Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to change the venue for the 2014 “That Takes the Cake!” Sugar Arts Show in Austin to the Austin Community College (ACC) campus at Highland Mall. The new address is 6001 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78752 and the mall’s website is www.highlandmall.com.

Highland Mall brings a number of new perks above and beyond our previous venue. The mall has plenty of free parking, access to public transit bus and MetroRail routes, is just across the highway from the Crowne Plaza (our official hotel for the event), an operational food court, and many upscale design features. The mall was purchased recently by the college and while some stores remain open for business – which we hope will bring in more new visitors than ever before – our event will now be housed in a large open space surrounded by closed stores that are also available for our use, allowing us to make for better noise control for classes, put show cakes in window displays, and other exciting new opportunities to bring you the best show ever.

We’re still going to have our full cake competition, the live demos and on-site competitions, the kids’ decorating area, the raffles, classes, vendors, and everything else that folks have come to love that have made our show one of the biggest in the nation and internationally respected.

We hope to be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with complete information as soon as possible. Thank you for attending our show and for bearing with us during this change. Stay tuned to our blog and social media (Facebook, G+, and Twitter) for updates. And if you use Google calendar, you can add the event here.

We’ve posted a press release about this change here.

 

We’ve got the official language for our 2014 show theme available for those who like to plan their awesome showcakes early:

Time is of the essence for our 2014 theme of “Cake of Ages”. Cake decorators and sugar artists are challenged to create wedding, novelty, or other cake styles that depict a point in time such as a moment, a year, a decade, or an era. This could be done via an iconic person of a bygone century, the motifs of a particular decade, an event that represents a period in history, or other interpretations of architecture, art, or even fashion styles that have come and gone. Judges will be looking for the application of the theme conceptually throughout the design; whatever is chosen should clearly indicate an obvious point in time. The options are timeless!

Registration, class information, and more will be available at http://thattakesthecake.org/ soon. Stay tuned!

 

We had a fabulous Day of Sharing on Sunday and are very grateful to everyone who came! Here’s a summary of some of the things discussed and links the instructors wanted you to know about.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

First was Kerri Morris who showed us how to make a lovely Art Deco cake. She mentioned Bake Magazine, which is free for “qualified readers with managerial responsibilities in the retail, bakery cafe and intermediate wholesaler baking business in the United States and Canada” according to their website. She’s participating in contest and would love votes here.

Kerri’s Art Deco cake. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Next was Lauren Kitchens who demonstrated a modelling chocolate luggage box and had us all in stitches with her great stories and gossip. She also talked about pricing issues and her recent Yoda cake. Someone mentioned that she had a coupon for her Craftsy class on her website but I don’t see it on there…if I get a link I’ll update this later (UPDATE: go to http://fancycakesblog.com/classes/ and scroll down to the Cityscape Cakes section for a link to the coupon!).

Photo from Lauren’s blog.

Lauren Kitchens and Mary Carmen Del Rio on the stage at our Day of sharing. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Lauren also has a YouTube video that show you her recipe and methodology for making modelling chocolate:

And a video on how not to do it!

Next, Mary Carmen Del Rio demonstrated a multi-tiered cake using non-toxic markers for decorative accents:

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Then Jennifer Bartos of Make it Sweet demonstrated the new Icing Images Sweet Accents system, and one was given away as a door prize!

Samples from the Icing Images Sweet Accent system on a cake. Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Our last demonstrator was Stephen Benison, who demonstrated his Fabric Flower technique, for which he also sells stencils on his site.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Stephen has a how-to video on the Fabric Flowers here:

Stephen also demonstrated some other techniques, like his Funky Flowers, mini flowers, and other cake accents, as well as showing what students learned in the extended classes in the days before the Day of Sharing:

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Photo by Sandra Berkshier.

Stephen would love some more Likes on his Facebook page!

The winner of this year’s Heart of the Club award went to Chris Cantrell! The club honours you for your contributions through the years, Chris!

Photo by Tien Bui.

Kimberly Chapman posted a full tutorial on how to make the purse cake balls she brought, so those of you who didn’t get one can make and chomp your own!

Photo by Kimberly Chapman.

Here’s a link to a compilation video showing more photos and some video clips from the demonstrations.

Thank you to everyone who attended, to our fabulous instructors, and to our sponsors:

 

I reviewed Composi-Mold on my blog after the folks who make it contacted the club through our page, and I am so impressed by it that I’ll be doing a demo of it along with Jennifer for the August club meeting. Until then you can get a preview of what it’s all about here.

Note that this is me speaking as myself and the club does not endorse specific products, although the club is happy to help bring vendors and cake decorators together.

 

HB 970 – the updated cottage food law for Texas – was unanimously voted out of Senate committee this morning. The full text of it is here.

Next it moves to a Senate vote, but only if Lt. Governor Dewhurst picks it to be voted upon.

The Texas Baker’s Bill folks provided this information on their Facebook page for what needs to be done next:

To get this bill out of the Senate, do two things:
1. Call or email David Dewhurst, Lt. Governor, and tell him you support HB 970 and want it to be voted on by the Senate and sent to the Governor for signature. (512)463-0001 or http://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/contact.php

2. Call your own Senator (except Deuell or Schwertner; Deuell is the Sponsor, and Schwertner is becoming a Co-Sponsor) and ask them to Co-Sponsor the bill and vote YES on it so that it can become law. Call (512)463-4630 for the Capitol Switchboard and give the operator your zip code; they will be able to connect you with your Senator. You can also email your Senator through their page on the Senate site. http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/Members.htm

If you care about your rights to sell baked goods from your home kitchen, you need to make these phone calls first thing tomorrow during business hours. Typically calls to government officials like this are very quick: tell them what bill you want voted on, they’ll ask you for some details to ensure you’re in the appropriate voting area, and you’re done. If you want to take time to tell them why the bill is important to you, you can, but honestly it just takes a few seconds to make it clear that you want a thing voted for and a handful of people saying so can sway a politician significantly.

So call!

 

A few of our club members went to the 2013 Frosting Creators of San Antonio Day of Sharing on May 5. We had a lovely time with our sister cake club! One of our members, Kimberly Chapman, brought home a blue ribbon for her gummy version of the US flag.

We love introducing people from the cake world to each other and fostering partnerships that help everyone. To that end, our president Kyla Myers took one of Earlene Moore’s tiara molds over to the Simi Cakes booth for some isomalt.

Michelle Galprin helped Kyla get the isomalt into the mold, and below is a photo of Irene Hackbarth (our treasurer), Kyla, Michelle, and Gwen Drake (our historian) working to get the piece out of the mold:

Taking an isomalt tiara out of a mold

Having quality molds and quality isomalt makes decorating easier!

It worked very well, as you can see from this photo later at Earlene’s booth:

isomalt tiara

Such amazing possibilities with these products!

We love our vendor partners and friends, and it was great seeing them at such a lovely event. Thank you to Frosting Creators and everyone involved!

 

We support other states trying to get cottage food laws enacted so more home bakers across the country have the freedom to sell their wares.

We got an update from our friends in Oklahoma the other day with this news about their petition:

Dear Cottage Food Law Supporters,
I wanted to personally thank you all for your continued support! We are almost to 4000 signatures!! I am emailing you all to congratulate YOU! As a result of this petitition and the efforts of Mary Jane Newlon, Representative Roberts of Durant and his co-authors, Governor Fallin signed the Home Bakery Act of 2013 (House Bill 1094) on April 15, 2013. I have enclosed a link for the bill for those who would like to read it in it’s entirity, but here are the highlights:

-Home bakeries may make $20,000 Gross in Sales yearly
-Baked good may not contain fruit or meat (this includes fillings)
-Home bakeries do NOT require a license to operate
-Food must be properly labeled with name and address where it was baked, including the name of the item
-Inlcude label, “Made in a home food establishment not licensed by tthe State Department of Health.”
-Effective November 1, 2013

Link to the House Bill 1094

While this is not a Cottage Food Law as they are designed, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Please note that this bill does NOT included canning or any item outside of baked goods.

Again, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart for the continued support. This is a great step in the right direction for Oklahoma!

Sincerely,

Tina Curtis
Originator of Cottage Food Law Petition

If you are in Oklahoma or have friends who are, please sign/pass this information and petition on.

 

Just got an email via Bake a Wish that there will be a bake sale to benefit West, TX hosted by Austin Bakes. Details and a sign-up form to bake or volunteer can be found here.

poster

 

If you live in Texas and sell cakes out of your home – even occasionally or if you might want to in the future – you need to be aware of House Bill 970 and how it can affect home bakers.

Our club’s own Kelley Masters has been on the forefront of home baker law in Texas for ages. She runs an excellent website resource at http://www.texascottagefoodlaw.com/ and a Facebook page that has regular updates here. She sums up the key elements of the bill on her site this way:


The bill:

  • Expands the list of allowed foods
  • Lets you sell at a location other than your home
  • Prohibits municipalities from outlawing cottage food operations through zoning.

If you can get to the Capitol when the Facebook page lists events, please do. And everyone should call their representative and ask them to support HB970. If you’ve got a personal story to share why this bill would benefit you, be sure to tell them that. There’s a lobby out there trying to keep this bill from passing, so your voice is key to maintaining and expanding your right to sell baked goods from your home. See Kelley’s How to Help section for more ways to get involved and have your voice heard.

 

Our cake show has a fabulous Groupon deal that just started, but has limited quantities. So grab it while you can and tell a friend!

Also remember that the deadline to enter a cake, pre-register for a class, or get discounted online general admission tickets is February 15. So sign up now to avoid missing the competition, higher costs, longer lines, and full classes at the show!

You can also still sign up to volunteer or buy a t-shirt online, but after February 15 you have to take what’s available at the show itself.

Hope to see you at the show!