Cake decorating is a skill set all of its own, and Wendy Cleaver says she loves every moment

DECORATING: Wendy with her favourite creation a flower and a bird. Photo: Laura Telford.
DECORATING: Wendy with her favourite creation a flower and a bird. Photo: Laura Telford.

Everybody loves a good cake – am I right?  The cake itself and especially the icing on top, but have you ever given any thought to how the cake was made?

The hours of work that go into making a cake, the perfect masterpiece, adorned with glorious handcrafted pieces, and Wendy Cleaver says she loves it all.

For Wendy, cake decorating is a hobby that has taken over her life, from draws of decorating tools to rows of colouring chalks, but she says she loves every moment spent in the kitchen.

“Growing up I always visited the cake pavilion at the Royal Easter Show with my mum and was amazed at the technical side of the cakes, so I guess it is something I have always be thinking about,” Wendy said.

“But it wasn’t until I moved to Port Macquarie, and retired that I realised cake decorating clubs existed, and much less I could join.

“After seeing an advertisement for one of their demonstration days, I joined the Hastings Haven Cake and Sugar artists and – after eight years – haven’t looked back.”

When she first started, Wendy said that her goal was to make a rose or a frangipani, but after mastering those she is now always looking out for her next challenge.

“When I went to my first demonstration day, my aim was to make a rose but I love trying new things and I especially love experimenting with different kinds of flowers,” she said.

“Things can be as simple or a complicated as you make them, I find the smaller creations the hardest to make, especially faces as they can be quite complex.”

Wendy working hard in the kitchen.

Wendy working hard in the kitchen.

Wendy says that while cake decorating has changed dramatically over the years, the basic principles are the same.

“These days the internet allows us to get inspiration for different things from all over the world, searching Pinterest is part of my daily routine to see what can spark my interest or to find new ways to do things.

“My favourite part of cake decorating is the fact that it is a totally creative experience, I can get really focused on a project and be at it for hours and hours, not even stopping to take a drink.

“Cake decorating is always changing so it is great that I can learn from people all over the world, but there is also a great wealth of knowledge from decorators in the Hastings and on the Mid North Coast which is fantastic.”

Wendy said the most memorable decoration she made was one of her first pieces, a bird that was surrounded by birds, but since she started decorating she has a new appreciation for the world around her.

“Even now, I think the piece that sticks in my mind is a bird I made when I first started because it reminds me of where I started from,” she said.

“It was the first thing I molded from scratch which, at the time, was a big achievement for me.

“I really enjoy the technical aspect to decorating and making things to go on top of a cake, it has made me look at things closer and appreciate things a little bit more.”


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