Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chocolate modelling paste from Chocolate Earth

Today I want to take some time to tell you just how great the chocolate modelling paste we have in stock is. I've had some questions about how it is used and whether it is any good (some customers have had bad experiences with other brands)


I can tell you our chocolate modelling paste is AWESOME! It is created by Kevin from Chocolate Earth. Kevin is one of NZ's top decorators. He creates this paste at his Brown's Bay store, it is sold exclusively at Kiwicakes and at his store Chocolate Earth.

Kevin has given permission for me to show you just how great his cakes are, and some of the things he uses it for. If you'd like to see more Kevin's awesome cakes, you can follow him on facebook here

This Zombie cake was amazing, I watched the photos slowly arrive over a couple of days, as the cake progressed.






Photo above and below prior to colouring.



Kevin also uses chocolate modelling paste in his Cricut Cake machine



The elephants on this cake in chocolate modelling paste are exquisite.


You can purchase your chocolate modelling paste here there are 150gr single colour packs, or 600g rainbow packs. Watch Kevin's facebook page, if you're in Auckland, he will be running some modelling chocolate classes before Xmas this year.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Operation Sugar - giving back


Over the last few days I've been discussing Operation Sugar with it's creator Rachel Jenkinson. The cause has me really fired up. I knew I could do more than just bake for Operation Sugar. Over the course of this blog post I'll aim to set out all that is happening so far.
Rachel has just launched Operation Sugar via Facebook - click here for the page. She is calling for bakers and decorators to make 1 cake per year for a child in need (serving children 13 years or younger at date of the request who have a critical illness or an illness that requires hospitalisation). In the space of just a few days she already has 37 bakers registered. And the first request for a cake has come through for a wee girl with renal failure who will be in hospital on her birthday and at Christmas, to make matters worse her poor mum is currently having chemo.

Rachel has had ideas pouring in beyond offering to make a cake, one generous baker said "I don't mind people borrowing my cake tins if they need them (to save on hireage costs). I only have a butterfly tin and a 10" square tin so far but will be slowly building this up"

So as a result I have loaded a new category for threads to the Kiwicakes Forum - see here

When I started on my Operation sugar journey I thought What could I do? I knew I could bake a cake for Operation Sugar (I secretly hope I can bake more than 1 per year). This led to me think what could Kiwicakes do? I started to think about the many wonderful bakers out there, that could bake for this cause - many have families of their own and are on a tight budget, these people might be restricted or unable to make a cake for this cause, due to financial constraints. So as a result I'm launching the Operation Sugar scholarship programme, starting with 4x $100 cake decorating parcels and 6 x $50 cake decorating parcels per year. Full details of the scholarship programme will be launched over the next week or so (essentially people needing assistance will need to email me in writing what their Operation Sugar cake will be and what supplies they need to complete their cake). As many of the Operation Sugar bakers are already Kiwicakers - I'm also offering any Operation Sugar baker who mentions they are baking for Operation Sugar when placing an order with Kiwicakes something to compliment the cake they are making.

I'm looking forward to some fun times ahead liasing with Operation Sugar bakers. I urge you to share this post with a friend. If you have any ideas feel free to contact me, or Rachel via the Operation Sugar facebook page - we'd love to hear from you!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

My classes at ICES

During my time at ICES I was booked in for demo classes, as well as hands on classes. The choices were extensive & wildly varied. Before I booked my classes, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and book classes I either knew nothing (or not a lot) about, or techniques I had never tried hands on. The classes book out very quickly - many I attended were completely sold out.

I had a wonderful time, I would have liked to do more classes, in some cases 2 classes I really wanted to do, clashed, as they were on, at the exact same time as others I was attending. I really don't think I could have packed in anymore than I did. But I really loved every minute of it. Many of our tutors or lecturers have competed in food network challenges - so are well known cake decorating identities.

I don't have extensive photos from every class, in the case of demo only classes, there were often over 100 people in the room, and we could not take photos during the class, afterwards there was not time to queue to get some photos before I had to race off to my next class. The doors to each demo/class were locked on the dot of the start time - thankfully I was never locked out.

Not all classes I went to were "cake decorating". I am forever grateful to Karen for her class on "snapshot" photography, in the space of an hour, I learnt an awful lot about how to get the best from my point & shoot small Canon camera.


I also had a great hour with Jay Qualls as he lectured on "Social Media" - I learnt how much I did not know on the subject. He was comical and a great laugh - I am now known to him as "the woman whose boobs would make a great cake" (because I was wearing a shirt that had fabric quilling around the neckline). You can check out Jay's website here - he runs a successful cake business in Tennessee (he was part of the Live cake challenge team at ICES in Reno too) I had a ride in the elevator with Jay one evening and a lovely lady said to him "what's the most important piece of advice you can tell us in 10 seconds Jay?" His reply "don't get in to cake decorating for money!" a joke I hoped - or another way of looking at it "you have to love it first!"

Humour was definitely a huge part of my hands on class with Kaysie Lackey. She is an incredible woman who runs The People's Cake in Seattle - check out her website here During the course of 2 hours we laughed the whole time, as she regaled us with many humourous stories. The class with Kaysie was for the Klimt Cake (As many people did not know who or what Klimt was/is I'm inlcuding this photo below by Gustav Klimt of "The Kiss" - with thanks to Wikipedia commons for allowing us to reprint the artwork) As soon as I saw the Klimt cake on the ICES schedule, I immediately wanted to do it - as this art work has long been one of my favourites (what does not easily show, is the surface is metallic")


The hands on classes are limited to only 25 people  - so we certainly could have personalised attention if required.

This is Kaysie's Klimt cake, she said she has produced the design in other colourways as well. The class was for the cake only, not the flowers.


Kaysie mixed enormous batches of icing for us all.


We covered a peach coloured cake in royal icing, using brushes and a spatula. covering small areas only, before the icing went hard. Kaysie explained to us, how the "underpainting" of a cake is important. Although the peach icing gets totally covered, the colour still enhances those put over it (a technique she learned in art school) Try it for yourself, with some gold lustres on different scraps of coloured fondant, the lustre takes on a different appearance depending on what is under it. The brush strokes were created using boar bristle brushes.


We applied a gold wash using Lemon extract and gold lustre all over the cake three times. In the USA their lemon etxract is alcohol based, unlike ours which is not. I said this to Kaysie and she hooke dme up with the supplier, so now here at Kiwicakes we have the American Alcohol based Lemon extract see here  (I also got chocolate while I was at it) Once the gold wash was on, we added areas of peach, pink & another gold. Followed by highlighter gold on the highest points. The board was finished with a ribbon


None of the photos I took of my finished cake seem to accurately portray the colour. The one above is in my hotel bathroom (using the mirror a trick thanks to my snapshot photography class the one below is in my hotel room in front of the window.


I was the only person in Kaysie class even remotely as tall as her, all of her other photos the poor girl is hunched right over (I wouldn't mind your extra few inches Kaysie, I always wanted to be 5ft 10'')


The chandelier class with Chrissie Boon from Canada, I was really looking forward to, I had seen this style of cake many times before, but never thought about how it was achieved. After seeing Chrissie go through the steps and even pick up her cake and swing it from left to right up and down with great force, I can see she really means it when she says it is stronger than an upright wedding cake.


Chrissie's amazing dad created the kit you need to make this cake. Honestly for the cost, and time involved you could never make one for this price, I suggest hot footing it over to Chrissie's online store and getting one here She also has stands for hanging cupcake towers too.
Chrissie could not complete an entire chandelier cake during the time of our demo. She has generously allowed me to Show photos from her website Too Nice To Slice (check out her awesome framed cakes too!) 


Chrissie explained the gaps in the cake were made using clear pillars which were filled with sugar pearls. The cake above was made for her sisters wedding and I enjoyed the story of the events leading up to it's creation. ( Photo One2One Photography). You can follow Chrissie on Facebook here



The Sugarveil classes I was particularly looking forward to, as in the months leading up to ICES I'd had requests for the product - and although I knew what it was, I hadn't used it. I far surpassed my expectations and on my return to NZ I was thrilled to finally be stocking it for you all to buy click here for Sugarveil


Rita took our Sugarveil demo class - discovering how Sugarveil was created and the story behind it all was great for enhancing my knowledge on the subject.


I signed up for too classes on Isomalt. One was for pouring isomalt scrolls (above) by Lisa Mansour from New York the second was for blown and pulled isomalt with Sidney Galpern from Palm Bay Florida. I seem to have whoops accidentally deleted these photos from my camera. I had never worked with isomalt, so this was a real eye opener. (More excitement to come on this subject)

Here at Kiwicakes I sell air brushes and was advised on which type to sell by Kevin from Chocolate Earth in Browns Bay - whom many of you will know is a master air brusher. However I have never done it. SO I was thrilled to first watch Roland Winbeckler's demo class on Air brushing. Followed by Mike Terry's Airbrushing workshop.



Roland Winbeckler was amazing to watch, in the space of a few minutes whilst we were waiting for anyone to get seated, he free-handed a caricature of himself - I was in awe! He come to ICES with his lovely wife Marsha - they were responsible for the wonderful ICES cake you saw in one of my first posts.



At Kiwicakes I sell Roland's airbrushing book  so I was thrilled when he pulled out the tiger stencil he had cut by hand and showed us how he airbrushes the tiger in under 5 minutes. Check out Roland's website here

With my airbrushing class Mike Terry was not demonstrating, he was straight in to making us do it all for ourselves. I learnt a lot though. I learnt how to mix my airbrush colour while it's sitting in the colour cup and how better to control my airbrush. Check out Mike's website here
At the end of 2 hours, I was a better airbrusher than when I walked through the door. I think we all were (even those who were already airbrushing). Mike works closely with Americolor Corp. He even has his own set of airbrush colours LOOK! 


Do you want to win this set of airbrush colour?. Leave me a comment here on this blog post as to your experience at airbrushing. What did you like?, or hate?. I will draw this randomly Friday 28th September.

I previously mentioned there were classes I wanted to do, but they clashed with other things I was doing - or I simply didn't have enough time to squeeze them all in. In the cake pavillion where there were display cakes, I managed to grab some photos of the finished product from some other classes.(not every class is shown here)


This gumpaste ribbon flower class is one I really wished I had gone to









Well that about wraps up my experiences at ICES (unless I forgot something) - it was certainly a great experience. I keep getting asked if I'll go back next year. At this stage, the answer is no. I'd certainly love to, but the time away from work & the kids is hard to squeeze in, and the relationships I've built over the time I was there with new suppliers will last a lifetime. I'd really love to go every year - just as soon as that tardis I've ordered arrives it could be a reality! Enjoy.

Wedding cookies


A few days ago I showed you a LOVE cookie I was given. I've just received an email from Lisa at The Whole Cake And Caboodle of a lovely grouping of wedding cookies, I just had to share them with you (yes we have the LOVE, Ring, Heart & Dress cookie cutters at Kiwicakes.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

LOVE cookie



My friend Lisa - The Whole Cake & Caboodle had a wedding show here in Whangarei over the weekend. She just dropped me in one of her LOVE cookies. I think you should all see it, as I think it looks pretty cool (and Yes in the Kiwicakes catalogue we have the LOVE cutter, and the floral impression texture mat & the mould for the rose)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Julie Le Clerc in store at Kiwicakes



I am honoured to be announcing an exciting event at Kiwicakes. Julie le Clerc. Author, chef and TV presenter will be in store at Kiwicakes Wednesday October 24th 1c Grant St Kamo 12.30-2pm.



Julie will be promoting copies of her books Made By Hand and Favourite Cakes  you'll be able to purchase a signed copy of either book. Why not bring in any of Julie's books you may have and get her to sign them for you! 


All of the staff at Kiwicakes have chosen a recipe to bake from Julie's books, you'll be able to sample our baking whilst you're in store.
I have some advance copies of these two books for sale at Kiwicakes now. We have signed copies of Favourite cakes and copies of Made by Hand -


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No Cream Cheese - "Cream Cheese" Frosting & a prize pack

Whilst I was at ICES, the vendors were pretty generous with the items they gave us. The lovely folk at Loranns oils gave me some bottles of cheesecake  flavoured oil. They have this great recipe for "NO Cream Cheese - Cream Cheese frosting". Which is especially good when you have someone wanting cream cheese icing on a wedding cake in the middle of summer. (their recipe follows below)



This recipe makes a rich-tasting, not  too sweet frosting. 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered cane sugar
1 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4  teaspoon LorAnn Cheesecake Flavouring
dash of sea salt (optional)

*Non-dairy recipe:  substitute shortening for butter and water for cream.

Using an electric mixer, or stand mixer with whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add cream one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.  Add Cheesecake flavoring and salt and beat an additional 1 minute.

Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.  Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.
Makes about 3 cups frosting.

Iced cakes and cupcakes can be stored at cool room temperature for up to 3 days.



But that's not all I was given, there's magazines from American Cake Decorating, tips covers & couplers from Ateco, Stencils from Designer Stencils, Edible images from Lucks & more, check out the photo - it's all up for grabs and you could win it! along with some cheesecake oil from Loranns. Simply leave me a comment and tell me your favourite thing you've baked lately and you could be in to win. Competition will be drawn Friday September 21st 2012 - at random

Friday, September 7, 2012

ICES Cake celebrities & the vendor hall

Over 1300 cake decorators attended ICES like me. However there's a huge amount of others that attend as demonstrators, vendors and helpers.


Before I left NZ, I had mentioned to Kerry Vincent I was coming, she said "Make sure you come and see me" We spent a long time chatting one evening and Kerry introduced me to some wonderful people. (for those of you that don't know Kerry is Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show director Kerry Vincent nee Flynn is a Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Food Network Challenge Judge, designer, international presenter, author of the best selling Romantic Wedding Cakes, and a freelance writer)


Susan Carberry was doing some wonderful things with airbrushing in the vendor hall and her cookie critters were amazing. You'll often see wonderful online videos from Susan with all sorts of great cakes.



I asked Norm Davis if I could take his photo. He said "Oh No! you've got to be in it too". I've enjoyed watching Norm in the past on the "Ultimate Cake Off" Tv Show. He always seems so happy


Carrie Middlemiss and I have been friends for years now. here at Kiwicakes we sell her Bella Cupcake Couture cupcake wrappers. We managed to catch breakfast together on Sunday morning at ICES - and she made me pose for photos with her on multiple occasions. Carries cupcake wrappers are gorgeous. She has even done custom wrappers for Martha Stewart, I remember how excited we both were all those years ago when she got the call (see here for her Martha Wrappers)




This is on Sunday afternoon, I had to wait a few days to get some shots of the vendor hall, it was packed out the first few days.



Yummy chocolate by Guittard





I also Met Edna De La Cruz. If you've never seen Edna's youtube videos, go look them up right now. They are super useful and wonderfully presented (she also has a super dreamy voice you'll love)




So many cake stands the likes of which we don't often see in NZ



Rita Aust and Michelle Hester from Sugarveil




Nicholas Lodge - a superb sugar flower sculptor from the UK





Stephen Bennison from the UK. Very well know for his intricate cutters, for Art Deco cakes and flourishes, flowers & much more


From Stephen Bennison




Satin Ice


This is the gorgeous Autumn Carpenter. Autumn and I have corresponded by email for years. Here at Kiwicakes we sell her cookie cutters with impression mats, impression mats, cupcake impression mats, books & more. Autumn and I met up the second night I was there, and had a long chat. She also did a presentation to the "shop owners breakfast", which I throughly enjoyed. I already love her products, but after her demo I am more in love with her cupcake impression mats, than ever before.


In front cookies & cupcakes using the cupcake impression mat tops. At rear cookies using the sports ball cookie set


Cookies using her butterfly cookie cutter set with impression mat



Cookie using her dress, wedding cake & heart cookie cutter sets


The bags are made using the fabric impression mat set


Flower fun impression mat & moulds


Paisley impression mat & moulds



There were several companies for edible imaging




Wilton USA



I really liked this dummy cake on Wilton's stand



Quilling from Wilton


The cupcake cake, uses one of Wilton's new release silicone moulds


Elegant beauty - I wonder how hard this is to do?


The topper is made using white chocolate in the Wilton enchanted castle cake pan


I met a lovely lady named Reva Alexander-Hawk (above) at the shop owners breakfast one morning. What I didn't know is Reva is the star of "Amazing wedding cakes" TV show, as we don't get the show here in NZ yet. Reva became my instant best friend, because, as we were standing in line at the buffet I pointed to a pastry absolutely covered in pecans telling her I was going to have one. I went on to explain how pricey pecans are in NZ ($70KG last time I bought them) and how you'd never see that on a breakfast buffet here. "Look!" Reva said "there's a huge pile of pecans that's fallen off a pastry you grab that - no one will notice". So you know what I DID! - there was no pastry missing any nuts, so that big ole pile of caramelly pecans must have been sitting waiting for me. Seems no one else was as impressed as I was. Spot the odd New Zealander out. Reva told me she'd just bought a case of pecans for her bakery and she'd thought it expensive the price she'd had to pay, but it was nothing like what we have to pay. And I must say there quality of nut is better than what we often get.


Reva was demonstrating this Day of the Dead cake at ICES. When I booked my ICES demo's and classes, this particular class clashed with something else I was doing. I really wish I had gone to it. However late Sunday night, during the "night of sharing" I was able to see the cake and Reva chatted informally to those milling around about how she did it.



I really did meet Reva I've got the badge to prove it.


These gelatine flowers were stunning up close. These were made by the lovely lady behind sugar dippers gelatine & isomalt veinging sheets, which I sell at Kiwicakes. Watching her work in the vendor hall was amazing.



A trend that has not really reached NZ yet, that I picked up on, with some vendors, was using edible image sheets to make flowers & decorations





Here Chef  Zane on the Lucks stand is making a floral decorative motif, using an edible image attached to blue fondant.


I think the finished product looks pretty snazzy and is reminiscent of fabric flowers.






Yet more cakes from Lucks



The vendors hall at ICES was a real highlight for me - the options for new products were endless, some products have been ordered and I've yet more planned, so you'll see many things arriving over the coming months, all as a result of my trip to ICES.
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