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, July 31, 2010

My KitchenAid!!!

Here's something else that should have been blog-worthy at the time it happened... I am now the proud owner of a KitchenAid KSM150 Artisan stand mixer.  When I first started cake decorating I was still using a tired old Kambrook mixer, the first cheapo mixmaster that I bought when I moved out of home.  It died a few cakes later (it had never been worked that hard before!), and my mother-in-law Joanne came to the rescue.  Rohan asked her if I could borrow her mixer for the next cake I needed to do, but as she doesn't do any baking any more, she gave it to me.

I didn't like to complain since it was a gift, but apart from the fact that it had a working motor, that mixer was no better than my old one.  It's the first mixer I've ever seen that doesn't have a turntable that automatically spins the bowl while it's running, and there was also a distinct gap between the bowl and the bottom of the beaters.  While mixing I had to manually turn the bowl with one hand and have a spatula in the other to keep folding the ingredients back in toward the beaters, and I also had to periodically lift the beaters to scrape underneath where they didn't reach the bowl.  But as I said, I couldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and that mixer was actually accompanied with a promise of better things to come.

Joanne's father had passed away a few months earlier, and Grandy (as he was affectionately known to Rohan and the rest of his grandkids) had wanted Joanne and her brother Phil to spend his money on themselves and their families.  Joanne promised to buy her four boys and their partners each a special gift when Grandy's estate came through, and she said right from the start that she wanted to buy me a new mixmaster and I was to spare no expense in getting the best.  Late last year I made a cake that I called "Roses for Joanne" as a thankyou gift for my mother-in-law... one of the reasons for making her that cake was a HUGE thanks-in-advance for the promise of a shiny new KitchenAid.

I've had my new baby for a few months now, and I absolutely LOVE it!  It's such a refreshing change to be able to weigh and sift my flour WHILE the butter and sugar are creaming!  I haven't tried the whisk attachment yet, but from reviews I've read it apparently does awesome meringue and pavlova.  The only thing I find that it's not so great at is mixing small quantities of indgredients at everything tends to just smear on the sides of the bowl and stay there, but for the most part it's fantastic.  I've still kept the other mixer which I occasionally use for small quantity mixing, and the motor also detaches and can be used as a hand-held, so I can use it if I want to make a zabaglione or anything else that needs to be mixed over hot water.  All-in all, though, I'm VERY happy with my KitchenAid.  I've said it before and I'll say it again... thanks Joanne.

Friday, July 30, 2010

First Two Cupcakes

I haven't done much with cupcakes yet other than what I did in the classes, but I now have two simple designs available for sale through my Facebook page.  Whenever I have some time to spare when I'm not working on cakes, I try to do a bit of "product development" so that I can keep expanding my range and have more to offer customers.  Some cupcake stands are fairly high on the wishlist too.

“Swirl ‘n’ Sparkle” Cupcakes. Madeira cupcakes topped with a swirl of buttercream and sparkling with cashous, colours can be adapted to suit any occasion. Buttercream (pictured in mauve) can be any colour you like. Large cashous (pictured in pink) are also available in gold, silver, blue or green. $2.50 each, minimum order 1 dozen.

“Chocolate Lovers” Cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes topped with a swirl of chocolate buttercream and two chocolate hearts. Nice idea for an engagement party, or maybe even a wedding for those looking for an alternative to the traditional white. $3.00 each, minimum order 1 dozen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Catching Up

Whoa, what happened to July???  I blinked and almost missed it!  Unfornately blogging is something I find it hard to get back into once I get out of the habit.  I'm three cakes and a few other bits and pieces behind... I did another Playboy Bunny similar to the one I did last year in late June, then two more cakes (both at fairly short notice) in early July got my business off to a good start.  I have another three coming up next week too, so if I don't catch up soon, I probably never will!

So, what else has been happening?  I've finally enrolled at TAFE to start Retail Baking this semester, however Fate has intervened yet again... I was supposed to start this week, but the bakery classroom renovations still aren't finished and my classes have been delayed until late August.  Grrr...

Then there was MasterChef... congratulations Adam, but more interesting than the competition itself for me were the amazing creations from Adriano Zumbo.  The V8 Cake in particular captured my attention like no other... I spent hours poring over the recipe, and if I knew where to get all the fancy specialist ingredients from, I wouldn't hesitate to give it a try!  And not only that, but in the same week that I decided to crown Adriano Zumbo my culinary hero, I found out that he's going to be at the Hunter Valley Gardens Chocolate Festival next month... I'm stoked beyond belief to have booked a place in a Master Class with the patissier extraodinaire.  I'm counting down the days with great anticipation... 10 to go!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Adventures...

It's a new finacial year, and today is the day that I officially step up from hobby to business.  I don't have an ABN yet and I don't expect to make enough money in my first year to trouble the tax-man, but as of today I'm operating from a separate business account and keeping proper financial records.  My new-look Facebook page is also now online at, with this vision of pink roses and ivy starring as my new profile picture.

This is my first "wedding cake" ... it's a real cake, but not for a real wedding. I loved the way the flowers for our anniversary cake turned out so much that I kept them to make this wedding cake, which is now the "face" of my business. Even though it was only made for a photo-shoot, I still made a real cake because I wanted to get a feel for the "construction" side of making a multi-tiered cake before I was actually asked to make one. I also wanted to try another new flavour, Jaffa mud cake... in the wake of the Choc-Mint mud cake success, I really wanted to try a jaffa cake as Rohan and I are both huge fans of the chocolate-orange flavour combination. The jaffa worked just as well as the choc-mint, and I've added both to my list of flavours available for customer's cakes.

And here it is, the same photo starring on my first business card!  I had a bit of fun on Vistaprint playing around with designs, but this is the one I kept coming back to.  I've gone with my own name, so technically the business name is "Kylie Skellams" and Special Occasion Cakes is what I do... saves coming up with and paying to register another business name, and this way I can use my personal tax file number for business activities so there's a lot less hassle and paperwork.  Interesting times ahead... let's see where this new venture takes me!