Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Two years ago, I was on a bus from Washington D.C. en route to Manhattan, when I took my iPad out to watch the film “Woman in Gold”. It was an insightful film about Maria Altmann’s quest to reclaim the Klimt painting of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I that was stolen by the Nazis during the second World War.


Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann in Woman in Gold

And it was also then, that I realised the painting, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, was sold to the son of Estée Lauder and was on display at the Neue Galerie in NYC. Guess what I did the minute I arrived in NYC? Dropped my luggage at my Airbnb, and dashed off to the gallery, braved the long crowds, and saw the piece in person. It was one of the most breathtaking moments in my life.

This has become the inspiration for my tutorial for the Australian Cake Decorating Network’s February edition of Cake! magazine. I’d like to showcase my latest cake, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting, Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Many elements from that painting were used to design this beautiful piece, and one of my personal favourites is the textured gold leaf!

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, as much as I was inspired to make it!

To read on how to create this piece, click on this link

Crawling around Sydney

It’s Friday. End of a long, working week for me. I came home, plonked my workbag, and sat in front of my computer, recalling last weekend that went far too quickly but it was needed for my soul and my sanity. I signed myself to attend the ever-popular Sydney Cake Crawl, organised by Australian Cake Decorating Network, and what great fun it was.


Amazing line-up!

In case you’re wondering what a “cake crawl” is, it’s a social/business event where cake decorators from all walks of life set out on a day’s trip to several locations, watching noted decorators and dessert gurus demonstrate techniques and tips, visiting places with always a sweet treat included, topped with lots of cake shopping. Cake supplies, I mean. You may remember an earlier blog of mine, writing about my experience in New York’s cake crawl last year. I still get excited about that one, but this one was such a treat and much closer to home!

I flew to Sydney on Friday afternoon, readying myself for a great day on Saturday. We started in Hurlstone Park, where we met two great talents – Sachiko Windbiel of Mimicafe Union, and Jacki Fanto of Blissfully Sweet.

The sun was out, and our next stop was at La Renaissance in Waterloo, where I had a much needed mocha fix, and some pastries and little entremets to sweeten the palate. We also had the pleasure of watching the man himself, Jean Michel Raynaud explain to us the use of setting agents like pectin in his kitchen, where the magic happens.

We moved on to Shangri-La Hotel, for what I thought was the highlight of the trip, an afternoon tea with the beautiful and amazing Anna Polyviou. Well known for her appearances on Masterchef and many public events with her sweet treats, we were treated to an afternoon high tea with desserts made by her team. We also get to watch her team demonstrate to us how to make Anna’s Mess, which was one of the highlights of this year’s Masterchef show. From tempering chocolate to making the chocolate moulds, there was music and lots of laughter.


This was basically what an Anna’s Mess is.

Of course, Anna organised a challenge where three ladies went to the front, and made the biggest smash out of Anna’s Mess. It was until she said we need a guy, and I knew “oh crap, that’ll be me!” (joys of being a singular male cake decorator amongst forty six other ladies). If you watch the Youtube video, I projected all my anger and frustration and smashed my dessert. It was a messy affair, but I was ecstatic that I won the challenge, and a brand spanking new Kenwood Chef Sense! I don’t really win competitions or lucky draws, and to win a new mixer was humbling and triumphant at the same time. Thank you so much to Kenwood and Anna for the amazing prize. I’m being impartial, but I love Anna so much more now not only because she awarded the mixer to me, but also her charm and charisma really warms the heart. It was a fantastic afternoon.

Thank you for my new Kenwood!

Usually with cake crawls, you tend to get sugared out after a while. We had too much sugar after the high tea, and I would have liked an afternoon nap. We headed back to Hurlstone Park with some long awaited shopping and a demo with Jessica Pedemont and Tommy Prosser at Celebration Cooking. Tommy provided us with a savoury treat that was so delicious, using bacon that was cured for two weeks. You could tell that we were very much in need of some salt. My camera’s battery went flat after Shangri-La hotel, so I missed out on some photos, but it was an informative session with Jess who showed us show to make ganache as filling, and as truffles. She has so much to offer at her cooking school, Celebration Cooking. Her demonstration ends the cake crawl, and I’m so happy to have been part of it. I met some familiar faces, and made new friends as you do at such social events. Thank you to Liz and everyone that made all of this happen, and I cannot wait for the next one. Bring on London!


What Australia Means To Me

Happy 2015!

I hope everyone had great Christmas and New Year celebrations, and heading into the new year with lots of great plans for the year!

I wanna share with you my excitement – my first sugar artist/cake decorators’ collaboration ever!!!

I couldn’t be more happier with the opportunity to work with some fantastic veteran cake decorators in the business from Australian Cake Decorating Network to showcase our creations for Australia Day today! Our theme for this showcase was “What Australia means to me”, and we could not wait to share our different interpretations of our own Aussie experiences in sugar art.

I’ve been in Melbourne for ten years now, and I asked myself what was the common theme in my so-called developmental years of my life living on my own in a foreign land and becoming myself. And it was always food… then there was wine… and then coffee. Before I came to Melbourne, I did not touch a glass of wine or coffee as I didn’t know how to appreciate them. But in recent years, I’ve come to learn how to taste it and appreciate it, and now I have a better understanding for it I seem to enjoy it a little more now. And so my mind was set on having these elements part of my cake design.

I wanted a challenge, and I came up with an idea of a bottle of wine pouring into a cup of coffee (I would never know what coffee and wine tastes like, it may be an acquired taste but who knows?). The cup of coffee will sit above a chef’s hat, and I’ll have something next to the chef’s hat. Easy!

How wrong I was!

When cake designs don’t fit the mould of standard cakes or stacked cakes, the challenge comes in creating a strong and stable structure inside the cake so everything pretty much stays the way it is! I usually get nervous because it means having to work out what kind of tools are required that I will have to go to Bunnings to buy them. I get intimidated in Bunnings – something about hardware and power tools just doesn’t sit well with me. And so I looked up as many novelty/gravity defying tutorials to understand and construct a structure that I find best suits this piece, and headed to Bunnings.

On to the details of the cake.


I’m somewhat a foodie, and as much as I love just having two-minute noodles, it’s interesting to know of upcoming restaurants and fantasise of the restaurants that are on my bucket list. My chef’s hat is representative of that – fine dining is vogue these days, with food styling and #foodporn going off in social media. It is also a tribute to all the great Aussie chefs – what great culinary talent we have in this beautiful country, showcased by television shows such as Masterchef. I could go on, but we have Jacques Reymond, Shannon Bennett, Luke Nguyen, Christine Mansfield, Maggie Beer, Kylie Kwong, Peter Gilmore… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I really can go on. Lastly, the chef’s hat is symbolic of the logo that is on The Good Food Guide that many foodies refer to to find out the ratings on the go-to restaurants not only in Melbourne, but in other states too.

DSC_0348A little cup of coffee ended up in this piece because I think it is a personal habit of mine that I order when I go to a good cafe for breakfast or brunch. I’ve been hooked to coffee in the last two years or so. My favourite is mocha (in case you have a trivia competition about me), and not everyone makes a great mocha. My housemate Lynn made a remark about “brunching” – it was something that I observed many people do these days as a main meal on a weekend morning and myself, and having a cup of coffee seems to just make it all better. I can share one of my New Year resolutions, and that is to sign myself up for a barista course this year. After all, it is something that I intend to pick up to fulfil my dreams of having a cafe, isn’t it?

I had to chuckle 🙂


The wine bottle is very Australian in my opinion – it is something that I notice from my days in university, people bringing a bottle to a restaurant or ordering with their meals. I never fancied it, and to date I probably don’t really drink that much. Something about pairing the right notes of a wine with the food that you eat is such an art, I think my taste buds have not acquired that talent yet. But I do enjoy a good little sip of a good bottle, and it would be blasphemy to not include wine into my piece.


The last element on my showcase is the cheese platter. This idea was thrown to me to create the cheese platter like a map of Australia. Boom! Why didn’t I think of it?! I had a great time creating it, and having brie cheeses and green olives with some crackers is like an indulgence after a good meal.


I hope you liked my piece, and do look out for the other pieces on the Australian Cake Decorating Network page to look at some more awesome creations from the other decorators!

x Vincent