After the whirlwind of excitement that was Cake International 2018, the 25th Anniversary edition last weekend, I was straight back to the coal face – in that I was back at my desk in my classroom at 7am on Monday morning and wondering how I could best begin to share the awesome experience of the weekend.
I’ll admit that I was a little bit intimidated – how do you squeeze three amazing days chock full of awesomeness into only one blog post?! So rather than panic about it, I decided to tell you all about my highlights of the weekend and I hope that you will get involved and comment and share your own best bits too. After all, I couldn’t be everywhere at the weekend and I am sure that I missed loads of amazing stuff!
Of course, just because this is the Cake International Special, doesn’t mean that the cake world ground to a halt this week, so we’ll also be checking out what else has been going on over the last seven days on planet cake, including a real showstopping cake from Rosie Cake-Diva, some all-important dates for your spring diary, a surprise appearance from one of our favourite cakers on Disney Junior this week and a wonderful collaboration that I was delighted to be a part of.
We’ll also be crowning this week’s Cake of the Week winner, of course.
I honestly don’t even know how to begin trying to describe the amazing Cake International weekend.
The show was celebrating it’s 25th anniversary and it was certainly its biggest and best ever! Naturally, a full post about the show will follow later this week, but, for now, I wanted to start by telling you all about the incredible Live Build that #teamdutchess completed over the weekend!
As I’ve mentioned previously, I was honoured to be part of the amazing team that came together to support Etty van Urk of Cake Dutchess bringing her first book, the Cake Dutchess Modelling Guide: Animals to the market. It really is a stunning publication (and well worth a purchase if you’re looking to develop your modelling skills), but long before the book went off to the printers, we were thinking about how we could celebrate its launch at this year’s Cake International event.
With such an amazing selection of animal-themed projects in the book ready for us all to tackle, it suddenly struck me, what about a Live Build during which we could create a giant Noah’s Ark topped with a dazzling array of the amazing animals that Etty has created over her years in sugar artistry.
Luckily, Etty loved the idea and managed to get some truly incredible, world-renowned artists on board to help us bring to life – including Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ from the Oven, Janette MacPherson of Janette MacPherson Cake Craft, Kelly McWilliam of Kelly McWilliam – Cake Artist, Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes and, all the way from Canada, Kylie Mangles of Letterpress Bakery, as well as a whole host of Etty’s immensely talented Cake Dutchess Instructors, including Lesley Smith, Gillian Wilson, Deborah Edwards, Mariska van Bers, Rosan Kreeftmeijer, Xenia Robeson, Karin Bergrath and Wendy Slagwein.
In what felt like no time at all, it was suddenly time to bring our vision to life and, thanks to our wonderful sponsors (more on them in a moment), we were ready to get cracking as soon as the show was declared officially open, on Friday.
We started by building an edible support frame for the ark, using Rice Krispie Treats, and then it was time to assemble the deliciously moist chocolate orange cake, kindly sponsored by Nude Cakes.
As they explain on their website, Nude Cakes have been honing their baking expertise for many years and their stunning, gourmet cakes have a taste and texture that has to be tried to be believed. Packed full of the finest ingredients, the rich dark chocolate sponges, with a gorgeous orange flavour that they donated to the project were baked to perfection and they arrived perfectly ready to decorate.
Once the cakes had been assembled together, it was time to slather them with a ton of my tasty chocolate orange ganache, before we started to decorate with ready-coloured Ice Wise Cocoa Brown Sugarpaste, generously donated by Decobake Ireland.
The cake was panelled with the sugarpaste, before a wood effect was added by hand.
Adorable embellishments were added in the form of a gangplank, portholes (we may have taken some artistic licence with the more traditional depictions of the ark), a door and a thatched straw roof.
The wood effect was enhanced thanks to our Cake Dutchess Modelling Tools, before we moved on to shaping some marbled waves with Ice Wise Ocean Blue Sugarpaste, again kindly provided by Decobake Ireland, topped with royal icing brush embroidery.
It was all then expertly airbrushed by my fellow Clairella Cakes brand ambassador colleague, Janette MacPherson – she did a wonderful job!
Over the rest of the weekend, we were joined by a whole host of talented Cake Dutchess instructors, who, along with Etty, created some adorable animal models from Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste – in pairs of course – to adorn our display.
Oh, and Zoe’s fabulous Noah of course…
One of my favourite parts of the whole process was watching a group of cake artists – most of whom are well-known for their intricately detailed cakes and models – adapt their skills to match the signature simplicity for which Cake Dutchess is so well known and loved.
It really was a fun project to be a part of and I’m sure you’ll agree that the final assembled piece was a real thing of beauty. If I’m honest, it was touch-and-go there for a moment whether we would be able to bring ourselves to cut the cake as planned – we all just loved it so much. There was even talk of Etty taking it back to Glasgow to donate to a local charity.
However, with so many of the show’s attendees regularly popping back to see how the build was progressing and a couple of our more child-sized fans eager to get their hands on some of our tasty cake, we found it impossible to let them down.
So, shortly before the show closed its doors for the final time, we were joined by Paul Bradford of CakeFlix who honoured us by cutting the cake, before we shared the hundred-or-so delicious portions with the assembled crowd (I can personally attest to its deliciousness, as I may have had two pieces myself – hey, I’d skipped lunch!).
Having not had a Nude Cakes cake before, I was genuinely very impressed with both the quality and the taste of their chocolate orange sponge and I’ll be honest with you, at least a small part of me considered stopping baking entirely for a second and just using Nude Cakes for all my future bakes – it really was that good.
I’m sure I can take at least a tiny bit of the credit though – my chocolate orange ganache also got a lot of compliments. If you fancy having a whipping up a batch of it yourself, you will be able to find the recipe via the recipes tab above in the next couple of days.
But if you could indulge me for just a moment, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a final thank you to both of our wonderful sponsors, Decobake and Nude Cakes, without whom this project would not have been possible. Do check out their websites to find out more about both of these brilliant organisations.
Thank you also to everyone who stopped by to visit us during our Live Build, as well as all those who came along by to congratulate Etty on her publication and stock up on their Cake Dutchess essentials.
It was a fantastic project to be a part of and I’m both grateful and honoured that Etty asked me to be there. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Cake Dutchess next.
In the meantime, be sure to keep a close eye on the blog this week, as I have much more to share with you from my amazing weekend at Cake International – including announcing the winner of my biggest ever subscriber giveaway, of course. Have you entered?
If you have, make sure you have set your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post to ‘public’, so I can see it and check back regularly to find out if you have been lucky enough to scoop the jackpot!
As I have mentioned previously, Mr Baker’s Blog celebrated its first anniversary in August, meaning that this coming weekend sees my second Cake International as a cake blogger – but probably the first where people are actually reading my blog… 😉
I am truly grateful for all the support that you have all shown me over the last year (and a bit) and so, with Cake International fast approaching, I wanted to do something to thank and reward all of the wonderful #cakechums that have made Mr Baker’s Blog such a success.
As a result, as I teased in the latest issue of Something Sweet, I feel like it is time for my BIGGEST EVER SUBSCRIBER GIVEAWAY!
During the last 15 months, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people, organisations and brands, the majority of which will be at Cake International this weekend. I have reached out to them and asked if they would be prepared to contribute a lil’ something to a rather awesome prize hamper – and they all said yes!
As a result, I will be skipping merrily around the show collecting a whole host of prizes from some of my absolute favourites, like Renshaw, Cake Dutchess, The Celtic Cakers, The Old Piping Bag, Evil Cake Genius, Cake Masters Magazine, Cakes by Carol, dragéekíss®, Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine and even more besides…
‘But what do I have to do to get my hands on this amazing prize?!’ I hear you ask…
Well, first of all, as it is a SUBSCRIBER giveaway, you will need to ensure that you have subscribed to Mr Baker’s Blog – to do that, you need to find the box in the tool bar on the right (or at the base of the page if on mobile) and enter your email address. I will then send you a confirmation email, which you will need to accept.
But then comes the fun bit. To win, you will need to track down one of my new flyers at Cake International and take a selfie with it, uploading it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, with the hashtags #mrbakersblog and #imacakechum.
But what if you aren’t able to go to Cake International this year? Well don’t panic, you can still enter – you just need to get a little more creative. You will need a Mr Baker substitute – maybe a drawing of me (the more terrible the better), my website on a screen in the background, somebody who looks a bit like me – in fact, ANY reference to Mr Baker’s blog! And then, just like above, upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, with the captions #mrbakersblog and #imacakechum.
Next week, I will get an impartial third party to choose their favourite selfie and that person will win the entire prize hamper, which will be posted out the following weekend!
Because I am still stinging from the time I had to spend nearly £100 shipping a prize to the US (ouch!), I’m afraid that this one will have to be a UK giveaway only (sorry to my international #cakechums)
If you ARE at Cake International and would like to know where you can find my flyers, there will be piles on the Cake Dutchess stand, the Cakes by Carol and The Old Piping Bag stand and anywhere else that I can strategically stash a few.
I will also have a stack of them on me at all times, so you can always just grab me and ask for one – in fact, my impartial judge may even mark more highly if I am in your selfie too…? Who knows…
On Saturday, I will be demoing the newest addition of the Grumpy Pug series, Christmas, on stand C28, with Carol Smith of Cakes by Carol and Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The Old Piping Bag – swing by between 11:00am and 12:30am to see me in action!
Over the rest of the weekend, you will likely find me mooching around the show and trying not to spend money on even more cake gear – and probably failing miserably – so do come and say hi!
But until then, I guess I’d better get back to my ‘to do’ list – otherwise I won’t have anything to bring…
See you Friday! x