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Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour: Day Eight

Apologies for the delay in posting this one, you guys – after my long day at Renshaw Academy, I pretty much passed out in exhaustion and then yesterday, I had a LONG day of driving, so didn’t even have time to stop and think, much less publish content.

However, I am finally home and once again able to form coherent thoughts, so let’s pick up where we left off, with day eight of Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour.

As you guys all surely know by now, I am a huge fan of Renshaw’s amazing range of products, having used them ever since I first started caking. In fact, I’m such a fanboy that I’ve written about how much I love their various different pastes both here and over at Fabricake before. However, I had never been able to make it along to their UK base of operations to see where the magic happens – well until Thursday that is!

Yes, when the team heard that I was going to be exploring the north as part of my nationwide tour, they got in touch to invite me along to their gorgeous teaching space, the Renshaw Academy – host to some truly incredible tutors, including Jacqui Kelly, Zoe Hopkinson, Molly Robbins, Emma Jayne and more. And even better, current reigning Cake Artist of the Year, Emma would be teaching a brand-new class while I was there, so you know I had to get involved in that!

Coming from a background in fine art as a portrait artist, Emma founded Emma Jayne Cake Design in 2012, having decided to take her artistic skills in a new direction. She started out designing celebration cakes, before moving into Bespoke Wedding Cakes and soon found out where her passion lay.

Emma now travels the world, teaching her incredible classes, while somehow managing to create incredible larger-than-life showpieces for events all around the globe, scooping up an incredible array of international awards along the way – including the 2017 Cake Artist of the Year award from Cake Masters Magazine.

Her Rainbow Zebra Boot Cake was originally devised as a tutorial for Cake Masters Magazine, in association with Renshaw, for the June 2018 issue (purchase a back issue here).

Emma’s mission was to highlight all of the amazing products available within the Rainbow Dust range – including the Rainbow Dust Progel gel colours, the Rainbow Dust Colourflo airbrush colours, the Rainbow Dust Paint Metallics and the Rainbow Dust Plain and Simple dusts.

Taking her inspiration from zebra prints, Rainbow Dust’s incredibly broad colour palette and her favourite DM boots, Emma dreamed up an incredible riot of colour and, while one could obviously recreate it using the tutorial in the magazine, nothing beats learning from the original artist! Especially when it means you get to play with some of your favourite products too!

Like many one-day classes, Emma’s Rainbow Zebra Boot class works in RKT, but Emma was careful to explain how the same results could be achieved with cake, also including detailed cake-carving instructions in the class pack.

I won’t go into the intimate details of the class here, because… well, between the Cake Masters tutorial and Emma’s classes, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to learn how to make Emma’s Rainbow Zebra Boot Cake yourself, but I will say that it was great to have a chance to create something again! Sometimes, it can feel like I spend so much time writing about cake these days that I don’t always have time to make them, so an arty day with one of my favourite cake artists was a real treat!

I will also say that in addition to being an all-round lovely person, which we all already knew, Emma is also an incredibly patient teacher. Many of the group commented on the fact that they didn’t feel at all rushed during the day, in spite of the colossal amount of skills that Emma was passing on. It really was a genuine pleasure to spend the day with her – not to mention, all of the other lovely ladies at the class with us. I always love getting to meet loads of new lovely cake enthusiasts!

And I have to say, Renshaw Academy is AWESOME! Their aim was to create a world class centre of excellence for cake decorating and to become the most inspirational cake decorating academy in the world – do you know… I think they might just have nailed it!

The main classroom is a huge, light, bright and airy space, where you are completely surrounded by inspiration, as dotted around the space are a huge array of incredible creations by previous Academy tutors.

Marc Suárez of Le Doux Collage‘s piece from Snow White: The Grimm Obsession found its permanent home here…

And not only is it a fantastic environment for learning – although, as a purpose-built teaching space, it is set up perfectly: from the brilliant workstations, with fold out ends for extra space, permanent cameras meaning you can always see what the tutor is doing clearly and in perfect detail, and the numerous facilities for hand washing, etc – they also look after you so incredibly well.

We were all provided with a fully-stocked kit full of everything we needed to create our fabulous boots, but (bear in mind how high maintenance I can be) every time I wondered aloud if they had something extra – an acupuncture needle (yes, I finally tried acupuncture needles and I’m totally converted. Apologies to all the people I’ve fobbed off in the past – I already have some on order), some dipping solution or anything else you can think of – it would just appear, as if by magic.

And the lunch! And the afternoon tea! And the regularly delivered choice of hot and cold beverages! We were positively spoiled!

I actually asked the Academy team if I could move in permanently, but I think they thought I was joking. Although, when I was still in there at 9:30pm – long after the class had finished – still reluctant to leave, they might have realised that I wasn’t.

Thank you so much to Emma for a really fun class and to the Renshaw team for having me. It was a brilliant day and I had a great time! I will definitely be back for more!

The results of my labours…

Renshaw Academy have an incredibly broad range of classes available. From Stacey Anderson’s Buttercream Sharp Edges and the in-house Covering a Cake and Flower Decorating Demonstration, right through to Jacqui Kelly’s Steampunk Chocolate Dragon and Emma’s Puss in Kinky Boots, there really is something for everyone, regardless of where they are in their caking journey.

If you would like to visit the home of my favourite brand and take a class with of the incredible Renshaw Academy tutors, you can visit their website to check out the fantastic array of classes currently on offer. Find it here.

All Content, Blog, Mr Baker's Blog on Tour

ROAD TRIP!!!

I posted my first blog post on the 21st August 2017 and when I posted it, I wasn’t entirely sure that anyone would ever want to read my ramblings. I guess that’s a risk we all take when we start something new.

Luckily, after only a few days, I was ready to jump straight into a really exciting week of blogging, thanks to the return of The Great British Bake Off and a secret invitation to appear on the first episode of the new series of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice!

Yup, this time last year, I was hard at work creating an ‘illusion cake’ worthy of appearing on national television. No pressure – eh? Incidentally, you can read all about that here, if you’d like!

I almost can’t believe that we are already a year down the line (check out the new background for some of the year’s highlights, by the way!) and luckily the stakes aren’t quite so high for my current project. The impact on my bank account and my car’s mileage are another matter though!

Yup, Mr Baker’s Blog is hitting the road for a cake-fuelled, nine-day, cross-country adventure and I’m really excited!

I’ve wanted to take Mr Baker’s Blog on the road for a while now – after all, it isn’t often that we get to go and visit our cakey chums, is it? But this actually all came about because of my super-secret collaboration project – hopefully you have already read all about that over at the Fabricake Blog, right? Yes? Good.

But anyway, long story short, I currently have a team of around twenty amazingly talented (and VERY generous) cake artists all over the country creating the various elements of the… er… project (seriously, you have to go to the Fabricake website to read about it) and I now need to go and collect their contributions from them.

I head off next Thursday – the 23rd (don’t worry, the other half is still at home, so burglars beware!) and the first stop on my journey will be Bolton, where I’ll be meeting up with the one-and-only Rosie Cake-Diva and the immensely talented Kay Gajra of Kaykes at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival.

Photo: Paul Heyes

I loved following the coverage of the event last year, so I am thrilled that I will be able to make it along in person this year. It’d also be great to snag a selfie with everyone’s favourite GBBO winner, Nadiya Hussain, if she’s reading this? Nadiya? *tumbleweed…*

Anywaaaaaay, I’m also hoping to check in with some of my other local cakey chums while I’m in the local area too, so if you’re close to Bolton and would like a visit to your shopfront, class or event – and a shout out in the blog of course – then be sure to get in touch!

Once the festival wraps up, I’ll be heading east and paying some of our favourite Yorkshire-based cakers a visit, collecting a few more bits and pieces for the collab and, hopefully, gate-crashing some more cake-related events, before I then head up to Scotland for a couple of days. Yes, Scottish cakers, I’m coming for you next!!

After that, I’ll be trundling back down the country and I’ve been invited to stop in at the Renshaw Academy in Liverpool – which is another place that I have been dying to visit – so I’m really looking forward to that! I might even be taking in a cheeky lil’ class with the legendary Emma Jayne while I’m there too…

Then it’s on to Birmingham, Nuneaton, Wokingham, Baskingstoke and then, finally, home to my own bed (and my precious kitties)! So yeah, a busy few days – but hopefully super exciting!

I feel like it needs a really goofy nickname though, right? Like Mr Baker’s Blog on Tour?

If you want to follow along with my adventures as I road trip the UK – well some of it at least, sorry Wales, I’ll get you next time – then be sure to hit the subscribe button on the right before you go! You’ll also need to hit confirm in the email I’ll send you too.

Oh, and if there are any haunts that you think I should check out while I’m in your neck of the woods, then be sure to let me know via the usual channels…

I guess I’d better get packing! x