Monday, December 3, 2012

Montreal Cake Show Recap

Hi Cakeland

As faithful readers, you all know that I spent alot of time from August to October to work on my product line for a "soft-launch" at the Montreal Cake Show.  The 1st ever Montreal Cake Show (MCS) was a two day event that took place the last weekend of October and all proceeds benefited dans la rue and breast cancer research.  Considering it was my first show as a vendor (and first show ever), I had high expectations - many of my online friends do the "show rounds" on the cake show circuit.  I must honestly say, this event met my expectations!

I was fortunate to have my booth next to my second family's booth - Icing Inspirations!  Chrissie and Justin from II were there and we had a blast talking with everyone and promoting each others' wares.  Part of being a vendor included the opportunity to do a one-hour demo.  My demo was on the Midnight Orchid, and it was such a hit, that the demo coordinator came and asked me to do a second demo to fill in a space that opened up last minute.  I could not say no, and thankfully, I had some pre made flowers that I was also able to demo my techniques for making hydrangea.  On day 2, Chrissie asked me to demo on behalf of Icing Inspirations, so I did, and my demo on making silicone molds and using isomalt caused a mass of people to visit the Icing Inspirations booth and buy most of their silicone and isomalt stock!  Hearing from show volunteers that my demos were the most popular and crowd favourites was awesome.  Honestly, I was chalking it up to them being polite.  That is until it was confirmed by the show organizer (and a very good friend of mine), Paige McEachren.

Another aspect of the show was the competition. There were multiple categories to enter for any level of designer.  I entered 2 cakes into the Wedding Professional category - both are some of my favourite work ever (even if one of the judges didn't "get it" on one of them :)  It was a great learning experience and even if I didn't place, I still feel like I won!  Here are my two entries:

I am really looking forward to next year's MCS.  I have decided to not have a booth, but instead will work with Icing Inspirations at their booth and they will promote my Montreal Classes (to see the first set of classes I announced at the show this year, click here).  Considering the success of my demos, I am hoping to be asked to teach a class or two.  But most of all, I am looking forward to competing again and seeing many of the new cake friends I made at the show.
Until next time,
Happy Caking!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday savings starting!

Hi Cakeland!

As you know, I live in an area where there is not much in the way of cake supply stores, so I must rely on online shopping, which means having to be smart!  I only use products that I know will give me stellar results, from places with reasonable shipping.  One such place is Sunflower Sugar Art

Sunflower has a wide range of dusts (disco, luster, petal and highlighter) available in larger sizes if you need them.  They also have cutters, veiners and molds that produce some of the most realistic flowers I have ever seen.

They are currently running 2 specials for the holidays:


 Take advantage of this opportunity and get yourselves what you really want for the holidays - no cheap perfume or ugly ties!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Craftsy Class Review - Exotic Sugar Orchids with James Rosselle

Last week it was Marina's Jeweled Wedding Cakes.  This week it is James Rosselle's Exotic Sugar Orchids!          
I am in sugar heaven!  If you know me, you know my most favorite part of cake design is sugar flowers!  That is probably why watching James in this class makes me feel so relaxed - we have the same feelings and philosophies when it comes to sugar flowers.  Or maybe, just maybe, it is James' smooth, relaxed way of presenting step by step how to create the most amazing, lifelike sugar flowers I have ever seen!

In Exotic Sugar Orchids, James teaches you 3 gorgeous orchids - cattleya, dendrobium, and cymbidium.  You learn step by step how to make and wire petals, make centers and throats, assemble and color your creations.  James also includes features on making leaves, rocks, and bamboo as well as offers a whole section on techniques for making stunning arrangements with your orchids.

As with all Craftsy classes, once you buy it, it is yours to keep for life - you can watch it as much as you want, whenever you want!  You can also interact with James and fellow students through the platform.  There are detailed resource guides and instructions, and you get a sneak peek at James' new cutters and veiners from his line at NY Cake.  I must say, the Cymbidium throat cutter is sick!  It makes the most amazingly realistic throat I have ever seen!

I have been fortunate enough to learn from James in person and consider him a good cake friend!  I can vouch that what you see is what you get - James' cool laid back personality and teaching style jump through the screen just as if you were live in class with him!  He is a genuinely nice person - so nice in fact, he wanted me to share something with you......James wants you all to benefit from this amazing class, so he has given you a link to get the class for $20 - that's half off!  Thank you James!

And the niceness doesn't stop there!  The great team over at NY Cake are giving one lucky reader the chance to win some of James' products - namely one of his new Orchid veiners (due to be released in a couple of months).  So here's how you win: you need to be following my blog publicly, and you need to leave a comment below telling me how James frills his cymbidium throat (hint: look for the comment I posted in that lesson).  Visit NYCake and see James entire line, as well as the cool cutters Marina used in Jeweled Wedding Cakes.

If you haven't gotten enough James after this class, fret not.  There are still a few spaces available to learn from James in person, when he returns to Icing Inspirations next year, where he'll join 5 other star instructors for a 3 day fun filled class at the Cake Carnival!

Until next time,
Happy Caking!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Craftsy Class Review - Marina Sousa's Jeweled Wedding Cake

Hi Cakeland!

The lovely and talented Marina Sousa has done it now!  With her latest online class with, Jeweled Wedding Cakes, she has raised the bar for classes to come. 

If you are not familiar with craftsy, they are an online craft site that offers affordable online classes that you can view in the comfort of your own home, whenever you want.  You get to interact with the instructors and fellow students through the craftsy platform, and best of all your class is yours forever – there is no expiration date!

In, “Jeweled Wedding Cakes”, Marina walks you through techniques required to give your brides the bling factor they are all seeking these days!  In this class, you learn how to use molds, cutters, pearls and dragees, to create eye catching pieces of edible jewelery and adornments that add a touch of elegance, sparkle and shimmer to your creations.  If you are a novice cake artist, or a seasoned pro, this class is a must have to help elevate your skills to the next level!

Marina is one of the biggest names in cake land.  She has won multiple competitions including Food Network Challenge, and has appeared on Oprah.  I had the privilege of learning from her in person, and she is exactly the same on film as she is in class!  Marina starts the lesson with a focus on design – a primer in the “how-to”.  She then moves on to cover tips and tricks for covering and carving your tiers.  One of the more interesting segments is on how to create your own cake stand that looks like it is made entirely of sugar!  I love making wedding cakes and have learned so much from this class – including a quick and easy way for creating swags that look incredible! 

Marina uses molds from her line available through MarvelousMolds and Icing Inspirations.  She moves on to demonstrate how to brighten the baubles up by using lusters, disco dusts, edible pearls and dragees.  And speaking of Marina’s molds, a HUGE thank you to my friend Chrissie from Icing Inspirations, who has generously agreed to give one lucky winner the opportunity to get their hands on 3 of the molds Marina uses throughout the lessons, valued at $75!  If you would like to win Marina’s Bling squared, Jeweled Brooch, and Diamond swag molds, you need to do two things – 1) Make sure you are signed up for blogger and follow my blog; and 2)Buy Marina’s “Jeweled Wedding Cake” class and leave a comment below telling me what Marina does to make a “simple swag” (Hint: It is in lesson 4 at the 5:08 mark).  All correct entries received by 11:59pm EST October 25th, will be put into a random draw.

This class is well worth the $40 fee, but for a limited time, you can purchase the class (thanks to Marina and Craftsy here for 50% off!)

If you really enjoy this class as much as I did, then you should check out Craftsy’s other cake decorating classes, including Marina’s “AdvancedFondant Techniques”.  And if like me, you can’t get enough Marina, then join her (and 5 other amazing instructors) next November (2013) when she returns to Canada for Cake Carnival – a 3 day cake-a-palooza hosted by Icing Inspirations.

Keep your eyes peeled here next week, as I will be offering you a review of James Rosselle’s Exotic Sugar Orchids class on Craftsy.  Oh yeah, we’ll be having a contest for that too!

Until next time,
Happy Caking

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Craftsy Class - Cityscapes with Lauren Kitchens

The folks at Craftsy have done it again!  They have added yet another great class to their growing stable of classes  taught by celebrity cake artists – this time, it is Cityscape Cakes with the one and only queen of modelling chocolate, Lauren Kitchens.  In Cityscape Cakes, Lauren gives you an amazing introduction to modelling chocolate.  You will learn how to make and color modeling chocolate, how to work the chocolate by rolling and cutting chocolate shape, adding texture, adding dimension through color, backfilling with buttercream, and so much more.  The class even gives you insight to Lauren’s design process and tips for assembling and transporting the cake.

Although this is an Introductory type class, there are many techniques included that even experienced cake artists will benefit from this class as well.  Lauren is an amazing instructor who’s personality jumps through the screen and keeps you captivated through the duration of the class.  What is also cool about the Craftsy platform is that the class is yours to keep and watch as often as you like, whenever you’d like!  The ability to make video notes as you watch for easy referral later on.  You also get to interact with Lauren and fellow students through the class message boards.  Valued at $40, this class is a bargain!  But, until 11:59 MST October 2nd only, the folks at Craftsy are offering the class for only $20!  Just click

And when you’re done with this class, you are like me and can’t get enough of my cake dreamgirl LK, head over to her website and buy her 4 instructional dvds – I’ve seen em all and love them!
I am off to watch more of the lovely Lauren.  I really hope you decide to take her class – you will get so much out of it!  Stayed posted to the blog for more Craftsy class reviews including Marina Sousa’s second class as well as James Roselle’s Craftsy debut that may also include something extra special!

Happy Caking!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Show Time!

Hi Cakeland!

As Wedding season winds down, cake decorators worldwide start gearing up for all of the cake shows and conventions.  It usually starts with ICES in August. One of the exciting things about shows and conventions is the vendor areas, where cake toy junkies like me revel in new gadgets and gizmos.  Next weekend, Toronto hosts the Baking & Sweets show.  My second family - Chrissie and Justin of Icing Inspirations will be there with basically their entire shop.  Last year they introduced us to Sassie isomalt sticks, and this year they have something huge planned!  I am pleased to announce that along with stopping by their booth to register for one of the many upcoming celebrity classes they have (including 2013's cake event of the year - Cake Carnival), they have a special guest.  Chef Dominic of Marvelous Molds fame (and will be there demonstrating his new line of products including new molds from Marina Sousa, Earlene Moore, and some Marvelous Molds originals.  Check out the pics below for a sneak peek at what you can find at the Icing Inspirations booth:

check out a video showing how to uses the fleur de lis here

Chrissie and Justin always have their fingers on the pulse of what is hot and good quality in the cake world, you know Dominic's product are top notch!  He has re-vamped Marina's bead molds to make them easier to unmold.  I unfortunately can't be there to meet Dominic in person, but if you are able to get to the Toronto show, be sure to swing by and say hi to the gang for me!
About a month after Toronto, Montreal (my hometown) will see it's first ever Cake Show and Competition (the Montreal Cakeshow).  I am very excited about this show!  Not only will I be re-united with my Icing Inspirations family (Chrissie is teaching at the show and having a vendor booth), but I will be entering a few pieces in the competitions and having my own vendor booth to promote my classes and a new line of cake decorating supplies that I have been working on.  This line includes, petal dust, airbrush color, silicone molds and veiners, and some cutters to make lifelike sugar flowers!  One such cutter has me really excited!  I was researching Orchids (because I am obsessed with making sugar ones) and fell in love with the Mokara Orchid:
I did more research to learn this was a hybrid orchid and that there are not any cutters out there that would allow me to make it, so I took matters into my own hands and made my own.  Here is an exclusive sneak peek at what the cutters resulted in:
I really hope to meet alot of you there!  I will be doing a demo on Saturday in the demo area and will be demoing some of my products all weekend at my booth.  If you can't make one of these two great shows, search online to find an upcoming show in your area - they are a great way to see new things, get ideas, and meet new people!
Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cake Carnival Update - meet the final instructor!

Hi Cakeland!

Well, my week of revealing the instructors for Cake Carnival - the Cake event of 2013 has come to an end.  And today's instructor is no less amazing than the previous 5.  She is the author of 2 great books you probably all own (if you don't then you need to!).  She has been on Food Network Challenge as well as many tv shows including Martha Stewart.  She is Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes!

Elisa will be teaming up with Marina and I am sure that their project will be awesome!  Keep reading the blog as I plan to continue bringing you more Carnival news including in depth q&a's with the instructors (send me the questions you want asked) as well as any updates that I hear of......

Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cake Carnival Update - Meet Instructor #5

Hi Cakeland!

4 down, 2 to go!  Well, actually 1 to go after today :)  Today's teacher announcement is very exciting for me.  I have admired this person's work for a while now and am very eager to learn from him!

You probably feel the same way too!  You have seen him on Food Network Challenges and Last Cake Standing Season 2.  You have watched him teach us amazing techniques on Craftsy.  Making his Canadian teaching debut (at least I think) is the one and only Joshua John Russell!!!

Josh will be teaming up with none other than his great friend - Karen Portaleo!  The two of them have worked together in the past to create phenomenal works of edible art, and I cannot wait to see what they bring to our big top!  If you want to sign up for the cake event of next year, head over to Icing Inspirations and register.  Seats are filling fast!

Until Next Time
Happy Caking

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cake Carnival Update - Meet Instructor #4

Hi Cakers!

I am totally stoked about today's teacher announcement!  This instructor is one of the sweetest, nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting!  She has such a bubbly personality, and makes you feel so relaxed and comfortable in class.  She is a Food Network Challenge Champion, and her Craftsy class on advanced fondant techniques was my favourite to date!  She does exquisite work too :)  You guess who it is yet?  It is the exquisite Marina Sousa!!!


This is going to be Marina's second time teaching at Icing Inspirations.  I am hoping that we again get to use her phenomenal line of button and bead molds too - they are some of my favourite toys!
Stay tuned to see who our next instructor is.  If you have not registered for Cake Carnival yet, go ahead and do so here.  And a few of you have been wondering what skill level you need to be for this event - as long as you have basic fondant skills, you will do fine - there will be so many skills taught everyone will take something away from this! 
Happy Caking

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cake Carnival Update - Meet Instructor #3

Hi Cakeland!  The feedback I've been getting about the announcements is great!  I hope you are all having fun anticipating who we announce next!  Once all 6 instructors are announced, I plan on featuring each instructor more in depth with q&a's, so if you have something you want to ask one of the instructors, leave me a comment here.

Today's announced instructor is my newest cake crush.  I have yet to meet her, but her work is truly impeccable!  She has won many food network competitions and Halloween War.  I am told she in a genuinely kind, sweet lady who is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  She is none other than the lovely Karen Portaleo!
That's right - Karen will be returning to Icing Inspirations for the Carnival!  I was told her first class there was incredible.  So much so that she will be there again in November for a holiday class as well as a hands and faces class, and of course November next year for the Cake Carnival!  Who will be announced next?  Stay tuned here to find out.  If you are now convinced that you HAVE to be in this amazing class, then click here.
Happy Caking!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cake Carnival Update - Meet Instructor #2

Well, we got such great feedback and excitement about James as the first instructor, that we figured we'd announce his teaching partner.  I like to think of her as America's sweetheart of cake thanks to her girl next door charm!  She has appeared on Ultimate Cake Off and Food Network Challenges including Last Cake Standing.  That's right cakeland - the second instructor at the carnival is.......

Courtney will be teaching later this week at Icing Inspirations.  There are still a few spots left I believe.  If you would like to get a taste of Courtney's teaching style (and learn how to make an adorable little dog from cake), then click here.  And if you haven't ecured your spot in the Cake event of 2013, then click here and make sure you don't miss out!

Cake Carnaval Update - First Instructor Announced

So a day or two ago, I mentioned that a huge event was coming to Icing Inspirations November 2013.  This event is none other than the Cake Carnaval - a 3 day cake retreat where celebrity cake artists pair up and teach us a different circus themed project each day.  The roll out of this class has been done in "teasers" and the announcement of the instructors is no different!  I have teamed up with Icing Inspirations, and will post info about each instructor as they announce them.

Our first instructor will be the much-adored James Rosselle!   James is a four time Food Network Challenge champion, earning himself the coveted red jacket. He was recently named one of North America's Top 10 Cake Designers by Dessert Professional magazine.  James has worked with big names in the pastry and cake world - Gale Gand and Ron Ben Israel.

James has his own line of cutters, veiners and molds which can be purchased at Icing Inspirations.  He also has a class coming to Craftsy which he is currently in the process of filming as I write (watch for my review of the class here when it is launched).

If you want to book your spot in the class, you can do so by clicking here.  Who will be the next instructor?  Keep reading the blog for more news as it is revealed!

Happy Caking!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Icing Inspirations is the place to be in November 2013!!

Hi Cakeland!

I have been uber busy working on a few TINY projects like my upcoming rose class in Ottawa with Lorrie Gauthier, getting ready for my booth and demo at the Montreal Cake Show, as well as working on my competition cakes for the same show.  And, more importantly, I have been working ALOT with my BCF - Chrissie from Icing Inspirations/Too Nice To Slice on her upcoming competition as well as a HUGE announcment that we are on the cusp of announcing!

A couple of weeks ago on the Icing Inspirations facebook page, we announced that a huge announcement will be made once we reached 6000 likes.  Well, tonight we did.  And the official announcement for the Cake Carnival is on it way!  Until then, here are a couple of pics to tide you over:


Keep your eyes posted here for the official announcement, updates, contest info, and much more!  You see the dates above, if you are a cake enthusiast like me, this is an event you definitely don't want to miss!
Happy Caking!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another new feature - Look What They Did!

Hey Cakeland!

As summer is in full swing, I can't help but think of fall (yuck).  Not because I like the season, but because I am in the midst of product development and getting ready to launch a new product line.  One of the things I have been doing over the past year is selling my line (dusts and molds so far) and also giving them to some of my cake frinds including Ron Ben Israel, James Rosselle, Marina Sousa, and most importantly, my BCFs Chrissie and Karey.

That leads me to my new feature - Look What They Did!  I am going to use this feature to showcase the work my customers and students send me.  Tonight while I was eating dinner, I got a text from Karey that said, "Morsels By Mark Gunmetal Shimmer Powder = AWESOME!"  - Best. Compliment. Ever!  Not because my product is awesome, but because this is the opinion of someone I trust and love to death.  Karey used my gunmetal shimmer powder to add life to her spin on a cake design made popular by Kaysie Lackey (my cake crush du jour :) )

Great job Karey!  This cake is stunning!  For more on Karey, please check out her website

My line of dusts, cutters, molds, veiners and airbrush color will be officially launching in October at the Montreal Cake Show & Competition - If you can make it, please come by and see me.  These are products that I stand behind and use myself - feedback has been great so far and I can't wait until it is availabale to the public!

Until next time, Happy Caking!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Must Have Toys - The Mat

A few months ago, we started a new feature at the blog called, "Must Have Toys".  The item being featured this time around is definitely a must have!  It has completely changed the way I work with fondant and has made my lime a million times easier.  It is "The Mat" by SweetWise .

The mat is a patent pending fondant rolling system.  It esentially 2 sheets of polished plastic (that are delivered to your door in a nifty storage tube) that you place your fondant between and roll out.  Yeah yeah, I can hear you all now, "idiot - go to the fabric store and buy some clear vinyl - it is cheaper".  Well guess what - cheaper isn't better!  The way the mat is treated, it allows you to actually pick up the bottom sheet, place it over your cake, and release it.  I have tried the vinyl sheeting from fabric stores, and it is horrible.  After seeing the how-to video on Sweetwise's Youtube channel , I was sold that the mat was going to make my fondant rolling better.  I wasn't wrong!  I followed the instructions in the video, conditioned my mat, and got rolling (pun intended!).  The fondant rolled out smoothly between the layers, and released fairly easy from the plastic once placed over my cake.

Up until using my mat, I was always worried fibers from my chef's coat or tiny hairs from my arms would end up on the fondant when I picked it up (even though I scrub like a surgeon).  I tried using my rolling pin to lift the fondant, and had mixed success.  The best benefit of the mat is that it saves me money on fondant.  Because you are able to roll the fondant out thinner when using the mat, you actually end up using less fondant on your cakes (and we all know how much our customers LOVE fondant).  The way I see it, the mat pays for itself!

Now I bough the mat when it first came out, and that version has now been replaced by two improved versions - one that is 22" x 22" for the home decorator and another that is 30" x 30" for professionals. 

What is an added bonus to these two new versions (available for preorder ) is that they come imprinted with a measuring guide so you know exactly when to stop rolling out!  The only word of caution - if you want your mat to last, be sure not to fold it to store it - clean it, dry it and roll it back up and store it in its tube.

I only write and reccommend products that I use, trust and stand behind - the mat is no different.  If you want to easily roll your fondant and save money, then head over to SweetWise and pre-order yours now.  And while you're there, see what else they have to offer - they have a wide selection of products and great shipping too!

Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Advanced Fondant Techniques with Marina Sousa - My Review

Hello cakeland!  If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know that I love nothing more than to bring you reviews of the latest things out there in the world of cakery!  If you are like me and have your thumb on the pulse of the industry, then you know about  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Craftsy is an online platform that allows you to purchase classes to view online at your leisure.  What is great about Craftsy, is that you can watch the lessons in any order you’d like, whenever you’d like, as long as you have an internet connection. 

The latest addition to the group of cake-centric classes is Advanced Fondant Techniques,  taught by the very talented Marina Sousa of Just Cake in Capitola California.  Marina is well known for appearances (and many wins) on Food Network Challenge, Last Cake Standing, and Oprah.  She also happens to be one of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!  Marina is an amazing instructor (as I have already mentioned when I posted about the recent class I took with her and James Rosselle) who delivers the lessons in such a relaxed, clear and concise way, you forget you're actually learning. 

Advanced Fondant Techniques is great for any artist who would like to up the ante when it comes to their decorating skills!  Marina shares many of her tips and tricks for creating stunning works of edible art.  She demonstrates multiple ways of covering cakes in fondant and different ways of embellishing the fondant to make it look like more than plain old fondant, such as hand painting, embossing, inlay techniques and stencilling.  You also learn how to make some of Marina’s beautiful bows and ribbons to round out the final design.  The lessons learned in this class do not limit you to just mimicking the beautiful showpiece Marina creates, but the techniques can be used to step up your decorating game all around!  And even if you are newer to fondant work, you're still going to benefit from this class :) 
The finished class cake - gorgeous!

Being the cake junkie that I am, I can honestly say that when I think of products associated with Marina (such as her line of molds), I think top quality – Advanced Fondant Techniques is no different!  What is great about the class (and all of the classes on Craftsy), is that you have the ability to stop the video, make video notes that you can refer back to whenever you need to and there is no need to keep track of pieces of paper with random notes jotted down.  Marina also supplies you with downloadable resource lists and materials lists in order to find all the supplies you will need to complete the project.  The other great thing about the platform is that you have the ability to interact online with Marina and your fellow students!  At any point during the class, you can post questions or pictures of your works in progress, and get assistance from Marina, as she has the ability to go back and answer your questions and help you troubleshoot areas where you are having difficulty.
Marina and I at Icing Inspirations May 2012. Photo courtesy of Simply Sweet.

Considering everything you get with Advanced Fondant Techniques (including 4+ hours of instruction), the cost of buying the class ($39.99) is well worth it!  If you haven’t done so already, head over to Craftsy and sign up for Marina’s class.  You definitely won’t be disappointed – it’s like having one-on-one instruction with one of the greatest designers in our industry today!  That is PRICELESS!!
A huge thank-you to Marina for giving me the opportunity to review her class!  As a special treat to all of you, Marina has arranged a special discount on her class!  Simply click here to get this special offer!

Until next time,

Happy Caking!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Discovering My Inner Artist - 3 days with Rick Reichart of Cakelava

I have just spent 3 days learning to step out of my comfort zone, throw all tools (well almost all) out the window, and think organically!  If you know me, then you know all 3 of those were difficult for me.  But I did it!!!  Rick Reichart, the uber talented cake designer out of hawaii known for his eye popping designs (and the spongbob challenge on Food Network), made me do it!

Rick and I

I was in Kitchener for Rick's Discover Your Innner Artist 2 class.  Having missed DYIA1 in March 2012 and hearing all about from friends who took it, I knew that as soon as the owner of Icing Inspirations/Too Nice To Slice (aka hostess with the mostess, aka my BCF) told me on the DL that Rick was coming back, my name was on the list - no questions asked, no clue as to what I'd be learning.  I.  Just.  Knew.

My gut instinct is almost never wrong, and it was right again!  My week started with a bus ride to Toronto, where I finally got to personally meet a super cool lady I've met on fb - Karey - when she picked me up to take me to class since we'd be classmates.  Karey is one of the sweetest, kindest, giving people I have met through the online cake community, and she is just as AWESOME in person.  It was as if we knew each other our entire lives.  I returned home feeling like I have a second BCF - what can I say, I am an extremely lucky guy to have great friends!

But I digress.  Back to class.  Day 1 was a little intimidating.  Many new faces, a new instructor, and many new challenges.  Rick introduced us to his style of decorating.  The one word that describes his style to me is ORGANIC.  Everything he does is done with a few simple tools.  Challenging for someone like me, who relies on essentially every cutter and gizmo out there.  Yes I am a product of the cake tool industry!  We spent the first day making our sushi table and all of the petals and leaves for our flowers.  No cutters were used at all.  Just templates and free hand cutting.

Finished petals and leaves

Day 2,  I was able to relax (well a little).  We covered our cake dummies, added our FREEHAND tattoo design and airbrushed.  This was one of the reasons I wanted to take this class - Rick is an airbrush genius!  I learned so much about the proper way to handle my airbrush and techniques for nice clean work.  We also painted all of our petals and leaves.  After class, we were off to group dinner at the Bauer Kitchen, a tradition at Icing Inspirations!  Getting to know your classmates and instructors on a more personal level really solidifies the group dynamic I think, and that is something unique to the Icing Inspirations class experience (along with the delicious catered lunches we are fed each day).

Airbrushed and waiting for decoration

Day 3 was action packed as we airbrushed our petals and leaves to add depth, placed them on the cake and finished our sushi platters.  Yes I know what alot of the sushi looks like - let's not go there!  I flew home on day 3 and my wedding cake made it home in good condition with the exception of some breakage of the flower on top - which I am replacing.  I was also inspired by the inspiration photos we were given in class and will be adding something to my cake that nobody else has - I will post a final pic when it is done!

My finished cake pre-travel :)

Sushi Anyone?  Complete with chopsticks and WASSABI!

(my cake xray)

Overall, I had an amazing time as always.  I met many new people and made new friends that I hope to see again in the near future!  I also left comfortable to step outside my comfort zone and look at things in a simple way of producing great results.  If you would like to have the Icing Inspirations experience, please visit their website and enroll in one of their upcoming celebrity classes - with such great instructors as Karen Portaleo, Lindsey Sinatra, Kaysie Lackey, Courtney Clark, Robert Hayes and Diane Phillips.  Contact Chrissie for info on special room rates at Delta (I loved my stay there).  Also stay tuned to my blog as I will be making a couple of huge exclusive announcements about more fun stuff at Icing Inspirations in the next few weeks - hey it pays to be BCFs with the owner!

Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jennifer Dontz is coming to Montreal!!!!!

You read right cake land!  The exquisitely talented Jennifer Dontz is coming back to Canada - this time to Montreal.  This is the first time Montreal will host one of the premiere sugar flower artists in North America.

I have taken twoo of Jen's previous classes - and they were both phenomenal!  We have so much fun in class and we learn so much!

 Jen will be here on Saturday, November 10th and Sunday, November 11th 2012.  In this two day class, we will learn:

Chocolate Pinecones:

Bittersweet Berry Spray:

Gerbera Daisy:

and Hibiscus:

Class cost is $300 US and you can sign up directly with Jen at  Lunch is not included in the price and class will run at 9am both days!  Spots are limited, so please contact Jen ASAP to put down a deposit and secure your spot :)

Happy Caking!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Working Out - a cake detour

Hi Cakeland!

Summer is almost here, and as I look in the mirror and realize I need to shed a few (dozen).  I hit the web and started looking for a good workout.  I found this:  what better way to get motivated, I love superhero movies and my wife thinks Thor is sexy!  Win Win!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why take classes?

Hi Cakeland!

My non-cake friends and family just don't really get it!  They can't understand why I spend money on classes.  "You're great at what you do, why waste money?" they'll say, or, "Is it really worth the extra $$$ to travel to classes?".  My answers - "Thanks and well worth it!"  I know money is tight for a lot of people right now, but if you are selling your cakes, you should include a little bit more in the price and salt it away for at least one really great class.  I try and limit the number of classes I do take each year, simply because I do usually have to travel as far as the Toronto area and stay in a hotel, which runs about $5-600 per 3 day class - still worth it!

Here's the best way to justify it:
  1 - you get to see great cake friends and make new ones!
  2 - if you have a registered business, it is a tax write-off!
  3 - you pick up a few new tricks, even if it is something you have dabbled in before!
  4 - by investing in a class (and it is an investment), you are investing in yourself - making yourself  
       better at something you love!
  5 - you get to meet your heroes!
  6 - if you are selling your cakes, you can advertise that you have been taught by some of the best
       allowing you to bump your price a bit.  Think about it - everyone whether or not they are cakers,
       watches cake TV.  They know who the big names are!
  7 - you get new ideas and learn new ways of seeing things!
  8 - you have time to work on a project and get tips from the teacher - this results in a great product 
       that you can add to your portfolio to advertise your skills!
  9 - you get time away from the chaos known as life!
10 - YOU HAVE FUN!!!!!

Now, I have a list of classes I am anxious to take and am waiting patiently (somewhat) to know they will happen. If you are itching to take another class, or to take a class for the first time, here are some that are currently open at Icing Inspirations in Kitchener, ON (click on each image to be taken to that specific registration page).  If you are an out-of-towner, get in touch with Chrissie, and she will be able to give you info for a local hotel that offers a daily shuttle to and from class!

August 11 & 12, 2012 -  Beyond Sugar Flowers 3 with Diane Phillips - learn the art of making beautiful clay flowers including:  Daffodil, sweet peas, tea rose and heirloom rose, peony (different style), chrysanthemum, Gerber daisy, camellia, Southern magnolia, freesia

September 17 & 18, 2012 - Sculpted Puppy Dog Cake with Courtney Clark - learn tips and tricks for creating an adorable 3D sculpted puppy cake, taught by a Food Network Challenge competitor!  2 spots left!!!!!!

November 7 & 8, 2012 -  Focus on Hands & Feet with Food Network Champion Karen Portaleo - use modelling chocolate and learn to hone your skills in sculpting as Karen shares her amazing talents to teach her methods to achieving realistic features!

November 9 & 10, 2012 - Here Comes Santa Claus with Food Network Champion Karen Portaleo - Just in time for the festive Christmas season, this two day class will re-create one of Karen's favourite designs, and will teach how to make a lovely standing Santa cake!  Students will work on expression and beautiful detailing for his costume all by using modeling chocolate, fondant, royal icing, airbrushing and hand painting techniques. 

January 25, 26 & 27, 2013 - Higgins the Butler with 3 time Food Network Champion, Kaysie Lackey - The Butler Class is an excellent way for students to learn how to use modeling chocolate to make vivid, exciting characters and combine them with armature design to create jaw-dropping works of art. Students will learn methods for carving cake into unusual shapes, sculpting features into a character and micro painting.

March 23 & 24, 2013 - 3D Stork with Lindsey Sinatra - Join the adorable Lindsey Sinatra for 2 days of fun! Lindsey has quickly become known for her incredible talent and has been been commissioned to do cakes for celebrities like Betty White and Lily Collins.   In this hands on class, you will learn the tricks on how to go above and beyond with their sculpted cakes! Those who attend this class will learn the foundation of cake structure and how to build and support elaborate sculpted cakes with a strong structure base. We will be using advanced fondant and chocolate clay techniques to create life, character, and whimsical movement in this 3D Stork cake!

March 25 & 26, 2013 - Ellie the Elephant with Lindsey Sinatra - Push the envelope on your cake designs with this whimsical elephant cake scene! In this class students will learn the basics of cake structure and how to support their cakes. We will be utilizing various techniques in modeling chocolate sculpting to create elephants full of life and movement as well as learning the tricks and tools to creating a cohesive cake scene!

I really hope this has inspired you all to take a class.  Keep your eyes posted here for more class news around Canada and the US as I hear of great classes, I will definitely share!  In fact in the next week or so, I will be posting about Jennifer Dontz' return to Canada - this time to my town - Montreal!

Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!