Friday, July 29, 2011

Cake Judging

Hi All,

I am very excited to share with you my experience being a cake judge at the Orange County Fair. I have entered many cake competitions and being asked to be a judge was a huge compliment for me.
I didn't know what to expect or how in the world I would judge cakes being my first time. It was not as stressful as I anticipated and actually a great experience I hope to have again. All the judges for all the different categories were gathered together and given guidelines and rules. We each had an assistant to answer our questions, explain any rules not clear, pretty much help us with anything we needed throughout this experience. But, in the end it was up to each judge to pick the best from each category. 

I had my section of cakes to judge and being my first time I decided to just look at each cake then go back and give the awards. It sure is different being on the other side and deciding who gets awards and who doesn't. I took what I have learned from entering all the cake competitions I have and applied it here. It isn't always the best designed cake or the most creative but a combination of it all. You need to look for creativity, what sort of techniques are used and how many, how clean it is, do they follow the theme or guidelines, and overall appearance. So, just because you like a cake idea doesn't mean they necessarily win. I have learned that from entering... it really makes a lot of sense since two cakes could be in a tie for first, but you have to make the decision why one will win over the other.

In the end really everyone is a winner, even if you don't receive a ribbon.

When I first started entering competitions I was very nervous and really wondered if I should have, because there are so many people better than me. But, it really shouldn't matter since you are doing this for you, to share your talent with others doing the same thing, challenging yourself, and learning. It is a huge bonus if you win and it is wonderful to win, but not winning should never stop you from entering.

All the cakes I got to judge were wonderful and what I got out of being on the other side is how everyone can interpret the same thing differently. I never noticed it before when I entered. Everyone might use buttercream but not the same techniques, or everyone might add flower decorations but they will all be different.  A big cheers for me being given this experience and to everyone who entered. Keep sharing your talent..

As a sugar person I love to promote sugar art and share with everyone how fun it is...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sharing Sugar Art

So far I am having a fantastic experience doing a daily demo at the Orange County Fair. I get to show so many people who have never seen a sugar flower how they are made, explain what gumpaste is and answer all sorts of questions. I can't believe how many kids are interested and actually stand there while I demo. Maybe there are some young sugar artists among them.

The best part is when the people come up close to the flowers and look and say those are sugar??? They look so real. That for sure makes me smile and I say thanks with a huge smile on my face.

I am so glad I get to share making sugar flowers and promote sugar art.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gumpaste Flower Class

September Class at Orange Coast College Cummunity Education.

2 Tuesdays September 20th and 27th from 6:00pm - 8:30pm.

Cost is 99.00 plus 30.00 material fee
Plumeria and hibiscus with the leaves and buds as time permits.

All supplies are included. 

Would you love to add that special touch to your decorated cakes?

Custom gumpaste flowers will do just that. In this series, learn how to work with gumpaste to create the hibiscus and plumeria. These are wonderful flowers to learn if you haven't worked with gumpaste before and for those who have.

You will begin by learning how to create the hibiscus center and petals for both flowers adding texture and shaping to give them movement, followed by adding the dusting colors and creating shading and highlights which really bring your flowers to life. The most exciting part will be assembling your flowers seeing your wonderful creations.

Please visit them for further info at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sharing Gumpaste Flowers

As everyone already must know I am doing a daily demo at the Orange County Fair on the gumpaste flowers I make. It is day 2 and thought I would share what has been happening in brief.. This being my first time doing a demo like this I didn't know how to prepare..

I had my business cards made, a flyer saying what I do and all the supplies needed to make my flowers. I was very happy that the only thing I had forgot to bring was an offset spatula. I use that to make succulents. So, I am off to a good start.

I have come now with a plan of what I want to do but it has yet to happen. I have a ton of people coming by which is more than exciting for me asking questions and wanting to see different things I do. So i haven't had the chance to make one complete flower. Day 3's plan is to work on  a flower and when I start to do a demo put it aside to continue on later.. now, that is a brainstorm idea I didn't think of before.

It is very exciting to know that a majority of the people who come by and see all those flowers and find out they are all made of sugar think it is the coolest thing ever. I didn't know how many people don't know about sugar flowers and are interested in seeing them made and ask all sorts of questions. Even those who don't want to learn or buy them.. I love to share it all and hope to be able to promote sugar art.

Today, my second day I was asked by another exhibitor across from who works at a nursery to come do a demo for them. I was flattered and said yes of course and thanked her.. I am going to demo orchids but not sure which ones yet or when I will do the demo.

 I absolutely love doing this and hope to be able to start teaching others very soon.

I will post weekly of how it is going at the fair.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Researching Flowers

Sometimes I can't find the real flower I want to make or someone asks me to make a flower I don't have time to find. My only other option is to look it up on the Internet. There is a world of info out there from photos to oil painting and a lot in between. I tend to do a lot of research on the Internet even if I have the real flower. I can see the range of color, different species, close up shots, their leaves or buds, I can really find a lot out just with a bit of research.

Today I wanted to make a Freesia but I don't have a real one handy so I went on YouTube and looked it up. I found people post a lot on flowers and found a short video of a time lapse of the Freesia which I gave the link to.

It is very helpful to see it this way and I even got to see the inside of the flower  showing what the stamens look like. I also googled Freesia flowers to find out what they look like and how they can be used in arrangements, the colors and whatever else I can find.

So, now that I have done some research I am able to figure out what cutters I need to make the flower, what types of stamens it has, how it grows, the colors, markings, pretty much everything I need to get started. As much as I would love a real flower in front of me it isn't always possible, but the next best thing are the posting on the Internet.

Here is one example of a Freesia I found to use as a model 

Real freesia to model after

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Modern style Peony

Another flower order request was for a modern take on the Peony.. They wanted it big, bold, and white.. I have to admit I can get stuck in making sugar flowers only realistic. I do have fun going outside my box and creating something new, not knowing if the end result will be what they explained or what I like to do.. So far each time I have made a flower the customer has been happy.

Sometimes it is harder to make a flower without frills or without any details. Why? Because after I cut out the petal I want to make it into something different instead of just slightly giving it some softness. Then when I see it sitting in the drying area sort of plain I wonder if I should just add a bit of movement? Then I say to myself, this is what the client ordered. I can always make another my way.

I was very pleased how it turned out and how it looks on their cake. Being the petals were so big assembling them was sort of a challenge. It can get quite bulky and heavy fast.

Modern gumpaste Peony

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Simply Layered

It is a small world indeed

By chance I ran into Christy Platt owner of Simply Layered  when we were both working in the same business complex. We knew each other from "Let Them Eat Cake" in Costa Mesa a cake shop we both interned together at a few years ago, but haven't seen each other since. She has gone on to start her cake business and I now make custom sugar (gumpaste) flowers. 

It was just the right timing we met since she needed someone to make sugar flowers. Her passion is baking and designing cakes and mine of course are the sugar (gumpaste) flowers. As much as I love to create flowers my way,  realistic I know Christy likes a more modern take to incorportate in her cakes and we have been working extremely well together.

Here are some dramatic red orange Cymidium Orchids without much of the detail I typically add. I do love the coloring of it.

Red Orange gumpaste Cymidium Orchid