What’s new on the blog this week?
The hottest topic on the blog this week has to be my chocolate sculpting class with the one and only Carla Puig. After bursting onto the international cake scene only a few years ago, Carla Puig’s lifelike sculpting has ensured that she has become an instant global sensation. Her breath-taking work has been published in magazines all over the world and she has won numerous prizes and awards, including the much-coveted International Best in Show award at Cake International in 2016 and the Best Sculpted Cake Award at last year’s Cake Masters Magazine Awards.
I was lucky enough to get a place at her first EVER class in the UK and I learned so much! I was also absolutely thrilled with the bust I was able to produce under Carla’s careful instruction [pictured]. Check out the full post to find out more.
I also wrote about the fact that I will be heading the Ideal Home Show later today to check out the Royal Wedding Cake Competition being held at this year’s show. To commemorate the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May 2018, the Ideal Home Show has invited amateur and professional bakers to create a wedding cake fit for the royal wedding itself. Entrants’ creations displayed are being displayed throughout the 17 days of the show and today, we will find out the all-important results! Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how everyone got on!
Have you heard…?
I’m just going to say it: you probably HAVE heard.
I’m not sure if it’s the original post, but I saw this post by The Obscene Topper shared into pretty much every cake group I am in this week. In all of them, members were aghast to discover that the Unicorn Cake, which has reproduced by pretty much everyone who owns an apron, was selling in the world’s most famous department store – Harrods – for a whopping £450!
Made by Nevie Pie Cakes, a boutique cake company based in Hertfordshire and headed up by the very talented Natasha Collins, this particular unicorn prompted a multitude of tongue-in-cheek “I need to put my prices up!” type posts, but also a lot of questions as to how much of a mark up the store must be charging on top of the Natasha’s fee.
Now, I tend to try and remain Switzerland when it comes to the more controversial topics and, in fairness to Natasha, not only is her work is absolutely flawless, but I have heard that her cakes taste just as beautiful as they look. However, even I was a bit astonished to see that price tag.
EDIT: But as is usually the case, there is a thoroughly simple explanation to this latest piece of ‘scandalous’ gossip – the price tag was incorrectly labelled. There’s a lesson for us all there: in a world of ‘fake news’, never assume and always check the facts before weighing in with an opinion. After all the furore around this innocent mistake, Natasha took to her former blog and penned a post reminding us all that in such a lonely industry, we really should all be cheering each other on. Find the full post via the link, but I wanted to echo Natasha’s concluding words here:
“Why aren’t we holding each other up, encouraging, supporting and honouring each other? Being a small business owner is, as I’m sure you all know, a difficult and challenging role. You work long hours, often for little pay (despite what some may believe). Surely the least, the very least we can do for each other is to be kind, generous, tolerant and caring, and not to rush to judgement.
So in conclusion, let’s be cheerleaders for each other, let’s celebrate each other’s good fortune and talent. In fact let’s create a world full of fabulous rainbow, mermaid and unicorn cakes. And if you are lucky enough to ever get to sell those cakes at the kind of margins that people seem to think I can, then all you’ll ever hear from me is praise: more power to you, and well done.”
I couldn’t live without…
This week, it is the turn of Lara Mason of Lara Mason Cake Art to let us know what piece of kit she can’t be without…
For me, my essential ingredient is Choctastique Sculpting Chocolate! I love that it is so versatile and I couldn’t be without it. Although I have tried other modelling chocolates, I have found that they can be very hard when you first work with them. Choctastique is much more pliable.
I actually used to make my own modelling chocolate, but it takes such a long time and, quite honestly, it can be hit or miss as to whether or not it turns out the right consistency. Buying my modelling chocolate means that I always know it will be the perfect consistency and, although I’ve not tried too many other modelling chocolates, Choctastique guarantees that my results are perfect every single time.
It’s also very good value for money too (especially from The Cake Decorating Company at the moment, where it is currently on offer) – even if you usually make it yourself, it is hard to beat the price that this comes at!
The hottest ticket(s) in town!
Is it me or does it seem like 2018 is proving to be an awesome year for cake classes in the UK?! Not only is Karen Portaleo hitting the road on her Portaleo Portmanteau UK Road Tour, visiting Glasgow, Preston, Ireland, Atherstone, Pontypridd and Southend-on-Sea and teaching a variety of different classes. And not only has Carla Puig just spent the last week-and-a-bit up at Zoe’s Fancy Cakes teaching a variety of awesome classes. Now one of my other absolute favourite artists has just announced her first ever UK classes for later this year too!
Marta Hidalgo of Peccata Minuta got in touch this week to let me know that she will be teaching her ‘Baroque’ class at The London Cake Academy on 29th-30th September 2018.
During the class, attendees will learn: how to model a realistic child face using modelling chocolate over an internal support structure; how to make their own modelling chocolate and how to colour it using easy to find materials; how to use wafer paper for dressing the figure and for making some decorations; how to make RKT and how to apply it to build strong supporting shapes; and how to paint the model, giving the look of real skin, using cocoa butter as a medium.
To book your place at Marta’s ‘Baroque’ class, visit The London Cake Academy website.
Oh, and if you are feeling down that you missed out on a place at Carla Puig’s classes, don’t panic! She will be back in the UK before you know it! Heading to Squire Kitchen, in Farnham, Surrey from 19th-21st June, Carla will share with you her secrets on how to create this truly stunning, hyper-realistic 1920s flapper girl carved from cake and sculpted with chocolate and sugar. Speaking from personal experience, I know you will have an amazing time. To book, visit The Squires Kitchen School website.
I wanna make that!
Sometimes recipes pop up in my Facebook or Twitter feeds that just scream MAKE ME! And I’m starting to notice a pattern: a lot of the time, those recipes are by my friend Jane of Jane’s Patisserie. Jane has been working like a trojan in the last few weeks, posting both some of her classic Easter-themed recipes and whole host of new ones too.
As a huge Cadbury’s Mini Egg fan, the one that immediately jumped out at me, this week, was her recipe for Mini Egg Cookie Bars. A yummy Mini Egg & chocolate chip cookie traybake perfect for Easter.
These will definitely be making an appearance at my Easter lunch. If you’d also like to give them a go, you can find the recipe over on Jane’s blog, Jane’s Patisserie.
The Collaboration Station
This week saw the Cake Dutchess herself, Etty van Urk publish the stunning Edible Alphabet collaboration, created by the members of the Cake Dutchess Community Group. Participants all used Cake Dutchess Modelling Paste to create a unique model inspired by a letter of the alphabet.
To read more about it and to find out how you can get involved in future Cake Dutchess collaborations, visit Etty’s blog.
Spotlight on the boys…
I’m always on the look out for new inspiring cake pages to follow so I was thrilled to be introduced to the work of Russian baker, Renat Agzamov of Фили-Бейкер Премиум (Fili-Baker Premium) this week.
His cakes use a huge variety of mediums to stunning effect, including modelling, royal icing, pulled, blown and moulded sugar and even more besides.
And although he produces beautiful cakes on an almost daily basis, make sure you look out for his super-sized cakes in particular. They are truly things of wonder!
Meanwhile on Twitter…
It seems that Twitter discovered new Netflix show ‘Nailed It!’ this week. The official synopsis explains: Home bakers with a terrible track record take a crack at re-creating edible masterpieces for a $10,000 prize. It’s part reality contest, part hot mess. Typically American, the show is loud, over the top and clearly made with entertainment, rather than baking, at its core.
When Buzzfeed TV Editor, Scott Bryan (@scottygb) caught an episode, it got him wondering what a ‘proper baker’ would think of ‘Nailed It!’ so he sat down with Bake Off favourite Andrew Smyth (@cakesmyth) to watch the rest of the series and the results were somewhat… stressful. Check out Scott’s post: “We Watched “Nailed It” With A “Bake Off” Baker And Found It Stressful.”
Discussing it with Andrew and Scott later, it got me thinking that while I probably COULD do most of the challenges the contestants were set, I certainly couldn’t do them in the tiny amount time they’re given. Perhaps I should test it out during my next #bakealong project?
Have you caught ‘Nailed It!’ yet? What did you think of it?
Cake of the Week!
I love pretty much everything produced by Tracey Rothwell of the Little Cherry Cake Company/Black Cherry Cake Company, based in Lancashire and, even though she actually posted this cake last week, I didn’t see it until after last week’s issue was posted, so it totally still counts!
Hocus Pocus is a real guilty pleasure of mine (I mean, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and SJP – what’s not to love?!), so naturally I absolutely loved Tracey’s cake take on the movie!
A well-deserved cake of the week!
I don’t know how I missed this at the time, but have you SEEN this amazing cake that Dorothy ‘Dot’ Klerck of Eat Cake Party made for her daughter’s trampoline party recently? A nearly three-feet-tall girl doing a handstand into a giant marshmallow and brownie ‘foam’ pit! Just as I think that Dot can’t astound us any more, she goes and pulls this out of the bag! Simply incredible!
If you’re looking for inspiration for your last-minute Easter cakes, stay tuned for my next guest Tutorial for Fabricake Sugarcraft, going live this week. To help you celebrate the big day, I’ve produced a duo of ‘Easter Buddies’, meaning you can either recreate your favourite or go the whole hog and make the pair!
I’ll give you a shout when they’re live…! x