2013 ICES Certification Exam

In early August, Melanie shut down the bakery, loaded up the car, and headed to Kentucky to take a rigorous 8-hour skills exam called the Certification Exam.  The exam is hosted by the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) in an effort to encourage its members to “develop their talents in the sugar arts, acquire new sugar art skills, and strive for excellence in cake decorating.”  The candidates are vying for the prestigious titles of Certified Master Sugar Artist (CMSA) or Certified Sugar Artist, but the process doesn’t start when the clock starts…no, no…it starts at least 1 year prior to the exam!

Over a year ago, Melanie registered to take the exam in Kentucky, and over the last 8 months, she has been perfecting her “Plan” for the exam.  Each candidate has to carefully plan which skills they will perform during the exam, where the skills will be placed on the display pieces, etc.  It doesn’t sound very difficult, but don’t underestimate the trickery involved with choosing your 8 best skills and incorporating them into an aesthetic cake design.  There is a fine balance between showing your talent and going way overboard (and wasting time) too.

The candidates must write up their plan and submit it to the adjudicators for approval.  While the adjudicators are there to help the candidates, they can only do so much.  During the approval process, they help ensure the candidates are following all the rules so they are not disqualified and offer some advice where they can.  But they can not tell from a drawing and description if the work displayed will be up to CMSA standards or not have quite enough detail for certification to be awarded.  That, my friends, is up to the candidate.

So when August finally arrives, the candidates have practiced and thought the exam through until they can do their skills with their eyes closed (or at least, that’s the ideal situation).  They load their vehicles and head to the exam location, which moves each year.

Melanie, her husband Adam, and their 4-month-old baby Hailee drove the 12 hours to Lexington, KY and arrived one day prior to the exam.  These are the cakes Melanie created during the exam:

Mel's 3-tier Certification display Continue reading

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Butterfly Cookies

“No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks…School’s out for summer!”

-Schools Out by Alice Cooper

Yes, school’s out!  The kids are on the loose in the neighborhood.  But before they left the classroom, the teachers probably tried to teach them one last thing before their brains turned to much over the vacation.

During the last week of school at Burney Elementary School in Plant City, the children celebrated the opening of a brand new butterfly garden on school grounds!  And to make the celebration just a little bit sweeter, we made butterfly cookies for the students.

Butterfly Cookies made sweet party favors for a school celebration!We can’t wait to hear what kinds of butterflies the students see when they return to school in the Fall!

 

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Carters Bedding-Inspired Baby Shower Cake

In our last blog post, we talked about creating edible figures to go on an out-of-state cake.  It’s a way for us to still be involved in the birthday party since we can’t ship an entire birthday cake.  Now we’ve got another solution!

Hold your party here!  That’s what Gail did!  They held a baby shower in Seminole, FL so they were able to pick up the cake on the way.  Yay!

"Welcome Sweet Alyssa" A baby shower cake that was inspired by the bedding the Mommy-to-be chose for the nursery.

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Primary Colored Butterfly Swarm Cake

The second “dummy” cake we took to the Taste of the Town events was a butterfly swarm cake.  Now, you may be thinking, “This cake looks familiar…”  Well, yes!  We’ve done this cake 3 different times now!  The first was for a real wedding at the Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL.  The wedding cake was placed right in front of the Lepidoptera (butterfly) exhibit.A butterfly swarm cake for a wedding at a museum in Gainesville, FL. The cake was placed right in front of the butterfly exhibit! Continue reading

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A Woodsy Wedding Cake

Not too long ago, we created a very woodsy wedding cake. The cake itself was covered with mocha-colored fondant, and it was decorated with vines, wildflowers, mushrooms, leaves, acorns, and butterflies.

We loved the cake so much that we decided to recreate it in dummy form for the show room.

woodsy wedding cake mushroooms acorns butterflies vines
This time, we covered the cake in ivory fondant.

woodsy wedding cake mushroooms acorns butterflies vines
But we still covered the cake with acorns, vines, mushrooms, lots of wild flowers, and a few butterflies!

woodsy wedding cake mushroooms acorns butterflies vines

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Butterfly Swarm Cakes

Today is the Gainesville Bridal Expo at the UF Hilton. We’re unveiling two new dummy cakes for our booth! Here’s one of them:


This dummy cake is 5 tiers, covered in white fondant.


The butterflies were made out of gum paste and “glued’ to the side of the cake with royal icing.


This cake was actually inspired by a wedding cake we did last week! The wedding was held at the Florida Museum of Natural History. This is the same museum that has a fabulous butterfly exhibit and for which we decorated the Butterfly Rainforest Cake.


The cake was covered in white fondant and placed on a cake pedestal purchased at TJ Max Home Goods (I love their cake stands!).


The butterflies were all provided by the bride and groom.


And this is a shot of the cake set up in front of the butterfly exhibit. I love the idea of having a wedding here! The wedding attendants ate the reception dinner with a mammoth’s fossil! How cool is that?!

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