Rubbing shoulders with cake “celebrities” – Part 3

I could not believe the show had come to an end so soon. I wished I could have been in forever and forever. Coming to this show, entering the competition, only sealed my passion for cake decorating, and reinvigorated my drive for Van Goh Cakes. Pharmacy has come a long way in my five years of being in the workforce, and it’s almost as though I found myself since I started cake decorating. I am glad that I have found my calling, and would love to hone on my skills and be one of the best out there!

After my brunch with Evelyn, I decided it was the best for me to go back to the show. My luggage was packed, and I didn’t really want to go anywhere else, so the show would be the best place to be before I pick up my entry and take it back home with me.

I had to admit that I didn’t purchase a lot of tools/kits/moulds/colours/fondant at this show than I would have expected of myself – not knowing if it was my subconscious reminding me that I do not have that much baggage allowance, or I just didn’t have anything more to buy. You know that feeling when you’ve fulfilled all your wants to the point that you don’t have anything left to buy? Uh huh, that was me.

One of my purchases was the acrylic cake scrapers from Janet of The Cupcake Lady, where she had a demo showing everyone just how these cake scrapers are used. I’ve used them since and I’ll show you how wonderful they are in the next blog post!

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Janet showing how to perfectly ganache a cake!

I was glad to meet Louise Vansleve, founder of Learn Cake Decorating Online and Start Your Cake Business again, after briefly chatting with her at the dinner gathering. Louise is another example of how having a good business/marketing sense really gets you places. Let me start by saying, if there was no Louise, Van Goh Cakes would not have existed. When I was first approached to start Van Goh Cakes, I remembered speaking to my housemate, WL, asking her how and what do I have to do in order to start up this business. It’s well and good that there are free webinar/courses out there, but nothing that was within the context of a home-based cake business that I was wanting to establish. That’s when Louise came along, with the aptly named “Start Your Cake Business” online course. Her course helped me build the core of the business, or any business actually – what are my visions for the business, what is the business plan, before we head on into the nitty gritty/technical part of setting up the business. So in all honesty, I am so glad to have achieved what I have achieved today if not for Louise who really untapped the inner courage to make me realize a dream of mine 🙂 So I could not thank her enough!

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Thank you for everything Louise!

And I guess that wraps up my little trip to Sydney, with big memories! As for my cake entry? Well that suffered more hardships when I flew back to Melbourne and drove home, it came to the point that it didn’t matter, just to be happy that entry was memorable to most folks 🙂

Rubbing shoulders with cake “celebrities” – part 2

After my high and excitement from my first day at the Cake Bake & Sweets show on Friday, I couldn’t wait for Saturday to come. I knew I couldn’t wait to get myself immersed in all the hype and be with all the “celebrities”.

As much as I loved to be in the show for my trip most days of my trip, I knew I wouldn’t have much opportunity to do some sightseeing in Sydney. First stop was to watch Margie Carter perform her magic with modeling and airbrushing her little hippo!

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The hippo is very cute – so is the leopard print!

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Margie modelling a hippo – how does she do it still amazes me, the details are so small!

 

 

Next up, was to meet up with my dear friend, Evelyn whom I had yet to catch up since her wedding last year. I was pleased to see her well and happy, but most of all to walk along the dreaded “Cake Walk” to see how bad my cake was! But from afar, it didn’t look bad. I’m glad my cake is amongst all the other amazing creations!

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Michelle Rea from Inspired by Michelle showing how to apply lace appliqué onto fondant

My other excitement was to see Michelle Rea, from Inspired by Michelle Cake Designs at the Sweet! Magazine stall. I will always remember that she was probably the first to teach me how to make chocolate ganache and how to apply ganache to a cake. Here was the YouTube video that I first watched during my early beginnings of cake decorating!

This link is very helpful for those who are still new to chocolate ganache and wanting to learn the basics of ganache.

Michelle shows you how to add ganache to the cake.

Michelle shows you in this video how to add fondant to a ganached cake and achieve straight, sharp edges. There are many other ways, but this was definitely my go-to video tutorial when I was learning last year.

 

Meeting her in person just reaffirmed my admiration for her work, and I can’t wait to learn more from her in the future.

The other person whom I can’t wait to see in person was Shawna McGreevy, from McGreevy Cakes (I briefly talked about her in the previous blog post). Not only do I find her YouTube videos very informative and helpful (though the background music a little tacky haha!), but her portfolio of work is to die for! She was at a demo on making sugar roses, and there was a crowd gathering in front of her whilst she made her rose. As I trying to find a spot to watch her, I was asked to stand behind her and watch her work her magic! I knew that I was feeling nervous, and then she asked if anyone had entered the ACDC, and I said “I did!”. She then looked at me and started a conversation – which one was my entry, how I had used her peony tutorial, and how I agreed that she was write for the peonies to have heaps more petals yadda yadda yadda. The rest was history – I was mesmerized that she was such a warm and kind person (the fact that I’ve never heard her talk nor speak to her in person, this was all uncharted territory), and the high for me was she asked for my business card (if you’re reading this Shawna, thank you for liking me on my Facebook page!). I wish her all the best in her future projects, and like everyone else, welcomes her back in Australia anytime to show us her amazing work!

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Notice my starstruck face?

 

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Shawna showing her gum paste rose, her way

 

The other cake “celebrity” I got to meet was Michelle Green, from the Biz of Baking. She not only has a little business called “Three Sweeties” based in Melbourne, but also has a blog called “The Business of Baking”. She talks about the business related side of the cake business, which sometimes for me, it takes away the fun part of decorating and having to go through the boring and dry monotony of managing a business. She had a mini session of learning how to price your cakes, and as much as it was very eye-opening, she pretty much summed up the whole session with the question that I still ask myself:

“If you ever fall sick and can’t make a cake for a customer, and if you had to ask another cake decorator to take on the order, how much will you pay him/her to do it?”

Michelle giving us some insight on pricing cakes

Michelle giving us some insight on pricing cakes

Which pretty much means you won’t pay someone $50 to make a three tier cake, really. And this will definitely remind me of the struggle that I must endure in the future to price my cakes appropriately, to go through the endless barrage of “that is far too expensive”; “it’s only cake!”; “can’t you give me mates’ rates?”. I put a lot of pride in my cakes, and I hope everyone can appreciate my work on and pay for what’s my worth and quality of my cakes.

Do pop by Michelle’s website at The Business of Baking to learn more about managing a cake business and pick up some tips along the way

Towards the end of the session, I had the pleasure of sitting in a demo with Lori Hutchinson, from The Caketress (how chic does that name sound?). I saw her a couple of times on Friday when she was conducting a workshop making her bejewelled couture cake (which by the way, looks very, very pretty) but I didn’t get a chance to say hi and get acquainted.

 

Isn't this such a haute couture cake?

Isn’t this such a haute couture cake?

She was soft-spoken, very sweet, and little did I know that not only she hails from Toronto, Canada, but also is based in Dubai. What a businesswoman behind the chic and stylish lady she is! Wafer paper was definitely new for me and I was glad to learn something about this – something to add to my collection of cakes I suppose. I went up to her after the session to have a photo with her, she said that I was smiling the whole time through the show. She noticed me! (Gosh I sound like a little crazed fan, but oh did I feel sheepish after that).

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The finished cake with wafer paper. Such a refreshing design to gum paste flowers

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Fooling around selfie! 🙂

 

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Happy!

 

Again, the Saturday show didn’t disappoint, as I walked out feeling so happy that I talked to these celebrities. You know the feeling when you see a media celebrity and you get excited that he or she spoke to you? Yeah that’s me. Starstruck. After the show, I was off for a dinner gathering with other members at the Australian Cake Decorating Network, it was a chance to meet everyone whom I’ve had numerous conversations with on the Facebook forum but never had a chance to meet them in person. The cake business is sometimes a very lonely and enclosed trade as a large majority of cake decorators are home-based and have a small family to manage as well, and hence having this network really brings us together who can understand each other’s concerns and emotional meltdowns (I have had some, and perhaps more to come as well). No pictures were taken that night, but it’ll be a night to remember. New friendships were forged for me, and I hope to keep in touch with them in real life in the future – not to mention that I knew a few people who were based around my area and I didn’t know we had that many cake decorators in the South East part of Melbourne. Thank you!