Here we are again, at the end of 2015! As part of my year round up, I’d like to compile a list of my favourite cakes for the year.
This is a really difficult task to do, because how do I choose from the hundreds that I make every year? Each and every one, mean something to the recipient, and also to me! I put a lot of effort into each and every cake that leaves my premises. They are my babies.
So this list will be based on creativity, level of complexity and also by the number of likes on my Instagram page, Missshortcakes.
Here we go…
10. Harry Potter, the Chamber of Secrets
My first ever international collaboration cake to celebrate JK Rowling’s 50th birthday! 54 cake artists from around the world, teamed together, to form a a group known as Birthday Mischief Managed. Led by Mitchie Curran and Suzzanne from the USA, each artist was hand picked based on their love for Harry Potter and of course, their skills! I was over the moon, when I received an “owl” mail in my inbox. How could I say no, when I was asked to contribute an edible piece? We had a year, to bring this all to life. And boy oh boy, what an effort it was. Our collab was featured in the news, on TV, in print, by international media from all corners of the world! It was amazing!!!
I chose the movie, The Chamber of Secrets. We had to incorporate a few twists as well, in our piece. It wasn’t really straightforward, and our brief was very thorough. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of time and effort these 2 ladies put in, to coordinate this international collaboration. We even got nominated as “Best Collaboration of the Year”, by Cake Masters UK!
Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and show you my piece 🙂
9. Darth Vader
In ninth place, is none other than Darth Vader!! This was sculpted completely from 3 cakes, using a real Darth Vader mask as a reference. It took almost 6 hours to sculpt it. But once that was all done and ganached, the covering was pretty straight forward and then there were only a few details left to do on his face. It was a lot of fun doing this one!
8. 6 tier Ombre Blossoms
This year was all about big cakes. And boy, do I looooove doing big cakes. They look so majestic and grand! This 6 tier cake, was to match the theme of “Monet”, focusing on the florals, by Glam Weddings. The stage was decorated with mauve and lilac wisteria and the cake featured blossoms in mauve and lilacs, going from deep purple towards a soft lilac and finally to white on the top. It took 3 people to cut, shape and colour the blossoms. They were very simple blossoms to make, but we had to make hundreds in different shades to cover the 6 tiers!
This cake has since evolved into smaller versions and it’s turned into my signature design! Love it!
7. Bak Kut Teh
For those of you who don’t know what is Bak Kut Teh, it’s a herbal broth cooked with pork ribs, belly pork, innards, tofu, mushrooms and served with rice and Chinese crullers. It’s absolutely delicious, and can be found mainly in Malaysia and Singapore.
This was for a birthday boy, who loved Bak Kut Teh! And his wife planned a BKT party, complete with a cake that looks like an actual claypot of BKT!
I have since done 2 more of these and everyone always has a good laugh, at how real it looks!
6. Marie Antoinette Hexagon
A 4 tiered, French inspired wedding cake for the Royal Wedding of Afzan Shakira, by Glam Weddings. Such gorgeous work. I was given free reign of the design as long as it had white, gold, and white Phalaenopsis Orchids, and carried a French theme. It turned out dreamy and fit into the overall decoration, beautifully.
5. Book of Life
The brief for this cake was super tough. The birthday girl wanted all the main characters on the cake! And have you seen what those figurines look like??? I pulled my hair out for 3 days making those things! Hahah!! It was worth the effort though. The colourful rainbow ruffles and tassels just captured the very essence of the fiesta scene.
4. Travel cake
A 40th birthday cake for a couple who loves to travel! I had to include the countries that they adore, and also the ones that were on their bucket list. Each tier and panel, had a different city. I painted the cities silhouettes, then chose one major landmark, to depict each city. There was London, NYC, Istanbul, Warsaw, Paris, Zagreb and Rio. Loved how this cake came together with the bright and bold flowers. Amazing work by Evonn, my intern. 🙂
3. Petal Ruffle
For the Royal Wedding of Tun Putera Yasir and Diyana. Love how this cake turned out and also the depth of colour on the sugar flowers. The bride wanted the entire bottom tier to be covered with petal ruffles. Each petal was wired, thinned out, veined and then set in trays to dry. Some were left on its own, but most of them were taped together to form flowers. I had 3 people working on these ruffles for 8 days straight. We must have used 2 kg of gum paste!
The upper tiers were pearl white and I matched the flowers according to the arrangements at the hotel ballroom. It truly was a cake fit for a princess! 🙂
2. Geometric Stripes
This cake was designed by an architect, FOR another architect celebrating his 60th birthday. The design was professionally done on a computer and had all the stripes perfectly aligned, from every direction. I had to make sure, all the stripes lined up, and that they were exactly 2″ wide, and 6″ tall. The colours, were chosen by myself, and it was a superb combination (if I do say so myself ;)). It’s one of my most liked pics on Instagram!
1.Gold Sequin and Hexagon Black and White
And here we are at the number one spot! Made for Charvie’s special birthday celebration, at the very beginning of the year. This caused a lot of excitement on my Instagram page as well as Facebook page. I will do another reposting of this cake soon. It has gold sequins, all hand cut in different shapes and sizes, a floral print on the second tier, and black and white stripes, on a Hexagon tier. Y’all know I have this love for hexagon cakes?! 🙂
|Photo courtesy of Mint Events and Soirees|
And there it is! 2015! It’s a wrap!
Looking forward to more exciting times in 2016! And we are off to a damn good start already!!
xx Miss Shortcakes
Wedding and Engagement cakes are my specialty, especially if they adorned with sugar flowers and all things pretty. Brides will send me samples of their trays and decorations, and I will match the cake to the colours and theme.
Some brides will go for feminine, some will go for contemporary, and there’s also some brides who want minimal decoration. This year seems to be the trend for 2 tier hantaran cakes, as well as the rustic wedding approach. I love it!
The modern Malay bride won’t spare any expense, to ensure their wedding day is as perfect as can be. And I am honoured to be chosen, to contribute to this elaborate affair.
Below are a few of the Hantaran cakes, that I have done this year, so far.
Thanks for stopping by!
xx Miss Shortcakes
And with a new Youtube tutorial!!
It’s been a long time since I have had the time to produce a tutorial, so finally, a small window appeared before me. And I decided to take it.
Here it is, the Vera Wang Ruffle Tutorial….I’m sure many of you are familiar with this technique and would love to know how it’s done. I won’t be demonstrating the popular “Rosette” look, as there are many tutorials out there already. But, essentially, it’s done in the same manner, but just placed on the cake differently.
Please feel free to send me any questions and photos of your Ruffle cakes! I can’t wait to see them!
xx Miss Shortcakes
Well, here we are again, at the end of the year of 2014. I absolutely cannot believe how quickly this year has flown for me.
I have been SO busy with my business that my last blog entry was in August 2014, when I filmed my very first video tutorial on Youtube.
2014 marked a beginning of opening my business to the help of others. Since 2008, I have been a one-woman show and now being back in Malaysia, the business has just grown so quickly that I cannot possibly do it all by myself anymore. I decided to hire an intern, to assist me with my day to day duties. It’s been the best decision ever. An extra pair of hands makes so much difference!
I was also featured on a local television programme, Women’s Zone on NTV7! The crew came over my home studio and filmed a 7 minute slot of me, baking, icing, and decorating a 4 tiered cake. It was such a fun experience! You can view the episode on www.tonton.com.my if you are in Malaysia. Go to Women’s Zone and I am in Episode 13 Season 6.
So if you are based in Kuala Lumpur, have some basic cake decorating experience, be reliable and highly motivated, please email me email@example.com
So today is the 31st of December 2014, and I would like to share my Top Ten Cakes of 2014. It’s going to be a hard one, but I can already pick a couple which were just stellar designs and took me out of my comfort zone.
10. Butterfly and Blossoms
The cake that started the Floral Ball trend amongst my clients. Love this one for the subtle colours, textures and details.
9. Hungry Caterpillar
From the iconic children’s story book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake. Something I can totally relate to, because my son is a huge fan and so are millions of children all over the world. I had so much fun painting the colour palettes and creating the shapes and decoration. Comments on my Instagram were, “Best Hungry Caterpillar ever seen”. *grin*
8. Nursery Rhymes
This cake was based on invitations designed by my favourite girls at www.mint-events.com
I created this 3 tiered Nursery Rhymes cake for a regular client of mine, who’s daughter was turning 1. It had Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Humpty Dumpty as they were Daevinna’s favourites.
7. Emerald Ombre
Gorgeous, gorgeous cake!! This was a Maggie Austin design originally, and I changed the arrangement and type of sugar flowers, to include a Magnolia, frilly Ranunculas, and Tulips.
The colour was a mixture of black, green, blue and then it was shimmered with pearl. Loved this colour. The beads were placed one by one with edible pearls and dragees in colours to suit the cake.
6. Black and White Striped Mad Hatter
This cake was for a wedding anniversary, ordered by one of my regular clients as well. She left the design completely up to me and wanted sugar flowers as a must. I decided to do something out of the ordinary with the addition of edible wafer print on the surface of this cake, accented with black and white stripes AND a Mad Hatter shape. The bold colour of the orchids just brought this cake to life. It is my most liked photo on Instagram to date.
5. Ivory and Gold Ruffle
An elegant ivory and gold wedding cake created for Sharmiah. Her theme was vintage and set amongst the beautiful gold and bronze ballroom at Cyberview Resort. This is the cake that started the ruffle trend and led me to create my first Youtube tutorial on how to make these simple, but effective scrunch ruffles. You can view it here Scrunch Ruffle Youtube Tutorial
4. 4 tier Hexagon
Created for the TV show, Women’s Zone, for NTV7. They wanted something tall and elegant, and basically a showstopping showpiece. This design is based on a wedding cake created by Simple Sweet Cakes and Cupcakes from Toronto. I changed the artwork and sugar flowers. Still one of my favourites.
3. 7 Tiers!!
|Photo courtesy of Jokee Tan of Coochicoo Lil Mama|
Jokee from Coochicoo Lil Mama, and I came up with this Flamingo cake for her Tropical Paradise wedding event. She wanted something very unique and showed me a photo of a wedding cake that had this shape and the orange marbling effect. The artwork that was used at the reception had parrots and flamingos. So I suggested this watercolour effect flamingo, surrounded by gold scroll work. Jokee made paper flowers with crepe paper, to finish off the cake. It was so slim and heavy, that I was so nervous delivering the cake to the venue. Thankfully, it arrived in tact.
It was a marriage made in heaven, so to speak. The cake was stunning!! I loved making it and this also created a big stir on my Instagram page.
And now for the Cake of the Year…
1. Grand Piano
It is without a doubt in my mind, that this is it – the Cake of 2014. And what a way to finish off the year! Just created a few weeks ago in December 2014, for a lucky man turning 60.
The client wanted a 3D Grand Piano cake, and it had to be as realistic as possible. This is the first time I created a cake on a platform base and upped the ante for complex novelty designs!
I was so nervous and anxious leading up to the cake and it took almost a month of planning to ensure, that this cake would make jaws drop.
My friend, Rob, who’s a product designer helped me cut the MDF and base needed for the support of this cake. Thank you thank you thank you!!! Once that was done, everything else fell into place.
It took me 13 hours in one stretch, to decorate and finish the cake.
And here it is!
There will be a blog post to follow this that will show you how I created this masterpiece. My Instagram went nuts as soon as I posted the work in progress shots! This must be THE proudest moment of my entire career.
2014 Wild card Cake
Only because I couldn’t keep it to only 10 cakes, I threw in a wild card. This was a corporate cake for a jeweller in Malaysia, turning 100. Edible jewels and black scrolls framed the gold company logo.
Thank you to all my amazing clients who entrust me with their wedding and birthday cakes. I can’t tell you how honoured I am to be a part of your special day. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to have artistic freedom. And of course to all my fans who religiously like, comment and share my work from all corners of the world. It is you, that gives me the motivation to keep up the posts.
I’m so looking forward to 2015 and to more exciting projects. Watch this space.
More cake adventures and bigger steps to a brighter future.
xx Miss Shortcakes
So I’ve decided to embark on a Youtube tutorial journey and my first video is on, “How to make scrunch ruffles”.
I make them quite a lot and they give a wedding cake a beautiful vintage touch. It’s very time consuming but the end result is well worth it.
Hope you enjoy the tutorial and feel free to leave me a comment!
You can view the video by following the link below to Youtube and don’t forget to subscribe to my Miss Shortcakes channel as well, as I will be uploading more tutorials in the near future!
Scrunch Ruffle Video Tutorial
Thanks for watching! x
It’s finally ready! We’ve been working on this video for months now and it’s been a real labour of love.
I basically wanted a profile video, as a peek into what I love doing. Being a cake decorator has been such a rewarding career for me, not only do I get to see naked cakes, transformed into works of art every week, but I also get to stay home, and watch my son grow.
Miss Shortcakes has been a part of my life for the past 8 years, and to have “her” where she is now, is a dream come true. It started out very modestly, from my tiny 2 bedroom apartment in Sydney. I didn’t even have a proper table to roll out icing. I used 2 coffee tables and joined them together, and rolled on my knees! What a nightmare, that was! I kept my day job as a pastry chef, and attended a few night courses and then friends started to order cakes from me.
Then, I got a job as a cake decorator through industry contacts, and that’s when the love really became apparent. I got better and better and discovered, there is SO much to learn in cake decorating. 8 years on, I’m still learning everyday through trial and error, and attending courses overseas, at least once a year.
Some days, I have to pinch myself, because I can’t believe how my little home business, has grown into a real business.
And to be dubbed as, “The talk of the town”…well, that is simply amazing.
Thank you to everyone who have helped me along the way, and given me encouragement to keep going. When you are passionate and believe that it can work, you’ll do whatever it takes, to make it happen.
To all my loyal supporters and fans here in Malaysia, and around the world, well, you guys are just, simply amazing.
Stay tuned for more exciting projects!
Everyone often thinks, “It’s just a cake. Why do I have to spend so much on something we are going to eat, anyway?”
Let me tell you that it’s not just cake, but it’s a statement. The wedding cake is just as big as a statement, as choosing the right gown on your wedding day. It’s part of the wedding ceremony, where the bride and groom cut the cake, and feed each other a piece of the cake, as husband and wife. This provides endless photo opportunities for the photographer on the day, and having a beautifully executed cake, that match the details, makes the day complete.
A good timeline to give yourself when choosing a wedding cake, is a minimum of 6 – 8 months prior to the wedding. This will give ample time for yourself, and the cake designer to bounce around ideas and to start planning. Some items may need to be ordered from overseas, or if there are any changes to colours or themes, this timeline is realistic enough to make any necessary adjustments.
Most cake designers are booked well ahead of time, so it’s always best to get in as early as possible. Once, I got a phone call for a wedding cake for 300 people on a Thursday afternoon, and the wedding was for that Saturday! I was in utter disbelief, especially when the person over the phone could ask me, “How long does it take to make a cake?!”
Ahem. For 300 people? Sure, let me see what I have in the back. 😉
Always browse through the portfolio of your cake designer. This will give you an idea of what his or her style is like. You may be after something clean and simple, or romantic and vintage, or traditional and conservative. Most designers these days are willing to replicate a photo, but it will never be exactly the same as the original. Always choose your cake designer for their style, because this will ensure that your cake will illustrate, what they do best.
|Top left : Photo courtesy of Mint Events, Bottom left: Photo courtesy of McKay Photography|
Once you have selected the designer, then it’s onto the design requirements. The first place to start is how many portions you would like the cake to feed. Do you want it simply for photographs, or would you like each and every guest to have slice of cake? If it’s just for photos, then more often than not, you can opt for styrofoam tiers. The bottom tier will be the edible cake, and the rest in sytrofoam. Your guests will not even know the difference. As for cost-wise, it will work out to be slightly less expensive. But having said that, the decorations on the outside still remain the same, which is where most of the time is spent.
Some brides like to match their dress to their cake, and providing swatches of the fabric and photos of the dress, help the designer recreate it, as close to as possible. From gorgeous ivories to pearl whites, lace work to embroidery, these days almost everything can be replicated into icing and cake.
I did a Steampunk Wedding cake a few years ago in Sydney. Steampunk was an exciting era of new inventions, corsets, metals, and strong bold colours. What could be more fitting than a cake in rich red, gold, bronze and copper?
|Top left: Photo courtesy of Everylastdetail.com, bottom left : photo courtesy of Etsy.com, Steampunk cake by Miss Shortcakes|
|Left : Photo courtesy of Brides of Adelaide and Cake by Miss Shortcakes|
|Left photo courtesy of Wedding Inspirasi , dress by Vera Wang, Cake by Miss Shortcakes|
Wedding flowers and invitations are also elements which can appear on the wedding cake. It’s best to match the wedding flowers with the sugar flowers or fresh flowers used on the wedding cake. Continuity is key. And also ribbons or textures that were used on the invitations, can be added onto the cake. It’s the smallest details that make all the difference.
|Here are 2 cakes which were derived from the Wedding Invitations|
Some couples also like to customize their wedding cake, in a more personal manner. Below is an example of a personalized wedding cake. The bride was Chinese and the Groom was German. Hence the use of the Chinese lacquer box and German-themed travel stickers on the luggage. Both of them loved to travel and have lived in many places all over the world.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a wedding cake is, to ask yourself, “Does it suit the theme of the night?”. You may like to get a cake with red roses and black detailing, but if your wedding is filled entirely with blush pink and ivory, the cake would look out of place. So in this case, perhaps you can keep the same details of the cake, but change the colours instead. Easy peasy.
A reasonable-sized budget is also a good idea when planning for a wedding cake. As cake designers become more and more skilled at producing extraordinary cakes, the price tag may seem steep. But don’t forget, it takes days of preparation and production, some times, weeks, just to execute the cake from baking to final product. The hours and hours of consultation and follow-up’s before the baking starts should also be accounted for.
And finally, have fun with it. Choosing the right wedding cake should be the most enjoyable task of all. At the very end of the night, there’s a delicious wedding cake to be devoured!
Thanks for reading x
Do stop by my Facebook page for more updates here www.facebook.com/msshortcakes
I became aware of Karen Portaleo’s work when I stumbled upon THE Octopus cake online. I was instantly amazed at the genius behind it. The sculpting itself would have taken forever and Karen nailed it. Every curve and tentacle was so well executed, you could stare at it for hours, and wonder how the heck did she do it out of cake.
|Words fail me whenever I see this cake. It’s unbelievable|
January 2014, Karen Portaleo was teaching 2 classes at the Mother of Cakes Academy, Pennsylvania. I could not miss it. I signed up for the Indian Dancer class, and that soon sold out. Despite the polar vortex hitting the East Coast quite hard, we all got there in time! Although, I heard Karen was stuck in Georgia and her flight was delayed 4 times! She eventually got to Pennsylvania at 4pm, when her first class was scheduled at 9 am!
I took the bus to Pennsylvania from Port Authority NYC the day before class was due to start and it took just under 2 hours. It was quite an easy journey as the scenery was lovely, albeit being slightly hungover. Why do I always do this to myself before travelling! Hahah!
Everything was covered in snow and it was refreshing to see the countryside, so serene and calm. I could have kept going…
|My suite. It was so comfortable. I looked forward to it every night. It was only missing a fireplace.|
|Outside the Homewood Suites by Hilton. There was nothing around us!|
The next morning, class started at 10 a.m. The lovely Sarah Myers from High Five Cakes kindly picked me up, and took me to the academy. I had seen so many photos of the MoC school online and was thrilled to finally be there! Tanveer, our host made us all feel very welcome, and she really is like a Mum of the Academy! (Thanks Tanveer x)
It was a full house. Students had travelled from all over America – LA, Seattle, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, Maine, NY, NJ, and of course, myself, from Malaysia!! I had come a loooong way, so move over – Im’ma gonna take lots of photos and ask a million questions!! 😉
|The Panda, Karen’s other class project|
We kicked off the class constructing the armature for the bust. Armature and I, are have this unrequited love. We met at the Galloping Gus course with Kaysie Lackey Sydney, 2013. I had never worked with it, and we dove into a very advanced structure. Right into the deep end, and I had to swim. Once again, everyone in this class knew what they were doing with the armature.
|Karen explaining how to do prepare the armature|
For me, it was revisiting the horror. You gotta break out the drill, the spanners, the nails and screws and hammer. Connect the flange to the board with the 1/4 inch screws, then insert the 2 1/2″ nipple to the 3″ elbow, tighten…*say what? As if I’m already not lost, using cm’s would help, too!*
So we get busy, carving out the foamcore, attaching the flange and screwing on the pipes etc. This structure was way simpler than the Galloping Gus cake, and soon, my internal structure was ready.
Then, they broke out the Rice Krispie Treats. Hah! Something else I knew NOTHING about. I’m used to good ol’ styrofoam. I was pleasantly surprised though. They used ready made sheets of RKT and I found it very easy to sculpt and carve with. It was less mess than styro and much easier to work with. I definitely need to explore this medium a little bit further on my cakes in KL.
The target of the class was to create a face sculpture, so using RKT was the medium to do so. We could spend as long as we wanted on the face, and eventually take our project back with us, and it’ll be fine for months on end. Using cake, would have shortened its shelf life, for sure.
I for one, was very keen to learn face sculpting. We used modelling chocolate, another medium I was not that familiar with. But I will need to experiment here in Malaysia with it, to see if it’ll work in hot environments as well. Karen proceeded to demonstrate the face sculpting. And of course, with ease, she created a face from a lump of modelling chocolate!
Her techniques were incredible and with the use of 2 tools and her hands, it was sheer poetry, just watching her work.
Karen is a wonderful teacher and was always calm and ready to answer anything you threw at her. She explained everything to us very clearly, but what I would have liked was perhaps a step-by-step demo. More like a demo of the eyes first, then a break for us, to go and do our eyes. Then she could move onto the nose. So this way, she could also keep watch on what each of us were doing with our face. It was a lot to take in, all in one hit! My head was overloaded with mental notes of what she was doing to the face!
Once she was done with her face, then it was our turn. The first step was very hard. Once I had the chocolate on the face structure, to make that initial first imprint was crucial. I started with the eye indentation and then moved onto the nose. Eventually, a couple of hours later, I had the face done. I wasn’t thoroughly happy with it, but at least now, going back at all my photos, I know where I went wrong.
Sculpting a face is not a walk in the park, and getting all the proportions right are absolutely vital! Mine had a lopsided brow and her eyes weren’t balanced 🙁 I always have a problem getting the left eye to match the right!
We ended the day around 6.30 pm and I was exhausted. I just wanted my bed. We were due to get back to class at 8.30 a.m the next day, so I needed my rest. We had a full day of painting to look forward to!
Bright and early the next day, it was time get a move on. Karen gave us some time to add on the top of her saree and jewelery to get things going. So I decided to make a peacock green colour (my favourite at the moment), and added a hand moulded choker to her neck. I didn’t want to spend too much time on the embellishments, because I can do that at home. I wanted to concentrate on her face.
Painting the details onto the face was next and I couldn’t wait! I love painting! As soon as Karen’s hands touch a paintbrush, the magic begins. The first eye she painted on, just brought the sculpture to life. Look at it. It’s so real, it’s almost eerie. Then the other went on and whenever I walked by, I could almost feel her eyes staring right at me. Everyone felt that. She was so real. So real, that one could not help, but be drawn to those enchanting eyes.
I just went for it and didn’t even hesitate. I tried my best to replicate Karen’s eye, but like all hand made products, it will never be the same as what you’ve been taught.
I was quite happy with the painting on mine but yet, the flaws on her face still bugged me! Her eyebrows were too close together, the brow bone on the right side, is lopsided, and her eyes are not the same size….damn it.
The class ambled along and soon our Indian Dancers starting to take shape. We rolled and we embossed, we moulded and we draped, and bit by bit, some had hair, some had the veil on, and some even started painting the gold jewellery on.
It was another late night and we ended the day around 6.30pm again. Tanveer had updated us regularly on the weather report. Heavy snowfall was due the following day, all day and we were warned that those leaving that night, might experience delays. So we were advised to come in as early as possible to avoid getting stuck at our hotels.
Right. So it was an 8 a.m. start on our last day.
And this is what I woke up to…
|It’s around 7.15 a.m|
|I couldn’t resist a picture in the snow. It was so soft and lovely 🙂|
|Hotel grounds all covered in snow|
|At the MoC carpark. Snowed under. No one was there yet at 8 a.m. There were 3 cars with other students all waiting to get in.|
In America, everything still kinda runs when there’s heavy snowfall. Everyone just gets out their shovel and starts shovelling away. Snowplows work the streets fast and clear the roads after the snowfall. It’s quite remarkable actually. So here at MoC, it’s business as usual. Everyone gets to class more or less on time, and we get busy.
It’s the final day and we can spend all day adding the finishing touches and Karen also had a surprise for us. She brought in lots of new toys for us cake decorators. It’s Sugarveil! Sugarveil is a form of confectionery icing used to create intricate lace work and patterns. It’s a revolutionary product that creates delicate lace work that is pliable and flexible. I’ve seen more and more decorators use this product on their cakes, so I was keen to learn how to use it!
|Applying the sugarveil onto the mats|
I really hope I will be able to use this product in Malaysia. It’s wonderful! It can test your patience, but if you have it on a good day, it really has that “WOW” factor!
All day long, the snow kept falling and there was a certain calmness in the air at the MoC that day. Everyone was having fun and working on their cakes, and having the best time. I loved it.
So when we had all finished our work, it was time to group together and take photos!
|Karen and all the students’ work!|
|Karen and Sarah|
|My sculpture, against the snowy background.|
|Karen and I|
Not only is Karen a talented cake artist, she’s also the sweetest and nicest person! I loved learning from her and was so inspired. I couldn’t help but give her a hug, after she had shared a video time lapse of her Gypsy Warthog cake with us. It was awe-inspiring to say the very least. One day, I hope to be as great as she is.
Thank you Karen Portaleo for sharing your talent with me and for being the mind-blowing artist that you are!
And to Tanveer, for being such a gracious host. Your staff worked very hard to keep us all happy and I shall be back soon!
Thanks for reading and do stay tuned for more updates.
I always say, “If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best”. And this year, I was fortunate enough to join 2 Master classes in America, with 2 world famous cake designers.
First on the agenda was with Ron Ben-Israel. He is in a class of his own when it comes to sugar flowers. He is THE master! He’s also created groundbreaking techniques, by using silicone to create moulds from actual jewellery to put onto cakes. His flowers look so real, you’d be fooled if you couldn’t touch them. And the jewellery he makes, are all entirely edible. It’s absolutely amazing what he can do with sugar.
And look at that – I’ve just googled his name, and instead of a domain name of “Ronbenisraelcakes.com”, he’s got www.weddingcakes.com as his website address! That just proves how big he is!
Ron operates from his NYC studio, and only comes out to teach twice a year. I saw that he had released his 2 dates for 2014. One in January in Savannah and the other in March, in Toronto. I immediately tried to get into the Savannah course, but it was sold out. A few days later, a second session was introduced in Savannah.
Immediately, I signed up. No questions asked. It was a done deal. I was going to learn from the best.
Months later, the time had come to go. Despite the polar vortex hitting America, right when I was due to leave, it did not deter me. I was super excited. Going to NYC had always been a dream for me, and now I had a great excuse to go! From KL, my route would take me to Dubai, then onto to NYC, then down to Savannah. I travelled for 25 hours and then had a brief break in NYC, before continuing onto Savannah, which took another 2.5 hours by plane.
Upon arrival in the beautiful town of Savannah, the Southern hospitality lived up to its name. Everyone was warm and full of smiles. The sun was shining, the weather was lovely and cool, and the city itself was so charming. It was love at first sight. I was so happy I decided to make the long journey.
|Love the Spanish Moss-covered trees|
|Some shots of the Historical Distrcit. Gorgeous parks and squares and tree-lined streets everywhere!|
The first day was a little nerve wrecking. When I was having breakfast at my hotel, I thought to myself, “In half an hour, I will get to meet THE Ron Ben-Israel”. It still didn’t hit me. Yet.
So I walk to the Hyatt and when I arrived, the class was almost full. And weaving through the other students, I saw Ron’s back. OMG. There he was. I DID NOT expect to see him there 30 minutes before class was due to start. Taken aback, instead of keeping quiet, I muttered, “OMG. It’s Ron”, followed by a gasp. The girls around me all giggled and gave me great, big smiles.
So I walked over, ever so calmly to him (yeeeaah right, my heart was pounding), and introduced myself and shook his hand. I absolutely can’t remember what else I said to him, but all I can remember were these stupid words – “I must get a picture with you.” And then he replied with, “And I must get a picture with YOU!”
Jessica, you fool! I could have crawled under the table to die.
Right. Moving along, I find my seat and get my organised. Minette Rushing and her team had organised a box full of goodies for each student. We had everything we needed for our 3 day class.
We started with a little intro of each of the students and it was amazing to hear how many had travelled from afar. There were students from Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, UK, all over America, and of course, little ol’ me, Miss Malaysia, as Ron fondly called me. I came from the farthest out of the group of 20 of us. Even Minette, was impressed 🙂
|Class in progress|
The 3 day program consisted of 6 flowers, which were the Rose, Peony, French Tulip, Stephanotis, Gloriosa Lily, and Calla Lily. Attending a course is rewarding because not only were we up close and personal with Ron, we could interact with him as well. There are tons of books and tutorials online, but having this one-on-one demonstration and guidance, is like no other. Ron worked with us step-by-step, and he had a strict timeline for each step. I thought that was great and kept us on our toes.
He was also very clear that if we wanted to talk with one another, our eyes should be on our work table, and not to our classmates. Hahaha! I loved that about him! Get to work!!
As the day progressed, we got our petals done for our Peonies, centres for the Tulips and Calla Lilies, and all the leaves for the Roses and Stephanotis.
The next day, we moved on to the Gloriosa Lily petals, Tulips, Calla Lilies, and Roses. It was a busy day, but we all got through. Ron was very clear and precise every step of the way.
My favourite flower to make is the Rose. I absolutely love making roses and learning how to make it Ron’s way, was fantastic to see. They are magnificent! Thank you Ron, for sharing this with us. I am truly grateful for all that the knowledge you passed onto us.
|Me and my rose|
|The lovely Sarah and I|
|Ron’s beautiful rose|
As we move onto our last day, everyone is all smiles and Ron is in a great mood! It was all downhill from here and we were all in great spirits. Right up till the point where he introduced the Stephanotis to us. This tiny flower, was the enemy. There were so many steps involved and I think Ron must have demo’d it to us, 4 times. We spent a good 45 minutes TRYING to make these blossoms, and when I finally got it after 5 failed ones, it was time to stop. Arrggghh!! I was so frustrated and wanted to carry on making GOOD Stephanotis instead of ugly ones!
As tedious as they were, the Stephanotis is beautiful and I can see myself making these in the future for my cakes. I love them!
So the next step was to wire all of our flowers. We wired the Peonies and Gloriosa Lilies and then it was time to dust. This is where everybody was quiet and in their happy place. Everyone was so at peace. We dusted with pinks and ivory’s and greens and watched our flowers come to life. Just a little touch of petal dust brought the flower to a whole new level.
|Final day, and everyone is happy!|
|Dusted leaves. Love them!|
|Starstruck beyond belief!|
And so it was the end of the day, and we had one hour for “Q & A”. This I thought was invaluable. And such a great way to finish off the class. Ron was basically an open book and obliged us all to any questions we had. Fantastic. I had a million questions, but I stuck to what was relevant and he answered all of mine precisely. I can’t thank you enough, Ron. My experience in Savannah was a huge highlight of my USA trip and it was an investment I’m so glad I took.
|Carolina, Wendy, Bonnie, and I. We all got on so well and had SO much fun after class! Missing all you xx|
|Carolina! Awesome chick from Miami!|
|Wendy! We hit it off like a house on fire! Love her!|
|With my Certificate of Completion|
|Ron, Minette and I|
Not only did I gain valuable knowledge for myself, but I met such wonderful people along the way, in such a charming little city. Savannah – in my son’s words, you are truly awesome!
Thanks for reading
Miss Shortcakes xx
Next up – Karen Portaleo in Pennsylvania.