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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Ahoy, It’s a Boy! Baby Shower Cake

We love creative party ideas, and we recently had the honor of creating a cake for an adorable nautical-themed baby shower!  The theme was Ahoy, It’s a Boy!  How cute is that?! We were given 100% free artistic license in decorating the cake as long as we used red, navy blue, and brown.  Here’s what we created:

Ahoy, It's a Boy! cake for a nautical-themed baby shower.

The boat topper was a sugar replica of decorations used at the shower.  The cake was iced in buttercream and decorated with fondant retro dots and stripes.  Everything you see is edible!

And the flavors were white almond cake with Bavarian cream filling in the top tier and chocolate cake with raspberry cream filling in the bottom tier.  Yum!

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Pink & Grey Damask Wedding Cake

99% of the time, we sit down with the bride and/or groom to design their wedding cake from the inside (flavors), out (decorations).  However, we are sometimes contacted by out-of-town brides and design the cake via email or phone conversations.

In July, Ashley and Juan drove from Georgia to get married in St. Petersburg.  The reception was held at the Parkshore Grill, and Ashley asked us to create her wedding cake. She sent us a photo of a cake she liked and some samples of her wedding colors, and we took it from there!Ivory, grey, and pink....who would have thought they'd be so pretty together???

 

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Piggy Birthday Party

We know we’ve said this before, but we love when someone comes to us with a clear vision of what they want their cake to look like.  Then again….we also like when a person gives us complete artistic freedom make the cake look “awesome.”  So I guess it can go either way!  But this time, Mikayla was turning 8 and knew exactly what she wanted.

She sent us a picture of a cake she liked:

PigCake

(Note, this is not our cake.  We are not sure where this cake was made. If you know, tell us so we can properly credit the artist.)

Cute, huh?!  But it’s no fun to just copy someone else’s cake so we asked Mikayla how she wanted to personalize it.  She decided to add a teal hair bow, a pearl necklace, some teal shoes, and her name written in the mud.  So creative!

A sweet little piggy cake!

“Oinkity oink oink oink!!!” Oh, you don’t speak Piggy? How about Pig Latin? “Appy-hay irthday-bay, ikayla-may!”

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Yo Gabba Gabba 2nd Birthday Cake

Last year, we made Eva’s 1st birthday cake with zebra print and whimsical, brightly colored flowers.  So we knew when Eva’s Mom contacted us for her 2nd birthday cake, it would be another fun one!

This year, they wanted a cake that centered around the Yo Gabba Gabba TV show on Nick Jr.  Mel watched a few episodes for “research.”  That is one silly, off-the-wall show…

This is the cake Mel and Eva’s Mom designed together: Yo Gabba Gabba 2nd birthday cake decorated with bright, fun colors! Continue reading

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Afternoon Pajama Party Cake!

Here’s another adorable birthday party idea – a pajama party!  But if your girls are young like Reese (turning 5) and Hadley (turning 2), have an afternoon pajama party!  Get the kids hyped up on cake and goodies and then send them HOME to bed.  Genius!

Reese’s and Hadley’s mom knew she wanted a pink cake with ombre ruffles, a princess crown topper, and bunny slippers.  So this is what we created for them:

A girly princess cake with edible bunny slippers - perfect for a pajama party! Continue reading

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Pink Pirate Birthday Party

We love when parents approach us with adorable birthday party themes.  We’ve got a couple of super cute ones to share with you this week, but we’ll start with this one for a little girl who was born on Valentine’s Day!

Savannah celebrated her 5th birthday with a pink pirate party and asked all party-goers to wear their best pirate gear.  How fun!  Her mom gave us free reign to design the birthday cake so we used the party invitation (made by Party So Perfect) as inspiration:

The pink pirate party invite made by Party So Perfect (www.partysoperfect.com)!The Pink Pirate cake inspired by the birthday invitation was covered with fondant and decorated with fondant stripes and hearts.

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