Lindy Smith interview

8th Mar 2014

Over the years Lindy Smith has become known as one of the UK’s best cake decorators. We catch up with her to find out more about how she got started, what inspires her, top tips for making your own sugarpaste characters and what she plans for the future... How did you first become interested in cake decorating? 2 LindyOct2009_230pxI was inspired by my own wedding cake back in 1991 to take evening classes in cake decorating. I loved it from my very first lesson, which was on how to make sugarpaste – there was no manufactured paste available back then! I have tried many crafts over the years but sugarcraft is the one that I love the most. It combines my love of baking, art, design and colour – what could 
be more perfect? When and why did you decide to make it your career? It was a very gradual process, which started by friends asking me to make cakes for their families. The business then grew organically by word of mouth. It was only once I started entering competitions and winning gold medals that my fascinating sugarcraft journey started for real and before I knew it I had 
a full-time career! What was the first cake you 
ever designed? Like all cake decorating beginners, I started by following instructions and ideas from books. The first cake I designed myself was a 3D Elmer the Elephant cake for my son’s first birthday – he’s now nearly 18! I enjoyed the whole design process so much that ever since Elmer I have always designed my own cakes. 3 Flower-power-cake-by-lindy-smith-230pxDo you have a favourite cake that you’ve designed? I don’t have an outright favourite – some designs I love as soon as I’ve designed them, others become favourites after they have been beautifully photographed. One very special cake was my sister’s wedding cake. She met her husband while travelling overland to India, so the cake featured designs and patterns from buildings along their route that were special to them. What’s been the highlight of your career so far? I have been very lucky as cakes have opened many doors and given me many exciting and exhilarating experiences. For example, I have recently presented the Spanish version of my book The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible at the BCN and Cake Fair in Barcelona, Spain. It was amazing, I was the cake ‘celebrity’ – I’ve never had my photo taken with so many people and in such a short space of time. Another amazing experience was when I appeared as the cake expert on the BBC’s The Generation Game with Jim Davidson. It was such fun, so I’d love to do that again! What tips would you give to someone just starting the hobby? Firstly find a good teacher who can show you all the basics – this will save you a lot of time and frustration! Secondly, be patient and practice, practice, practice. Many of my new students think that, as if by magic, they will be able to create beautiful flawless cakes as soon as they have attended one class! How do you come up with ideas for your new designs? Anywhere and everywhere! I basically take inspiration from the world around me, what I see, what I am drawn to. I consider myself a designer whose medium happens to be sugar! What I don’t do is copy other peoples’ cakes. I do like to know what others are creating, but only to ensure that my work is not similar. I aim to be original and to push the boundaries of sugarcraft. What’s your favourite cake decorating technique and why? At the moment it’s stencilling, which is quick, easy and highly effective! A technique that anyone can master. I really enjoy experimenting with stencil designs and using them in unusual or unexpected ways. I also design my own culinary stencils for the Lindy’s Cakes range, which I love doing as it gives me even more creative scope. Your designs are loved all around the world – why do you think they have such international appeal? Perhaps because my design inspirations come from across the globe? One example from my Cakes to Inspire and Desire book, is the Eastern Ornament cake where my inspiration was Indian paisley patterns and palaces. Another example from my Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible is my Gaudi’s Grandeur cake, which was inspired by a day trip to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s amazing architecture. In my 2013 Creative Colour book, to be published in September, I have designed cakes using all sorts of different inspirations including ones from Brazil, Italy and India! Finally, what do you have planned for the future? I have lots of exciting new projects lined up. I'll be at the Cake & Bake Show, more foreign editions of my Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible are also being launched. As I mentioned, my 13th book Creative Colour For Cake Decorating is being published – so I’m really looking forward to that. I am also in the very early stages of designing a couple of online classes, which I hope will be available soon.

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To find out more about Lindy Smith and see some of her beautiful cake decorating products, visit www.lindyscakes.co.uk

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