Cake and Pastry Artist Lesi Johnson

XDream Cakes and Pastries in Calgary

Lesi’s Kitchen, January 2013 Newsletter

CakeBreak   

brought to you by

Lesi’s Kitchen, School of Cake Artistry

What’s News

 

Happy New Year – New year, new you?

 

Another year is in the making.  Another year of great caking.  A couple of times a year I like to choose one worthy cake designer and honor their hard work and skills with the:

Golden Spatula, Award of Excellence
Lesi’s Kitchen

“Golden Spatula” Award of Excellence.

That award was presented to former student,  Natasha Munro.

Natasha has honed her skills and has accomplished some amazing cake works.

Here is a little bit about her and her adventure in the caking world that we all love so very much.

“I have loved baking for a long time, maybe close to 10 years now. But I first started gaining an interest in cake design about 2 years ago. My first fondant cake was the one I made for my daughter’s first birthday party. After that, I was head over heals in love.

I have always had a passion for all things crafty, and when I pair it with my love of baking… It’s heaven for me.
I have have taken a few classes with Lesi and they were awesome. So much information packed into a Saturday, and lots of fun at the same time. The rest of my information has been mostly self taught, from either books, blogs, YouTube or good-old trial and error.
I actually find a lot of inspiration through scrap-booking style and other crafty projects, and also through real life items. I also love cruising through some of the great cake blogs out there.  If I’m really stuck for an idea I can always turn to pinterest.
I plan to start up a little home business in caking, but for now I have been keeping busy with projects for my family and friends.”

Natasha Munro

 

2013 Class Schedule   is up and ready.   www.lesiskitchen.com

 

Still a few spots left available for Gumpaste Basics class January 26th.

 

Gelatin class is here.   This exciting 2 day Workshop that will take place:

Monday February 11th        6:30pm to 8:30pm

and

Wednesday February 13th    6:30pm to 8:30pm

 

Help me, Help You

I looked at your suggestions for  ideas for classes that you would like to see in Lesi’s Kitchen.  There will be several classes scheduled on weekday evenings  that span 2-3 hours.  To name just a few:

Gelatin ribbons and butterflies

Crazy cake pops

Glam MiniCakes    and many many more.

Be sure to keep  your eye on the upcoming schedule so you don’t miss out!

www.lesiskitchen.com

 

 

LIKE US on FACEBOOK      facebook.com/LesiCakes

 

 

 

 

 

A Handy Little Cake Tip

 

Take a piece of adding machine paper.  Wrap a piece around the circumference of your cake.  Cut it to match up end to end with no overlap.

Fold in half and then in half again and again to make equal segments between the fold marks.

This little piece of folded paper, now unfolded will make a perfect ruler.

Use it to  mark your cake for decorations that need perfect spacing.

ie: draping, piping drop lines, pearl placement, stripes, etc.

 

 

For more tips, recipes, and cake information

“LIKE”  us on Facebook                         facebook.com/LesiCakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Special Just  for You

Super Moist Carrot Cake

Prep Time:    30 Min

Cook Time:  40 Min

Yield    1 – 9×13 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts and flaked coconut. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Happy Caking

Lesi

Why You Should Take My Cake Decorating Classes

I have been asked on more than one occasion, “What the difference is between “Lesi’s Kitchen” cake decorating classes and Wilton cake decorating classes?”
Having taught Wilton classes in the beginning of my career, I believe I have an insider’s edge. I have compiled the following side by side comparison (based on student feedback) of what both types of cake decorating classes offer, cost wise and time wise, to you, our valued customers.
The first and most obvious difference would be class content. Wilton’s classes are, well, Wilton Classes. There are only so many ways to basic decorate a cake but technique is unique to each instructor. So barring that, let’s just head to the meat and potatoes of the whole thing………..
Cake decorating can be a very pricy hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. How far you delve into the craft and how much you plan to invest in cake decorating is completely personal to each individual.

Wilton has been around for a very very long time and has made itself a household name by helping the average home baker be more proficient at decorating a cake and they sell a vast array of tools to make the techniques that they teach easier. Wilton classes are offered at your local craft store in a room that they use for crafting classes of all types. Wilton’s classes that are paced at two hours per week over a four week period. The cost is typically low for instruction because monthly specials are offered by the hosting craft store at 40% – 50% off. After that initial small amount is paid however, you will then need to purchase a kit. Basic items are included in the kit but most times you still need to add to that kit by purchasing other items such as additional tips, piping bags, baking pans, cake wheels and carriers, spatulas etc. To participate in the class you also have to provide your own decorating items, cookies, cakes, icings, gels, food dyes and the likes. Not to mention the time investment to prepare these items for class time.

What you learn in ”Lesi’s Kitchen” you will not learn in the back of your local craft store. You will learn in a setting that is an actual kitchen. My cake decorating classes are all inclusive with the average class price being in the $100.00 range. My cake artistry classes have the kit included in the initial price. You come to class equipped with only your enthusiasm and everything that you need to participate in the class is provided for you, right down to your apron. You probably have everything that you need to bake a fantastic cake in your kitchen right now. And if you do require a few things, it should take very minimal financial investment in tools. In “Lesi’s Kitchen” we offer creative ideas for acquiring the tools that you may need to pursue cake decorating. “Think outside the cake box” is what I tell my students. Be imaginative in where you shop and what you purchase for tools.
Having dealt with adult learners for several years, I have found that in small intimate classes, the amount of information to be absorbed can be accomplished in a shorter period of time. This gives my students a sense of instant gratification. They leave after a 2 – 3 hour class or two day workshop knowing what they came to learn. I have students who continue to email and text me for advise long after their cake experience with me has past. I encourage this.
And there you have it!
I hope to meet you in class one day. In the meantime, Happy Caking!

Topsy Turvy Workshop – August 25th, 2012

August 25th, 2012

 

Only two spots left for this fabulous Topsy Turvy Cake

workshop.    Don’t miss out.

Visit our class page  for all of the details  and to book your spot!

www.lesiskitchen.com

Cake Tips

Did you know:

Egg whites consist of tightly wound but separate strands of protein.  They uncoil and link together during whipping and their structure becomes web-like, trapping and holding air.  This trapped air creates an egg white foam that becomes  a leavening agent in meringue based recipes.

FACT #1          Older,  warm egg whites whip better and faster than fresh cold ones.

The protein structure in the egg white will relax somewhat as they warm up.  That means that whipping them to a stiff peak will take less time.  You can get this same volume with egg whites directly from the fridge but it’s a longer process.

As well,  egg whites that are a few days old (2-3) will whip to a greater volume because the protein structure relaxes with a few days of aging.  When you get your egg whites from the grocery store, they are more than likely a few days old anyway,  so this rule would only apply if you were so blessed as to have access to farm fresh eggs or  you have a chicken coop in your backyard.  Let your fresh eggs sit for a few days before whipping them.

 

Happy Caking

 

Lesi

 

PS  Only two spots left for August 25th Topsy Turvy workshop.   Visit the class page to register

www.lesiskitchen.com

Decorator Cookies

I don’t profess to be a cookie decorator by any stretch of the imagination but with a little inspiration from my cakey friends and the Ultimate Cookie recipe courtesy of Sugarbelle, here I go.

 

You will need:

Decorator Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stand mixer with paddle attachment

Mixing bowl and sifting basket

 

1 cup unsalted butter

1.5 cups icing sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp almond emulsion or 2 tsp almond extract

2.5 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

 

In your mixer cream the sugar and butter until creamy.  Add the egg and emulsion and mix well.

Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture a small bit at a time until well incorporated.

Dough should mostly stick to the paddle, be fairly firm to the touch but not stick to your fingers.

If it is too wet, add a sprinkling of extra flour.  Be careful not to add too much,  you don’t want the dough

dry and cracking.  I let my dough stand for a short time before I roll it out.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick on a flour dusted surface.  Cut out whatever shapes you choose.

Bake for around 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

Let these stand for 24 hours before you decorate to give them time to “dry”

Oils on the surface may cause some issues with decorating if you don’t let them sit.

 

 

I think I will have to hide mine because they taste awesome “naked” and I have cookie lovers in my house.

Decorating to follow……stay tuned!

Sometimes in Cake Decorating, things appear more difficult than they actually are

In the cake decorating world, sometimes things appear to be more difficult than they actually are.

Never again be phased by gumpaste flowers, edible gelatin ribbons and butterflies, or  multi-tiered wedding cakes.  They look daunting at first glance, but if you have all of the steps to follow, and you follow them in the correct order, your final result will astound you.

Here in the “Kitchen” , Lesi takes each student through the steps, one by one, until the final goal is achieved.  Everything from baking the perfect cake to creating the most elaborate of wedding cakes.

Take the featured  wedding cake for example.  It appears to be a very difficult project but broken down to it’s basic components, each done step by step, even you can achieve this final result.

Come and join us for a class and discover new  potential for your cake design and cake decorating.

Glamorous wedding cake construction

Cake decorating classes wedding cakeswedding cake decorating classes

What’s New for June 2012

Great News!

We have added another basics class to our June schedule.  Saturday June 2nd, 2012 @9:30 – 2:30pm

Our June class sold out so quickly, we had to add a second class to the roster for the month.

The new “basics” gives you a foundation to build your cake art on.  You will learn the essentials of baking and masking a perfectly moist, delicious,(and level) cake to apply fondant to. Then after tackling the hurdle of making a very simple but tasty homemade fondant, you will learn easy and helpful hints for working with fondant  to create a lovely little piece of cake art all your own.

You  won’t want to miss this class.  It is perfectly essential to every cake decorators arsenal of knowledge.

Come take a class with us…..or maybe two!

 

Happy caking.

 

Lesi

www.lesiskitchen.com

Visit us on facebook    http://www.facebook.com/LesiCakes

 

 

Every Kid Wants to be the Cake Boss (even the grown ones!)

It’s the next level that we are going for. Have you taken note of all of the new caking shows on tv lately? The one name I hear more than any other, CakeBoss, is gearing both young and not so young in that direction. But for some reason, here is Calgary, we are at a standstill in our leap into the caking future. Certain cake decorating “gurus” have remained the same for many many years and good on them. But now is time for the progression of things. Everybody wants to be the Cake Boss, and the cake boss does three dimensional cakes. Not many bakeries even, will take on the 3D cake because of the time factor. They are very expensive to purchase and it is strictly because of the time issue and the artistic value that is put forth.

I love to bake and decorate and built my foundation with some of the “gurus”. I am very glad that they are out there. They gave me a taste…. but now it was insatiable. I had no where to go for satisfaction. I know that I wasn’t, and probably still am not alone in that plight.

I dug into my artistic roots and through much practice, loads of trial and error, (sometimes more error than trial), doing and re-doing, experimenting, and converted what I know about art and how it translates over to cake. I combined my love of art with my love of all things caking and I opened Lesi’s Kitchen. I went in with the mindset that I am going inspire someone to be the next Cake Boss or better yet, their own version of some caking great.

I am always inspired when I see the imagination that our young people today have. I am working toward my cakehouse having a team of artist/decorators, like minded in our creativeness, making an awesome living doing what we love. Our team efforts will put the caking world in awe.  A good dream come true!

But for now, I just want to teach you what I know. Like all good artists, the more we practice your craft, and expose ourselves to different media, the better and better we will become. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me and a lot of my classes become brainstorming efforts. The day that I think I know all there is to know about cake decorating is the day that I will hang up my spatula and move on. Until then, I will continue to expose myself to the creativity of others, students included, soaking up idea after idea, reading, reading, reading, travelling and studying with the greats,  and continue to teach what I know. Passing on what I love.

Apparently even I want to be a Cake Boss…..I’m just not very bossy!

Look into it, come and sculpt with me, express your inner artist and never ever stop learning.

Check out my site…..I am sure you will see something that you like.img_0568

What’s New In Lesi’s Kitchen

New Classes, New Schedules and a New Website!


Check Out All The New Classes!

 

BASICS IN CAKE 

FONDANT BASICS

GELATIN BUTTERFLIES AND EXQUISITE GELATIN BOWS

GLAMOR WEDDING CAKES

EXOTIC FLOWERS IN GUMPASTE

TOPSY-TURVY CAKES

PIPING SKILLS AND THE LAMBETH METHOD

GUMPASTE FIGURES

 

FOR DETAILED INFORMATION,    PLEASE SEE THE CLASS  PAGE AT LESI’S KITCHEN

OR

CONTACT LESI AT

sweets@xdreamcakes.com

Happy Caking and I hope to see you in class!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Cake Trippin’ Toronto, Ladies in White Week 1 – 3

Cake Trippin’ Toronto,  Ladies in White    Week  1 – 3
The beginning of this journey started out  very intense.  Thrown into a mix of young ladies that I didn’t know from Adam and plunged  into the hardcore  arena of caking.  This is how I got to know these amazing Ladies in White.


Within the first 40 minutes of the day beginning, we found ourselves knee deep in flour and sugar.  This indeed was a high production kitchen.  Weighing, mixing, baking.  No rest for the weary here.  Thank goodness for good friends (which is what we quickly became) and comfortable shoes.  That first three weeks were all about  the cake;  cake ingredients, cake baking, cake flavors,  cake fillings, cake toppings, cake layering, cake leveling, cake masking, icing and covering cake.  If ever I had the inclination to even think I knew everything about cake, I would have been so off the mark.

At the end of week one, I was exhausted.  By weeks two and three, things started to level themselves out.   I have learned so much, made friends that  I hope to keep for years to come and came out on top in situations that,  at times,  seemed unbearable.   I have to admit,  I  had a day when tears were involved  and I have learned that,  here, friends come in all forms.  All of us are out of our comfort zones, away from our regular supportive  family and friends, and  we’re  learning to lean on each other.  None of us are alone here. In the end, we grow and thrive.

Me personally, well, I have a new found respect for this art form that I have chosen to call my profession, and of course  the kitchen scale.  It no longer is my nemesis.  I can cost out a recipe like nobody’s  business and it’s all about the business.  The business of cake.