A turning point

4 01 2012

Fellow bakers/ cake aficionados; have you ever reached a point in your cake odyssey where it all suddenly clicks? I’ve experienced those moments of divine clarity on various cakes over the years…the first time I covered a cake in fondant without it cracking, gaping or tearing, the first time I made a topper that didn’t collapse or sag, the first time I used colours to paint directly onto fondant, etc. We have moments like this on the journey but I’ve recently had a huge revelation in terms of my cake creations. 

For the last 2 or 3 years, each cake I designed would come out quite differently than I envisioned. Sometimes I sketched ideas on post-it notes when I had a few minutes to spare in work, other times I just created a picture in my mind. About 99% of the time the finished article would be similar to that vision but never close enough to satisfy me. It has occurred to me in the last few months that my visions are almost being realised in their entirety. Aside from a few niggles (that most other people claim not to notice) the cakes I am currently producing are as close to my visions as I can get. I learn something new every single time I make a cake. I suspect that will continue for many years to come. However, I want to embrace the feelings I am having now. I am at a point where I know how my materials work for me, I know how to plan the cake more carefully, where to source the right materials. I’m still figuring out portion sizes and learning how to judge amounts of fondant (that’s one I haven’t mastered just yet) but now when I’m taking pictures I’m not fighting to find an angle that hides the messy part at the back. There are still parts that won’t hold up to intense scrutiny but they are becoming less and less frequent. 

I have never claimed to be an expert but practice in anything will give you more confidence in not only your skills but in your ability to share your knowledge with others. I have made all those mistakes too many times to count. I’ve cried & screamed over a number of cakes and yes, I’ve thrown out quite a few too. I’ve scoured so many blogs that I’ve had to rein in the panic at seeing such perfection, such skill & such attention to detail. What the blogs don’t show is the hours of work, frustration, mistakes and rejects. I understand why; we all want to present the best of everything we do. I do exactly that right here on this blog. This isn’t a segueway into a post with all my rejected cakes. It’s just a timely reminder, as much to myself as to my readers, that baking and the whole world that surrounds it, is as much about hard work, practice and many many mistakes as it is about the finished (almost perfect) cake.

Everyone asks how I do what I do. There is obviously a passion there, and yes, I did an Art Degree but that means nothing compared to just getting out there and trying. I’ve come a long way from having only one wooden spoon and mixing bowl & no scales but you don’t need much more than that to get started. The rest will come with time.