Cake decorating is truly an art and Paris Cutler is a pure artist. The proof is in her latest book Planet Cake Love and Friendship, where her extraordinary and exquisite cakes are broken down into a step-by-step process. A ‘bible’ for budding cake-makers, you can move through the recipes and techniques and to make truly wow-factor cakes. You might not be able to reach her level quickly, but the pleasure is all in mastering the craft! We asked Paris a bunch of questions to get a slice into her life as a cake designer (pun intended!).
1. Tell us a little about yourself Wow this is a tricky question, I bought Planet Cake in 2003 and I have been running my business for 12 years, this has taken up a lot of my time, I am also a Mum to my 12 years old daughter, Estelle and my business have been my great loves. However, in the last two years some crazy things have happened. The idea for ‘Planet Cake Love & Friendship’ came to me because I was ‘dateless and desperate,’ I had a great life and a lot of achievements in my business but I was pretty lonely. Then during the course of writing the book, I met the man of my dreams, got married and I am now expecting my second child at the age of 42!! Maybe it was the book, but my life has completely turned upside down—for the better! I realised family and love truly are the most important things. 2. How did you get into cake making? Poverty! When I first started in the workforce I was 18 years old and I was a runner for a stockbroking firm. One of the partners of the firm was having a birthday party and everyone was invited—it was a really big deal. All the traders and staff tried to outdo each other and bought him very expensive presents, such as Rolex watches. I had no money and was in a total panic, so I made him a cake. It was terrible, cracking everywhere and a figurine of him that looked like he was drunk—but he loved it, and he still brings it up to this day.
3. Describe your ideal wedding cake When you have made so many wedding cakes this question becomes really difficult. However, it would always be something timeless, elegant and personal. All of the cakes in the book follow this theme, they are cakes you can look back on and never cringe and they will still be fashionable in years to come. Fads come and go, and I have seen so many end up looking dated. For my wedding this year, I had a two-metre-high nautical themed cake—there is a smaller version of it in the book. 4. What does a typical day look like? My day always changes, at the moment its peak wedding season so we are run off our feet and Planet Cake also runs a really large cake decorating school so that takes a lot of my time. I love my job, I am very lucky. 5. What is your most memorable cake? There are so many, but, of course, one really ‘takes the cake’. In 2011 I did one of the most ridiculous things I have ever done—together with over 30 volunteers, we created a 1.3 ton Sydney Opera House Cake. The cake took 800kg of cake, 300kg of icing and 150kg of ganache, and one week to make. Total madness, I am not going to even tell you how much it cost! Here is a time lapse of the cake: http://bit.ly/1QyeuzL
6. What is your favourite aspect of your job? R+D! I absolutely love creating new classes for our school, new cake designs, books, and at the moment I am devoting myself to a baking project. I am determined to create wonderful gluten free and allergy cakes, because what is on offer at the moment is pretty limited and more and more people are suffering, why they should miss out on a slice of cake! 7. Are there any cake-related trends we should know about? There are a lot of trends at the moment, naked cakes are still chugging along after two years and Murdoch Books have a great new book out. Katherine Sabbath has had a big impact with her dessert cakes. However trends seem to be lasting less time than they used to and I think this is because social media has a short attention span, you cannot go wrong with a timeless cake, it screams classy and everyone always appreciates craftsmanship. 8. I am happiest when… I know it sounds cheesy and like it’s a PR plug, but my daughter is old enough now to decorate cakes, and at the moment we are making figurines and sugar flowers. It is such a joy, she loves it and it carves out time just for the two of us. I recommend all parents think about cake decorating as a great thing to do with kids, just be prepared for the fact that they may be better than you!
Images from Planet Cake Love and Friendship by Paris Cutler, Murdoch Books