All Content, Blog

Dare to Dream…?

As someone who already has a full-time job that they love – well, most of the time anyway – and who only dabbles in cake for fun, albeit a lot, I always find it really hard to return to ‘real life’ after spending any sort of period of time exclusively in the ‘cake world’. Whether it’s going back to work after a cake show weekend or even, like in this case, just going back after spending the school holidays playing at being a full-time caker and cake blogger, it always seems somewhat jarring to suddenly just be Mr Baker-Gall the teacher again.

I think, if I’m honest, the contrast between cake, where creativity is celebrated and respected – at least for the most part – and education where, as I’m sure most people realise, we are gradually being buried under more-and-more bureaucracy and where opportunities for creativity are gradually being eroded away, is what is possibly the most difficult aspect for me to reconcile myself with.

A recent Guardian headline…

Inevitably, it does make me wonder, every now and then, if I could do this full time – whether I could ever give up my other passion to concentrate on this one – but I do think I would miss the joy that comes from working with young children. I’ll be honest though, for me one of the biggest considerations are the financial implications – I don’t know if I could ever leave the security of a monthly salary to head out into the unknown.

Quite honestly, I don’t think I could ever just make cakes to order. A lot of my enjoyment within cake artistry comes from the freedom I have to create what I want and I think that would soon vanish if faced with a never-ending order book of 8” round cakes every week.

*whispers* I do have a Rolls Royce model of my cakey dream though, but you can’t tell anyone.

Sometimes, I daydream about opening a little cake decorating supplies shop with an attached teaching space to host some of the amazing teachers and tutors that I know, while continuing to write my blog – and perhaps making a few awesome sculpted cakes on the side.

I adored my recent visit to Zoe’s Fancy Cakes in a little village on the outskirts of Leeds…

For me, just making cakes would never be enough – a huge part of my enjoyment within cake is about celebrating the amazing artistry we get to see every day, the travelling to meet some of the wonderful talents that make up the industry and obviously writing about it all right here. I’m not sure I will ever find anyone who wants to pay me to do that!

But, as always, the ‘coming down to earth with a bump’ of returning to work got me thinking about those people out there who perhaps WOULD love to make a living from cake decorating and who would like nothing more than to make cakes to order.

I wondered if we put our collective heads together, we could help them figure out just how they could make that not insignificant step and give up their guaranteed income each month to follow their passion.

For that reason, I would love to hear from those of you who have already done it. What advice would you give those people who are thinking about following in your footsteps? What do you wish you had known in advance? What helped you along the way? Are there any pitfalls to avoid? Sadly you see too many people burn out in this industry, but let’s just see if we can’t come up with some essential advice to help the next generation of cake artists navigate their way into this fabulous industry and not lose sight of their passion along the way…

All Content, Blog

School’s out for… -well, a week!

The school holidays are here and, while I absolutely love my real job, being able to play at being a full time sugar artist and cake blogger is so much fun!

Image: http://www.robbydeephotography.co.uk/

Depending on the time of year, that can take many forms – for example, this time last year, I was desperately trying to finish a competition entry for the spring cake shows whilst nursing a particularly nasty case of the flu – but this half term will be entirely more relaxed. I’m planning on whipping up a particularly decadent recipe for you to share with your valentine, working on a couple of tutorials for my buddies over at Fabricake and getting started on a mega-exciting secret project that I am DYING to share with you all. Hang on, did I say relaxed?!

I also want to spend a bit of time developing my blogging content, as, from the beginning, I have wanted this to be a place for people to keep up to date with what is happening with the cake world – not just my tiny corner of it.

As I’ve said in the past, sugar artistry can be a lonely little pastime, with many crafters shut away for days at a time in their kitchens, cake rooms or commercial units all on their lonesome. Of course, every now and then, we get to meet up together and, without fail, much fun and hilarity prevails, but the rest of the time, it can be pretty isolating.

So, here’s my plan. I want to hear from you! I want to know what you are working on. I want to see the places you are visiting and the events you are contributing to. I want to know about the tools you have discovered. The products that you are finding invaluable. I even want to know if you are having a break and what you are doing for it. And then I want to bundle it up into a weekly ‘e-zine’ (is that even a thing?!) and share it with the world…

A Weekly Slice of Something Sweet!

To this end, I have created a new Facebook page, just for the blog and I would be honoured and delighted if you would consider giving it a lil’ like and follow. And, of course, post to it – telling us all about what is happening in your corner of the sugar globe.

I’m planning on releasing the first ‘issue’ of “A weekly slice of something sweet!” on Sunday 18th February and I might just have a few surprises up my sleeve already…

Keep it sweet, folks! 😘