06/27/2012

  

Simi Cakes & Confections   

Blog

Hello everyone,

It’s been a fun summer so far!  We have been home this month working around Florida and enjoying Tropical Storm Debby that just won’t make up her mind!  LOL!   The humidity factor is doing great things for my isomalt structures and my hair-I won’t be posting any pictures of myself!  But it’s been great fun getting geared up for the fall season.  We are looking forward to one more month here and then hit the road until Thanksgiving.  We are excited to get out to our second ICES convention in Reno, NV from Aug 2-5.  If you haven’t ever been before it’s amazing.  Make sure you bring your wallet because you have never seen so many cake supplies in one place!  There are tools you never even knew you needed, but suddenly can’t live without.  Last year I brought home the Agbay Cake Leveler (http://www.agbayproducts.com/).  It is now my favorite tool I could never be without.  I can’t wait to see what is new and exciting this year.  I’ll be texting pictures to Facebook and Twitter so you can see everything going on if you aren’t able to make it to the west coast this year.  But don’t worry because it will be on the east coast next year in Lexington, KY.  Here’s my tip of the week:  Wear comfortable shoes because it’s a lot of walking!  Check them out and hope to see you there:  http://ices12.org/Welcome.html

    Upcoming Classes

July 1 Sunday-Cakes Etc, West Palm Beach-Beginning Isomalt Class Series http://cakes-etc.com/ 

July 10-Tuesday-CakeFu Online Free Webinar Master Training  http://www.cakefu.com/how-to-create-even-vertical-stripes/ 
1:30 EST-      
Isomalt and Gumpaste Water Lily

July 15  Sunday-Palm Bay at Simi Cakes Advanced Isomalt info@simicakes.com  
9:30-11:30-   Multi-Colored Hand Pulled Ribbons and Bows
12-2pm-        
Stained Glass Sugar
2:30-6pm-     
Blown Sugar Dolphins, Swans, and Hummingbirds

July 21 Saturday-Closed Booked with Private Class

Aug 4 Saturday-Reno, NV-ICES Convention www.ices.org   
12:30-1:30-
  Blown Sugar Dolphins, Swans, and Humming Birds & Demos at Icing Images, Sugar Arts Institute, and Get Sassie! Vendor Booths                

Aug 18&19-Sat & Sun-Bedford, PA-Cove Country Cake Show-2 Day Isomalt Class Series
 http://covecountrycakeshow.webs.com/ 

Aug 23 Thursday-Panama City, FL Cake-a-Tiers  info@simicakes.com

4:30-5:30-     Bonus Class-Gumpaste Water Lilies
5:30-8:30-    
Fondant Animal Figures

Aug 25&26-Gulfport, MS-2 Day Isomalt Class Series info@simicakes.com

Sept 9-11-Houston, TX-All Things Baking-http://allthingsbaking.org/ 
Isomalt Demos at the Icing Images Booth

Sept 17-Lancaster, PA-Isomalt 1 & 2 with Julie Bashore-Sugar Arts Institute http://sugarartsinstitute.org/ 

Sept 21 & 22-Southbury, CT- Ladybug Cake and Candy Supply- http://ladybugcakeandcandy.com/
Advanced Isomalt Classes schedule coming soon

Sept 23 Sunday-Colonia, NJ Sweet Treats Cake Competition http://thejerseyitgirl.com/cake_competition_FORMS.html 
TBA                
Blown Sugar Bubbles & Pulled Sugar Roses

Nov 9-11-Birmingham, England-Cake International at the NEC- http://www.ichf.co.uk/
Isomalt Demos at Sugar Arts Institute Vendor Booth


Tip of the Week

With Guest Sugar Artist

Edna De la Cruz

This week my Guest Sugar Artist for Tip of the Week is Edna De la Cruz, owner of Design Me a Cake in Orlando, Fl.  She is a talented cake designer, teacher, competition judge, winner of Food Network Challenge, and one of the kindest people I have ever met.  I get to see Edna quite a few times a year, but it seems it’s usually not in Florida even though she lives only an hour away!  She was sweet enough to offer this wonderful tip for anyone who ever wondered what to do with flower wires on your cake.

Edna’s Tip:

When you are working with flowers and placing them on cakes you can cover the wires or the stems with either coffee stirrers, straws or melted chocolate. 
Make sure that if you use melted chocolate, to cut the wire and bend it before dipping it. That way the chocolate won’t crack exposing the wire.

Edna’s cakes and flowers have amazing detail and she has a full line of DVD’s and cake tools on her website.  You can check her out here: http://designmeacake.com/index.html

Until next time…Keep Life Sweet,

                  Sidney

   http://www.simicakes.com/

                                                                                                                                         

 

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6/15/12

Simi Cakes & Confections Blog

An interview with Maureen Woods


Hello everyone,

Ocala,Florida is a great place to be a sugar artist.  They are 2.5 hours from my shop and we get to visit them about once a month.  They have cake shops, supply stores, active cake club, fabulous teachers, classes, cake competitions and they just started cookie camp!  Maureen Woods is the president of the Ocala Cake Club and shares some exciting “brand new” information about upcoming events they are hosting in our back yard!

Sidney-Hi Maureen, what’s new and exciting in the Ocala Cake World?

Maureen-Wow! I’m excited!!! Southern Cookie Fest, well it’s just like Mini-Classes but for cookies!  We’ve all done the glaze on our cookies but there is so much more that can be done and you’ll learn many of those techniques right here in Ocala!  We’ve got Cookie Crazy Pam Sneed, Cookie artist “Linedancer” Carole Firstenburger and PHD Melanie Judge doing some awesome cookie demonstrations and our very own Lisa Menz will be doing a Sugarveil demonstration and a special presentation by Photofrost, our sponsor. Jane Koon will also hold a Cookie Platter Chatter because you know presentation is just that important!!  You’ll certainly miss a great deal if you miss this!  It’s the last weekend in September, but register early as we’re limited to 50 participants! Oh and there will be a cookie decorating contest too.  It will be lots of fun, after all we’re talking cookies!! And one final note, the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation.  Southern Cookie Fest will be Sept. 29-30 at the Courtyard by Marriott and you can get more information by email ocalacakeclub@gmail.com .

Sidney-Can you tell us anything about the ICED Cake Competition yet? 

Maureen-ICED! Yes, we have some exciting news and you are the first to know!  We have all been working very hard and are pleased to announce that the 2013 ICED Cake Show will be held at the beautiful Ocala Hilton on March 16-17!  We are in talks with some “BIG” names in the cake world for hands on classes and demos!  Mike Terry, Norm Davis and Zane Beg have just signed on!  We are also pleased that to announce that our charity again this year will be the Arthritis Foundation!  More information is being added to the website everyday:  http://www.icedcakeshow.com/

Now don’t forget our theme is Butterflies and Fairies, so I hope everyone is sketching and planning out their cakes because the show is only 9 months away!!!

Sidney-You have a very large and active club that are so incredibly creative and supportive.  What can you tell us about the Ocala Cake Club-meeting times, places…

Maureen-Ocala Cake Club?! Yes, Ocala has a cake club!  We meet the 3rd Tuesday of each month, our meeting runs from 6:30 – 8 and we meet at the Ocala Elks Lodge located at 702 NE 25th Avenue.  We talk about all things in the cake world and then one of our members will put on a demo, last month we did gelatin butterflies and at our meeting next Tuesday we’ll have a demo on Fauxvana.  Anyone wanting more information can email us at ocalacakeclub@gmail.com

Sidney-What can you tell us about your own personal cake business?  

Maureen-Well we all like to dream big, Evelyn’s Cookie Jar was named after my granddaughter was born.  And while I’d love to do this full time, I mostly do cakes for friends and family and for my church.  I was honored to be the inaugural winner of the Shelley Roberts Award at the 2012 ICED Show and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the mentoring classes with Marivi Bassabe.  I’ve attached a picture of a filigree cake I created under her guidance.  I think it turned out amazing and it was so much fun to do!

Sidney- Now for the Speed Round Maureen:

1. What’s your favorite tool in the kitchen – I have to say my favorite tool in the kitchen would have to be my silicone mat from Ateco.  It has so many uses and basically has a permanent place on my island.

2. Tell us your favorite tip about cake decorating – Be as creative as you want but remember to plan things out to avoid over decorating.

3. What’s your favorite life saying or motto-Live, Love, Laugh! That says it all!

Thanks Maureen for sharing with us.  We are proud to be satellite members of the Ocala Cake Club with all your talented sugar artists.   And we hope all of you get to visit beautiful Ocala, which not only has great cake opportunities, but also beautiful horses, the quaintest down-town you have ever seen and the majestic Silver Springs!

Keep Life Sweet!

Sidney and Michelle

www.simicakes.com

6/5/12

Simi Cakes & Confections Blog

 

Whether you are teaching or promoting your cake business, chances are you will end up in front of a live camera giving a demonstration.  When you film a food segment it presents its own set of circumstances that you have to be prepared to work with.  Like camera angles, being prepared to change cameras or stop and start again, or controlling noise and background distractions. Also, working in a studio on a green screen-don’t wear any green, blue, or metallic colors and your cake, desserts or tools can’t be in those colors either or they will disappear!  I’ve had the opportunity to film a few segments for the local Today in Brevard Lifestyles Show, one with Chris Kridler on location and three with producer and video journalist, Caroline Perez, in the studio. They both have taught me a lot.  It’s a fascinating world in video journalism and Caroline was happy to fill us in with some information and helpful tips for you when you find yourself being invited to guest on a food segment or demo on camera at your next ICES Day of Sharing.   

Caroline Perez, Producer and Video Journalist

 

Caroline produces a weekly 27-minute Lifestyle Show.  She plans the show budget, edits and/or shoots the video segments, coordinates centerpiece studio guest(s), writes scripts when needed and shoots on location or in their TV studio. 


SidneyHow did you get interested in video journalism?
Caroline-Back in early 2000s when I was going to San Francisco State University for journalism, I was studying news writing. Each student is supposed to spend at least two semesters on the student publications. I worked on the newspaper and online newspaper. Back then, we were making audio slide shows with Flash. We didn’t learn video. I didn’t learn how to shoot video until I came to FLORIDA TODAY (Newspaper). However, I do remember when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, I interviewed my little cousin on cassette tape (remember those?). You could say I got my journalism practice early.

SidneyDid school prepare you for the real world?
Caroline-Yes and no. Yes because that’s where I learned the basics and foundation of journalism. No because technology has changed so much since 2005, when I graduated. The way we consume news affects how we produce the news products. However, there are always tools that never change and are always taught, such as ethics, reporting in a fair and unbalanced manner, how to gather facts, etc.

SidneyWhat are the pressures of producing a weekly show? And how far in advance do you shoot?
Caroline-I can shoot as much at 2-3 weeks in advance or two days before the Lifestyles show is due. The videos come from various sources (either I shoot videos, another visual journalist, possibly a freelancer or file videos). Additionally, the show host will write a script (sometimes I write it) and read it off a teleprompter. The host also does a centerpiece interview in the studio. Those interviews can be long (longer than 4 min).

It’s a lot of multitasking. The main pressure is I have to keep track of where all the videos will come from, estimate how long the video segments will be and if I come up short, figure out a way to fill the time. We generally do not have standalone videos ready on standby to be used. For the newspaper, there are wire stories that can be used to fill space. On a TV show, it needs content, so I’m constantly checking to see how much video I will have and if I need to shoot anything during the week.

SidneyIs it easier to film in the studio vs. on location so you can control your environment?
Caroline-It’s a little easier to shoot in the studio, but it takes just as long as shooting on location. Either way, I have to think about lighting, sound and making mental notes of what to film so I can edit. In a traditional studio, there is someone working controls for audio, for the cameras, several camera people at each camera and a director calling the shots. In our studio, I am often doing all those roles in one taping. Sometimes a coworker will help out and we’ll divide the duties.

SidneyYou have the opportunity to film many food segments, has anything ever gone completely wrong while filming?
Caroline-Luckily, I haven’t had any food filming mishaps (knock on wood). When you watch a cooking or food show on TV, remember there is a staff of camera people, a director calling the shots, someone to punch buttons to switch cameras on TV. When I used to film food segments on location, it was hard to make it look seamless while filming. There are things I do before filming, such as talk with the chef to know where his/her hands will be moving. So unfortunately, no funny food stories. Now our Adopt a Pet segments on the other hand …

SidneyWhat were your most complicated/hardest shoots?
Caroline-We occasionally live stream video events. Unlike TV camera people, when I stream video live, I set up my camera on my tripod, set up our laptop on my tripod, set up our internet and microphones. TV camera people can leave their tripod, whereas I am tethered to my equipment (which should be plugged in to an outlet). Even with a promise of internet, something can always go wrong with a live shoot. Also, sometimes folks tense up in the studio. It could take longer to film on location because of setting up lights, audio, the “set,” etc.

Sidney-What were a few of your most exciting/enjoyable shoots?
Caroline-I shoot video for all sections. I’m not tied to a specific beat, but I mainly shoot features. I used to shoot Metromix entertainment videos featuring restaurants and bars. People would always say, “You get to eat and drink for your job? How exciting!” We don’t do those kinds of videos anymore. Most recently, a reporter and I sailed the newest Disney ship, the Disney Fantasy last month. We went on a three night media preview cruise to the Bahamas and back. Let me tell you, the dining service was stellar and the food was amazing. The reporter even interviewed the Manager of Food Standards for Disney Cruise Line. The desserts included: Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brulee, Steamed Lemon Buttermilk Pudding with Citrus Reduction and Grand Marnier Soufflé infused with fresh Orange Zest and served with Crème Anglaise, to name a few.

 


SidneyWhat tips and tricks would you give your guests to make filming a food segment easier for you and for them?       

Caroline-One word: preparation! If there’s food that can be washed, cut, wrapped — any little thing that can be done ahead of time — it will make for a smoother filming process. You see it on morning talk shows or cooking shows all the time. The chef tells you what to do and cut to “ta-da!” there’s an example already pre-made.

A few more tips from Caroline before taping:
– Practice saying what you will say as you are demonstrating.
– Do a quick run through with the camera people so they can get an idea of where to move the camera to match you.
– In terms of taping, remember to face your actions toward the camera. For example, if you normally cut something in front of you, practice cutting it to the side (or just have it pre-made).

Thanks so much Caroline for all your helpful information.  You have an incredible artistic talent and I love your work.  You can see Caroline’s Today in Brevard Lifestyle show Mondays at 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on floridatoday.com and WBCC-TV, Brighthouse Channel 9 for Brevard residents.  You can follow Caroline and her amazing work on her Facebook Page:  http://www.facebook.com/carolineperezvisualjournalist

 

Keep Life Sweet!

Sidney

http://www.simicakes.com/