How it all began…

Shortly after I started taking the Wilton courses at Michaels, I heard about a huge sugar art convention held annually by the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES). Luckily, the convention was being held in Orlando, FL this year so it was nearly perfect timing! I would be inundated with sugar art lessons, displays, and celebrities and only 2 hours away from home! I immediately began crunching numbers to see if I could afford to go…and, of course, it was a bit more than Adam and I could afford. My parents generously offered to pay for my trip as my early Christmas present! Can you Belize it!? (Sorry, inside joke…James will definitely get it. haha!) Anyway, I went to the convention and it was absolutely amazing!

Everyone who attends is encouraged to bring a “cake” (really, it’s just made of Styrofoam and decorated with icing and fondant) to display. I brought 2 cakes. I went to the show proud of my work, but fully aware that I would probably be exposed as a true amateur when my work was compared with others with more experience.

This is one of the cakes I brought to the convention. It is covered in chocolate fondant (yummy!) and decorated with pink fondant accents and a little ivory and pink icing. I tried to do as many new techniques on this cake as possible. The little circles that go around the corners of the cake are called Lambeth overpiping – it’s just one thin line of icing on top of another on top of another on top of another…you get the picture. The flowers and leaves are an example of brush embroidery where you pipe the icing on and then brush it towards the center of the petal or leaf with a paint brush. It’s super easy but looks pretty elegant.

This is the second cake I brought. This one is actually the one that got me the job as a Wilton instructor! The 2 current Wilton instructors at our Michael’s were at this convention and were very impressed with this cake. Keep in mind that it definitely looks amateur-ish but I guess it’s pretty good for my first try… The thin lines you see coming off the cake are called “stringwork.” It takes a LOT of patience to do a cake with stringwork because for every string you get connected and secured, 3 more will fall off! It took me a LONG time to complete this cake. Even after the strings are dry, they are very fragile because they are so thin. Luckily, none of them broke in the 2-hour trip to the convention!

4 thoughts on “How it all began…”

  1. Mel! Your cakes are sOOOO amazing! I am totally not surprised that you are a wiltons course instructor now!!! I am so proud of you! Your cake career has begun! 🙂

  2. Seriously, after watching those cake specials on foodnetwork, one of the things I remember is how everyone says “stringwork” is really difficult and a sign of real talent. The fact that one of your first cakes is covered with it should say something about how talented you are!! P.S.- I would probably never have the patience to do anything like that, so props to you.

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