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!
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!
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!
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?”
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.
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).
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!