On this TBT I wanted to share with you a "milestone" cake in my cake design career: My Chinese Pagoda and Dragon Cake! It was a 2011 order and it changed the way I approach cake decorating.
This cake was a first in many ways, first "high profile client" (who became a dear friend), first gilded cake (perfect theme to paint everything gold!) and first sculpted cake.
At the time, Rolled fondant was my main icing method; this soon changed to Rolled chocolate, but the red portions (base of cake) and the top section (roof) of the cake were iced with fondant. The rest of the sugar work was achieved using comercial gum paste. The lacquered look of the cake topper (Chinese arch) was done by mixing black gel paint with lemon extract, this produced a lovely lacquered/wet look!...today, I would have used confectioners glaze:). One downsize of this painting technique is that it takes forever to dry...and sometimes, never dries at all, and this makes it's handling tricky!!!
The "Gate" topper had wooden dowels reinforcement, and it was free standing, intended to be preserved. This cake was ordered for a Corporate event for a High profile Chinese distributor who was visiting the US, hence the Chinese characters in the medallion that read "Friendship".
The Dragon was hand sculpted using a reference image I printed from the web!. It looks tremendously complicated...but I have to confess that it wasn't!!. i would have to do a video tutorial or something of the like to explain how to make it...but wedding season is about to kick off, and that is going to have to wait!!
Thank you for taking the time to read this words. All my best, I.
Since opening in 2010 in Cincinnati, Venezuelan born Ileana Saldivia’s studio, Sugar Realm has become a preeminent wedding and celebration cake design boutique. In 2018, due to her husband's job, Ileana and her family relocated to Philadelphia, and so did her Sugar Kingdom. Sugar Realm’s cakes and confections are known for their sophisticated flavors, unique designs, artistic sugar flowers, innovative techniques, and architectural compositions. The studio’s wedding cakes are regularly featured in leading bridal, lifestyle, and cake decorating magazines. In the December 2015 issue of “Cincinnati Magazine,” Sugar Realm was named “Best of the City” and featured on the cover. Saldivia’s blog “Life in a Sugar Kingdom” is regularly visited by hundreds of cake enthusiasts and professionals.
Our online cake decorating class "Make-ahead techniques for stunning cakes", covers ileana's favorite cake decorating techniques, as well as the recipe of her signature Rolled Chocolate and her favorite tools and resources.