We talk fondant and fairytales with the 2017 winner of our Great British Cake Decorator competition, Nicola Gerrans of Nicola Gerrans Cake Design …
How does it feel to be named Great British Cake Decorator of 2017?
I’m not sure that it has quite registered with me just yet! The other finalists were all so amazing, I had no idea mine would get any further than that – it was such a huge surprise.
What inspired you to enter the competition?
I absolutely love working within a theme, that definitely caught my eye and had me reaching for my drawing pencils almost instantly. I came up with four completely different fairytale designs I wanted to make so it took a few weeks before I could decide on which one to go with.
Is fairytale a favourite style of yours?
Yes, my daughter Lola, is a real fairy princess at heart; she definitely inspires a lot of my work, and all of my children’s expectations seem to get higher with each birthday cake!
Is there any artist who inspires your fairytale cake creations?
My favourite cake artist is Maggie Austin, I’m completely in awe of her work. I’ve taken her Craftsy classes which were amazing and I’m currently studying her exquisite book. It’s definitely a style that I aspire to.
Had you practised any of the elements of the design?
I didn’t. I really should have but I was unsure initially that I would actually be brave enough to enter so it was definitely a case of seeing how it went and whether it turned out how I had planned it to, which fortunately it did! I planned it out in quite a detailed sketch though so I kept that next to me all the way through and tried to keep it to plan as much as possible.
What is your favourite detail?
I love making autumnal designs. My favourite things to make are sugar leaves and berries, I enjoy spending time making them look as real as I can.
What part of the composition was the biggest challenge?
I really wanted it to look as realistic as possible, that was my main challenge. There are so many Cinderella themed cakes that have been done and I really wanted to try and find a different way of using the theme. The ‘moss’ board took some thinking about; in my head I knew how I wanted it all to look but executing it was much more difficult!
Would you recommend entering GBCD to friends?
Yes 100%. If you don’t try you’ll never know, it’s definitely given me much more confidence to try some more technical designs and the team at Cake Decoration and Sugarcraft magazine have made it a really lovely experience.
What are your top cake competition tips for our readers?
Definitely find your own style, plan it out as well as you can, display your skills and creativity to the best of your ability – and have fun!