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.


  1. I bought an airbrush at the beginning of the year after wanting one for ages! With no experience at all I went along to Kevin's from Chocolate Earth's class a couple of months ago and learnt so much from him! After purchasing Americolor from you Sandra, I've been playing around airbrushing and making my own stencils. Loving experimenting!

  2. What amazing cakes!! I haven't gotten into airbrushing yet, but I USED to paint with spray paint, and loved it!! Such a different way of thinking about the layering of colour. I'd love to get into it with cakes!

  3. How awesome to see such talent. I'm pretty new to cake decorating but have always been creative and have always wanted to try airbrushing. Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

  4. We recently recieved an airbrush as a gift and have yet to get it out of the box as we have NO idea how to use it!! Will definitely be checking out the links above and signing up to some airbrush classes. Loved looking at all your pictures from ICES, thank you so much for sharing with us.

  5. Wow Sandra this is a fantastic account of what you got up to. You must have been exhausted and your head must have been spinning with all that you learned. It is a goal of mine to go to something similar in the bead world to learn from the best. Thanks so much for sharing this part of your journey with us.

  6. OMG how do you choose your classes. Air brushing is something that I would also like to have a go at. Being in the South island I have not heard of any classes maybe a trip to Auckland is in order :-)

  7. I haven't airbrushed but am keen to invest and give it ago.
    I could always go to ICE next your for you Sandra... (just a thought).

  8. I have an airbrush but haven't had a lot of time to play around with it...and I guess like all things it's practice, practice, practice!

  9. Amazing photos. Ive never done airbrusihing and Im fairly new to the whole cake decorating so its definatley something I want to try at some stage.

  10. Haven't yet used airbrushing but would love to! Have used sprayguns on metalwork artwork and enjoyed it, so I can imagine how fun airbrushing a cake would be!

  11. It was a pleasure to meet you at the shop owners breakfast. (we sat at the same table) Thanks for including my Day of the Dead cake in your Blog.

    1. Hey Reva, how could I forget you (did you see my previous post that included you - my pecan friend)

  12. I've had my airbrush for a year and a half and I only use it to colour cakes that are all one colour. I really wish there was a class here or that I could afford to fly up, as I would love to do more with my airbrush!

  13. I have never airbrushed. My lovely husband came home with the attachment one evening, he was so excited as he knew I wanted to try airbrushing. Imagine his disappointment when I explained you actually needed a compressor to make it work lol. Anyway, its the thought that counts! If I do win this prize, then it will probably be the push I need to buy one!

  14. The winner of the airbrush kit is INCK - sorry I did not draw this on the day I said I would - I dislocated my knee that day and all thoughts of drawing this flew out of my mind. Can you please contact me with your delivery address. Thanks Sandra


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