I had the fabulous opportunity to teach at Richard Festen's Baking Arts studio in San Francisco a few weeks ago, where I co-taught a four day class that covered the construction and decoration of a beautiful two-tier wedding cake:
The concept of this class was conceived after my dear friend and colleague Viola Doyle of Project Sweet Stuff (Sydney, Australia) introduced me to the amazing cake designer Faye Cahill (also in Sydney) and her wonderfully talented staff.
While teaching sugar flower classes at Faye's cake studio this past June, I mentioned that I thought decorators in America would love to learn the Australian methods of using ganache and fondant to create a perfect canvas for finishes and sugar flowers. After an initial brainstorming session, Viola came up with a class idea that would incorporate one of Faye's cake designs with some of my Petalsweet sugar flowers. Our friend and colleague Richard at Baking Arts was contacted, travel details were quickly put in to motion...and the mock up of the final design was created on one of my last days at Faye's studio! Within a matter of weeks, Viola had worked with Mav Georgeson (Faye's fabulous lead decorator) to put together an incredible curriculum for a four day class...and the dates were scheduled for late September.
Fast forward from June to mid-September when Viola and Mav finally arrived in San Francisco several days before me to work with Richard on the final preparations for class. I arrived in time to unload and organize the flower supplies and get a good night's sleep before our nine students arrived the following morning.
My co-instructors...the wonderful Viola and Mav:
Welcome to the beautiful Baking Arts studio:
Prepping for Day One:
Mav, Viola and our wonderful host, Richard...Richard is an amazing pastry chef and teacher, and offers a wide range of incredible pastry classes at his studio. He also just happens to make a fabulous cup of coffee - the perfect way to start four very busy days:
Some of the stunning and delicious morning treats Richard made for all of us (photo by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography):
Starting to work on the cakes...filling them with chocolate ganache:
Students watching Viola demonstrate the next steps in preparing their cakes:
Starting the ganache process:
And the absolutely beautiful and perfect results:
Day Two started with modeling a lot of different buds and filler flowers:
And then covering the cakes with fondant:
Perfect and pristine...and ready for the next phase of decorating:
Day Three was a very busy one for the students as they learned how to stack their cakes, and then pearlize and add gorgeous stenciling to the fondant. In addition, I needed them to make LOTS of peony petals and leaves for the final design...
Making sure the top tier is centered:
Sugar flower peony demo:
Explaining the peony petals and construction of the flower:
The Day Four morning session started with the students dusting all of their buds, flowers and leaves to bring them to life...and then in the afternoon they assembled their beautiful peonies:
Beautiful hydrangea petals, buds and leaves ready for one of the cakes (photos by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography):
The remaining class time was spent adding the ribbon finish at the base of the tiers, and arranging the sugar flowers on the tiers...here are a few photos that capture some of the fun and details of the afternoon (next 3 photos by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography)...
Beautiful student work:
Happy and grateful instructors...we absolutely loved every minute!
And finally a class photo featuring all of our gorgeous and wonderful students and their stunning cakes:
MANY thanks to my fellow instructors Mav and Viola for a fabulous four days of teaching and truly wonderful time together! Miss you - love you both!
A dear thank you to my friend and colleague Faye Cahill for sharing your beautiful cake design with our students...and for the great honor of letting me finish your design with my sugar flowers.
A huge thank you to our incredible host Richard Festen...we loved working in your gorgeous studio, and we thank you for all of your assistance in making this dream come true!
And finally, heartfelt thanks to all of our students for coming to this unique class and giving us the opportunity to work with you and share our knowledge with you...it was such an absolute pleasure - thank you for your kindness, thoughtfulness, hard work and endless smiles!
Thanks for stopping by...more updates and photos coming soon!
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