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Aske The Expert: Laura Loukaides

Laura Loukaides is a self-taught, multi gold award-winning Cake Artist from Hertfordshire, UK. She made her first cake in 2012 for her 19th birthday and hasn’t looked back since! Laura’s realistically sculpted cakes have been featured in many international newspapers and blogs, magazines, Cake Style and Daily Mail Online.

Sketching Stress

Q: Is it important to sketch a design first?

A: Yes, it’s a big help. Even if you only want to do a very quick sketch of a simple cake, it can really help you visualise how the final cake will look. This also gives you a chance to think about any additional decorations or colours you want to feature in the finished cake.

Simple Cakes

Q: What is the simplest birthday cake to make?

A: A simple single tiered cake can be equally as effective as a carved cake if it suits who it is being made for. Think about the person’s interests, favourite colours or even their favourite animal; think of a simple way to incorporate this into a cake using either modelled characters, painted words from one of their favourite band’s songs, or even some animal print.

Crumb Coat

Q: What is the best crumb coat option for a novelty cake?

A: Buttercream or chocolate ganache both work well for novelty and carved cakes Carved Cake

Q: What’s your favourite cake to carve with?

A: I prefer working with a cake which has a closer texture as it holds its shape much better than a light and airy sponge. Lighter cakes can easily fall apart when you try to carve them and can also be very difficult to crumb coat due to the looser crumbs. A good madeira style cake or dense chocolate cake usually work best for me.

Realistic Cakes

Q: How do you make cakes look more realistic?

A: Proportion and shading. Find as many photos as you can of what you’re making: top view, side view and close up details. It’s important to work from photographs of the real subject you are looking to recreate as they gives you a good understanding of the proportions and colours, both very important elements to balance well when making a realistic cake. For a more realistic effect, a small amount of shading can make a huge difference. You can do this either with an airbrush or edible dusting colours.

Copyright Advice

Q: What do you do when clients ask for cakes where there are copyright issues?

A: This is not something I would personally offer, but I would have to explain to the client that unless they have received written permission from the artist/company who the artwork belongs to, I cannot take their order for a cake with a licenced character or artwork protected under copyright.

Colour Palette

Q: How do you decide on a colour palette for a cake?

A: The colour can depend on who the cake is for. If I am making something for a competition, I like to start with the general idea of the cake first. Once I have an idea in mind, I like to think about the colours the subject would usually be displayed in or is most associated with. For example, a teddy bear usually has light brown fur with neutral colours, but if the cake needs to suit a birthday for a child, I would add brightly coloured elements such as a novelty t-shirt or even coloured patches on the feet, but still keeping with the recognisable brown fur (unless they have specifically asked for another colour).

Shortcuts

Q: Are there any good shortcuts when it comes to novelty cakes?

A: For the best possible result, I never recommend taking shortcuts. I find it’s always best to put 100% into your work. As soon as you try to take shortcuts or find a way to make things easier, the quality of your work can slowly go down.

Weird Sponge Shapes

Q: How do you cover weird shaped sponge?

A: Sometimes, you will need to cover an odd shaped cake in sections and blend the seams together, especially if you’re working on a large structured cake.

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