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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.

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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

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Review: Half-Sphere Multi Mould and Edible Transfers by The Old Piping Bag

The school holidays are finally here and do you know what that means? I can finally pay some attention to the mammoth, cakey ‘to-do list’ that I have been ignoring for the past few weeks. I actually have a dedicated shelf in my cake room that is purely for projects that I want to get to ‘at some point’ and, if I’m honest, lately it has been looking rather full.

I know some people think that blogging is all getting sent free stuff, but actually, for every product that you get sent for review, you need to come up with a creation to go with it and that’s before you even start putting pen to paper. It’s a lot of work.

And actually, many of the products or tools that I share with you are things that I have bought myself – either because I think that you would all be interested in seeing them in action or because I think they will be useful within my own cake artistry – and today, I finally got the chance to play with a product that fits into both of those categories.

The new Half Sphere Multi-Mould and Edible Transfers are some of the latest innovations to come out of the workshop of Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The-Old Piping Bag: Handmade Silicone Moulds for Cake & Craft and she told me they allow sugarcrafters to create realistic eyes, eyeballs and sports balls.

The combination of her isomalt mould and the pre-cut transfers ensure that even a complete isomalt-noob like me can achieve the sort of realistic eyes that used to be the exclusive purview of only the finest cake artists and sugar sculptors.

Now, if I’m honest, one of the main reasons that this project has been left languishing on my shelf (besides time) is because I have never used isomalt before and I’ve always been a little bit scared of it. Isomalt is an ‘inverted sugar’, which means that it is sweet like sugar, but it has a slower rate of crystallisation. This makes it ideal for modelling and moulding, because it doesn’t break down as quickly as regular sugar sculpting.

The other reason I had shelved this project for a while was due to the fact that Squires Kitchen Ready-Tempered Isomalt seemed to be out of stock absolutely everywhere. While there are other brands available, I had only heard good things about the Squires isomalt, so I was keen to use this during my first experience with the medium. However, it seemed that the rest of the world had had a similar idea and I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Luckily, my lovely friend Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co had a little bit left over from a previous project and she was generous enough to post it to me.

You also need a fair bit of kit to work with isomalt, it seems. Number one on your purchase list needs to be some silicone containers. Melted sugar is sticky – and hot! I bought a pack of silicone cupcake cases from Amazon and they seemed to do the trick perfectly.

If you want to achieve a perfect finish to your isomalt art, you will also need a blowtorch – I have this one by Andrew James – and some PME Clear Edible Glaze Spray. This will stop the sugar absorbing moisture from the air and breaking down over time.

Finally, I would advise that you wear some heat-proof gloves while you are working with your isomalt. Perhaps stupidly, I just used my usual food-safe vinyl gloves today, which of course do not offer any protection from the heat. However, I was able to whip mine off quick enough to ensure that I didn’t get badly burnt by the molten sugar when I inevitably shoved my finger into the discarded pot of leftover mix.

While I was using Rachel’s moulds for the first time, the thing I struggled with the most was patience. You need to let each step of the process cool before moving on to the next and I didn’t really do this. I won’t show you a picture of how my first attempts came out, but luckily I had just enough isomalt crystals left for one final go.

This time, I allowed myself to be distracted between each step so that I could allow sufficient cooling time and the results were much better, as you can see here.

Next up, I want to see how I can incorporate these realistic looking eyes into a chocolate sculpture like the one I made during my time with Carla Puig earlier this year.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the similarities between Rachel’s new product and another, devised by Lizzo Marek with Simi Cakes, that also became available this year. It seems that both of them had them in development at the same time and, although she is aware that people may think she copied Lizzo, whose eye moulds and transfers came to market first, Rachel explained that she had already invested far too much time and money into her product to be able to discontinue her work on them.

I don’t know about you, but I think there is plenty of space on the market for both of them – particularly as one is US-based and one is here – and I was certainly thrilled with the results I was able to achieve on my initial play with Rachel’s kit.

So much so, that now it seems to be back in stock everywhere, I have ordered a load more isomalt so that I can carry on with my explorations – before tackling my chocolate bust of course!

If you fancy having a go at creating realistic isomalt eyes, then you can pick up Rachel’s Half Sphere Multi Mould and Edible Transfers via her website here.

To get your hands on some of the elusive Squires Kitchen Ready-Tempered Isomalt, you can head to my other online home, Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd. And don’t forget to take advantage of my exclusive discount code MRBAKER10 while you’re there, to save 10% on all of your essential cake decorating needs.