Hello and welcome to my very first blog post on my new website! I am so happy you have decided to stop by! The goal of my blog is to help give insight into my artistic process, highlight my baking and decorating projects, share my successes and, yes, some fails, to help you have success in your own baking and decorating journey or to help you learn from my mistakes.
I suppose I should start with a little introduction. I am a predominantly self-taught baker. I’ve had a fascination with baking ever since I was a kid. Unfortunately, there were very few bakers in the family – most preferred cooking, which I also love, but baking is what I’m known for. I loved sweets, as most kids do, and there was something compelling about being able to create the goodies I loved, from scratch. It was downright magical and gratifying to watch the mixture of those ingredients transform into what they were supposed to be! I was hooked as a child. That said, I was pretty much on my own when it came to figuring out the ins and outs of baking. I would save recipes and look at mouthwatering pictures of ahhmmaaaazing looking desserts and would simply dive in and give them a try, following the recipes religiously. Note, also, that this was as close to science as this liberal arts girl was ever going to get ☺
In my 30’s, I took some basic baking classes at a local community college with the desire to learn techniques in a classroom setting. Following recipes at home is great, but nothing beats having access to a live instructor to guide and correct you, as you go along. I took workshops for bread making, tempering chocolate, baking perfect pastries and quick breads, and finally, FINALLY, a series around making cakes, fillings and frostings from scratch, along with a very basic introduction into piping buttercream decorations. Boy, was I hooked after that! Not only could I make things taste good, BUT I could also make them LOOK incredible and beautiful! I inquired where I could get more hands-on experience and the instructor suggested a 6 week Wilton course at the local Michaels.
In 2002, I quit smoking for the 2nd time in my life. I needed to keep my hands and mind occupied, so I went ahead and signed up for the intro course to the Wilton method of cake decorating and never turned back. I would purchase the annual Wilton project books and recreate fun novelty cakes for family and friends. This period always reminded me of the line in the song Closing Time – “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. The end of my days as a smoker was the beginning of my foray into the art of cake decorating. While the 2nd attempt to quit smoking did not last (I did successfully quit in 2010 and have been smoke-free ever since!), the love of cake design and decorating only got stronger.
As the years went on, the internet started providing access to online tutorials and the Food Network amped up entertaining shows such as Cake Wars (Halloween Wars being my favorite!) and Baking Championships. That is when my interest in decorating over-the-top cakes skyrocketed and my skill level multiplied exponentially. I have learned from so many talented instructors such as Shawna McGreevy, Avalon Yarnes, Liz Marek, Suzanne Esper and Sidney Galpern, to name but a few, who have been particularly instrumental in helping me learn and apply new and trend setting techniques to add to my decorating arsenal.
I welcome you to join me on my journey of exploration, discovery and creation in the wonderful world of baking. I look forward to sharing recipes, ideas, tips and techniques, pictures and videos. Thank you for your support and please feel free to ask questions or share any feedback along the way!