This week we spent 10 minutes with...Aussie based cake decorator, Jackie Fanto
She tells us all about her journey from a cooking youngster to becoming the owner of Sydney's Blissfully Sweet. We were able to pick her brains on everything from top tips to where she gets her inspiration from.
When did you first start decorating cakes?
It was 13 years ago and it was my eldest son’s 1st
birthday cake. I had no idea really what I was doing, but I knew one thing – I loved it! The passion started that instant.
Where did you learn your baking skills?
I have always been an avid cook – from the age of 12, I was cooking little dinner parties for my parents. However, I never really baked. When I got married, I realised that I needed to teach myself, so every week for months on end I would bake a different dessert for my hubby until I taught myself how to bake.
How did you become such a good artist?
I was never really “arty” in school. I always appreciated art but never really did it myself. When I was in my late 20s I went to ceramic painting classes with a friend as I had always loved beautiful dinnerware. I loved it. After the ceramics, I started painting on anything I could find, wood work and canvases. When I first started cake decorating, it was the main, basic stuff and after a bit of time, my style evolved and my love of painting came out into my cakes and my style evolved after that. Art is really an interpretation of things. I am a keener watcher of life and I love just watching and staring at things. This helps I think. However, I have so much to learn and I love it.
How would you sum up your style?
Unique and textured detail. My cakes are usually all heavily detailed and textured. I love to combine lots of different textures and details together to make unique combinations and designs.
What is it that most appeals to you about sugarpaste modeling cakes?
The absolute infinite possibilities that can be created blows my mind. You can imagine things, the most fantastical things in your mind and with sugarpaste and your imagination – you can create it. Truly there is no better thing.
Where do you get your inspiration for creating new designs?
Everywhere. From beautiful paperie, tattoos, couture, nature. Everywhere. Everywhere you look there is a design waiting to be seen and a texture waiting to be created.
What’s your design process?
It starts with the client and ends with the client. My clientele are very trusting and love for me to just do what I want. Once I have a theme, I search on Pinterest for colour combinations and beautiful mood images. One design element usually is the jumping off point for the whole cake and then I think of different components for the whole to come together. This is one of my favourite parts of decorating – the design stage.
What are your top tips for sugarpaste modelling?
My top tips are:
- Know what you are creating and think of the object in 3D. You need to see it in all aspects – front, back and sides. This will help the whole modeling process.
- Aspect – where is the object going to be on your cake (top, sides, in middle of tiers etc).
- Proportion is key. When making anything you need to have your proportions correct. This will determine whether your Mickey Mouse looks like Mickey or a rat. Also make sure your topper is big enough for your cake. There is almost nothing worse than a teeny tiny topper on a large cake.
- Tools – have the best modeling tools that you can find. I use sugar shapers and also my trusty Dresden tool and straws and sticks and anything I can find. Your tools may not be the traditional ones, but they are what will bring your object to life. Adding texture to your sugar piece gives them movement and feeling.
- Contouring – give your pieces extra dimension with colour. Contouring will do that for you immediately. A little shadow and light with dusts and powders and paints makes a whole world of difference.
Finally, my main tip – have fun. It truly does show in your work!