On the old site, you would quite literally have had to search through every single tutorial if you were after a specific skill or technique. If you wanted to learn how to make a selection of different roses, well, you’d have had your work cut out trying to track them all down!

On the new site, it will be as simple as clicking: Techniques > Flowers > Roses and you’ll find a whole host of rose-specific lessons to choose from.

And it’s not just roses, either. You’ll be able to find dedicated sections on flowers, models, royal icing techniques, chocolate work and they’re even working on a structured stands section. It really does sound like Paul and David have really listened to their members and, based on the feedback they have been given, I know they have plans to collect even more tutorials and classes to develop these sections even further – and to top up any areas where they have identified any content shortfalls.

Their members had also mentioned that they didn’t always have time each week to watch the weekly course, so for a few months now Paul and David have been providing a 10-15minute Highlight edit, as well as the fast forward Quickbite video, which condenses the course down to just one minute! After all, I’m sure we can all spare one minute a week, can’t we?

You will also be able to find a wide selection of promotional videos explaining how to use various specific cake products and tools, but importantly, CakeFlix do not get paid to host these or take any commission from them. The aim of the site is to be educational and a neutral shopping place – Paul and David won’t be pushing one product over any other.

The final key addition for the new site was that members wanted more live shows. Paul had been using Facebook Live, but the problem is that then Facebook own that content, so it can’t be easily catalogued and used after the event. Hosting Live events on the CakeFlix site will allow for audience interaction and the videos can be edited and reused after the show too.

All in all, a lot of changes happening at the same time is always going to be a bit risky, but as Paul and David have identified, you have to be able to move quickly if you want to say relevant in any developing industry, and none seem to be moving as quickly as the cake industry at the moment. It really is a great industry to be involved in, but as Paul and David have identified, our clients and customers can never be taken for granted, so it’s important to listen, learn and act in response to what they want.

Paul and David are very excited about their new site, explaining that they are looking forward to opening up the platform to many new artists and they can’t wait to work with and support a whole new generation of cake artists. As Cakeflix develops and grows, it will continue to provide a platform where cake artists worldwide can have their content shared and catalogued on a professional site and allowing them to reach an engaged cake decorating audience – and it will ensure they get paid for their hard work.

With their Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant status and having won the Cake Masters Magazine award for the Best Learning Experience three times in the last four years, Paul and David already have some excellent foundations on which to build this great new brand and I wish them every success with it.

If you would like to find out more about Cakeflix, Paul and David are offering a seven-day FREE Trial to allow visitors to check out the 775 courses that they already have on offer.

Click here to see it for yourself…

All Content, Blog, Exclusive Preview

‘To Have and To Hold’ – Wedding Cakes in Miniature by Sarah Bray

It’s not often that Mr Baker’s Blog gets an exclusive preview, but then it’s not often that you inspire a truly awesome project!

Recently, I introduced you to the work of Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes by Sarah, when she created her stunning Miniature Picnic Cupcake Toppers tutorial for Mr Baker’s Blog. An award-winning cake artist and tutor from Wokingham in Berkshire, Sarah recently took home a gold award and second place at this year’s Squires Kitchen Exhibition in the Miniature Wedding Cake category.

Sarah’s gold award-winning piece…

Lately, Sarah has been working away on a delightful project recreating some of her favourite wedding cake trends – in miniature. And I mean in SERIOUS miniature.

Sarah explained that, at the start of the year, she created a ‘wannado’ list – a list of projects that she wanted to do to challenge herself beyond her everyday orders. Creating a collection of miniature wedding cakes was just one of the challenges on her list, but after seeing the cake I created for the wedding of my brother Martin to his new wife Sarah, she decided it could be fun to recreate some of the most recognisable cakes by her favourite designers.

She chose her favourite contemporary cake trends, reached out to the artists and the idea evolved from there.

Entitled ‘To Have and To Hold’, the finished collection includes work from Ben Fullard of Ben the Cake Man; Laura Loukaides of Laura Loukaides Cakes; Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design; Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co.; Dominique Pickering of Poppy Pickering; Tracey Rothwell of Little Cherry Cake Company; Shannon Bond of Shannon Bond Cake Design; Rachel Teufel of Intricate Icings Cake Design, Jen Rojas of Cupcakes and Counting; annnnnd little old… me!

I am so incredibly honoured to not only have inspired such an amazing project, but also to have been included in such an incredibly talented line up – I can’t believe how much detail Sarah was able to replicate from my original cake in miniature.

The entire collection took Sarah around three weeks from start to finish and I know that it hasn’t been easy! Some of the pieces were already incredibly intricate, but once reduced the size of a cupcake topper, those intricate details become insanely fiddly!

I’m genuinely so excited – I literally cannot wait for you all to see the full ‘To Have and To Hold’ collection – this is merely a teaser after all!

Be sure to keep a close eye on Sarah’s Facebook page, Daisy Cakes by Sarah, for the full reveal later this week.

 

And thanks for giving us an exclusive preview, Sarah! x