Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Naughty Cupcakes Class

Another one-off cupcake decorating class this afternoon, Naughty Cupcakes!  You know it's a fun class when the teacher asks "does anyone else need any help with their bums?"  The corset and undies cakes are small heart-shaped cakes covered in skin-tone fondant, with moulded balls of fondant underneath to shape the boobs and bum.  We then used coloured fondant to "dress" them however we wanted.... corsets, bras, bikinis, hotpants, whatever took our fancy. 

For the square cake, Marilyn actually demonstrated a model of a hunky guy in bed half under a sheet, but she doesn't mind if we have other ideas and want to go our own way.  When I enrolled for this class I did a bit of Googling out of curiosity to get an idea of what it might entail, and I remember seeing cakes that were beds with feet sticking out the bottom in a... ahem... "suggestive" pose.  Call me lazy, but I decided feet were easier to model than a waist-up person.  I have to give Marilyn credit for the undies strewn over the bed, though... it was her idea, and I think it turned out to be a brilliant finishing touch.

Third Intermediate Class

Part Three of the make-it-up-as-we-go-along Intermediate course... we made filler flowers for most of the night, then one of the girls wanted to know how to make a rabbit model for Easter cupcakes, and Marilyn decided to show us a quick fondant rosebud that a student had actually shown her how to do.  I think I might have seen it myself on YouTube early on when I was looking for rose demonstrations... I probably didn't pay much attention to it because I was looking up how to do flower paste roses at the time, but they would make great decorations for cupcakes.  They certainly look better than the "ribbon roses" we did way back in the orignial cupcake class.

I'm not even going to bother getting the camera out for the filler flowers I made... the batch of flower paste I've been taking to class is a bit old and dry, and by the time you stop and start and wait for everyone to catch up to the next step of the demonstration they're already starting to dry and crack, so they're really not much to look at.  Some of the others made a few of each type that we were shown, but I just made one of each and spent a fair bit of time looking at Marylin's books and magazines.  Well, I can practise making flowers at home... I think flicking through magzines while I have access to them is time well spent.  So many ideas, not enough hours in the day, or days in the week!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Improved Roses!

Slack, slack, slack... not only was this rose spray an on-again off-again project that took a month to actually finish from the day I started making the roses, I finished it over a week ago and kept forgetting to put up the photo!  Ah well, better late than never.  Here it is, the result of experimenting with a new rose cutter and method...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Second Intermediate Class

Last night's class was Brush Emroidery, plus a demonstration of tiering.  I'm not sure if I even want to photograph my somewhat pathetic first attempt at brush embroidery... it didn't really work at all.  I think the brush I was using may have been too soft to drag the icing out properly... to have the brush wet enough to drag the icing at all basically meant that it was so wet it made the icing go too runny to hold the brush marks.  Without the visible brush strokes to resemble embroidery stitches, it looked more like brush organza!

Thanks to the disorganisation of this term's classes, who knows what we're going to do next week, the week after, or for that matter in the next course.  Marilyn had been planning to teach us philanopsis orchids in this course, but according to the course notes provided by the college, they are supposed to be in the Advanced class that's on after the Intermideiate.  We decided on (at least) filler flowers next week... I guess I'll just take some flower paste and my entire cutter collection and hope for the best.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Bomboniere Cookies

New Wedding Cookies!!!  "Bride & Groom" and "Deluxe Bride & Groom" cookies.  Please see my Facebook page or visit for more information.

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Intermediate Class

This term's round of cake classes kicked off on Wednesday night.  Having enrolled in this class because I wanted to learn tiering and draping (as per the course description on the college web site) I was a bit annoyed when my course comfirmation notes arrived to find that two out of the four sessions were the same tiger lilies and frangipanis that I did last year.  I went along to the first session on Wednesday not expecting to be staying, but found out when I arrived that the college had sent the wrong information to students.  Marilyn had only found out herself in the previous day or two, so realising no-one would have the right gear with them, she made the first night a demonstration class.

We were shown how to do different types of drapes and swags, as well as bows and frills.  I'm glad I've never tried any of these before as I thought they were all done with fondant, but Marylin used a half-and-half mixture of fondant and flower paste.  Fondant on its own is too soft and flower paste dries too quickly, but a combination of the two gives a mixture that can be rolled thinly and draped to look like fabric without drying and cracking.  I'm so keen to try this now!!!

Meanwhile, after getting all excited about starting TAFE this semester, it still isn't happening... I turned up to enroll last week only to find that the renovations affect Retail Baking as well and they're not taking new enrolments until July either.  GRRR... back to the old drawing board, and still looking for a pastry cook apprenticeship.  On the other hand, the home business is starting to pick up a little... I've sold a few dozen Valentine cookies, and had a couple of enquiries about wedding cookies and cakes.  I'm already working on some wedding cookie designs, and I hope to have samples done in the next week or so.