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November’s Cake Decorator Spotlight

Maddie’s Cakes

For November, we are featuring Maddie (CakesbyMaddie).

Tell us about yourself

Hey everyone! My name is Maddie (CakesbyMaddie_), I’m 22 years old and I’m from Toronto, Ontario. For me, cake decorating is a side business that I run on top of my full-time job as a financial analyst at an investment firm. As for baking, I love to bake and decorate different types of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and macarons! When not working or baking, I love to travel, read and play sports.

How did you start making cakes?

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved to bake. I still remember when my sister and I would come up with cool and elaborate desserts to make for family gatherings (and usually end up fighting over something in the process). Desserts, in general, were always a favourite of mine to make, but I didn’t start making cakes until I was around 13.  

I was first inspired to make cakes because I was completely addicted to watching Cake Boss on TV. The first real cake I ever made was only 2 layers and was covered in thick pink fondant (that I had made from scratch) and topped with multicolored polka-dots. Be glad that there’s no photo evidence of it because it was not the prettiest cake! After that first cake, I slowly kept making cakes for family birthdays and events and started to build up some skills and materials. But, my real cake business didn’t really start until April 2018, when I was back from studying at university.

Throughout the winter I had been browsing Instagram for cake inspiration and decided that I was going to attempt a drip cake for my cousin’s birthday cake (you can see the photo below and witness how my cakes have evolved). Let’s just say it didn’t go too smoothly! After that, I realized how much I had missed baking and cake decorating and decided to turn my obsession into a business! Since that fateful fondant cake, I’ve been strictly loyal to buttercream and finding new and cool ways to use buttercream to decorate cakes. Most of my inspiration for cakes comes from Instagram or from colours and patterns I see in my everyday life. I don’t have any formal cake decorating training, so I tend to learn my skills through trial and error, Instagram photos and videos, and from all my lovely, supportive cake friends on Instagram.

Do you have a favourite buttercream?

Asking me to pick a favourite buttercream is like asking me to pick a favourite dessert! I honestly love all types for different reasons! American Buttercream is always my basic go to because it’s easy, foolproof and great for painting on (and I especially love it for chocolate icing). Swiss Meringue Buttercream, on the other hand, is amazing because it’s less sweet, a lot lighter and looks so smooth on the outside of the cake. As well, I’ve recently discovered Don’t Tell Charles’ Buttercream recipe which has the ease of an American Buttercream recipe but the feel of a SMBC recipe! (Highly recommend checking it out).

Do you have any favourite tools in your cake toolkit?

My tools are everything to me and I’ve found that having quality tools makes all the difference. Here’s the list of all my favourites:

  1. Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer – makes making any type of dessert so effortless and the quality is great
  2. My XL Sugar Crafty Scraper – this super tall metal scraper is the best for getting smooth sides and sharp edges
  3. Ateco Turntable – this turntable spins so smoothly and is heavy duty so it doesn’t slip around
  4. Small Offset Spatula – gives great control for spreading and smoothing icing

Do you have any advice for someone who is starting out in the cake business

My advice for people just starting out would be to find your style and find what works for you. Then use that to your advantage! Cake decorating is such a creative and expressive form of art, and there’s an infinite number of ways to make a cake beautiful. Once you find your niche, start posting on social media, build a customer base, and explore other techniques. My last tip would be to take photos of your cakes in front of a clean (white is preferable) background and use as much natural light as you can get! After that, there are so many great editing tools like Snapseed and Photoshop that can help you to adjust light and shadows so you can get the perfect photo.

Cakes I’ve done

Pretty In Pink

Pretty In Pink

Pretty in pink 🎀💖 Featuring my favourite Frosted Twinkle Sprinkle medley from @sweetapolita! The macarons on this cake were almost the death of me but they turned out great in the end!

First Drip Cake

First Drip Cake

This is a photo of my first ever drip cake! As you can see, my sides aren’t smooth and the drip is a bit chunky, but everyone has to start somewhere!

Sunset Colored Dot Cake

Sunset Colored Dot Cake

This cake was made for an 18th birthday, and was inspired by the lovely Sugar & Sparrow Co. I played around with the design and made it my own by painting the cake gold with Edible Art Paints, and then also creating a faded ombre effect! This technique was super easy and super fun – all you need is piping bags and lots of coloured buttercream.

Horse Cake

Horse Cake

This horse cake was a twist on the unicorn trend and even has a mane down the back! Always tricky to use fondant but these additions were easy to do.

Bright Pink Floral

Bright Pink Floral

Fresh, edible flowers are always a great way to decorate a cake! Pairing them with bright colours and some gold leaf makes it an easy and fancy decorating technique. This cake was actually inspired by ThePurpleCupcake’s work – she does the best job of bringing together bright colours.

Blue and Gold Macaron Drip Cake

Blue and Gold Macaron Drip Cake

This cake was made for my youngest sister’s 12th birthday and survived a 2-hour bus ride up to sleepover camp. Blue and gold is one of the best colour combos, so this cake is one of my favourite drip cakes I’ve made. The macarons are also made by me and are filled with a basic vanilla buttercream!

Color Block Sprinkle Cake

Color Block Sprinkle Cake

This cake is one of my most popular cakes so far and it’s easy to see why! I love, love, love to use bright colours and this cake is a mix of all my favourite ones. The sprinkle mix on top is Shimmer of Hope by Sweetapolita (honestly the best place to buy sprinkles from!). This decorating technique is really easy because it doesn’t have to be completely smooth and the texture actually adds a lot of depth to the cake.

Bright Bold Cupcakes

Bright and Bold Cupcakes

These bright cupcakes showcase how I transfer my love of colour to other things besides cake. Sometimes I find it’s intimidating to work with bright colour palettes, but my tip is to find a way to integrate the colours throughout the cake or cupcakes. And gold leaf is always a great option to bring everything together.

Mermaid Swirl Cake

Mermaid Swirl Cake

If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll know that I love to make mini cakes. This is one of my latest mini cakes and was inspired by mermaid colours. The swirls are all made with various Wilton piping tips and the sprinkles are by Sweetapolita!

Blue Mini Trio

Blue Mini Trio Cakes

This is another mini cake I made and it was part of a birthday trio! This textured decorating style is easy and there’s no bad way to do it because it’s supposed to look rough and messy! The chocolate dipped cherries on top just add that little bit of clean elegance.

Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Unicorn Buttercream Mane

This was my first ever unicorn cake and it actually turned out great! Again, working with fondant isn’t my favourite but I found some great tutorials on Youtube for how to make the horn, ears, and eyes. To make the rainbow icing, I piped individual lines of each colour on to plastic wrap, wrapped it up into a tube, and then inserted it into my piping bag.

Follow Maddie and her gorgeous cakes on her Instagram.

Thanks so much, Maddie, for sharing your lovely cakes! They all look wonderful!

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