Interviews #2: Way Beyond Cakes by Mayen
1. How did you first get started with cake decorating?
I got into cake decorating by accident… It was not something I went to school for, not something I willingly sought out. I ordered a fondant cake for my son’s baptism, and it was a lovely but pricey one. I thought to myself, I could not afford to have a cake that pretty for every event … so I HAD to learn to make it. I went online and went to youtube. I was a stalker there for a while until I gathered the guts to post my video and ask for feedback. The response was something totally new to me. I love honest people’s responses , since they have no idea who I was. I learned more that way. It had been years of youtube sharing and learning before I transitioned more to Facebook.
2. Why did you decide to decorate cakes?
Like I shared above, it was because the beauty that cakes had was something I wanted to see more of - but can’t afford to pay for every time I just wanted to have one. I always joke about “necessity” being the mother of it all… and partly it is true. I am a strong believer that if you want to learn something bad enough, you eventually will. That time, I had my son – and he was reason enough for me to learn something new from square one. It has not been an easy start for me. There were many times I felt like just throwing in the towel, but I had to go back to my mindset that it was a ‘challenge’ to begin with- and that if I stop, then I will never learn.
3. What are some things you do differently now than when you first started decorating?
When I was new to this, I was very disorganized. I could not time things right. I would try out so many new things , wanting to learn them all at once. I learned through that experience that i could not possible learn everything at once. So now, I take it one at a time. One skill at a time, and one new experiment at a time. There are many instances when I would literally feel like my head is exploding with ideas and I have to calm myself down :) I cannot do them all and TRY them all at the same time. I choose my battles better now.
4. What has been your greatest challenge?
Piping. It still is. I have always made fondant cakes. I did not go through buttercream then transitioned to fondant just because I feared piping. I have shake hands and my shoulders are shot from years of tendinitis. I just assumed it wasn’t even going to work because of how shakymy hands are and how little power my shoulder has when i have to stay still in one position piping. However when my daughter’s baptism cake cake up, that was all I did on the side of the cake. What a challenge ! I did not become “good” at piping by any means.. I still suck at it. I found a way to make the pattern I want without the need to be good at it. I think that’s how my mind works with challenges in cake. If I cannot be great at something, I have to find or make another way to do it.
5. What is the most rewarding part of cake decorating?
Oh the people. The friends and wonderful people I get to meet is probably , hands down, the best thing that cake has brought me. Seeing the recipient’s face is also one thing— all the hard work pays off once you see how it impacted the recipient…. However for me, the way people have connected to me all through cake— has totally changed my life. I have been an extreme workaholic before I decided to become a stay at home mom. I never thought I would have the guts to even take that step. And it was a struggle in the beginning. However, all the people and friends I have met along my cake journey , who have shared their life stories with me, their struggles, their triumphs — have changed my life mindset. And to me, the mindset is a game changer. My definition of everything has changed. So now, I honestly believe I am happier, more content and more at peace because of the people that caking has brought to me and have taught me to appreciate life better and that life is indeed short, and that we do have but one shot at it.
6. What are your favorite cake decorating tools?
For me , I always use my ball tools, the celpad and celboard is a must for my flowers…. and the toothpick :)
7. Which one of your cakes is your favorite?
I can think of two.My daughter’s baptism cake with the illuminated tiers and the purple ruffle ombre cake :) I haven’t uploaded all my photos here yet , but those two have made it to the top when I posted them :) I was so happy!!!
8. Could you give some tips to people who have just started decorating cakes or would love to start?
For those who would love to give this a try , the best advice is – TRY. Go ahead and take that step. start with the basics and dont try to learn it all at once and buy every piece of tool you can see. Your skills will be worth more than all the tools in the world. So take it one at a time and learn from each challenge that comes your way. Do not get complacent with your work. Always challenged yourself and look for something fresh and new :)
9. How did you find CakesDecor.com and what is it that keeps you coming back?
Do you even have to ask? PEGGY DOES CAKE! :) I love how informal it is here… not uptight at all. I love the learning environment you have created for us all. Thank you !!!
10. What’s been the biggest surprise in all of this for you?
I think the biggest surprise in all this is ME— finding Myself through my caking journey has been my biggest surprise. Five years ago, I was so inept, i would burn anything I would put in the oven. And through the help of people unknown — I have found this new path in my life. The amazing network created online from people is absolutely magical for me. That is the other great surprise for me — the discovery of people who love the craft as I do and would willingly connect with me and other cakers — is a joy to be part of :) Thank you Michal for creating CakesDecor and for allowing all of us to share and learn more together :)
Thanks you for your time and great interview.