Cake and Pastry Artist Lesi Johnson

XDream Cakes and Pastries in Calgary

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!

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

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.

I would like you to meet a few people that have inspired me

Two of my absolute favorite things are travel and caking.  I can’t really pick a top favorite of the two so combining them is the perfect solution.  I also am very social so meeting people, especially cake artists, gets to be added to the list.  How nice that it all fits together so perfectly.

I have been blessed to be able to get in some awesome travel time, and accumulated hours of notable cake time with some of my favorite people.  Here I would like to introduce to you to a few of them.

 

Nicolas Lodge

There is so much to say about Nicolas Lodge, that I would have a hard time to fit it all on this page.  He holds the ranking as one of the best instructors I have had the pleasure of  working  with.  He has a pretty impressive clientele list as well.  He was commissioned to do work for England’s Royal Family and other celebrities. This included one of the official wedding cakes for wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles.  He reproduced this Royal wedding cake for the visit of the Prince and Princes of Wales, during their official visit to Tokyo,  Japan.  He was also commissioned to create a cake for the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday and the Christening cake for Prince Harry. He is the owner of the International School of Sugar and Confectionery Arts.   In his own words,  “Teaching is the most rewarding area of my life. Being able to educate and pass on techniques and methods to my students fills me with the same passion today as it did when I started my career.”

You can visit his site at  www.thattakesthecake.org

 

James Roselle

You may have seen James on the Food Network’s Challenge Series. He has competed in several cake challenges.  Sweet 16, Surprise Engagement Cakes, and Extreme Holiday Cakes.  He impressively won all three challenges.   James has the most wonderful flowering technique but I especially love his edible gem work.  Strings of edible diamonds to enhance any elegant cake that  you would like bling out.  He travels and teaches these techniques to students around the world and passing on the obvious love of his craft.  You can check out his website at www.ellecakes.com.

 

Becky Rink

Becky owns and operates,  About the Cake.  Her wedding cakes are impressive but her artistic and whimsical approach to sculpted and themed cakes is what drew me to her.  Becky has competed on three nationally televised programs.   You may have seen her on:  We TV’s Wedding Cake Wars,  TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off,  or the Food Network’s Halloween.  She currently is the only baker in Cleveland to be on all three major networks!  As well, she is the author of “The Top Shelf Baker – Sweet Treats From a Well Stocked Bar”.    You can visit her website at www.aboutthecake.com

 

Lourdes Reyes

Have you ever been to Mexico and seen those half-sphere jello molds that appear to have a three dimensional flower trapped inside of them and wondered “How did they do that?”   This technique is what Lourdes has found her passion in.  She travels and teaches in Mexico and in the United States passing on this bit of culinary wisdom.  It is a fascinating art form and delicious as well.  If you are even remotely curious,  check out her site at:

www.gelartfloral.com

Norm Davis

I love Norm.  He’s cheeky, witty and so much fun to work with and learn from.  He is the owner of The Sweet Life,  a custom design cakery in Virginia.  He is also an award winning chocolatier and is infamous for his White Chocolate Curl Cake and his three-dimensional chocolate figurines.  He has competed in ten Food Network Challenge’s.  He has co-authored the books  ” Wedding Cake Ensembles” and “Cakes for All Seasons”.  Much to his credit, he was commissioned by the Washington Post to create a cake for President Clinton.  If you’ve  seen his work,  none of the aforementioned is a surprise at all.   You can visit his site at:  www.thesweetlife.com

 

Ruth Rickey

Ruth owned and operated “Ruth’s Sweet Justice”  for nearly 12 years. There she  created wedding cakes for the likes of  Toby Keith’s daughters as well as for governors Mary Fallin,  Frank Keating  and David Walters.  When it became too difficult to keep up with the workings of a full time bakery, she decided to close it’s doors.  She now is pursuing her passion for teaching. She appeared on TV shows and competitions such as the Food Network’s “Wedding Cake Wars.”    She’s now a highly sought-after teacher and I wish her all the best with her newly sought after passion, teaching.  She does it well!

You can visit her site at:  www.ruthrickey.com

 

Lucinda Larson

Lucinda is one of my absolute favorite people.  She has a charm that is rare.  Such a dear to work with.  She is renowned for her beautiful gumpaste flowers and very pleasing use of color. She is fondly nicknamed the Buttercream Queen and The Icing Diva. In addition to her 30 years of teaching at numerous prestigious culinary colleges and expos across North America,  she has received many awards and “best of shows” for her work. She has been featured in national and international magazines, TV, and on the cover of American Cake Magazine. Lucinda’s spunky personality and passion for cake decorating makes working with and learning from her,  simple and fun.

Here is a link to see  her videos:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT_aKBtRK7I

 

There you have it,  just a few of my favorites.  I’m going to continue to travel and learn, ever expanding my list.

 

Happy Caking!

 

Lesi

Wilton Cake Decorating has a New Face

New Wilton Method Curriculum

Well after 35 years Wilton has changed their curriculum.  They have added  a few more techniques, but  kept a lot of the old standards,  giving  it a slightly more modern feel.

Courses offered are:  Decorating Basics (this is the best place to start for obvious reasons), Flowers and Cake DesignGumpaste and Fondant.

The second two offerings can be taken in whichever order you choose.  There is no set procession for them.   After the basics, each is as simple to follow as the other.  (And yes, classes are offered all summer!)

“Updated Courses with Exciting New Techniques!  Fresh New Look, Same Trusted Wilton Method!”   is how they are putting it.

In addition, all who register for the  new classes being  offered in the months of June, July,  and August, will be entered into a contest to win:

Grand Prize:  A 2 week Master Course at the Wilton School of Decorating and Confectionery Art in Darien, Illinois

50 First Prizes: $50.00 Michaels Gift Card


You can see all of the details at    www.summersweepsstakes.wilton.com

L’Arche CakeWalk – Sunday March 14, 2010

Hey all,
Here is the info on the contest I was telling you about.  I hope to see you there.
It’s great fun for the whole family!  Come out and get inspired!
Lesi

The L’Arche Calgary Cake Walk is a display of cake at its finest.

Top culinary chefs and novices compete to see who can create the most fantastic cake.

The first L’Arche Calgary Cake was held in 2007 and is now an annual event,

which draws 1,500 visitors annually and has netted over $300,000 for

L’Arche Calgary’s homes and programs for people with developmental disabilities.

Chocolate Competition
What makes a double helping?
L’Arche Calgary and the Pastry Chef Guild of Alberta have teamed up
to bring you two fabulous events on the same day showcasing cake and
chocolate creations made by top local pastry chefs and talented novices.

The Lindt Chocolate competition is a bi-annual event presented by the

Pastry Chef Guild of Alberta. This year L’Arche Calgary and the Guild
have teamed up to jointly present both events. This partnership will allow us
to help highlight each other’s missions in the community and celebrate what
can happen when we work together in unity!

Sunday, March 14, 2010, Noon to 3:30 PM

Enjoy a double helping of the region’s most talented pastry artists at two high-calibercompetitions

for the price of one. L’Arche Calgary and the Pastry Chef Guild of Alberta have teamed

up to bring you a fabulous gallery of edible cake and chocolate art. This larger-than-life

exposition taking place at SAIT campus reveals cake and chocolate at their finest and

raises funds for L’Arche Calgary’s members with developmental disabilities.

Tickets are only $5 per person!

The L’Arche Calgary Cake Walk is a family friendly event, with lots going on

besides a gallery of stunning edible art.

Attendees can take part in…

Children’s Games
The event will have a range of midway style games to try your luck at.

Cupcake Decorating
Using sprinkles, icing and other toppings, build your own confectionary creations.

Live Entertainment
The L’Arche Singers, members of the L’Arche Calgary community will perform

throughout the day.

Complimentary Cake
Everyone who attends the L’Arche Calgary Cake Walk will receive a slice of

delectable, professionally baked cake and a cup of coffee. No cake mixes allowed!

Door Prizes
Everyone who attends the L’Arche Calgary Cake Walk will have a chance to enter

for a wide range of prizes, including things like a stay at Kannaskis Delta and

tickets to Calgary Hitmen hockey games!

The People’s Choice Award
Make sure your favorite cake or chocolate creation is recognized by voting

for the People’s Choice Award at both events.

The event takes place on Sunday,

March 14, 2010, from noon to 3:30 p.m.

The Cake Walk will be held in the

Heart Building on the main SAIT Campus

and the Lindt Chocolate Competition

will be next door at the

4 Nines Cafeteria.

SAIT is located at 1301 16th Avenue NW.

For more info, please click here, and for a map to the SAIT Heart Building, click here.

For a map of SAIT’s parking availability click here.