2012 Austin Cake Show


This is my summary of my and Peo’s stuff from this year’s big cake show in Austin.

My main entry was a completely new technique I invented that I call Flexible, Edible Stained Glass. I recreated John William Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shalott” in a stained-glass look using gummy medium, all mounted on a plexiglass backing so it could be displayed upright but that the judges would still be able to flex it. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the judges decided to penalize me for using the plexiglass even though structures are allowed in that category (Special Techniques Not On A Cake) and other structures such as picture frames have been used in the past without penalty. As a result, I won no awards this year. On the upside, a lot of other people – including some highly influential celebrity bakers like Mike McCarey – did like it, and I demonstrated the methodology for them. I’ll be generating a PDF/ebook of the technique for sale in the next few weeks, so stay tuned to this blog if you’re interested in learning how to do it.

Here’s the piece partially complete, so you can see the plexiglass backing:

Partial Lady of Shalott in Flexible, Edible Stained Glass

Partial Lady of Shalott in Flexible, Edible Stained Glass

Here it is complete with backlighting from my kitchen window:

Lady of Shalott glowing from behind

Lady of Shalott glowing from behind

Detail of the Lady:

Lady of Shalott - Detail

Lady of Shalott - Detail

Here’s the piece at the show, unlit:

Unlit Lady of Shalott in Flexible, Edible Stained Glass

I deliberately allowed the plexiglass to curve to highlight the flexibility while also keeping it upright.

Corran bodged me some battery-driven LEDs on the Friday night so I could light it up on Saturday. Here it is lit up (and slightly blurry since I didn’t have a tripod handy, but the official show photographer did some tricks with lighting to get a glowing version so I’ll post that once I get it myself):

Lit Lady of Shalott

Lighting it is tricky, because too much drowns out the foreground details, but insufficient light and you can't see the translucent nature of the medium.

My other piece was what I’d long been calling my Mike McCarey homework. Mike liked the fondant canework I did on my 2010 Alien Film Festival show cake and told me that year that he wanted to see me experiment with modelling chocolate canes. I didn’t get a chance to do so for the 2011 show, but since I didn’t do a massive cake this year, I was able to play around with it. I’ll post more details of those experiments later, but here’s the somewhat rough cake I made as my homework (rough mostly because I’ve had pneumonia for the past week and a half):

Modelling Chocolate Cake

I titled it "Emerging Rainbows" because I used various rainbow techniques that appear to be popping out all over the place, plus the egg implies something may emerge.

Here’s the lower tier of that in progress, where you can see that I built up layers of colours that I could then cut into as with candle-carving techniques:

Partial modelling chocolate cake

Pareidolia Cake is shocked!

Here is my daughter Peo’s cake. She’s six, and wanted to do Lumiere as a free-standing figure, but I had to convince her that mounting weight on skinny arms was a highly advanced project that would require stages of drying time, so she eventually agreed to do him lying down. I wasn’t home when she made him, but I did teach her in advance to use a printout as a guide and Corran reports that she did that very well. I think this is awesome figure sculpting for a little kid!

Lumiere Cake by Peo

Lumiere Cake by Peo

After the show, one of my multi-year-earned mega-volunteer perks was to assist in Mike McCarey’s classes. For his guitar class today, he insisted he didn’t need much help so I should take the class; Mike’s not only the greatest decorator on the planet ever, he’s probably also the nicest. And definitely one of the greatest teachers.

So here we are posing with the guitar cake I made:

Mike McCarey with me holding up the guitar cake

Hrm, a guitar cake...as a volunteer for the Biscuit Brothers, this is a skill that might come in handy someday!

Here are some more photos of it at home:

Full guitar cake

Not bad airbrushing for someone who hasn't done any airbrushing since age 14, when I sucked at it so bad that I was determined never to try again!

Guitar body

Guitar body. Most of it is modelling chocolate, but the red covering is fondant. I'm not telling you what the strings are; you'll have to take his class for that secret! But they are edible.

Guitar Detail

Guitar detail.

Now I’m going to relax for a few days! Then I’ll get to work on that ebook of the stained glass technique.

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This entry was posted in Cake Decorating, Experimental Techniques, Fancy cakes, Gummy, Working With Kids. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 2012 Austin Cake Show

  1. Monty Harper says:

    That guitar cake is incredible – looks just like a mini-guitar. Plug it in to an amp cake and see what happens! Peo's cake is amazing, too!

  2. Kyla says:

    Me, too!!

  3. Guest says:

    Your Lady of Shallot is Just Gorgeous. You must have felt happy (and slightly awed) at making such a beautiful thing, especially in such an awkward medium. I do illumination as a hobby, so I know how hard it is to do that with paints and fine brushes! http://www.goldgrypjh.com

    –Chris

  4. Olivia says:

    It really looks like an electric guitar. The only difference I think is that it can't be played.

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