November Cake Decorator of the Month
- What is your favourite Breakfast? My husband's french toast with a side of bacon and a steaming cup of coffee!
- How long have you been Cake Decorating for? I started cake decorating in 2007 after seeing chef Ron Ben Israel making a sugar orchid on the Martha Stewart show. I wrote to him to ask him where I could learn cake decorating in Canada and he kindly wrote me back.
- Why did you choose Cake Decorating? Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with the idea of baking and arts and crafts. Even before I was allowed to use the oven my cousin and I would look through recipe books and just imagine making the yummy treats we found inside. Instead of toys, I would always ask for art supplies. Cake decorating just seemed like the ultimate marriage of my natural interests.
- In times of doubt, what do you do to get back into your creative zone? As a hyper-realistic cake artist I don't easily run out of ideas or inspiration because I see cakes everywhere I go! When I do get stuck in a rut, it's usually trying to figure out how to engineer an internal structure or how to create a texture that's difficult to make out of traditional cake decorating ingredients. Take fur, for example, it's one of the toughest textures to mimic convincingly. I will often go to the art store and look at sculpting tools, or sometimes even just walk the aisles of the hardware store to look for things that aren't necessarily made for cakes but will get the job done.
- Where did you learn your Cake Decorating skills? I started this journey well before there were youtube tutorials everywhere. So early on, I sought out cake artists I admired who did the kind of work that I wished I could do and bought their books or took their classes whenever they were offered. Once I had a solid cake decorating foundation, I developed most of my skills just through experimentation, trial and error.
- What is your typical day like, what does it entail? On a typical day the first thing I do is get up and get my 3 year old ready for daycare. Next I waste some time falling into social media rabbit holes, become filled with regret after realizing how much time I've wasted, and immediately get started on a cake or filming cake content! I work until daycare pickup, make dinner with my husband, put my toddler to bed and then back to work making, filming or editing cake content. Depending on my deadlines I might end the work day any time between 10 pm or as late as 5 am!
- We know Sweet Sticks is a brand you use, what do you love about it? I love how true the Sweet Sticks colours are and how nicely they cover even modelling chocolate. One of my favourite creations of all time was a modelling chocolate sculpture of Lumiere from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I used Antique Gold Edibleart paint and it really brought my sculpture to life!
- What is your #1 piece of advice for the newbies in Cake Decorating? Whether you've made cake decorating your career or just want to be able to make a cake for your loved ones, don't be scared to try something new, be it a new flavour profile or technique. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that almost any cake fail can be fixed! And even when they can't, you still get a delicious cake and a funny story out of it.
- Who is your inspiration in the Cake Decorating world - name three (TAG THEM): Ron Ben Israel was my introduction to the cake decorating world so I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge his influence on my career. The first cake decorating book I ever purchased was Elisa Strauss' Confetti Cakes. I cannot tell you how excited I was to pour over the pages and pick out fun cake projects to try. But the one person whom I've called my "cake hero" since the very beginning would have to be Karen Portaleo. She showed me that cake artistry was so much more than multi-tiered round cakes covered in fondant. She is the first person who showed me that cakes could be sculptures, and cakes could be a literal canvas for beautiful and intricate paintings, and that cakes didn't have to look like cakes at all! Who could have guessed that years later I would be the runner-up on a worldwide hit show for making cakes that don't look like cakes!