We talk to sweet queen Elise Strachan, creator of My Cupcake Addiction, about her achievements and her top tips for baking success!
How did 'My cupcake addiction', your much celebrated blog come about?
My Cupcake Addiction started as a small retail business in Sydney, Australia called Cupcake Addiction. After many requests from clients for lessons, it developed into a free online cake decorating school with a now globally known
YouTube channel, Facebook community and associated blog, all following in the footsteps of my own personal sweet addiction, hence the name. I wanted to bring the art of cake decorating to everyone, regardless of their budget, location, access to equipment or skill level. My aim has always been to make over the top creations accessible to all, and to break them down into simple steps that anyone can replicate. I think that point of difference is what made My Cupcake Addiction so successful.
You have a gift for flavour and presentation, which inspires you most?
Presentation! Of course everything has to taste great but people eat with their eyes first and I want them to be so wowed by the amazing look and presentation of my creations that they can't help but get excited about actually eating it. Making things 'Instagram-worth' has been one of my secrets to success and since flavour and texture can't be transferred to people's smart-phones, it's all about the presentation!
Favourite celebration cake style right now?
Cakes that 'move'. I'm not talking about electronically animated cakes, just ones that 'do' something. I'm currently making a sugar skull cube cake with four different skull designs and each has spooky twinkling, light up eyes. In
Sweet Celebrations, we make pushpops that look like candles and also double as actual candles, flickering on the mantelpiece until they are eaten. I'm working on another cake right now with light up Christmas lights and flickering lightbulbs, and just completed a double sided Willy Wonka cake with a simple gravity defying chocolate waterfall illusion I created using parchment paper and a snap seal bag! It's all about surpassing expectations and adding an extra wow!
What cake decorating techniques blow your mind?
Life sized characters balancing on tiny bases! When I see a 6 foot tall robot on long skinny legs that's almost entirely cake, I wonder how the heck these cakes get from A to B. How do they not 'sway'? Or get through the door? And the vehicle required to transport? It blows my mind every time.
Cake Tips and Tricks
What three items from your cake kit can you not create without?
Snap seal bags, my set of metal circle cutters and parchment paper! Nothing too complex, but then simple's what I'm all about.
Wedding trend prediction for cakes in 2017?
Movement. Lights, sounds and more movement in cakes than ever before. I think we'll see more novelty cakes in place of 'traditional style' wedding cakes, and more of the double sided 'shared personality' style cakes that have started popping up in recent years.
Top three cupcake flavours?
White chocolate and raspberry, lemon with zesty lemon frosting and chocolate mud with Nutella filling!
Favourite cake decoration for a professional finish?
I love a gold leaf embellishment. Whether it's accenting a chocolate flourish, covering whole sections on fondant or subtle hints on buttercream or ganache, a little bit of gold goes a long way!
Best tip for uniform cupcakes?
Use an ice cream scoop to keep your batter uniform and neat and always cook in the middle shelf of your oven. A blank tray on the shelf above helps reduce cracking on the tops of your cupcakes by protecting them from excessive heat on top.
Watch This Space...
Top of your cake career bucket list?
Breaking a Guinness world record! Watch this space...
What next for My Cupcake Addiction?
My first cookbook has just launched and I have enough ideas for ten more! I'm working on a TV show and would love to see our online community continue to grow - there are ten million of us now which always blows my mind but there are new creative bakers joining every single day and I hope to be able to continue to surprise and delight them with simple and amazing dessert ideas.
Keep up with Elise and her sweet success at www.elisestrachan.com and www.mycupcakeaddiction.com and grab your copy of her fabulous debut book for jaw dropping cakes: Sweet! Celebrations by Elise Strachan (Murdoch Books, £20). Photography by Lauren Bamford.