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

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

 

 

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

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (or cuppies)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (or cuppies)

You all know that I am all about making any job easier, So I was all over a homemade cake mix.  Especially one that is versatile.  Here recipe is the recipe for you to try and once you have it,   I’m going to jazz it for ya!

Basic Cake Mix

  • 8 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. baking powder
  • 2 c. unsalted butter (or shortening,  I choose butter everytime!)
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt

 

Cut ingredients together using a pastry cutting tool.  This will make a course-grained mix.   Divide into 5 equal portions of 3 1/3 cup each. Will store 6 weeks or will freeze for 6 months.

***If you add  2 cups of powdered milk to your basic mix,  you can use water when adding wet ingredients.

 

 

Now that we have that out of the way,  it time to fancy it up.

 

Start with 3 1/3 cup of cake mix and add:

 

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

Use milk to thin this mixture until you reach desire thickness.  Batter should still be thick but  thinned  enough to pour easily.

 

 

For cake bake at 350? for  35 – 40  minutes or until top springs back on touch

 

For cupcakes bake at 375? for  15 – 20 minutes or until top springs back on touch

 

 

And there you have it.   Chocolate pumpkin cake batter, for layer cake or cuppies.  Excellent served naked (the cake that is) with whipped cream,  or with creamed cheese icing.

 

Yum yum

Cake Decorating Birthday Parties

New Gelatin Technique for Cake Decorating


Our inaugural Everything Gelatin: Butterflies, Exquisite Bows and Sequins class was a huge hit.
Included in the class registration fee are: the imprint mats, gelatin, brushes, forming trays, recipes, pictorial and text instructions, as well as much input from yours truly, moi! Probably more input than was necessary but face it, this caking thing is exhilarating and gelatin is new uncharted territory here.
These gelatin items are completely edible, beautiful and everyone that has seen them can’t believe that they are not real. We are taking our decorating to the next level and you’re going to want to catch a ride with us. Watch for all the new stuff that’s coming up in the near future as well as a repeat of the Gelatin Class.
Happy Caking!