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.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Forget Me Not!


Because I'm most definitely still around! This year's Newcastle Regional Show kicks off today, and once again I've put an entry in the Novice Wedding Cake class. After being awarded second place in the same category in 2011, and piking out in 2012, I'm BACK... bigger & better than ever in 2013! Here she is... a 4 tier 'Victorian' style tower of roses & forget-me-nots!



There's no denying I love making realistic sugar flowers, but in 2011 I learned the painful lesson that I can't rely on my flower making skills alone to get me over the line. The winning entry that year was a brightly coloured Indian theme wedding cake with no flowers at all, but it had spectacular piping detail on every tier and beautifully modelled bride & groom figurines on top. In 2012, I had an entry planned and got as far as starting to make the flowers, but crashed and burned when I realised I'd left my run too late. I visited the show anyway to see what my competition would have been, and the Novice Wedding Cake winner had just one flower on the top, but hours upon hours of work in drapes, frills, stencilling, and other detail.

So taking away what I'd learned over the last two Shows, this year I set out to prove that I'm not just a 'one trick pony.' I figured that if you need heaps of work on the cake itself to impress the judges, what if I do heaps of work on the cake and THEN pile it to the roof with gorgeous flowers??? Once again I stuck with roses, because that's still what I do best. The original plan also included freesias and baby's breath, but here's where I admit that time got away from me yet again. The forget-me-nots happened to be the first batch of filler flowers I made, so they had to play 'support act' to the roses on their own or I risked running out of time to get enough work done on the cake itself.

Having said that, I had a massive distraction crop up in the last few weeks (but that's a story for another day) and honestly, I'm stoked that I still managed to put up as good an entry as I have. Although the 'vision' came together pretty much as planned, the execution wasn't the greatest... much of the decorative work was a rush-job done just last weekend, and the 'casual' look of the flower arrangements was achieved by hastily poking semi-random holes in the dummies and sticking in flowers and ribbons wherever they fit the night before delivery to the showground.

As impressive as it may look to the untrained eye, I know how 'thrown together' it really was toward the end, and the judges will probably have picked holes in it too. Even so, this is still by far and away the most spectacular cake I've done since taking up the craft... and whether I've won a ribbon this year or not, I'm still seriously proud of what I've achieved!

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