Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking back at 2011 - Part 1

I'm in absolute SHOCK that another year has gone by! I don't know about all of you, but for me, this year has gone by in the blink of an eye!

So where to begin? This year was so crazy I'm going to have to split this post in 2! 2011 started with us just settling in our new store location. Since the move in November 2010, we have been growing and going non-stop! And now a full year has past and it still feels the same...

February started off with a bang! Lauren Kitchens of Fancy Cakes by Lauren joined us for some highly anticipated classes - Character Sculpting 101 and Monsters 301! Students learned about structures and how Lauren created her lovable Muppet characters on Food Network Challenge Sesame Street Cakes.

Fun times with Lauren Kitchens

Lauren & her little monsters

Next for the month, I created a fun cake for a little show called Rich Groom Poor Groom - where the groom does all the planning!! Our groom decided he wanted a spy/espionage themed wedding complete with a recreation of Mike's Amazing Cakes "explosive" cake! You can see the episode on HERE.

Also in February I did some travel. First I flew out to Denver last minute to visit some friends & take a class with Sharon Zambito of SugarEd Productions & Rebecca Sutterby of Sugar Creations. It was a great girls weekend full of fun, great tips & techniques, and great food - I had my first Bison burger!
Rebecca, Sharon & moi with the class project cake

mmmm a very tasty Bison burger!

A week later I was back in the air this time going to Austin Texas to check out the Austin Cake Show. I worked at Sharon's booth selling DVD's during the show and hung out with friends at night, I even got to squeeze in a quick refresher class with Lorraine McKay. The show features great instructors, a competition, demos and vendors - and this year I will be teaching there as well - be sure to check it out!

Don't be alarmed - it's sugar!!

A fun night with Lorraine McKay

March was a whirlwind of travel! In early March I was back on a plane to Denver - this time however I was there to assist Ashlee Perkins in the Food Network Lego Cake Challenge!

The timing was tight - the Challenge film date was the day I was to be flying out to Orlando with my family for a Disney vacation - how could I be in 2 places at once? So I left for Denver and my family went ahead to Disney. The day after Challenge I flew straight to Orlando to catch up with them! Can you say exhausting?

My first Challenge experience was a blast - very tiring very stressful but a blast none the less. The day before Challenge we ran around Denver doing our final preparations. I was thrilled that my good friend Adele came to stay with me and offer moral support. She got up at 4am to do my makeup and she sat through the entire Challenge - smiling the whole time. When it was all said and done she helped us clean up - she's a rock star!

I made custom moulds of real Lego knobs to get the right details

Another detail shot of the finished cake

The Challenge itself was tough - most Challenges are 8 hours in length - but we got a surprise when we ventured on set in the early morning hours - not just an 8 hour Challenge - but an additional SURPRISE 2 hour PRE-Challenge!! That really threw us all off our guard! It was hard to get back in the game once the pre-challenge was done.

Ashlee & moi with the completed cake

Our final cake was super cool - a giant Lego shark from the Atlantis set complete with moving minifig - something that wasn't shown on camera. Unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for us - 2nd place was our fate.

On the wings of defeat, I was back in the air flying to Orlando for a much needed vacation! But there wasn't much rest for the wicked.....

Some family time at the Happiest Place on Earth

At the end of my trip I jumped in a rental and drove north to Savannah Georgia to take a 3 day sugar orchid class with Ron Ben-Israel at Minette Rushing's Custom Cakes. The class was all I expected and more. I can never say enough about classes with Ron or the amazing Southern hospitality at Custom Cakes! This trip has now become an annual tradition every March - one that I look forward to continuing!

A few of my sugar orchids

Me & my Sugar Daddy aka The Sweet Genius!

I've made some fabulous friends in the cake world - Ron, Minette & moi

In April we celebrated our 2nd anniversary! 2 years later and in a new location already! Who knew?

Also in April I stayed put and let someone else do the traveling! Marina Sousa of Just Cake came to Flour Confections to teach 2 wonderful classes - first by bringing some "bling" with her wonderful bead moulds and second how to create amazing topsy turvy style cakes.

The completed class cake - still on display at FC

Also in April I created 2 very fun and special cakes while applying what I learned from both Lauren & Marina. The first cake was for my daughter's 9th birthday, her request was for a Julius cake aka Paul Frank Monkey cake! Using the techniques from Lauren's Monsters 301 class, I created an edible Julius holding a mini birthday cupcake. At the party he was surrounded by more cupcakes each topped with a sugar cherry. The cake was the hit of the party!

Edible Julius aka Paul Frank monkey cake!

The 2nd cake that week was created for our friends Tami & Tara who were celebrating their 35th birthday. I decided what better cake to create than to recreate in cake what we did in Marina's class. Tami & Tara's toppling tower of treats (say that 5 times fast) was a show stopper.

The stunning twins with their stunning cake!

In May, I played 2 rolls - the first roll was my first time as a judge. I was invited to be one of the judges of the live cake competition at Bonnie Gordon's annual Cake Show. It was a tough experience being on the judging side, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed and took very seriously.

Competitors hard at work

The second roll that month was the roll of assistant for a 2nd time. This time I assisted Matt Somers of It's a Matter of Cake on the Canadian cake competition Cake Walk. Being that we had both done Food Network Challenge, we kinda had an idea on how to play things out - and even though we had never worked together before, after 5 minutes in the kitchen together we were in sync! Seeing the design come to life was an awesome experience - we had a great theme & great design - it went exactly as planned - and well winning the competition was pretty sweet too!!
The sketch

Detail shot of the pumpkins, moon & bride & groom

Detail shot of the burning candles (isomalt flames with LED lights) full sugarpaste rose and aged tombstone

Professional image of winning cake (courtesy of Buck Productions)

We will finish off part 1 with the month of June. We started it out with an amazing 2 days with master instructor Toba Garrett. Students learned the fine art of Australian stringwork as well as Lambeth techniques. Although the techniques are very challenging and painstakingly precise, I found the classes so relaxing. Piping is very calming for me and it was this class which gave me the confidence to create my OSSAS wedding cake (see Part 2).

Toba piping away while students watch in awe

This month I also created a very challenging yet rewarding cake. I was asked to take part in Stilettos for the Cure - a fundraiser event in support of breast cancer research. For the event I created an entirely edible pair of GIANT Louboutin stilettos! Each shoe was over 2 feet tall and all cake - lots of planning went into these and it was so rewarding to deliver them to the event.

Giant cakes take planning!

Finished shoes waiting to be presented

Organizers eagerly slice the cake!

So that concludes part of of my year in review! I'm exhausted just looking at it and it's only 1/2 the year!!! Stay tuned for part 2 !

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Beautiful work Lisa! Congrats on all of your 2011 triumphs and may 2012 bring even more success!