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We first were introduced to Kara’s work last year when we saw this monkey cake doing a hand stand amongst some delicious looking banana cupcakes. Since then we’ve enjoyed seeing Kara test the limits of the tools and ingredients she uses to create her delicious and beautiful creations. In the second printed issue of Sweet Magazine, Kara created a Degas inspired piece for the art themed Edible Design feature.
Inspired by Degas
Using Edgar Degas’, The Star, 1876-77, as inspiration, Kara’s cake is exactly that, cake! The ballerina’s skirt is a dobos torte covered in wafer paper. Her body is modelling chocolate with wafer and sugar paste flowers. With the wafer pre-torn and shaped, her skirt was very quick and easy to assemble. Using wafer allowed for light to beautifully illuminate the layers and to give her delicacy and grace. She was airbrushed, dusted, and painted to create depth and to bring out more detail in the flowers, hair and face.
I love the way Degas played with light, softness, texture, and movement in this piece – all things I enjoy incorporating into my cake designs. Edgar and I were a perfect match! The ballerina really seemed as though she was gliding across his canvas as the star of the show. While creating the structure I found myself trying to move just like she is, to really understand her form.
Get to know Kara…
When you’re coming up with a new design, what inspires you most?
Anything that isn’t cake! I never look to cake for inspiration, because once you see it, it’s permanently on your mind and tends to creep into your design process. I want my cakes to be unique and to be unlike any other. It’s easy to replicate other cakes and styles, it far more fun to have created something that you can say is completely your own design! From the produce section at the grocery store, to clothing, to simply trying to recreate a feeling in edible mediums… Inspiration is everywhere.
You’re always experimenting and coming up with fabulous techniques that create uniquely ‘Kara’ creations, what do you recommend for readers who want to create their own unique style?
Play with your leftover edible medium. Extra cake? Do something you’ve never done. Extra gelatin from making sequins? See how gelatin behaves with other cake ingredients. Play with your food. When you come upon something that excites you, something that starts images of wildly different cakes spinning in your imagination, THEN you’re on to something. Grab that idea, stretch it, explore and push its limits. No one has every technique and style in their wheelhouse. That’s ok. But when you can’t get an idea out of your head, that’s the thing to pursue.
How do you manage a work, life, cake balance?
I don’t. And I say that laughing. I would love to have a scheduled time to start and ending caking daily, and be able to schedule the rest of my life the same. I cake first thing in the morning when I’m most energetic. I cake late at night when I’m most creative. I know myself and my habits. Luckily, since I’m at home with the kids, when the inspiration strikes me (or when the littlest is actually napping) I can grab my ingredients and tools and work. I don’t think any caker truly ‘balances’ work/life/cake. Cake is a passion, and anyone with a passion knows that it’s always with you, begging for attention.