Lace Piping & Sugar Flowers with Lorinda Seto

Lorinda Seto: a fantastic lady who is dedicated to the art of simply beautiful cakes. Definitely someone who has really redefined the term “self taught artist” and she is also a lovely, lovely person who exudes humility. Can’t say that about too many people these days can you! She’s also won a ton of prizes at the Sydney Royal Easter Show which shows that this lady has guts!!

I first met Lorinda a while ago when I was a cake newbie and took her Tiffany Cupcakes class with a friend (which still cause ripples amongst my likers and friends who go “ooh” and “ahh” when they see those cupcakes). We chatted after the class and reflected on her experiences as an ex-corporate lawyer and how she wound up in cake decorating and I felt like we had a pretty intrinsic connection just off the back of that alone! We have kept in contact since and she’s always been so helpful with tips and advice in moments of cake-stress (that’s my version of cake distress btw) that I decided it was time to dedicate a post to her workshops.

So I managed to make it to Lorinda’s Lace Piping class a few weeks ago.. hurrah!! And more recently I also begin learning the fine art of The Rose and The Gardenia from her at her Sugar Flowers workshop… double hurrah! I capitalise those flowers because each of those flowers could warrant their own posts. Incidentally and on a complete tangent, I also recently enquired about a class with Maggie Austin who is a renown cake artist from Washington DC and her next class was entitled (quite grandiosely) “The Rose” – capitalised you’ll note – to give it the eminence that it so rightly deserves.

So back to Lace Piping. There are also myriad upon myriad of styles of lace piping like you would not believe. I didn’t know this but if you can imagine this: any piece of lace – no matter what pattern or style – can be converted into a royal icing piped version.  That is like a whole miniature world of cake decoration right there! We learned 4 patterns during Lorinda’s workshop – all very intricately traced and transferred onto a lustred square dummy. This was the demo cake:

Lace Piping is such a detailed, back-breaking and patience-fuelled art form it’s hard to describe in words the type of person you need to be to achieve this type of piping. I’d probably pick masochist as the top word but Hardcore with a capital H would be the second. But level of difficulty and patience required aside, the world of cake decorators is usually split into two: those that love to pipe and those that are too scared to pipe. Then there are lace pipers. Don’t even get me started on those who love to do extension work and collars (far too complex to even get into here)… All I can say is google Eddie Spence and you’ll start to get the idea.

A piping workshop is also mostly very very quiet.. lots of hunched backs, tense jaws and sore hands. I don’t mind any of these factors at all. Maybe it’s because I’m a masochist when it comes to piping but it might be also because piping is a weird kind of escape from the everyday hustle and bustle and go, go, go pace that we are all so used to. I was so intensely focused for the 4 hours piping that I didn’t actually take many photos but here are some samples of what I managed to produce…My favourite is the flower at the bottom which is a really enjoyable technique called Brush Embroidery. I learned it for the first time at TAFE and it’s such a true art form because it relies so much on your paintbrush work and the consistency of your royal icing:

I’ve managed to already apply my skills onto a real cake order where I made a vintage look champagne bottle box which I’m really pleased about! Just goes to show how learning with Lorinda can be applied so quickly!

Another recent workshop I did with Lorinda was her Sugar Flower workshop. I love this photograph which really captures the essence of her classes – these three students were complete beginners and in just total awe of Lorinda’s skills, watching as she demonstrated how to make the petals of a small gardenia.

Lorinda explains how we should make the petals curl up to resemble real life gardenias:

Here’s the base of the gardenia assembled in an overlapped fashion:

Adding a second layer of petals:

My finished gardenia on an all-white cupcake:

The second flower we spent some time on was the classic rose – deceptively simple looking but really an art to perfect. Here’s Lorinda demonstrating the outer layers of the rose petals being added on:

My rose on a cupcake:

Overall, two great experiences and I highly recommend learning with Lorinda if you’re interested in highly approachable introductory techniques to cake decorating. Be warned that the Lace Piping one is for intermediates or the adventurous but it’s also quite rewarding. These classes don’t have huge wow factor with what you bring home but you will leave with the most transferable and scalable techniques applicable to many many designs which for me have been hugely beneficial. The trick is to adapt them to your own sense of style and aesthetic. Oh and Lorinda’s also lovely which helps 🙂

To find out more about Lorinda’s Workshops – check out Cakes by Lorinda on Facebook or email her at info@cakesbylorinda.com.au.

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