Monday, June 14, 2010

My time at Debbie Brown workshops

I had a fabulous time at the Debbie Brown workshops over the weekend. Debbie is without a doubt my favourite demonstrator. It was also lovely to spend time with fellow cake decorators from around the country, many of whom I have dealt with through Kiwicakes, many old friends and now some new ones too!.

I arrived just after 9am, after a perfect run down from Whangarei. Only to discover I had 2x 10 inch dummies, instead of 2x 10cm dummies argh!. I felt so helpless. However with great thanks to Jane & Hails, who each had 1 spare 10cm cake, I was back on track for the Funky Fairy Princess cake. We had such fun making this cake. Not one cake in the room was the same. Even Debbie's cake for the day, was different from her photo. We ran a little over time with this cake, there wasn't time to finish all the embellishments on her dress. Special thanks go to my host Catherine, who put me up for the night. Catherine joined me for the Saturday workshop and was able to make the fairy cake for her granddaughters 5th birthday on Sunday - perfect timing!.
Now we just need Debbie to come back in August, in three years time, so Catherine can make her grandson's 5th birthday cake too.

I learnt quite a few things from Debbie over the weekend, and she imparted a lot of special hints & tips. All weekend Debbie consistently praised Pettinice icing (Bakels brand). She kept metioning how it was far superior to what she works with in the UK. We were even shown things and told "I couldn't do this with my brand of fondant - it would rip or tear". Debbie wished it was available in the UK.

Debbie works with amazing speed, and she never ceases to amaze how she does everything only once. Although she promises us, things do sometimes go wrong.

Here is the photo we were shown before the workshop

Here is Debbie's cake from Saturday

Here is my cake from Saturday

Each petal strip of the dress was created very quickly, we first rolled a long thing sausage, then we rolled indentations along the length of the sausage, so it almost looked like a string of seaweed. We then rolled it flat.

The Mermaid cake was by far my favourite. Perhaps because it was not pink, but I think more likely because it was blue & had all the corals and sea life around the bottom which I love. This photo was taken very hastily, and I see as I upload it, I have taken the photo from the wrong angle - my mermaid, is not as badly placed as my photo appears. I took it very quickly before the 2 1/2 hour drive home, in case it broke (which it didn't). I will endeavour to upload another photo soon.
Even more so than the previous day, these cakes were wildly different from each others, as we all went to town creating sea life on our cake boards. Debbie again mentioned how much easier it was to create the spiral and the wrap for this cake using pettinice fondant, instead of what she uses at home in the UK. We even got the inside scoop, that the reason the little orange fishes are where they are, is because her fondant tore and cracked and she wanted to cover it up.

These two cakes will feature in her new book "gorgeous & Gruesome" which is due out very soon.

Here is the original photo we were shown

Here is Debbies' cake from Sunday

Here is my cake from Sunday

I was happy with my mermaids face (I don't have much experience with figures)

What's terribly exciting for all of us, is,  Debbies actual cakes are being raffled at the Big Day out in Auckland this weekend. (9am-4pm at the Remuera Bridge club ALL welcome), including the wedding couple in beetle car, she did the workshop for on Friday. Wouldn't it be great to win one of Debbies' cakes. Come along to the big day out. There are 6 demo's in total, as well as sales tables from various traders including Kiwicakes. I will also be there demonstrating Cricut Cake at my sales table. Entry is $25.00


  1. Wow Sandra that all sounds amazing!! I am jealous as all whatsit to be honest. I was going to the Friday demo but had to cancel due to family reasons. Your cakes look fab. Can't wait for her new book to come out. Awesome!!

  2. you did great Sandra well done you and yeah i am soooo jealous too :(... maybe the next time she is over i might get there hehe hmmm i see a business expense coming on LOL... which book are those 2 cakes from by the way.. looks like a good one to get to add to my collection hehe

  3. they are stunning - wish i lived closer lol and had a bit of experience under my belt!
    Well done sandra!

  4. Hi Sandra,
    Is the bridge club at 273 Remuera Road?

  5. The book is called "gorgeous & gruesome" it comes out in aprx 1 month, I have it on order, should be here soon

  6. Am I allowed to ask what brand of fondant Debbie uses in the UK so if it is available here I stay clear of it. I am not experienced and I need all the help I can get. I noticed on some US videos they had trouble getting the fondant not to break as well. I think the cakes are awesome and I will see what I can do about getting to Auckland on Saturday I just have to get the courage to get there from down country. Driving in Auckland is scary but the cakes draw me and I so want to see them and the cricut cake in action. Maybe I will have a winning streak and win one!

  7. The paste Debbie was referring to was Renshaws Regalice. There was one thing she said it was good for. She was trying to demonstrate ripping fondant to make a texture hair for the mermaid - she said the pettinice didn't rip and tear with a fracture well enough to create hair - it was too good!. She said when it tears, it breaks with a fractured appearance. Hope you can make it to Big Day out. Good on you winning that Cake cartridge on facebook!. Lucky thing!. I had the pleasure of giving away the Debbie Brown book, to a young woman who said "I never win anything" - well she won't be able to say that anymore!

  8. Just found this site, I have Debbie's latest book on preorder, very excited to see a preview of some of the cakes in it. I'm a kiwi living in Tokyo

  9. Hi Sandra! I am attempting to make the Sea Palace cake from Debbie's book for my daughter's birthday this weekend and I wanted to see if anyone else "out there" who had tried it. I'm so glad I found this:-) I live in the US and was wondering if you had tried Satin Ice fondant, and if so, do you think it would be ok to use for the Sea Palace cake. I was thinking of using gum paste for the mermaid, fish, coral, etc. Lastly, was the columns on the top held up with anything? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you:-)

  10. Satin ice would work great. Just use some tylo, CMC or gum trag in the towers, we used cardboard supports that we dusted with cornstarch or powdered sugar until the tower dried, then we gently eased them out.

  11. Thank you Sandra! I hope I can pull it off:-p


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