Interview #38: Daniel Casero Pérez1. How or why did you get started in cake decorating… was it by accident or did you always have a passion for it? As a child I used to enjoy making figurines and drawing, but my creativity never ‘spilled’ into the kitchen… In fact, up until a few...
1. How or why did you get started in cake decorating… was it by accident or did you always have a passion for it?
As a child I used to enjoy making figurines and drawing, but my creativity never ‘spilled’ into the kitchen… In fact, up until a few years ago my experience in the kitchen was limited to feeding myself when nobody else would!
My very first cake was a birthday present for a loved one. It started as a small project, but it soon took a life of its own, becoming more complex and artistic. I absolutely loved the experience of turning the concept into a reality. It just felt natural to me. I knew then and there that my cake decorating journey had just begun. Over the next few months I experimented continuously to improve both flavor and aesthetics. I improved my technique and I got more daring.
It is not really just about the cake. It is about channeling my inner creativity. Cake decorating is my art and a great way to express myself.
2. Tell us a little about yourself, family, where do you live and what did you do for a living before making cakes if anything?
I was born and bred in Yecla, a city in Southeast Spain (Murcia). I am a graduate in Business Administration and I´ve worked in the family business for over 10 years. We manufacture sports equipment and fitness devices. I combine my cake decorating with this job – which is handy – since work out equipment is always available to burn calories after cake tasting sessions!
3. What is the one tool you cannot live without and one you don’t have yet but really want?
Rubber brushes are my favorite tools. I find them essential to achieve a good finish in modelling.
The one thing I really need right now is a new suitcase for my tools. I work in two different locations and I always have to carry all my tools around. No matter how careful I am, I always seem to forget something. Thus my next acquisition is definitely going to be huge suitcase for all my stuff.
4. How did you find cakesdecor and what makes it a place you want to keep sharing on?
I discovered Cakesdecor in Facebook. I often wonder how people pursued their passions before the internet! Cakesdecor has been an invaluable tool for me, as it opened an international door where I could find inspiration and also show my work.
I am constantly impressed by the quality of the work portrayed and the amazing community of people Cakesdecor brings together. I am particularly fond of the additional motivation you provide with tools such as Daily Top 3 and Editor Choice.
5. What part of making cakes do you like most and least?
My favorite part is the painting process, especially last finishing touches. It´s when the concept literally turns into reality. The painting and last touches make all the difference to the end result of the cake.
And my least favorite part is actually making the sponge cakes and frostings. It is very monotonous and I tend to eat all cake left-overs, which is not great for the figure.
6. Tell us one thing about yourself that many of us might not know already.
I’m a night owl. I am wide awake at night, I find focusing a lot easier with fewer distractions. When I am on a project during the weekend you will find me working on it until 6 or 7am.
7. What is your favorite cake you have done to date?
Without a shadow of a doubt my favorite cake is ‘The deer in the water fountain’.
I made it as part of the Spanish Collaboration ‘Spring´s fable’. It was my first collaboration and it opened many international doors for me. I´ve received great reviews and I think it is my best work so far… soon to be topped, I hope!
8. What would you say has been your biggest cake challenge to date and if you could have a do-over of it would you want to and what about it would you change?
Each collaboration I have taken part on has been a real challenge. That´s partly my own doing: I don´t pick ‘comfortable’ projects, I always push my limits. I take the opportunity to try new techniques and materials each time.
Doing it this way is risky, because it adds considerably to your workload, and you go against the clock. You always end up finding things that you could have done better or, at the very least, differently.
However, it is also an opportunity to push yourself, because when you experiment you have to find solutions fast when things go wrong. And quite honestly something always goes wrong. But you find a workaround in the nick of time and you come through with new knowledge. The learning curve is unmatchable.
9. What is one technique or sugar skill that you have not tried yet but really would like to learn?
Royal Icing is the first one on my bucket list! I have seen some amazing works with it. I can tell that it is a challenging material, so I am hoping to find a worthy project to give it go.
10. Could you give some tips to people who have just started decorating cakes or would love to start?
First of all, choose the right project for you. If you are a beginner, look for a very simple and attractive design, and also, easy to carry out. If you start with something difficult, you will get depressed in case you don’t obtain the expected result, and it’s possible that you do not repeat.
Secondly, don’t be afraid. Beginnings are always hard, especially when working with new techniques. However, it is essential to make mistakes and learn from them.
Finally and most importantly, enjoy yourself. When you enjoy doing something it comes through in the result.
11. What are some things you do differently now than when you first started decorating?
When it comes to cakes, for me it is all about the height! When I was a novice I used skewers and cardboard bases as a structure. This can be a good solution for some particular projects; but it is certainly not ideal for professional cakes; especially when long and complicated transportation is necessary. These days I use metal structures, which make my life infinitely easier.
12. Do you have one cake designer that really inspires you or is there a direction you would like your cakes to go?
It will be impossible to only choose one. There are many artists who I cannot wait to see their next project because they never disappoint. But each day, unknown artists appear out of nowhere with an amazing work in which they poured their soul in.
As I see it, each project represents a fresh start, an opportunity to beat your own work and to transmit an emotion. Making people happy with sugar is very gratifying.
13. Do you have a favorite flavor of cake that you make?
I am a sucker for chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. Before, now and always!
14. Do you sketch your cakes or just wing it?
No two projects are alike! I usually sketch with different levels of detail the ideas that are going around in my head for each project.
I always have a clear idea what I want to achieve. Any 3D artwork will require some level of planning for it to be successful. However, I think it is essential to also let the project take a life of its own, develop and evolve…I like to let the creative juices flow! I remain focused on the objective and experiment… It´s my favorite part!
15. What is the one cake you are still hoping to get asked to make?
There were two top ones, one of which I have already made. Zelda’s cake for ‘Game on sugar’ was definitely one of my goal projects, as it brings me a lot of great childhood memories. The other cake is currently in the works. I´ll have the opportunity of making this cake very soon in one of the upcoming collaborations. As you know these collaborations are shrouded in mystery so I can´t reveal what it is… but watch this space, a spectacular cake is coming out soon!
16. What’s the best lesson you have learned while making cakes so far?
In making cakes, much like in life, it is essential to be humble and generous. I always try to help, and I never forget those who helped me! It doesn´t matter how good your works are, how great your technique is, and how long you’ve been in this world… Each cake is new creative challenge, some of them are successful, and some aren´t. You have to learn to be dedicated, consistent and patient!
17. And one crazy one just for fun…What is the one food you could never imagine living without?
If you´ve never had a proper Spanish potato omelet, you are missing out. And my mother’s is the best in the whole country! Literally, the mere sight of the omelet puts a smile on my face. I can make a decent enough attempt myself, but to master it I still need practice.
Thank you Sharon and Daniel for the interview!
- Part 37: Jonathan Theuma from JT Cakes
- Part 38: Daniel Casero Pérez
- Part 39: Tanya Halas of Cake Heart