Cake International Gold!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in blog, homepage

Cake International Gold!

Procrasti-caking (prəˈkræs.tɪ.keɪk.kɪŋ) Definition: To keep delaying a cake that must be done soon, often because it is daunting or you still have just a few more hours until it actually needs to be finished. What a weekend at Cake International!!  I didn’t think that the buzz from last year could have been outdone – but I think it actually might have gotten better.  I’m a little stunned after it all to be honest!        I entered into 2 cake competition categories but ended up only finishing one (in the hotel the night before).  Yes, I could have finished them earlier. And yes, I have excuses galore as to why I couldn’t get it done in time.  (Halloween etc)  But at that point if I had entered my second piece I wouldn’t have been happy once I placed it down on the table.  The standard at the show this year was incredible!!  People had obviously been working on their pieces for months before.         So, this was the first time I competed there and I won a Gold!  I was thrilled.  Not only that but I was reunited with my cake friends from all over Ireland, who I don’t get to see very often since I live on the West coast.  I met up with loads of cake friends from all over the world and I actually got to properly spend time with most of them all too! And finally, I got to meet loads of cake friends that I’ve only ever chatted to online before. It’s so nice to finally put a face (and a body) to their profile pictures. It wasn’t all fun and games though.  This year I also had fun working a bit at the show.  I was asked to do a demonstration for the lovely Avalon Yarnes while she streamed it live on Facebook (no pressure – right!?). The doofus dial was turned up full blast with my nerves while I made a little modelling chocolate moose for her. I figured she missed her pet moose from her home.  I also did a demonstration with Jeanette MacPherson at the Cake International Magazine stand too!  Seriously fun and incredibly talented lady!!     The heavy hitters were all around and I managed to meet a lot of them.  I met Mike McCarey, hung out with Isabel and all of those incredibly talented and gorgeous Spanish lovelies, hugged Benny Rivera (that was on the bucket list), ate with Rosie Dummer and a pile of incredible cakers, had pints with Liz Marek and Cynthia Kia White, mauled Avalon Yarnes and more – but it’s sounding like I’m just name dropping now.  It was brilliant getting to know everyone though.  One of my favourite moments of the weekend was witnessing first hand Ruth Rickey winning her surprise award for Best Support at the Cake Masters Awards.  TEARS were shed...

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Sugar Spooks

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 in blog, homepage

Sugar Spooks

My cakes are like my children.  And just like your kids – it’s hard to pick a favourite.  But I think this one might be it! I worked my little heart out on this one and had an absolute blast doing it too.  And yes I know I say that about every cake I make – but what can I say… I love my job! This is now my 3rd time with the Sugar Spooks. I look forward to it each year! The talent in this collaboration is incredible and if I’m being honest… I’m completely intimidated by it.  But that is what also pushes me to try harder!      This year I was really stuck for an idea of something to do.  So I put it to my sister, who then asked her students in Shanghai, for ideas for a creepy character for me to recreate.  After a few options one of them came up with the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth. BINGO! Loved it.  It was years since I saw the movie – so what better way to do some research than some daytime TV watching of a creepy Spanish movie. Now as much as I love freaking kids out on Halloween (yes I’m THAT house) – my own kids are fairly easily scared.  In fact, last year’s piece was completely made under a cloth so that it wouldn’t cause any nightmares for them.  This piece, I nervously didn’t cover – but the slow progression of it seemed to help them adjust. Even though they are a bit freaked out by his neck- they handled it well.  Proud mother or what!?  HA!   Getting the Pale Man’s skin tone was the tricky bit.  As always, I used Vera Miklas modelling chocolate.  I love the way her modelling chocolate makes skin look almost semi-translucent.  But because he was fairly big I didn’t want to have to colour it all. Knowing me, I’d probably not colour enough of it and would then have to try and colour match more.  So I decided to tackle that problem after.  I’ve painted on modelling chocolate before – but this time I just didn’t like that coating that it left on top. So after a lot of mucking about I finally decided to paint the flesh colour with one brush and then blot and blend it in with another.  This ended up staining the chocolate as opposed to painting over top of it.  Loved the end result. A bit of dusting and painting with vodka and some cocoa butter caked on blood.  Again it couldn’t end there.  I had to add some of the grapes that Ofelia ate off of the Pale Man’s table and a weird looking pomegranate,  some glycerine water droplets and there you have it. DONE!  Please take a moment to watch my progress video that I made of it here. I hope you enjoy it! Until next year, Sugar Spooks!...

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Spoooooky Halloween Cupcakes

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in blog, homepage

Spoooooky Halloween Cupcakes

A quick and spoooooky cupcake tutorial in 2 styles to get you in the mood for Halloween! All you need are a few tools, some dust and fondant and you’re on your way! It’s a nice and easy tutorial to try out with your kids over Halloween.  Enjoy! BOoooooooOOoooOoooooooOoooOoooooo! What you’ll need: Tools: Circle Cutter (around 3”) Smoother (Flexi-Smoothers are preferred) Ball Tools Dresden Tool (or similar) Medium Fluffly paintbrush Fine detailed paintbrush Materials: White Fondant Black Fondant (small amount) Black Petal Dust Edible Glue Flat ice your cupcakes Cover all of your cupcakes with circles of fondant slightly larger than the cupcake top. Mine were around 3 inches in diameter. Smooth the top and round the sides of the fondant circles. CUPCAKE STYLE 1 Using a ball tool, make areas for the eye sockets, mouth and cheek bones.  Then, with a small pointed tool, create the nostrils, being careful to not pierce through the fondant. Using black petal dust and a good dry brush, shade the insides of the eye sockets and cheeks. Remember to start with only a little dust. Sometimes less is more. Using a small amount of edible glue, attach 2 white balls of fondant to your eye sockets – making sure that the shaded area behind will still show through. Roll out 2 balls of white fondant for the eyes and 2 very small balls of black for the pupils.  Attach with a little glue and press the black circles flat. Fill in the mouth with a bit of black fondant and use the ball tool to spread it to the edges of the mouth. Using a droplet of vodka or other clear alcohol, mix in some of the black petal dust until it is a thin paint consistency.  You can then pain in the nostrils. CUPCAKE STYLE 2 Using a ball too rub in your 2 eye sockets and make 2 indents for the nostrils.  Then using your dresden/veining tool, create the basic smile. Using your dresden tool again – make the ‘stitch’ marks over the top of your mouth Shade the eye sockets again using black petal dust and a good dry brush. Attach 2 equal sized balls for the eyes securing with edible glue and add a small amount of black to each of the pupils.  Paint in your stitches and your nostrils and then your happy spooky face is ready for eating!  Have a great...

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FREE Wicked Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

Posted by on Oct 9, 2016 in blog, homepage

FREE Wicked Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

A little something to get you into the Halloween spirit!  This FREE downloadable tutorial will show you how to carve and create an evil little pumpkin to surprise your friends with.  A great introduction to carved cakes.  Have fun celebrating and be sure to send photos of your creations to me!  I love to see them. Wicked Pumpkin Cake...

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The Incredible Works of William Joyce Collaboration

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in blog, homepage

The Incredible Works of William Joyce Collaboration

When Heather from Cakepunk asked me to join her collaboration celebrating the incredible works of William Joyce, I said, “WHO”? With one quick Google search I knew exactly who he was – but had no idea the amount of books, stories, movies etc that I already recognised –  and never knew were his.  There were ones I knew from before like, Rise of the Guardians and Rolie Polie Olie and then some of the works that I never knew and now love, like The Mischievians (which I had to order) and Ollie’s Odyssey.  Yup, I loved them all.  I was in.  Being originally a Graphic Designer and always wanting to get stuck in to the latest project, I offered to help out where I could.  And what can I say… it’s been a brilliant ride. Cake by Isabel Tamargo from Tartes Impossible The fun began with inviting some cake friends that you know and love.  Then, crossing your fingers while you invite some of your cake idols – hoping that they’ll say yes too.  And they did!  That’s another great thing about these collaborations… building relationships with other ‘like-minded’ cakers.  But it was time for us to start the real work on this.  I now appreciate everyone who hosts a cake collaboration.  There’s so much love, attention, time and WORK that go into these things. The trick is to make it look like it was super easy in the end. Cake by Jean A Rettmer Schapowal of Cakes with Character When recreating people’s art – it’s always a good idea to get permission from the original artist.  So, Heather sent out a little letter to William Joyce’s publishing company just to let them know what we’re doing and to see if we needed permission to use his works.  From someone who has written to favourite authors before – it’s rare to get a response.  But he did!  “This sounds lovely. She has my enthusiasm and permission.  Bill”.  I think we literally jumped in the air from the comment. Cake by Corinna Maquire from Lovin’ from the oven Buzzing from that response and watching the absolutely incredible pieces come in one by one was such a rush.  The butterflies were gathering in my belly seeing it all come to life from Heather’s idea.  But the best part of it all was seeing how much each cake artist loved their own piece that they created!  And how they were waiting with bated breath to share them.  William Joyce’s characters were so fantastic, that you could see the effort each person put into recreating them as best they could. Cake by Mio Shih from Deliciously Yummy I couldn’t be more proud of a collection of works.  And although this was, and is Heather’s baby – I’m just thrilled to be a part of it all and to have watched it grow.  Please enjoy...

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