Lady Bug and Ice Cream Social Cake Truffles


Happy Summer Sweet Friends!

Happy Summer Everyone!  I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Memorial Weekend!  We rested and are ready to get back to work.  On Monday, June 4 we will be making Summer Treats on the local news show, Today in Brevard.  Tune in to see how to make cute little lady bug and ice cream social cake truffles.  It airs 11:30am, 4:30pm, and 10pm on WBCC-TV and a live video stream at 11:30am at www.floridatoday.com and then runs in their video section starting Tuesday.  Thank you to Producer Caroline Perez, Host Luann Manderville, and Cameraman Breuce for inviting me back for a third segment in the studio.  It has been great fun working with you all!  And watch for my blog in the next few days with an interview with producer Caroline Perez talking about video journalism and helpful hints on preparing and filming a good food segment. 

We have updated our website, so please check out all the new tutorials and videos we posted along with our new class list.  We are updating the store as well.  We’ll have the Water Lily Video and matching Molding Kit available very soon.  Please check back often for updates and new tutorials. 


Upcoming Isomalt Classes:

 Palm Bay, FL at Simi Cakes

June 10-Casting including Gems, Pulled Sugar Flowers and Garden, Blown Bubbles and more, Spun Sugar

July 15-Multi-Colored Bows & Ribbons, Stained Glass Sugar, Blown Dolphins, Swans, and Humming Birds

Fall and Winter-Advanced Isomalt Macaw and Koi Pond with Water Lily

Bedford, PA at the Cove Country Cake Show

Aug 18-3 Hours-Beginning Isomalt Techniques-Casting Gems, Beads, Molds, Icing Images and Pull Roses, Calla Lilies, Vines and Leaves to Create a Beautiful Sugar Garden Sculpture
Aug 19-3 Hours-Advanced Isomalt Techniques-Pull Beautiful Multi-Colored Bows and Learn Blown Bubbles, Hearts, and Dolphins, Finish with Spun Sugar Bowls

Gulfport, MS at the Elks Lodge

Aug 25-Casting Gems, Icing Images, Molds, Color, Pulled Sugar Flowers and Garden, Blown Bubbles and more, Spun Sugar
Aug 26-Stained Glass Sugar, Multi-Colored Pulled Ribbons and Bows, Blown Sugar Dolphin, Swan, and Hummingbird

Colonia, NJ at Sweet Treats Cake Competition  

Sept 23-Blown Sugar Bubbles & Pulled Sugar Roses Class

Palm Bay, FL at 
Simi Cakes

Nov 11&12-Tami Utely returns to Simi Cakes!  

For more information check our website:  http://www.simicakes.com/Classes.html  or email us at info@simicakes.com or call 321-543-3492


Tip of the Week

We would like to thank our good friend, Certified Master Sugar Artist Ruth Rickey, for offering the tip(s) of the week for us.  Ruth is very creative with color and now has her own line of petal and luster dusts. 

 Ruth’s Dusting Tips:

  • Layering your petal dust color on leaves and flowers with many colors to give them depth and to bring them alive
  • Don’t rub too hard, light pressure in application
  • You don’t have to be perfect-nature is not perfect
  • Don’t stop at one color on your project
  • I usually finishes with aubergine (dark eggplant) color
  • When you have finished dusting your leaves dip them in a glaze to give them their lifelike appearance
  • Flowers will look better steamed than glazed

One last note she suggests, “Just do not be afraid to use your petal dusts!  They aren’t meant to live on a shelf.”

Yesterday, Ruth was guest speaker on www.cakefu.com and did an entire presentation on dusting leaves.  You can see it here:  http://www.cakefu.com/masters-series/ruth-rickey-23/ .  She gave a special discount price on her dusts for the CakeFu attendees and is now extending the discount to Simi Cake readers until Monday.  You get all 25 petal dusts and 10 luster dusts for $100.  You can find the dusts and her class schedule on her website:  http://www.ruthrickey.com/  And check out her blog Sugar Zen at: http://sugarzen.wordpress.com/ for cake decorators

                    Until next time, Keep Life Sweet!






Hi everyone!

I had the opportunity recently to interview talented sugar artist, Tami Utley.  Tami is from San Diego, CA, and last year she came to our classroom at Simi Cakes to teach.  It was so much fun learning techniques such as oriental stringwork, brushed embroidery, cocoa painting and gelatin bubbles and gems.  I will attach pictures below.  Tami specializes in sugar flowers and piping skills, and teaches classes all over the country, and is featured in many magazines and on CakeFu.com.  She also makes DVD tutorials and videos for Yummy Arts.  Check out her classes and her beautiful work at www.sugarartbytami.com .  She will be coming back to our classroom this November so make sure you stay tuned for details!! Enjoy!

Sidney- When and how did you get started in cake decorating?  Where you always artistic?

Tami– I started cake decorating in 1989 after my first son was born. I tried to make a cake for my husband’s birthday, like my mom did for me; it was awful!!!  I decided to take theWilton course and got hooked!  Especially when I saw the fondant, gum paste and foreign techniques.  I’d never seen anything like that before and I had to know how to do it.  Those lessons were hard to come by, and at that time, nothing was premade.  Fondant and gum paste had to be made at home, nothing was available premade.  Same with the tools and books, there were a few, but hard to get in my area.  Would I consider myself artistic? No way.  I’ve always done crafts, even as a kid, you name it and I do it. But I’m more like a craftsman.  I have an extremely hard time thinking up new ideas for cakes and projects, but at the same time, the freedom of expression is wonderful.  I really envy those that can do this as a full time job.

Sidney- Out of all the mediums you use and teach, which one is your favorite to work with?


Tami- Gosh, the mediums I like change all the time.  Right now of course it’s Gelatin!  What else would you have expected me to say?  I suppose gum paste flowers have always been a favorite of mine though.    My mother has such a beautiful garden, and I have a major brown thumb, it’s my way of ‘growing’ all the beautiful flowers I want.  And I get to visit my mom’s garden for the perfect specimens to make them.

Sidney- You write for magazines, teach, travel, film, decorate cakes, how do you find time to do all of this with a full time job?


Tami- I don’t take coffee breaks…ha ha…sorry.  I’m constantly on the go once I’m off my regular job.  I’m pretty organized and keep lists for what I need to get done.  The key is to have a realistic idea of how long something takes to do. Really, when you’re obsessed with sugar art, it’s all you think about.  No matter where I’m at I’m looking for new ideas, thinking up new classes and projects, and use every chance I get to plan (like when I’m sitting in traffic).  Since I’ve been teaching for over 18 years, I know what I need for my students so I can get it done ahead of time.  Usually every evening and weekend is filled with cake stuff.  I’m either prepping for videos or class, trying out new ideas, writing instructions or cleaning (yup, ya gotta do that too).  I couldn’t do this when my sons were younger, but now that they are grown, I have more free time.  And my family really helps out.  I don’t know how they really feel about the cake decorating, but they help when they can and at least feign interest when I show them something new.   I have to admit, sometimes I’m over extended.  But even when I try to relax and just sit, I find myself popping up and working on something cake related.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do all I want to do, or just sit and play with sugar, work on my website or do a blog.

Sidney- How did you get involved in working with Yummy Arts?

Tami- Yummy Arts was a happy accident for me. Michael first approached me after I did a demonstration for our Cake Show inSan Diego.  I was excited, but then didn’t hear back from him.  He approached me again the following year, I thought to myself, ‘yeah, sure…’ but he did call this time.  I went into his studio and filmed my first couple projects.  I was very nervous, but since I’d been teaching for some time already, it was just a matter of getting used to no feedback from a camera like you do with students.  We have a lot of fun off the camera and the people at YA are incredible.

Sidney– Your DVD’s are very informative.  How many hours go into filming a DVD?

Tami-    I film about 7-8 hours each time I go into the studio, and do 3 projects.  However, there are days of prep before filming.  Usually 4 or 5 days for me, only because several pieces usually need to be made in advance because of drying time.  And because a lot of things I have in my head, don’t come out when I actually ‘do’ them, ugh.  I also only get to prep on weekends I’m not teaching or evenings, so it takes longer.  I also do research on the internet, like looking up real flowers to make sure the gum paste one is correct.   A DVD needs to be at least an hour film time after editing, so shooting time is usually 2-3 hours minimum for a DVD.  It depends on the project and how many ‘takes’ to get it done right.  My Lambeth cake DVD’s take much longer, since there is a lot of repetition, those are about 4-6 hours filming (over 2 days) with a lot of the repetition edited out, don’t want to put the viewer asleep.

Sidney- Do you prefer teaching classes to making DVD’s?

Tami- Making the DVDs take a lot of work, and a lot of prep, I’m exhausted after a day of filming. But the editors can remove goofs and Scott (our cameraman/director) is so much fun to work with.  Classes take less prep, but if you goof, you can’t do it over…so it’s a toss-up. I would say I prefer the classes though.  I love the interaction with my students, and seeing the finished projects. I make so many new friends teaching.  Also, the more questions and feedback I get, the better to improve my teaching skills. This is very important to me.

Sidney– We enjoyed learning about gelatin bubbles in your interview on CakeFu.  How do you prepare for a long distance online interview?

Tami- Well….CakeFu was my first long distance interview, and I was very nervous.  It was a little hard for me to hear Amelia as my cell phone reception is shaky in the house.  I hope I answered her questions completely without being too talkative (I do get carried away sometimes).  She was very nice and I can’t thank her enough for having me as a guest.  I really didn’t know what to do to prep other than how I normally teach and drawing on that background.  I’ve taught the bubbles for a couple years now, and I can usually guess where the students will want clarification.  But since you just never know what someone will ask, it’s a little scary.  And sometimes you just have to say, ‘I don’t know’.   The bubble pictures and blurbs underneath were done ahead of time, and I had all my notes on the points I wanted to make, so that was about all I could do.  I have to say… I’m uncomfortable talking about myself, so the beginning part where she asks about your accomplishments and background were the hardest!!!  (www.cakefu.com)

Sidney- Congratulations on teaching at the ICES Convention.  What are you teaching?  And where else can students find you this year?   

Tami- This year I’m very excited to be demonstrating at ICES in Reno, Thursday August 2 at 9 AM.  I’ll be demonstrating the gelatin bubbles, gems and the ‘glass’ slipper.  I’ll also be teaching in Pennsylvania (near Reading) in July and of course back to Florida in November (woo hoo!!).  I teach 1 Saturday a month at Do It With Icing, in San Diego and of course do videos/DVD with Yummy Arts.  I will have an article coming out in ACD hopefully this year on the Gelatin Slippers.  I’m not a photographer, so hopefully the photos are good enough for print.  I also do an occasional tutorial for Jennifer Dontz.  She has a newsletter she does monthly from Sugar Delites and is gracious enough to let me submit tutorials.  I just did a chocolate wrap tutorial for the February newsletter and will do another tutorial when time permits.  Those are free and anyone can sign up for them.  If anyone wants to have me teach in their area, just contact me through my website www.sugarartbytami.com

Sidney– What haven’t you tried in cake decorating that you would like to explore?

Tami- I’ve tried just about everything.  But there are many things I haven’t really worked in enough to feel confident in them.  Nirvana is one, I’ve done lots and lots of run sugar, but not a structural one like Nirvana style cakes. Another is cake structures, you know, those 3 foot tall structures that defy gravity.  They look like people, animals or stacks of dishes… I really want to do those.  I don’t own an airbrush, although I’ve tried them, it would be nice to use one consistently.  And of course I want to be more proficient in pulled and blown sugar, so get readySidney, I’ll be coming to you for lessons!


Here is Tami’s website:www.sugarartbytami.com    Check out her amazing tutorial online and her beautiful work and then come take a class with her in November here in Florida!

Now, we are off to Virginia for the National Capitol Area Cake Show (www.cakeshow.org) this weekend and, of course, after that is the FloridaICED Cake Competition in Ocala, Fl (www.floridaiced.com) March 31 and April 3!! We are so excited.  If you are interested in attending there are still spots open in the demos!  Hope to see everyone there!

Until next time, Keep Life Sweet!



Email: info@simicakes.com

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Twitter: @Simicakes

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