Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teaching, teaching and more teaching...

Me and Ana Ruiz, a cake designer from Mexico

So guess what I've been doing this week...you guessed it...teaching! When I started giving private lessons and group classes I had no idea what to expect. I've basically let my students guide the way, creating their own curriculum by telling me what they most want to learn. Students have come from all over the United States and all over the world including England, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and more! Many are professional pastry chefs and cake designers that want to master specific cakes from our book, or certain techniques such as sculpted cakes. Others are individuals that have full time jobs and cake decorating is a hobby that they love. We have also given some group classes but after ten people it is tight in our little bakery!

New York Cake Decorators- Meet up: group class everyone made a mini handbag

Tomorrow a woman is coming from Paris. She is about to open a pastry shop and wants to know all about running the business and how to make great cupcakes, cookies and mini cakes, that she can sell in her shop. In addition to teaching in my bakery, Thursday night I will be teaching at The French Culinary Institute. I am a visiting professor and go into the professional pastry classes to teach the basics of fondant and some quick decorations. It is so great after many years of making cakes to be able to give back to people who are just starting their careers. And I am happy to report in less then one week we have had over 3,900 views to our YouTube video. So I guess you can say I have taught over three thousand people how to sculpt a labradoodle out of cake...o.k. just kidding!

Me and Hiroko, from Japan. She made a giftbox cake with the lid open. The lid, box and tissue paper are all edible.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Tube Video

It's up! Our first YouTube video. As promised, we created a video of me creating my dad's birthday cake back in April of his dog, a golden labradoodle . My friend and amazing film maker Lisa Stock, lent me her camera, helped me film over five hours worth of the process and then she edited it down to a mere four minutes. As the video says "from 4 days to 4 minutes". This is the perfect format for people to see what I actually do. We build a block of cake, carve it down and then decorate. Sometimes I take still shots of the process but they don't do it justice.

For my dad's cake we started with our Old-fashioned Vanilla Cake and Vanilla Buttercream, (the recipes are in our book) split and filled 10-inch round cakes. Stacked them, carved them, and took the cakes apart to dowel so it was structurally sound. After the cake was sculpted I "crumb coated" the cake, which means I sealed in all the crumbs with a layer of buttercream. I made the head by carving styrofoam, because we had to drive the cake to my parents' house and I wasn't taking any chances. Then we covered the cakes with a mixture of white chocolate and vanilla rolled fondant. The plastic wrap and towels around the cake are to keep the icing from drying it. It took a long time to make all that fur!

The little birthday cake in front of the dog is also real cake and the "Happy Birthday" letters, collar and eyes are made out of gum paste. I hope you enjoy the video, watch it here.
Photos: Jordan Pique

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Color Proofs

This week is flying! We've been so busy in the bakery and wedding season has just started. Our week started on Sunday because I gave a demo for Pastry Scoop's Spring Conference at FCI on how to make our handbag cake and other sculpted cakes. The last few days I've been busy teaching private lessons, preparing for another demo that's tonight at ICE, working on a wedding cake filled with beautiful cherry blossoms for this weekend and then...more edits for our second book! We've already been through four rounds of edits concerning the text and the recipes, this time around we are seeing our first set of color proofs. This round is for looking at the photos to make sure they aren't too bright or too dark, including anything extra that you may have not seen when you took the photo, like a little extra frosting all over my hands! I put a picture here so you can see. Along the bottom you can see information written in Chinese, our book is being printed in China, and a chart telling what round of proofs we are on. At the top you can see the color breakdown. The color breakdown reminds me of my days working in textile design.

Lastly, with everything else going on, InStyle Weddings did a special segment on the Today Show yesterday and included our wine bottle cake to show one of our Groom's Cakes, I've posted the link here. And did I mention I planted flowers in front of the bakery last Saturday? Whew, o.k. gotta run!