Monday, July 20, 2009

Mike IS amazing

This past June, I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from my all-time cake hero, Mike McCarey, owner of Mike's Amazing Cakes in Redmond, WA. Luckily for me, I found out about Mike's two-day modeling chocolate course just in the nick of time as I was just about to register and book travel to the Cake Camp in Las Vegas. The minute I saw that Mike was teaching classes, I knew I had to clear my schedule and make it to one of his classes.

Now, I wasn't kidding when I said that Mike is my "cake hero". There are many cake artists in the industry that I admire and draw inspriration from but Mike's work is seriously jaw-droppingly AMAZING. The level of detail and realism in his cakes are incredible and definitely something that I strive to achieve in my own work. So you can see, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet and learn from the best in the business (literally).

I've seen all his appearances on the Food Network Challenges and even own his instructional DVD on sculpting car cakes and from what I can tell, he seemed like a nice guy but I was surpised by how down-to-earth and genuine he is. He was patient with those of us who needed a little extra help, answered all of our questions candidly, and even regaled us with some behind-the-scenes tales of the Food Network cake challenges. The class itself was organized, well-thought out, informational, and above all FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Let me share with you a bit of what we learned in class.

Day 1 we learned everything there is to know about modeling chocolate (MC for short), including how to make it, how to store it, what chocolates to use, it's qualities and limitations, etc. We also learned about approximately 10 different techniques on how to use modeling chocolate in cake decorating. Below are 4 of those techniques (can't give away everything, 'ya know).

MC takes impresions really well - this one is an impression made from lace.

Unlike fondant, MC doesn't stretch much which makes it ideal for cutouts and scoring: MC is easily marbled:

And since it's tacky with moisture, appliques stick easily to it's surface.

Day 2 included a great many subjects but the main event was learning how to use modeling chocolate to, you know, model. In the below pic, Mike is showing us how to shape the body of the dragon on the lower left corner.We were encouraged to be creative so here's my slightly different dragon (sans pupils).
......and the finished cake.
I've really only skimmed the surface of all that I was able to sponge off Mike's two-day class but take my word that this class is MUST for any cake decorator looking to unlock the magical world of modeling chocolate. Not sure if there's any spaces left for his classes in Atlanta (Oct. 17-18 & 19-20) or Savannah (Nov 13-14 & 15-16) but it wouldn't hurt to check :-)
Having met my cake-hero, you seriously didn't think I was gonna leave without getting a picture with him, did you?
.....and Mike's assistant, also named Mike, who managed to be both incredibly helpful and adorable the entire time.


SweetThings said...

Wow - you are so lucky! He truly is a cake hero. Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Mike's cakes ARE amazing, but then so are yours! The modelling chocolate is so versatile!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I am soo jealous, I'm as green as your beautiful dragon. I will make sure I take a class with him soon.