When I started cake decorating as a hobby, I was so immersed in it that I wanted to learn from as many resources that I could find – books, magazines, online tutorials, you name it, I had it. It was when I went on to Cake Masters that I was introduced to Kaysie Lackey. Her tutorial on the Klimt cake really got my head spinning. Everything in that tutorial, I absorbed as much as I can. She referenced artists, took their techniques and styles into an edible medium and achieved spectacular results. She had a great eye on colour and had a very carefree attitude. That was two years ago, when I knew I must attend a course with her!
The finished product! Beautiful, isn’t it?
When she was coming to Australia this year, I was excited. She was going to be teaching a series of classes at Special Treats by Carolyn, which were Nigel the Owl, Blown Away Betty, and Benedict the Bull. PS: I love Carolyn when she gets such amazing teachers! Big ❤ to her!
International cake artists like Kaysie don’t come very often, and I knew I had to attend a class, which I chose Benedict the Bull. She first appeared at the Cake, Bake and Sweets Show in Sydney last month, and I jumped on a ruching and gold leaf workshop instantly when I learned of them. Fondant is such an amazing thing – give it some modelling chocolate, and it stretches like a dream. Stab into it with some modelling shapers, and you get this beautiful fabric-like texture. Add some coloured dusts, and you create dimension of the textures that you made. And a deep cerise heart, and some gold leaf – bam! Fashion-inspired cake! But poor cake suffered in Sydney’s dreadful humidity, and it went out in the bin when I checked out. RIP cake 😦
When August came, I waited in anticipation for the weekend to come where I get to spend two whole days with Kaysie. Kaysie’s classes have been known to include very unique armature. She has a Craftsy class, called Sculpting Magic, which takes you through creating safe and sturdy armature for novelty cakes, and going for a class in person will better familiarise me with armature and the endless possibilities.
Kaysie Lackey with her pavlova!
Kaysie is an excellent person – apart from sharing her life experiences, she talks about what she learned from teaching in other countries. Her suggestions are well-rounded and objective, and very willing to listen to other people’s knowledge. She studied the whole anatomy of the bull and explains what needs to be done to our cakes to achieve them. She looks at each student’s piece and shows you what needs to be done and encourages you to be confident every step of the way. Did I mention she loves show tunes and musicals? Her eclectic taste in music reverberates the room over the two days on her iTunes as we move along from construction of the armature to making the bull’s tail. Or cow’s tail, as some decided to add udders as part of the gender reassignment process.
The one thing that I’ve been nervous about is modelling chocolate. I’ve had some success making it, and then I struggled to get it to the right consistency. But Kaysie showed us how to make it her way, and using it during the two days reminds me of how beautiful it is to work for sculpting and modelling, so much so that when I touched fondant, it felt weird. Its pliability and ability to blend are big advantages, whilst its heat labile property may not be so appealing to people who have hot hands like me. Kaysie then shows us in marrying both fondant and modelling chocolate together, you get a product that showcases the best of both medium! I’m in love!
Kaysie also shows us throughout the two days on how to use the Innovative Sugarworks sugar shapers – they are amazing! Sadly, my hands struggle to go into certain corners, and Kaysie uses different tips effortlessly to achieve the texture that she wants from the bull’s nostrils right to the buttcrack (haha!). The shapers are an extension of the finger tips and it creates more effects on sugar work than what my fingers can physically do, and so I cannot wait to slowly familiarise myself with the different shapes of tips and making full use of them.
Kaysie explaining how to use the sugar shapers
Somehow, we managed to spend way more time than expected with Kaysie. We spend an extra hour on Saturday, and a whopping four an a half hours after 5pm on Sunday. Oops. As hungry and tired as I am, I think I managed to get as much as I can out from my time spend with Kaysie and everyone else, and it was a great success.
We’re finally done!
As much as we spent such long hours during the weekend, I didn’t finish my cake. We got to the part where I painted my bull’s spots. Kaysie gave me some direction on finishing the colours, which I did a week after. The result?
Yes, this bovine beauty. My recollection of this cake was when we were creating expressions with the eyes, I wanted excitement in his eyes. He turned out looking anxious and in desperate need of a Xanax. Thank goodness for Kaysie who came to save my poor bull. I love Benny, but he will be cut up for some good cuts of “meat” as he is hogging a lot of space in the house. He is a reflection of the fantastic memories I had with Kaysie, and that big learning curve that I had from the weekend.
Thank you Kaysie for your efforts in bringing your knowledge and wisdom Down Under, and I know we will get to see you very soon!