Cake and Pastry Artist Lesi Johnson

XDream Cakes and Pastries in Calgary

Lesi’s Kitchen, January 2013 Newsletter


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.


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


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!









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               









Something Special Just  for You

Super Moist Carrot Cake

Prep Time:    30 Min

Cook Time:  40 Min

Yield    1 – 9×13 inch cake


  • 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


  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


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!

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




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

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

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!

Upcoming Specialty Classes at “Lesi’s Kitchen”

March 26th, 2011 This month’s feature class has been cancelled to allow for Instructor Training Day…..I have to stay one step ahead of you all. :)

April 23rd, 2011 we are proud to be hosting our very first ever Cakin’ Kids class. Baking and decorating with the younger crowd in mind. They will leave with basic cake making knowledge, and have a lot of fun picking up some basic icing and fondant skills while creating some yummy fun of their own. This class is geared for kids age 12 – 15. Younger children can be accommodated under the supervision of an adult.

May 28th, 2011 we head into territory slightly outside the mighty cake realm. Pies, Pies, Pies will add a little variety to your caking repertoire. Easy never fail pie crust is a skill you will be able to tuck into your goodie bag. Seldom heard of pie recipes to wow even the most discerning palate. Dessert will never be the same.

June 25th, 2011 we bring to you Amazing Cupcakes and Cookies. These are not your average pretty cupcakes. They are specifically themed for any occasion. They look like you’ve spent hours but are amazingly simple and truely a treat for all. Come express yourself!

July 23rd, 2011 take flight with the Butterflies. Gelatin Bows and Butterflies is the newest technique to hit cake decorating. You will learn the secret to realistic looking butterflies to embellish your summer creations. These bows are like no other! You won’t believe they aren’t ribbon! This is truely too good to miss.

Well, that is what is shaping up in “Lesi’s Kitchen” for the next little while. I hope to see you in class. In the meantime,

Happy Caking!


New Studio Kitchen Under Construction

I am finally realizing my dream of having a kitchen studio.

It’s all coming together but what a long road. I didn’t realize there were so many things to do in putting together a studio not to mention a lot of cheque writing.

I thought I had it easy. I had the perfect beginnings with a nice empty space to work with. Large open room with high ceilings, just had to tear out some carpet, slap some cabinets in…. bing bang boom….studio!

Sure, dream on chick!

First, I needed plumbing and because there was none in this area, a drain access had to be located, the concrete had to be jack hammered up, lines and outflow had to be put in place and then the concrete had to be repaired. Write the cheque…..

Next, the subfloor had to go down. Pretty easy but the concrete wasn’t level all the way through the space and it caused a few issues. Hubby did this job so I got to keep that cheque and it was a good thing because boy did over pay for subfloor. The guy at the home improvement outlet did not calculate properly and I got subfloor galore. Good thing they take returns. I ended up taking back enough subfloor to receive a $630.00 refund.

I had already painted the space out first, so when the cabinetry went in I didn’t have to paint around it. Now I have a lot of touch up to do but that really is just minor stuff in light of all else. Paint and supplies…write the cheque

The electrical was not in the correct place so an electrician had to be hired. The first one came in and did his assessment. Said it was a cut and dry job, no problem, easy peasy…….then he never returned to finish the job. The second one came in and did his assessment. Turns out, I did not have enough of anything (power wise) to run the equipment that would be in the studio. He had to install a new circuit box (I don’t even know if that is what it is called). Write the cheque…
He also had to dig trenches in the ceiling, which was finished, because in addition to the new box, I had to be rewired. Write a bigger cheque….

Oooooh, add ceiling repair to the list. Write a postdated cheque….

The cabinet maker came and did his measurements and booked me an appointment to see his design team to put together a plan. Well that was pleasant…..write the cheque.

He was very fast, three days….I have cabinets, shelving, laminate tops. He will have to come back after the electrical is complete, to finish with some doors, and put toekicks on, and cap off the ends….he’ll take a cheque…

The island work top will be Walnut butcher block, which I found at a local millworks….the most affordable option that was food safe and attractive as well…..another cheque….

Appliances, appliances, appliances… guessed it….cheque….

As my construction progresses, I will keep you posted. I have to go and reorder my cheques….

Dairy Free / Nut Free…… and still it tastes spectacular!

Best Dairy Free / Egg Free Cake Recipe Ever

by Cake Decorating Classes on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 9:32am

My granddaughter inspired me to find this recipe. She was always disappointed that she could not have cake because of her severe allergies.  I found this recipe and tried it.   I was quite amazed at how good it really is.  And it makes great cuppies too.  Give it a try and let me know how it worked out for you.

Egg and Dairy Free Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix well with a fork, then stir in oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. When dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened, pour in cold water and stir until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.


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!

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.