We are super excited to be chatting with Cindy Smith, a talented Melbourne based cake artist and pastry chef, whose work we have long admired.
Cindy creates custom made sweet treats for all occasions and is well known for her expert use of fondant (and that adorable kawaii ice-cream cake!)
Tell us about how you became a cake designer and pasty chef. When did you realize you wanted to become a cake designer?
Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do after school. I went to university and graduated with a bachelor of business majoring in PR and HR because I thought that was just what we do. I had a very short stint at a marketing job, and this was when I realised I hated it! The 9 to 5, the same old routine, the lack of creative freedom. I've always enjoyed cooking, but had never baked a thing in my life. One day after watching Martha Stewart, I decided I would give it a try and make one of her 3D monkey cakes (my first ever baking experience and it looked terrible! Haha). But that was it. It was the beginning of my love for cake decorating. After a few weeks of pondering, I bit the bullet and quit my job and took up an apprenticeship to get my patisserie qualifications. I also went to pastry school for further training. After years of pastry chefing at many different places, making desserts, pastries etc... I did pick up a few industry tips and tricks, but I never got to work with custom made cakes or fondant cakes, which was where my true passion was. So one day I took another big leap and decided to open "Cindy's Cake Creations" full time. I have been in operation for almost 4 years now and counting!
You are a master of fondant! I have to confess I've never used fondant, can you share some tips for decorating with fondant?
I have always loved using fondant for my cakes. I love the smooth, clean look it gives them. I pride myself on my clean designs and razor sharp edges! I must say, I've always had the knack for it. I am completely self taught and still learning everyday. I even used to make my own marshmallow fondant. My biggest tip for working with fondant, is to make sure your cake is as smooth and sharp as possible before covering. If your foundation is smooth, your fondant will have the best chance of being smooth too. And I know it is sooo cliche, but practise does make perfect!!
What are your most popular cake styles at the moment? And what about cake flavours?
Everyone seems to be loving the gold! Pretty much all my cakes have gold incorporated into it somewhere, whether it be a drip, gold leaf or gold brush. Gold just gives my cakes a luxe feel to it and I think makes them look just that little bit more special. I also love to handpaint messages onto cakes which incidentally, are usually gold too! As for cake flavours my most popular flavour at the moment is called "Cindy's favourite trio", which consists of moist chocolate mudcake filled with smooth choc hazelnut buttercream, salted caramel buttercream with burnt toffee crisps, and a rich chocolate ganache. White chocolate raspberry mudcake with white chocolate raspberry buttercream is also a very popular one.
Your Kawaii ice cream cake has been shared around the world! Can you share some details about the inspiration behind the cake and any tips for anyone wanting to recreate at home?
Oh it's one of my favourite cakes, and I never imagined it would be so incredibly popular! I originally was asked to design a cake for a client with an ice-cream theme using pink and gold, and this is what I came up with! At that point, I had never done a gold drip before so was dying to incorporate that into a design somehow. This was the perfect opportunity! My big tip for doing a drip is to use royal icing for a fondant covered cake, and pourable ganache for a buttercream or ganached cake. Make sure your drip is set before painting gold with a lustre dust and rose spirit (or vodka) mixture. Use a gentle hand and be patient!
Finally, what does 2017 have in store for you?
This year has absolutely exploded! I am so happy for the success of my little business and so grateful for the love and support from everyone, including most importantly my wonderful clients! Cindy's Cake Creations is currently a one woman business, in that I am the sole person behind the admin, social media, photography, baking, decorating, cleaning, stock runs etc... Phew! I will be looking to expand and definitely hiring some helpers! This year, time permitting, I aim to launch a few tutorials which will be available to be purchased through my website. I also hope to teach face to face in the future.