Hey hey hey, cake chums and welcome to another issue of Something Sweet – your weekly slice of all the latest news from the world of cake!
In a week that saw falling temperatures and some pretty epic snowfall across some parts of the country, I know that it has been a tricky week for many of you, but you survived it and you’re here to tell the tale – so you can be proud of that!
All too often, we fail to recognise the small wins that can add up to a successful year in the world of caking, so make sure to acknowledge this one, mmmkay?
Now, let’s get to it…
What’s new on Mr Baker’s Blog this week?
I know my posting schedule has been somewhat off of late, so apologies for that – although, actually I’m sure I read somewhere that a blogger should never apologise for how regularly (or not) that they post. But hey… we’re British. It’s what we do best.
In my only post this week, I gave you a better look at a project I originally mentioned this time last week.
Yup, Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes’ fabulous pugs in miniature. Sarah and I were originally chatting last year about whether she was going to do a sequel to her fabulous To Have and To Hold project. During that conversation, I rather cheekily challenged her to recreate my entire Grumpy Pug Collection as miniature cupcake toppers. I never for a moment thought she would agree, much less whip up the entire set (including the most recent edition) just in time for my birthday last week!
Each one sits on a 58mm cupcake topper, customised to look like the original cakes’ boards, and the tallest topper stands at just 75mm in height. I was incredibly honoured that Sarah would consider my work worthy of paying homage to, and I was totally blown away by the sheer amount of detail that she was able to cram into such a small amount of space.
I thought it was only right that I gave you all the chance to appreciate them all in a bit more detail and I must say an extra thank you to Sarah for the pictures.
To check out Sarah’s miniature take on the Grumpy Pug Collection, head to the original post here.
Referring back to my erratic posting schedule, my regular readers and subscribers may have realised that February is finally here, which means that my new, more formalised posting schedule is now live.
At the start of the year, I explained that, as of February, Mr Baker’s Blog would be becoming a lot more organised, with a regular content schedule coming into play. The plan is to feature some new and original content every Tuesday, sticking to this schedule:
- First Tuesday – a brand new recipe from Mr Baker’s Cakes.
- Second Tuesday – a new Mr Baker’s Cakes sugarcraft tutorial.
- Third Tuesday – an exclusive interview with one of our favourite cake artists.
- Fourth Tuesday – a guest tutorial, created exclusively for the readers of Mr Baker’s Blog.
That means that this week, I will be posting up a brand-new recipe fresh out of the Mr Baker’s Cakes kitchen. Don’t forget to look out for it on Tuesday!
This new schedule will, of course, continue to be supplemented by my weekly online magazine, Something Sweet – published every Sunday (which hopefully you’ve realised, as you’re reading it now…?) – and ad hoc additional posts as and when I write them, featuring product reviews, event coverage, comment pieces and so on. To stay up to date on all of this, don’t forget to subscribe – you can find the sign up box over in the toolbar on the right if on desktop or at the bottom of the page if on mobile.
Finally, this week will also (hopefully) see the first video uploaded to the Mr Baker’s Blog channel over on YouTube. I had originally planned to launch by taking you guys along with me to the launch of Kate Parson’s new international cake school, The Sugar Lair, on Friday, but, unfortunately, due to the weather, Kate had to cancel the event. Instead, I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with a much more casual video of me at home, during which I will be letting you know a little bit more about what you can expect from my channel.
Never fear though, as soon as Kate manages to reschedule the launch, both my camera and I will be there in a heartbeat!
Cake Show Showcase:
While many of us are rapidly counting down until next weekend’s Welsh National Cake Show, the weekend also marks the start of the final countdown until the next big UK cake show – the first ever Northern Irish Sugar Expo – or NISE for short.
There’s been a flurry of news coming out of NISE HQ during the last few days, including the rather welcome announcement that the team have extended the deadline for competition entries. If you have been leaving it until the last minute to decide whether or not to attend, I guess it is time to make that decision.
The weekend looks like it will be a fantastic weekend of live demonstrations from some incredible sugar artists (I’m told that these will be announced later this week), a selection of incredible classes from the likes of Clairella Cakes, Global Cake Toppers, Mimicafe Union and Divine Photography, a live build installation from the super talented pairing of Paul Redmond of Purple Feather Cake Design and Tanya Ross of Novel-T Cakes and a whole host of our favourite brands selling their fabulous products (hopefully with some show-exclusive offers…?).
Between the fantastic demonstrators, teachers and judges on the NISE team, it will also be a fantastic opportunity to meet some of your caking idols and ask them all of your burning sugarcraft questions too.
I’m really looking forward to heading over for the weekend and hope as many of you as possible will be heading over to join us.
Check out the official NISE Facebook page for some top tips on getting to the show and where to stay nearby. You can find it here.
This week I am mostly loving…
I’m sure by now, you MUST have come across the incredible Cake Sketching Templates by Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes School of Sugar Art – and if you haven’t then you certainly need to!
If you’re someone who shies away from creating sketches of your designs, perhaps because you feel your drawing skills don’t quite match up to your sugar artistry, then the templates are a fabulous resource that will aid you in converting your thoughts into professional-looking sketches to really do your designs justice.
The designs have been so well-received by the cake community, that they actually scooped the Product of the Year award at November’s Cake Masters Magazine Awards 2018.
But I’m not actually here to talk to you about Avalon’s Cake Sketching Templates, but rather a new addition to the line up announced only this week.
Well, I say I’m loving them – I haven’t even seen them in the flesh yet, much less had a play with them… But even just based on the idea alone, I honestly think they are genius!
What am I talking about? Why, only the brand-new Cake Sketching Stamps!
After repeated requests for more addable elements to our cake sketches and having considered the limitations of a stencil format, Avalon started brainstorming and, after a great deal of thought, the Cake Sketching Stamps were born!
The new stamps have ultra-fine details, giving us all the effect of hand-drawing, but with no actual artistic skill required. I honestly think that Avalon is some sort of mastermind to have come up with this concept, and I almost wish that I made wedding cakes to order, just so I could use them more regularly!
See the stamps in action alongside the stencils in this video:
I’m told that more designs and patterns will be coming very soon so make sure you head over to the dedicated Cake and Cookie Planner Facebook page to stay up to date on all the latest news as it is released.
The hottest ticket in town!
My cake diary for 2019 is starting to look pretty stuffed full of exciting events, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find space for yet another one.
Saturday 18th May 2019 sees the Region 8 Cakes & Sugarcraft Exhibition – Brighton from The British Sugarcraft Guild take place at Brighton University.
The event will feature retail stands selling your caking essentials (and maybe some frivolous treats too), competitions, refreshments, amazing cakes displays and have-a-go workshops for both adults and children.
And if that wasn’t enough, it will also feature exciting live demonstrations from sugarcraft legends such as Lindy Smith, Georgie Godbold, Rhu Strand and Beata Maria Khoo.
Tickets are available now for only £5.00 in advance for adults (£6.00 on the day) and £2.50 for children, which includes a FREE pre-booked hands-on session.
And if all this wasn’t enough, there is even free parking! What’s not to love?!
Hopefully I’ll see you there!
I wanna make that!
I know I only mentioned her last week, but I am simply too excited for Rhianydd Webb of Dragons & Daffodils Cakes latest class, which you may recall I teased at the end of issue 48’s feature.
Previewed during a Facebook Live last night, Rhianydd’s newest class Rusty the gravity-defying Leaping Fox has proven so popular that it sold out before she even posted the full finished project. Luckily, I managed to snag one of the much-sought-after places before they all went – but don’t worry, I’m not just here to brag.
Rhianydd has already announced an additional date on 6th July and, if it sells out as quickly as the first, I’m sure more will follow.
If you’d like to grab your place at a Rusty the gravity-defying Leaping Fox class, head to the classes section of Rhianydd’s website here.
And if I’ll be seeing you on the 29th June, do give me a shout! My contact links are at the end of this week’s issue.
The Collaboration Station
I don’t think I have ever put this out there on planet cake, but I have a real passion for classical sculpture, pioneered by the Romans and Ancient Greeks and revived during the renaissance. I love love love the work of Bernini and visiting Michelangelo’s David in Florence a few years ago was like a dream come true.
All that considered, one of the collaborations that published this week was obviously right up my street…
Greco Roman – An International Cake Challenge is a collaboration produced by Bakerswood and hosted by Raquel García of Raquel García-Cake Art. It brought together a whole host of artists from all over the world to recreate many of the most recognisable works of classical sculpture from throughout history.
I could quite happily have posted all of the wonderful pieces in this week’s issue, but instead I will just share this mere selection of some of my favourites and invite you to head to the official collaboration page over on Facebook, where you can peruse the remaining works of art at your leisure.
Congratulations to Raquel and the Bakerswood team on a stunning collection and thank you for sharing it with us all. I loved it!
This week also saw the first collection of 2019 by The Sugar Junkies Collaborations group.
In the collection, Twisted Nursery Rhymes, the team have returned with their own twisted takes on some of our favourite childhood songs and rhymes.
I love how creative all of the members have been with their reimaginings and I bet they had a lot of fun creating them.
Again, this is just a selection of the full collection, so be sure to head to the Sugar Junkies Facebook page to see the rest and, if you would like to join The Sugar Junkies Collaborations group and get involved in their future projects, you can find them at this link.
Meet the maker…
What is your name?
How long have you been making cakes?
I have honestly been making cakes since forever – I can’t remember a time before I baked. My mam and all my aunts are amazing craftspeople, so I never knew anything else.
I entered my first competition when I was 9, which I won, and after that I caught the bug competing at some level every year since then.
I have represented Ireland twice and have an Olympic Silver Medal from the Culinary Olympics and European Bakery Cup.
Hobbyist or professional?
Professional, for sure. I opened my business in 2003, and have never looked back – although I don’t do cakes anymore. Now I run my online shop and create handmade toppers for bakers and home-bakers to use on their cakes.
I actually created my own flower paste last year and use it now for all my competition work and sugar flowers.
What was your first cake?
My first cake was a fairly wonky 21st cake for a family friend. I was pretty cringeworthy, but I like to think I’ve improved a bit since then.
What is your favourite of all the cakes you have made?
My favourite cake would have to be my own wedding cake.
It took me a whole year to make during which I recreated the lace patterns from my dress in royal iced panels and made hundreds of sugar flowers to dress the cake with.
Who is your cake hero?
For my cake hero, I don’t need to look too far from home in Ireland. Peter Maguire was the first man to teach me royal icing and Dan Carey was my lecturer. Karen Geraghty, Maria McDonald, Tanya Ross, Aileen Ironside and Suzanne Brady are just some of the exceptional talents we have here.
One not to miss is my sugar flower hero, Robert Haynes. He is an exceptional flower artist and an amazing teacher.
Where can we see more of your work?
I’m also looking forward meeting lots of you at next weekend’s Welsh National Cake Show, as well as the Northern Ireland Sugar Expo in March, where you will be able to check out my Sweet Creations flower paste in the flesh.
– Miriam kindly sent me a stash of her flower paste recently to have a play with and I am looking forward to using it in an upcoming YouTube video over on my channel. Stay tuned to find out more…
Cake of the Week!
On Thursday, I saw an incredible cake pop up in one of the many cake groups I belong to that just struck me with how stunning it was.
The cake in question was a stunningly realistic edible recreation of an almost baroque-style pillar and I had to know more.
The piece was created by Tin Ileto of The Cake Blueprint for a very special event, the UAP Manila Corinthian Chapter’s 29th Anniversary Masquerade Ball.
I understand that UAP Manila Corinthian Chapter are a chapter of architects under the United Architects of the Philippines, so the pressure was really on for Tin to do this piece justice, but didn’t she just?!
It is utterly breathtaking, from the perfect marbling, right through to the delicate leaves and adornments.
I bet the guests at the event were blown away that this piece was actually a cake and I’m sure they enjoyed it.
Congratulations to Tin on a stunning STUNNING creation and a more-than-worthy cake of the week win!
If you would like to check out more of her work, you can visit her Facebook page right here.
WOW CAKES #1!
It’s been a while since we checked in on my dear friend Rosie Cake-Diva, but worry not. She’s been keeping herself busy.
This week saw her delivering a stunning cake, inspired by the Grafitti Bird by Matteus Bazoni that adorns The Yard, Manchester – a unique working environment, aimed at creatives and businesses.
Rosie’s incredible cake manages to capture all of the drama and movement of the original piece, with the added bonus that it tastes absolutely delicious too!
Amongst the guests at the event was the man himself, Kevin Keegan, who can be seen enjoying a huge slice of Rosie’s cake over on her social media channels.
Just when I think this wonderful lady can’t amaze me any more…!
Gorgeous! And the cake’s not bad either! 😉
I just wanted to say a huge congratulations to Mr Baker’s Blog favourite, Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design for taking home the Cake Designer of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Wedding Awards for County Tyrone.
I couldn’t be prouder of this super-talented lady – although with work like this, it’s easy to see why she won!
Please join me in sending her your very best wishes!
And another honourable mention…
Just before we go, I just wanted to wish the lovely and currently hospital-bound Lara Mason a huge get well soon.
Please know that we are all thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery! xx
If I’m honest, I don’t quite know how I am going to fit it all in this week – posting my recipe; filming, editing and uploading my video; finishing two collaboration pieces for the Welsh National Cake Show, reworking another one for a display; writing next week’s issue; and trying to stay on top of my school workload, but I’m sure it’ll happen. It usually does! Wish me luck though, eh?
As I’ve said a gazillion times before, Something Sweet is written for the cake community by the cake community and, as such, it relies on your submissions and contributions to work. So please do make sure that you are getting in touch each week to let me know all about your latest cakes and projects, collaborations, events, special announcements and more.
And if you have more to say, I also welcome guest posts on the blog too. If you would like me to publish a comment piece, a tutorial, a recipe or coverage of an event, experience or even just a topic you are passionate about, make sure you get in touch…
Mr Baker’s Blog
PO Box 752
Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to my new YouTube channel before you go to be one of the first to know when I post my official launch video! You can find it here – feel free to share it with all your #cakechums too!