After much persuasion from family and friends who are much more experienced than I am in the art of le bloggage, I’ve decided to start my own blog about my “life after five” which over the last few months has revolved pretty squarely around 3 things:
3. Covering cakes with sugar
It amazed me how much support I’ve received in the last few weeks from friends, family and mentors to start up my very own facebook page. I’ve even managed to get a few paid jobs to practice an amazing craft (and start recouping the many dollars spent on cake decorating equipment and storage!).
So here is my very own little space on the world wide scary web where I plan to diarise my cake adventures properly in written prose rather than random facebook status updates and selective photos on my facebook profile. Hurray for all you (un)lucky readers out there!
So who am I and why exactly am I writing about my after 5 hobby?
I joined the corporate world when I left high school and have never really looked back since. Being creative is something I love but tend to de-prioritise because it’s really not very lucrative if you’re not any good. Outside of piano practice growing up, academics, work, sport and getting my degree were my main priorities. Throw a close knit Chinese family and a loving boyfriend (now husband) to the mix and you can imagine why I really never had much time for anything else. Today, I’m a qualified accountant and a management consultant and I still love what I do – being a Consultant is about as creative as the corporate world gets and there are aspects I still enjoy. However it brings a totally different type of fulfilment to my life than CAKE does.
I’ve always loved being “artsy fartsy” but never really gave myself much time or freedom to indulge (and yes I use the word indulge) in something as “fanciful” as cake decoration.
I still remember my very first (very bad) attempt** at trying to decorate a giant “R” shaped cake for one of my closest friends when I was still at uni…a total chocolatey piped ugliness .. looking back now I can’t believe I thought it was the best cake I’d ever done! Probably because at the time it was..(I really didn’t have a benchmark to compare it to in total management consultant speak). BUT the real “icing on the cake” was that it tasted god awful (I had accidentally substituted peanut oil for vegetable oil! Ew!). Here it is in all its amateur wonder:
** atrocious photography included free of charge
Then came the second major attempt when I thought I was on a roll…. I actually used maltose to make the sugar ribbons – so wrongtown!!! The chocolate teddy bears were a decent attempt in chocolate moulding though, I’ll give myself that 🙂
That was back in 2008 and it was intended to be a tiffany box. This was definitely a case of a concept not being executed in real life – it ended up being a very hard ganached chocolate box with tiffany coloured ribbon. Oops. And yes gross too – the ribbon melted in the Sydney summer heat a few hours later and was a big goopy mess.
So 3 years, 2 workshops and 1 nearly finished TAFE course later … here I am bumbling away on my self-taught journey of sugary goodness! After my first proper cake class I managed to produce this little monkey… and then it all began!
In the past few months, I’ve discovered sugarpaste, modelling paste, gumpaste – more pastes than you can poke a stick at really.
And even more new terms like pastillage, brush embroidery, tylose, silpat, acetate… it’s like a whole new language and I’m not sure a dictionary would cover all the words in a cake artist’s vocabulary. There’s a technique to this crart which can only be mastered with practice and those who love it, love it with a huge passion. In fact, I’ve never met a dispassionate cake decorator and I’m pretty sure I never will!
Many of my friends have suggested starting a proper business.. but somehow a big part of me still cannot let go of the security of a pretty great corporate career so far. Never mind the constant waves of self-doubt when I see the bajillions of other amazing cakes out there in an increasingly competitive market. I think I’m still working out my point of differentiation as I develop my own style and continue to practice the techniques I’ve learned.
But hey – there is one thing I am good at when it comes to cakes, I am “totally fearless” according to my TAFE teacher – and I’ll try anything once! The best thing about sugar is you can eat your mistakes, so no boundaries or limits – ever!!
So maybe give it a few months and let’s see where this Venture Cakerist called Amy goes. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the ride and thanks for getting this far in my first post!