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!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Weekend of Bliss!

I am back from an amazing time in Kitchener visiting with cake friends old and new and learning from the extremely talented dynamic duo of James Rosselle and Marina Sousa!  It is no secret I love taking classes at Icing Inspirations - the warm atmosphere, the spacious and relaxed classroom, and the talented instructors.  Here is how my trip went:

Thursday morning, my dad dropped me off at my friend Paige's house and we piled into our friend Suzanne's minivan ready to go.  The 6.5 hour drive flew by as we talked cake, the Montreal cake show, and listened to songs from Glee.  We arrived in Kitchener and immediately headed over to Icing Inspirations to check out our spots.  Upon arrival, we saw 5 styro dummies stacked and waiting for covering.  One tier in particular was going to be daunting for sure (more on that later).  We headed to our hotel to check in and meet up with my friend Terra who arrived from Nova Scotia earlier that day.  We went to Crabby Joe's for dinner with our friend Jen and then on our way back saw James, Marina and Chrissie (owner and BCF extraordinaire) heading into the hotel.  We (and I do mean the girls) swarmed them like a bunch of seagulls.  Introductions were made and we all turned in for the night to our rooms to rest up for Day 1.

Day 1 brought some initial anxiety.  The moment Marina started talking, I felt at ease.  She has this way of settling any uneasy feelings just by talking.  She and James introduced the class - haute couture cakes and described what we would be doing.  We started with covering our 5 tiers with my new favourite fondant - fondarific.  It rolls nice and thin and covers seamlessly!  We also had to roll, cut, wire, vein and shape 125 peony petals.  Back to Crabby Joe's for dinner and $4 drinks (mmmm swedish berries).

Day 2 we finished up our peony petal, learned all about isomalt (although I had used it previously, I really learned alot) and how to pour it using Marina's bead molds, started making buttons with Marina's button molds, and made beautiful lifelike roses thanks to James' tutelage and use of his cutters and veiners.  We wrapped up the day and headed out to Wild Craft for the usual class dinner.

Day 3 - the final day!  Always bittersweet - you are anxious to finish up your project and return home (hotels are nice and all, but I love sleeping in my own bed), but you are also sad to be leaving the teachers and cake friends family behind.  Here are a couple of close up shots of my flowers all airbrushed (yes airbrushed!  James converted me to wanting to airbrush all my flowers as opposed to dry dusting) and the blinged out part of my cake.

  We used lusters, shimmers, discos, pearls and ruffles to bring our masterpieces to life!  We had a quick demo on making our own molds using silicone plastique and also got to incorporate some scrolls from my recent favourite cake toys - the line of molds by marvelous molds!  Chrissie arranged to have a professional photographer come in and take pictures of our final cakes, so once I get them, I will be posting them proudly!  In the mean time, if you would like to try re-creating any of the things indicated here, just click on the links above.  And I really hope this experience has inspired you to take a class.  Chrissie has some amazing ones coming up with acclaimed and award winning artists like Diane Phillips, Karen Portaleo, Kaysie Lackey, Courtney Clark, Lindsay Sinatra, and UK's sugar flower master Robert Haynes who has just agreed to adding a second class after his first one sold out in under 36 hours!  Don't miss out by waiting to register -  Diane, Karen and Courtney's classes will be her before we know it, and they are sure to sell out soon or just about to sell out!

Until Next Time,
Happy Caking!