Once again the very talented Karen Portaleo wins the WMAC monthly competition with one of her outstanding works of edible art.

Karen tells us that the winning cake was actually made for a television interview and then a crew party.

“Since then I have made a few versions for birthdays and a Fall themed party. I even did a special request version with frogs instead of mice!

The frog version had the best cake variety, I did a chocolate gingerbread cake for the big bottom layer, a pumpkin spice for the big pumpkin, and then the top pumpkin and squash were rice crispy treats.

All the pieces are hand done, and I pretty much use two tools; a small roller and a yellow plastic sculpting tool. I used small paint brushes and an airbrush, and vodka for thinning colors.

I used all fondant, but rolled in some tylose powder for the pieces i needed to dry faster. There is also a bit of royal icing here and there.”

Congratulations Karen,  you have a very special talent, and your work is simply out of this world!!! Thanks for sharing your work with us via Flickr.

Karen is the artist behind the beautiful creations at Highland Bakery. You can visit their website via the following link

http://www.highlandbakery.com/

 pumpkin1pumpkin2

Posted by: Nati | November 29, 2008

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Bev (SugarBloomCupcakes)

bevspotlight

#1 Where do your recipes come from? cookbooks or trial and error? and what is your favourite cake flavour?

A criminal chunk of trial + error, a dash of hope and a good slug of cookbook wisdom. Cocoa + crème de Menthe drool mmm.

#2 How long have you been making and decorating cakes and how did you first get interested in Cake Decorating?

I’ve been baking and decorating for 2 years now and I remember clear as day seeing Nigella Lawson on telly, she was making cupcakes. I heard angels and trumpets and beams of light appeared through my ceiling, which is kind of commonplace as I have a skylight. But I knew at that moment I was going to DO SOMETHING with little cakes, and I still am DOING SOMETHING with little cakes!

#3 Who is YOUR favorite cake designer?

Kylie Lambert. ~ LeCupcake

Her style reflects a cool, level precision that’s still really intuitive, emotive and unfussy.

To replicate any of her pieces EXACTLY ( and I have tried for interests sake) is an extremely exhaustive exercise, and I have found that one false move, a milimetre outand it can all look completely wrong as her arrangements are very complex and fragile in their elements.

#4 Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere, I’m always condsidering what would make a great design and love forcing myself to look at common things in different lights.

Books, memories, music and emotions play a crucial role in formulating an original design eg, “Lust Cupcake” and “La Vie en Roe” and the “Cupcake Tree at Night”are all very subjective and are example of ideas coming from feelings.

The “Vanilla Cafe Cupcakes”were inspired by some really great Jazz and the “Pink + Black Cupcakes” were designed in the style of some sexy lingerie I found in a bridal magazine!

#5 What would you have if you were making your own wedding cake?

Easy, my “Black White + Silver Cupcakes” which are Vanilla with Chocolate Mousseline Buttercream. They are little showstoppers.

cupcakes

#6 In a fire…. as you run out…. what cake tool/toy would you save?

Boring, but my Wilton rolling pin with spacer rings. Precision is very important to me and if the foundations of a cake are good, the rest will be a breeze.

#7 Do you have a cake/cupcake business or do you decorate cakes as a hobby? What did you/do you do for a crust in your life other than Cakes?

I run my own business.

My last occupcation was as a Beauty Therapist, I worked in a few salons around Perth and left to have my son Oliver a little over 4 years ago.

I hear the money is really good for strippers though…

#8 How many cakes a month do you make?

About 4 cutting cakes (6 inch-ish)and an average of 500 cupcakes.

#9 What was your first ever cake? tell us about it. (show pictures!!)

EW, classic vanilla buttercream in a “hang-over” shade of blue, on a Magnolia Bakerys recipe Vanilla Cupcake.

I was so proud………..WAS.

firstcupcake

#10 Of all your cakes, which one is your own personal favourite?

I have lots of favies but my most favourite is the cake I made for my daughter Gracies 2nd birthday.“Blossom”

“Blossom”nearly killed me but I was determined that it was going to look FABULOUS, it turned out okay butI think it is the fact that I did it without any idea of what I was doing that gives me the strong attachment to that cake and the look of utter delight on Gracies face when she saw it, then she RIPPED it to pieces!!! <3

teddybeargracie#11 What is your worst kitchen disaster/nightmare? Let’s hear all the gory details so we know we aren’t alone in our misery… :-)

Its not that exciting, more stupid really!I was making champagne buttercream with real sparkling white wine and had the GENIUS to add it at the end of themeringue buttercream I was using. Think of slimey cottage cheese but smelling like booze and the colour of “Thousand Island Dressing”.Shudder.

 

#12 Have you ever dropped a cake or cupcakes?

Of course!I don’t want to say all the time but I am a huuuge CLUTZ.

If I do drop a cuppie there is always a n emergency standby to take its place.

If I drop a big cake, I’ll remake it as there usually aren’t many big ones on standby.

#13 Do you everstress so much that you make yourself literally sick?

No, not to that extent. I stress enough to keep my standards up and to push myself furtherbut never to my detriment, I love what I do too much.

#14 Name a cake you hope you are NEVER asked to make.

You name it and I’ll make it!! Well, I’ll give it a darn good try!

I’d really like to make huuuuge Penis cake one day, that would be just great!

#15 Do you lick the bowl clean?

No and the kids aren’t allowed to either, poor souls.

Baking for the family, we promise ourselves a beautiful cake each when all are baked and the dishes are done!

Baking for an order, we all HOPE that mummy gets the quantities wrong so we can all have a cupcake!

#16 Do you talk to your cakes when you decorate them? If yes…what do you say?

Quite often I pamper their egos and tell them how gorgeous and special they are, the tell me the same thing, we have an understanding.

#17 What’s the quickest cake you’ve ever made?

A super quick effort at baking basic vanilla cupcakes, taking them to my kids homeschoolers group and letting the kids decorate them!!! They LOVED that day!kidscupcakes

#18 Which cake took the longest? (pictures please!!)

The cake venture I orchestrated for my friend Alice’s Universtiy Fundaraising event.

There were 500 in total, 200 chocolate, 100 Vanilla 100 coffee and 100 Lemon. We got to eat the ones that we dropped, so we dropped a few(!)

It took 6 of us 2 days that includedmaking the decorations. We had an awesome system workd out,there were the dishwashers, oven minders, child minders, frosting pipers, coffee makers flower placers, fish’nchips getterers and brow wipers! It was the best fun and we had a truck loads of laughs! lotsacupcakes2lotsacupcakes1

#19 How do you like your eggs?

In my cakes! ( Lightlybeaten of course!)

#20 Are you a high or low ponytail girl?

High!

#21 Do you enjoy sneezing?

Yes I do!

#22 Have you ever used foul language towards your cake?

Yes!

#23What is your most common foul language used??

I don’t usually use foul language at my cakes butwhen I have, it’s lame and tame because of the kids and its usually “Ooooh you bugger!”

Ioften ask them rhetorical questionsand make statements like:

“Now, why did you go and do that?” and

“You do that and Mummy will be very, very cross!!”

“Oh, now look what you’ve done!!!??”

I suppose uncooperative cakes are a bit like cheeky children, (rolls eyes)

#24Have you ever thrown a cake out of the window? if so, why & when?

No but I have thrown one across the room, to my hubbys amazement.

Last year, I had spent AGES working on this design on paper, then applied it toa leftover trial cupcake. I eventually had it just right when but I was packing up, almost dropped a tub of lustre over the top of it, managed to save the lustrebut stuck two fingers into the top of the cake in the process!! *Grrrr

#25 Do you think making cakes topless is a bad idea?

I can see how this is a very pertinant question, however I tend not to get the “girls” out very often when I bake, but if I did, I would keep them WELL away from the whisk attachment on my mixer for fear of them ending up looking like a ball of tangled wool. ( And we all know how ling THEY take to untangle)

I suppose I could always throw them over my shoulders…….

Posted by: Nati | November 14, 2008

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Artisan Cakes by e.t.


#1 Where do your recipes come from? cookbooks or trial and error? and what is your favourite cake flavour?
Actually, i don’t do any baking at all when i’m working! At the cake shop i work at, there’s a large team of us and each of us has their own tasks. I’m in charge of the cake decorating team and so we decorate the cakes that have been baked by my colleague the Pastry Chef and her team. As for the recipes, they’re my bosses family heirloom recipes and also tweaked recipes from cookbooks. When i’m doing my own baking though, i like to try recipes from my collection of baking books and the many food magazines i buy. My favourite cake flavour is dark chocolate with caramel.

#2 How long have you been making and decorating cakes and how did you first get interested in Cake Decorating?
I first got interested in cake decorating when i was still studying in culinary school. One of the subjects i took was Culinary Art and Design. I learned fruit and vegetable carving, ice carving and WEDDING CAKES! I guess my passion for cakes grew from there because i started buying books on sugar flowers and wedding cakes which taught me a lot and further inspired me. My first job (which is also my current one) finally gave me the chance to put my knowledge into practice. After working for 3 years decorating cakes, i still find my job fun and exciting as clients are forever bringing me new challenges and surprises.

#3 Who is YOUR favorite cake designer?
Debbie from debbiedoescakes. She’s an absolute genius and i hope to be able to make cakes like those someday. I know this is not part of the question but i still wanna say that my favourite pastry chef is Pierre Herme. I LOVE his creations and he inspires me to challenge myself when it comes to the art of patisserie.

#4 Where do you find your inspiration?
Books, magazines and here on flickr.

#5 What would you have if you were making your own wedding cake?
Hmm… Flavourwise i’d go with a dark chocolate cake with a salted caramel ganache. As for the design, something that represents me and my partner, so probably something unique and outrageous but tempered by good taste and clean lines.

#6 In a fire…. as you run out…. what cake tool/toy would you save?
My box of piping nozzles.

#7 Do you have a cake/cupcake business or do you decorate cakes as a hobby? What did you/do you do for a crust in your life other than Cakes?
I work as a cake designer at a cake shop.

#8 How many cakes a month do you make?
Well, if we’re talking about novelty cakes, then probably an average of 30 to 40 a month.

#9 What was your first ever cake? tell us about it. (show pictures!!)
Gosh… Honestly, i can’t remember anymore. There have been just too many cakes. Here’s a picture of one of my earliest cakes though.

#10 Of all your cakes, which one is your own personal favourite?
I have SO many favourites, but i’m torn between the barbie doll in the dazzling blue dress

and the wedding cake with bows


as my personal favourite. The reason being i personally prefer cakes that are simple, clean and elegant. I’m not a fan of clutter on cakes.

#11 What is your worst kitchen disaster/nightmare? Let’s hear all the gory details so we know we aren’t alone in our misery… :-)
Dropping a perfectly finished novelty cake and then having to make it again but this time with a 1 hour time limit as the client was on their way. Thankfully we had an extra cake i could ice. It was an absolute nightmare.

#12 Have you ever dropped a cake or cupcakes?
Yes. See above.

#13 Do you ever stress so much that you make yourself literally sick?
Yes. But mostly i think it’s happened because of overworking myself, not from the actual stress.

#14 Name a cake you hope you are NEVER asked to make.
I rise to ANY challenge! There isn’t any cake i won’t try to make.

#15 Do you lick the bowl clean?
No, but i taste the frosting a lot. LOL!

#16 Do you talk to your cakes when you decorate them? If yes…what do you say?
No… My colleagues would send me to the nuthouse.

#17 What’s the quickest cake you’ve ever made?
Well i can decorate a simple buttercream cartoon character cake in under half an hour so i guess that’s it.

#18 Which cake took the longest? (pictures please!!)
Hmm… That’s a pretty hard question to answer as i usually stretch the work out over a few days especially when it comes to sugar flowers or figurines. Considering i’m working on quite a few projects at once i can’t exactly time myself when it comes to certain cakes. I can say however that the traditional indonesian bride and groom figurines took the longest time to make as there were many many tiny details.

Congratulations to Karen Portaleo who won the World’s Most Amazing Cake comp in October, with her wonderful Frida Kahlo inspired cake. Karen is a self taught artist who has a background in clay sculpture.

She is the artist behind the beautiful creations at Highland Bakery which is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

The cake, was made for a gallery show, which was put on for what would have been Frida Kahlo’s 100th birthday. The artists all showed work influenced by Kahlo. “During the show, everyone gathered around and we cut in to the cake, and in the end there was not so much as a sugar skull left! The cake inside was a yellow cake, to which we added corn masa, a traditional Mexican ingredient. Then between the layers there was chocolate ganache, with cinnamon and cayenne.” says Karen.

You can checkout Karen’s wonderful work on her flickr account
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9438541@N04/

and checkout the delicious treats and fantastic work that Highland Bakery does
http://www.highlandbakery.com/

Highland Bakery's Winning Cake

Highland Bakery

Posted by: Nati | October 22, 2008

Member Spotlight – 4GoodnessCake

  1. Where do your recipes come from? cookbooks or trial and error?
    Cookbooks and LOADS from searching the internet. I love website that have reviews so you can see what people like or disliked about a recipe and if they did anything different to improve it.
  2. What is your favourite cake out of all of your cakes? (pictures please!!!)
    My niece’s 1st birthday cake

  3. How long have you been doing cakes?
    Just over 2 years now
  4. how many cakes a month do you make?
    On average 1-2
  5. who is YOUR favorite cake designer?
    Lorraine (Aine2)
  6. In a fire…. as you run out…. what cake tool/toy would you save???
    Sugargun
  7. Name a cake you hope you are NEVER asked to make.
    Anything 3d that needs to look realistic!
  8. What is your worst kitchen disaster/nightmare? Let’s hear all the gory details so we know we aren’t alone in our misery… :-)
    Just this week I had a blow-out in the fondant on my Hiking cake. Luckily it was supposed to look like a rock face and I could repair it without anyone knowing…. I felt sick until it reached the venue in one piece though!
  9. What would you have if you were making your own wedding cake?
    I have recently discovered Polka Dot Cookies & Cakes. I just love their soft romantic style…. although I would be tempted to have a cupcake tower as I love getting a little cake all of my own!
  10. How &/or why did you start cake decorating/cake/cupcake business?
    don’t have a business as y family & friends keep my rather busy!
  11. What was your first ever cake? tell us about it.
    It was two years ago for my Daughter’s 12th birthday. It was the Wilton dog pan (star piping) I knew nothing… Someone told me to add ganache to my buttercream and it was so stiff I nearly broke my wrist piping that thing!!
  12. How did you first get interested in Cake Decorating?
    I have always been a baker and wanted to make birthday cakes for my children.
  13. Where do you find your inspiration?
    Flickr, books, Internet…. for me the best part about making a cake is designing it for the person, coming up with little details that will be instantly recognised by them.
  14. How do you like your eggs?
    Poached
  15. What is 47767590 x 3543 (no calculators or pens!!!)
    This is a Bev question right?
  16. Are you a high or low ponytail girl?
    Bit of both… depends on what mood I am in
  17. What did you do for a crust in your life before Cakes?
    Human Resources
  18. Do you enjoy sneezing?
    No
  19. What is your favourite cake decorating tool?
    Sugar shaper/sugargun
  20. What’s the quickest cake you’ve ever made?
    Kit Kat Cake (chocolate cake surrounded in kit kats)
  21. Which cake took the longest?
    My Mum’s Rose cake, the roses seemed to take forever!
  22. Do you lick the bowl clean?
    No but my children always ask to!
  23. Have you ever dropped a cake or cupcakes?
    No… not yet
  24. Have you ever used fowl language towards your cake?
    Every cake I have ever made!
  25. What is your most common foul language used??
    I couldn’t possibly publish it… but it’s BAD
  26. Do you ever stress so much that you make yourself literally sick?
    Ummm like ever cake… I am the cake stress queen!
  27. Do you talk to your cakes when you decorate them……….or is that just me?
    Yes I do!
  28. Have you ever thrown a cake out of the window? if so, why & when?
    I’ve come close but no
  29. Do you think making cakes topless is a bad idea?
    After three children… it would be a horrific idea!

Checkout Kathryn’s beautiful creations on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28439449@N02/sets/72157606135374188/

Posted by: Nati | October 22, 2008

WMAC September Winner – Sarah Jones

Congratulations to Sarah Jones for winning the “World’s Most Amazing Cake for September 08”. Sarah tells us that the cake was based on some little models that the customer had.

The cake was a vanilla madeira cake with home made raspberry jam, crumb coated with vanilla buttercream. The decorations were all hand modelled and the cake was shaded with an airbrush. The little mushroom cottage was made with pastillage and put together with royal icing. “This was one of my favourite cakes to make.” Sarah says.

Sarah is an extremely talented cake artist based in the UK. Her business “The Little Bakehouse” specialises in making amazing centrepiece cakes for all occasions.

Like many of us, Sarah got started in cake decorating by making cakes for family. The firsts were for her childrens birthdays and she found that to be really enjoyable and that she had a knack for it. She loves experimenting and finding new ways of decorating. She is fully self taught, never having taken any classes.  Sarah says “I just do what feels right. (Although there have been a few failed experiments:0)) “

Checkout the wonderful work on her website
www.littlebakehouse.co.uk/

This is the winning cake

Winning Cake for September 08

Winning Cake for September 08

You can also checkout Sarah’s great work on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahjj/sets/72157603920961650/

Posted by: Nati | October 17, 2008

World’s Most Amazing Cakes – Welcome

Welcome to the blog for World’s Most Amazing Cakes.

World’s Most Amazing Cakes is a flickr group dedicated to finding the most amazing cakes every month.

Each month we run a competition for the World’s Most Amazing Cake of the month. The winner each month will go in with all the other monthly winners into a World’s Most Amazing Cake of the year competition.

Rules

  1. A maximum of 20 cakes can be nominated for any given month – makes it easier to vote, than if we have an unlimited number of cakes.
  2. Each member can only nominate one cake – because we’re only going to have 20 cakes per month, this just means more members get a chance to nominate cakes.
  3. The first two weeks of each month will be dedicated to nominating cakes.
  4. One of the mods/admins will start a thread for you to add cakes to.
  5. Once we have 20 cakes to vote on, the thread will be closed and voting will begin.
  6. Members can nominate any cake, not their own cake, as WMAC for that month.
  7. The nominated cake must have been uploaded/made that month or the previous month. (for example, in October, you can nominate cakes that were uploaded in September and October only)
  8. Previously nominated cakes will not be allowed to be nominated again. For example, any cake nominated in September, cannot be re-nominated in October.
  9. Once nominations are closed, voting will take place for the next two weeks, and at the end of the month a winner will be announced.
  10. The winning cake will become the group icon for the following month.
  11. Cakes decorated with non edible items are not allowed to be nominated.
  12. The winning cake for the year, will be displayed on the group page and blog for the rest of the following year.

You can visit us at

http://www.flickr.com/groups/cake_heaven/

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