Friday, December 30, 2011

Look Who's Coming to Flour Confections in 2012!

This year Flour Confections is so excited to be hosting so many AMAZING teachers! Some have visited before, some are new to us, but rest assured each and every class will be packed full of fabulous information.

Want to know who will be joining us this, our third year of hosting amazing celebrity classes?

In March we have the amazingly talented Debbie Brown joining us all the way from the UK! She will be teaching 3 fabulous classes, including 2 projects from her latest book Baby Cakes!

Kittens Friday March 2nd 9am-5:30pm

Beetle Love Saturday March 3rd 9am-5:30pm

Noah's Ark Sunday March 4th 9am-5:30pm

In April my good friend Jackie Butler of Petalsweet in San Diego, California will be teaching us her fabulous sugarpaste flowers and how she creates those amazing romantic sugar vase arrangements.

3 Day Sugarpaste Flower Vase Friday April 27th-Sunday April 29th 9am-5pm

In July my "mate" Lorraine McKay of Extra Icing in Scotland will be crossing the pond again to join us for more of her fabulous sugar figure classes, she hasn't been back to Canada since 2010. Not only is she teaching 2 2day Bride & Groom figure classes, but she is also joining us for her wonderful Head & Hands workshop - perfect for those needing to improve their skills or for those looking for a refresher!

Head & Hands Friday July 6th 9am-1pm

Asian Bride & Groom Saturday July 7th & Sunday July 8th 9

Classic Bride & Groom Tuesday July 10th & Wednesday July 11th 9am-4:30pm

In August we are thrilled to be hosting 2 new classes with 2 talented friends: Debbie Goard of Debbie Does Cakes in Oakland California, and Wayne Steinkopf of Swank Cake Design in Raleigh North Carolina.

Debbie Does Designer - Purses Thursday August 9th 9am-5pm

Thursday August 9th & Friday August 10th 9am-5pm

Edible Shoes & Jewelry class 1 Friday August 10th 9am-5pm

Edible Shoes & Jewelry class 2 Saturday August 11th 9am-5pm

And finally in November we are so excited to be hosting both of these returning teachers TOGETHER! My good friends Lauren Kitchens of Fancy Cakes by Lauren in Dallas, Texas and Mike McCarey of Mike's Amazing Cakes in Redmond Washington will be joining us for 4 AMAZING days of cake!

What's in the Box? with Lauren Kitchens Friday November 2nd 9am-5:30pm

3D Cake Structures with Mike & Lauren Saturday November 3rd 9am-5:30pm

A Day of Modeling Chocolate with Mike & Lauren Sunday November 4th 9am-5:30pm

Sculpted Eiffel Tower Cake with Mike McCarey Monday November 5th 9am-5:30pm

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 !

The Sweet Genius was here.....

Yes I know it's been a very long time since my last post - I can't believe that as of tomorrow this year will be coming to a close! Where did the year go? For that answer, please see my next post....

Last year we coordinated THE class of the year - a 3 day Master class on sugar flowers with Ron Ben-Israel! Ever since that class, students were anxiously awaiting his return. As I was enjoying my 2nd night in Florida on my family vacation, I was pleasantly surprised by a phone call from the "Sweet Genius"! He had finally received his upcoming schedule for season 2 of the show and was able to commit to a class. We had ONE MONTH to coordinate a 3 day class on sugar orchids - but we knew our students would jump at the chance!

Ron's sugarpaste Cymbidium orchids
Ron's sugarpaste Dendrobium orchids

Students worked hard but had fun!

In late November, Ron escaped the Thanksgiving crowds of New York to join us again for another amazing class. Students were not disappointed as not only did we learn 5 varieties of sugar orchids, but we talked, ate very well, laughed, and even had a private viewing of one of the episodes from season 1 of Sweet Genius! Watching Ron on the big screen while he sat with us was surreal!

Our own private screening with the Sweet Genius!

Again our amazing multi-media classroom allows for amazing views of the Maestro's work!

Using cake dummies & completed flowers, Ron showed us how to create different cake designs

One of the complete cake designs

Season 2 of Sweet Genius will start production in the New Year and Season 1 of the show will begin on Food Network Canada on January 4th .... as for Ron's return, we will keep you posted ....

Thank you Ron for another fabulous 3 days!

And lastly a very fun treat - spot Ron!