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Lifestyle : Cakes for all Occasions 2011
1HERSA1 E019 Cakes and Cookies for all occasions Let us help you live your wedding cake and cookies dream From modern to traditional, every dream answered Call (02) 8824 5373 or 0414 681 703 www.heidisdreamcakes.com.au email@example.com Love great cakes as much as we do? Visit or contact ICED AFFAIR to make it happen! We have everything you need, including classes to teach you how to create great cakes. 53 Church Street, Camperdown NSW 2050 phone: 02 9519 3679 firstname.lastname@example.org www.icedaffair.com.au eg r e a tc a k e sa sm u c ha sw ed o ? Voted No. 1 fruit mince pies - 2009 SMH Good Living Voted No. 6 Sydney's best patisseries - Time Out Sydney 2008 occasion cakes * croissants * churros * empanadas * coffee * pies Tel: 02 9553 4933 37 President Ave, Kogarah Open: 6am-5.30pm Tue - Sat, 6am-4pm Sun, Mon closed www.sugarloafonline.com We specialise in South American & European Pastries, Cakes & Breads patisserie AG4701292AA-221111 The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, November 22, 2011 19 good living cakes for all occasions special report Embracing an edible artform From basic cakes to elaborate sculptures, this designer has done them all, writes Ellen Connolly. Having a hoot . . . Chavez crafts designs by hand; (above) his suckling pig cake. Photo: Domino Postiglione For Christopher Chavez there's a fine art to designing cakes. He regards the dense mud cake on the kitchen bench as his canvas, the ganache and edible paints as his palette. ''Cakes are not just cakes any more -- they're more of a masterpiece and that's what people expect,'' says Chavez, who runs Cake Occasions, a bespoke cake design business. From his studio in Paddington, Chavez carves, sculpts and paints to create replica and sometimes life- sized novelty cakes that look too good to cut and eat. Among his collection are a three- metre-long Qantas 737 model aircraft for a pilot's retirement, a roast suckling pig for a Lady Gaga- themed party, ski boots and a one- metre-high Transformer for his son's fourth birthday, which took two days to make. ''He destroyed it in two minutes,'' Chavez says. Chavez thrives on the challenges each new commission brings -- including requests from his three sons -- and has had some bizarre assignments, such as a dungeon with a woman tethered to a pole for a dominatrix's 40th birthday, replete with whip marks and chain bikini. He outsources the baking of the cakes to a pastry chef, then spends hours -- up to two days -- designing and painstakingly decorating them. ''I do everything by hand,'' he says. ''I love doing cars because they're so technical and detailed.'' Chavez is among a niche group of Australian cake sculptors creating a buzz worldwide for their adventurous designs and strong skills. ''We're at the forefront when it comes to sophisticated cake designs and we're getting a lot of overseas chefs coming here, wanting to hone their skills,'' Chavez says. ''I think Australians are very innovative and unencumbered by traditionalism. ''We're not bound by the rules and we come up with our own way of creating designs.'' Chavez has clocked up more than two decades in the industry and remembers helping his Filipino- born parents bake and decorate cakes before school for the family's bakery in western Sydney. ''Typically, a birthday cake would be covered in lots of butter cream and you'd put a daggy plastic 'Happy Birthday' sign on top and then pipe the name on it,'' he says. Despite his reluctance for the before-school chores, Chavez found he had a flair for calligraphy and his passion for art and baking led him to work at the highly respected Sweet Art and Planet Cake. He branched out on his own in 2006 to open Cake Occasions but has started teaching at Planet Cake to amateurs and chefs on both the basics and more complex structures, such as cars. Students are taught how to hand- carve slabs of cake into shapes, rather than the traditional method of using moulds. Chavez then uses ganache to sculpt, icing to glue and edible paint for detail and markings. ''Even though you have stencilling tools, I still tend to do everything by hand,'' he says. ''For me, that's the art.'' As for the most important quality he possesses, Chavez is quick to answer: ''Patience.''
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