Monday, September 5, 2011

Meet the Staff - Lesley, Course Director

Now it’s the turn of Lesley, our Course Director, to tell us a bit more about her.

How long have you been with Planet Cake?
Nearly a year. I started as a casual facilitator in October last year, went full time a few months later and moved into the Course Director role quite recently.

What does being the Course Director involve?
I deal with all the students’ queries about the courses and about their bookings, and advise people of the best course for them to start with. I organise the class calendar and the teachers’ and facilitators’ roster. I listen to people’s feedback and help to create new courses. I still facilitate sometimes too! It’s nice to get into the classroom every once in a while and be amongst the students.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Seeing the students enjoying their courses so much and being delighted with what they’ve achieved at the end of the class. It’s incredibly rewarding seeing how far people have come and how pleased they are with what they’ve done!

How did you come to Planet Cake?
I started as a student myself a few years ago; I was working in Investment Banking but wanted a complete career change. I was doing a Cert III at TAFE in baking and pastry and really enjoyed the cake decorating part of that, so wanted to take that further. I looked on the internet and found Planet Cake’s classes. I very quickly got hooked! and ended up doing the whole of the Basics Series and a few more besides.

And finally...?
It’s never too late to change careers! Follow what you want to do and find a job that you love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Now it’s time to get to know Anna Maria, our Senior Decorator and Teacher, a little better.

How long have you been with Planet Cake?
This is my sixth year at Planet Cake. Teaching was an occasional part of the job when I started, however as the courses have grown I am teaching a lot more these days!

What does being the Senior Decorator and Teacher involve?

Lots of work! Being the Senior Decorator involves having a lot of responsibility as sometimes last minute things get thrown at me! It also involves having the opportunity to do some beautiful high-end cakes which is a very positive aspect of the job, but of course there is a lot of pressure to make sure the end result is perfect!

As the Senior Teacher, there is a lot of preparation for classes involved, as well as developing new classes and doing the step by step process for classes and course notes. It also involves some experimenting with various cakes in my own time in order to decide how the students will get the best learning outcomes from various techniques.

What’s the best thing about your job?

It’s an opportunity to be creative. I love designing new cakes when I get the time. I love to teach and to encourage others to love cake decorating and to get them hooked on it!! I want every student to go home happy with what they’ve made.

How did you come to Planet Cake?

Paris and I had previously worked together at another cake decorating studio, and she asked me to join the Planet Cake team.

And finally…?

I am born into the food industry! I have been making cakes from a very early age and I absolutely love what I do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Meet the staff!

Welcome to the first in a new series of blog entries where you get to know a little bit more about Planet Cake Staff. We’re starting off with Emma, our lovely Kitchen Operations Manager.

How long have you been with Planet Cake?
I started off in February last year, in an admin role before moving into the Kitchen Operations Manager role in August last year.

What does being the Kitchen Operations Manager involve?
Hard work! Organisation, managing the staff and the day to day running of the production kitchen, including deliveries, orders, client liaison, whatever the day throws at me!

What’s the best thing about your job?
Seeing amazing things happening in the kitchen – watching cakes become fantastic creations before my eyes!

How did you come to Planet Cake?
I was a chef for five years, then I worked in Sales and Events for a few years. I then did a retail baking course at TAFE where I did 18 weeks of cake decorating, and I enjoyed it so much I decided to pursue it further. I saw a part time admin role advertised at PC, and wanted so much to be part of the Planet Cake world that I applied straight away. Paris saw my resume and offered me the full time job of Ops & Events Manager. How could I say no?  My love for cakes grew and grew! I eagerly wanted to be part of the kitchen and Paris saw how keen I was, and as the business was growing a Kitchen Ops Manager was needed.

And finally…?
I love what I do! I’m so happy that I have my dream job!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How did Adams Cake Turn Out?

I mentioned a few days ago that Adam was making a 7 tier cake this week in Gold, Latte and Ivory………Warm, Creamy and Earthy! The wedding cake is going to a venue tomorrow very similar to this beautiful setting below, for a wedding Sunday evening at Doltone House in Sydney.

Please see my previous post:

"I have given Adam a 7 tiers monstrosity of a cake, colors gold/latte and white, the clients are having 800 guests at their wedding and it is one of those cakes where the saying ‘making a silk purse out of a sows ear” is extremely apt. Adam and I have been discussing the cake for 2-3 weeks now and I have set him a challenge of turning this incredibly challenging cake into something beautiful! What would you do if your client came to your with the cake they had fallen in love with and it looked something like this? I look forward to showing you the results"

Although this cake was a long time in the making, I was thrilled with the results. It was a difficult cake because we did not want to reproduce it, the gold in particularly was too strong for the venue. Therefore we decided to make the base colour latte and dust it in gold. Adam’s beautiful handmade sugar roses were made in ivory and latte and some we dusted with gold dust and steamed and others just dusted, I think the result is like a warm coffee dusted with chocolate rather than a gold cupid. Adam did a wonderful job, sometimes is about taking something really challenging and improving it while still keeping the client happy! I feel a greater sense of achievement with these cakes than any other.

Well done Adam!

Invitation to Bridal Think Tank 17/01/2011

A gift for Brides check it out it is beautiful:

Planet Cake is hosting a think tank for brides at Planet Cake in Balmain on Thursday night 17th February 6-7:30pm. Why? We need to pick your brains and work out how we can better service our wedding couples. In return for your wisdom we will be giving you a surprise goodie bag to take home, including a 15% discount voucher for your Planet Cake wedding cake. Join us for a glass of bubbles or mocktail, nibbles and fine company. We will need you to answer some questions and particpate in a general brain storming session. We will be interviewing potential think tank members about all aspects of their event experience but primarily about your wedding styling and of course the CAKE. You do not need to be a Planet Cake client to attend this is an open invitation.
If you would like to attend the think tank please apply directly to and answer the following questions:

Phone Number:
Do you have 90-140 guests attending your wedding?
Are you hosting your wedding in Sydney?
Do you have a defined wedding theme? If so what?
Have all your suppliers been booked?
Which wedding blogs/websites do you follow?

Photo courtesy of

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paris is tired but happy! 28th January 2011

I have just finished watching Day 8 parts 1,2, and 3 of the Biggest SOHC the adrenaline is finally starting to drain from me and I am feeling my neck muscles relax a bit. On a practical level I am washing 3 loads of ganache stained clothes and have walked my dog for the first time in a week (lucky shes a chihuahua). Watching myself on video made me cringe especially as I was eating a magnum icecream at the same time as looking at my own bottom. However seeing the cake again was spectacular I still cannot really believe we did it. In saying this the one negative is that I do miss the volunteers, it feels like the weeks after christmas when all the excitment, relatives and good times suddenly disappear and you are just stuck with boring old mum and dad! The best thing to do is let go of the SOHC and start planning another stunt cake…………any thoughts?

With limited staff, courses running and everyone tired from the big project, it has been so important this week to keep morale up. So although I would prefer to crawl under a rock I have been trying to keep my energy up and keep from flagging. The best way to do this is to get my head stuck into another cake! I have given Adam a 7 tiers monstrosity of a cake, colors gold/latte and white, the clients are having 800 guests at their wedding and it is one of those cakes where the saying ‘making a silk purse out of a sows ear” is extremely apt. Adam and I have been discussing the cake for 2-3 weeks now and I have set him a challenge of turning this incredibly challenging cake into something beautiful! What would you do if your client came to your with the cake they had fallen in love with and it looked something like this? I look forward to showing you the results!!

You know that feeling when you are looking forward to having a day off, only to find out your dream has been ripped out from underneath your feet? After planning a day of lounging about and re-arranging my underwear drawer tomorrow I discovered I am working and not only that packing on the make up squishing my mangled feet into a pair of high heels and smiling for the cameras, yep its another socialite wedding (I promise photos) and I am really going to have to put on a performance worthy of an academy award.

I was feeling sorry for myself this afternoon and then discovered this baker/decorator...what genius I LOVE IT!

So that’s all from me, sleep tight and dream of cakes and perhaps one of these sweet things (or equivalent thereof)!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Worlds Largest SOHC - DAY 4

For all the action watch each day as it unfolds on YouTube:

It’s the end of day 4 at PC, where we are still attempting to make the worlds largest Sydney Opera House! This was make or break time, the goal was to have all of the sculpting completed by the end of the day so that the cake could set over night and we could cover it with icing tomorrow! However there were a few hiccups, and we are now definitely one day behind schedule.

Today was all about sculpting the Opera House, all we needed to do was sculpt the shape out of the cake ‘blocks’ representing the twin sails of the Opera House.

The Tenors were on the morning shift and came in raring to go, they attacked the second smaller set of sails with gusto and managed to have it layered and set up quickly, it was not finished when everyone left the night before so they did some great catch up work.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the sculpting on the larger sails was moving slowly as Jean-Michel and two talented volunteers struggled with the shape of the Opera House. However as much as JM tried something was wrong! An hour ticked by.

Conclusion: the internal boards of the cake were too big, giving us 'dummy' lines to follow. This meant that instead of relying on measurements and computer programs we would have to revert to the old fashioned method of carving by sight. Unfortunately we had lost valuable time and work was stalled until the problem could be resolved. In addition carving the Opera House by sight nearly fried everyone’s brains…..just look at the thing!

Carving by sight is made even more difficult when you recognize that the Opera House does not have a flat base, the sails are going up by increments at the front. We then all agreed that we could only do it by using the sail styro foam tips as a guide and matching the base cake to the tips. This was a problem was they had not been carved yet!! Everyone raced to the styro cave………………..

Now we had the tips we could start carving, it was by now 3pm, we had lost hours of project time! With only 1.5 hours to go, this is what the cake looked like. We had to make some progress and fast.

After an intensive pow wow meeting…………..Jean Michel managed to weave some magic. Although we needed each set of sails finished, at this point it was a huge achievement to get to this stage and required great problem solving skills and some super talented cake decorating.

While sculpting was stalled there was still work to be done, one tedious but enjoyable decorating job is making ‘little people’. The goal is to create at least 200 of them! By the way we are not employing minors, the 7 year old red-head is my daughter Estelle!

The volunteers today were just like having the Planet Cake team, they are the best people I have worked with for some time….and they are more professional than most decorators I have met.

However signs of stress were definitely starting to appear!!

A huge thank you to Jono, who with little sleep has carved styro foam, made boards, created templates, calculated cake volume, learned how to ganache a cake in 5 minute and without whom we probably could not have done this project!

By some type of miracle Jean-Michel and the volunteers managed to get the cake to this point before we left all dog tired and unable to look at the building for much longer without risking brain paralysis, although we are behind schedule I am thrilled with the shape and watching this beast of a cake emerge from its ‘block’.

Tomorrow we must must must,…………..catch up, its an early start of 6am for many here at SOHC headquarters. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Can I take a rain check?? We have our team thank you dinner tonight!!

Thank you! Here is webisode #2


ME: I don't want to peak too early, today is day two and I feel haggard...need to sleep well and get a clear head before tomorrow, there will be so much to do. This is a photo of me, I am going down hill fast in the sanity department, although I do find this all weather attire useful!

WEATHER: A hot muggy day in Sydney, reality was sweating outside in the sun and making the styro cave like an oven

WHERE: Planet Cake’s studio 10 minutes from the CBD

Margie: It was Margie turn to shine today as she raced around carving styro, measuring, making the Bennelong Rest (small sails at the back) and getting everything she possibly could set up for us to be able to continue with ease tomorrow. A huge thank you Margie from me and the rest of the team, in a project like this it is incredibly valuable to have your experience and work ethic, you now have our permission to race off to your daughter’s wedding!!

Emma: I knew that I had a little gem when I hired Emma, but she is a diamond, absolutely fabulous in managing all the crew, dealing with stress, constantly changing plans and ME!!

PC Staff: All of the rest of the staff were in today and everyone is looking forward to tomorrow when we get cracking with the actual building.

ADDITIONAL CREW: Jono worked last night until very late, making sure we had our templates and the base boards to work from! He is still here now as I write this blog drilling the centre poles along the spine of the Opera House sails so that we can start building tomorrow.

The sopranos are a light and efficient team; they would definitely be the snow leopards of the crew, especially with their never ending passion for styro and all things difficult! We will be interviewing members of each team every day for face book and our update blog so stay tuned!

The Tenors have been on afternoon shift and as we have been waiting for the boards to be cut they have been left with only bits and pieces to do. The pace has slowed somewhat. I have given them a challenge to catch up top speed, tomorrow they will be on morning shift and the first to start constructing the cake. If they can get to the third layer of cake on the biggest sails before the end of their shift, then I will wear an “ILOVE THE TENORS” T-shirt and heart tattoos for the rest of the day…I did notice they leapt into action quite promptly.


Today was the day we collected the Styrofoam for the base and carved it, this was Margie’s domain so of course this was done! I had a sleepless night last night worrying about everything else! We needed drawings for the in-between boards, the boards cut and covered with vinyl and the centre poles in place before we could start building (layering) the cake. Unfortunately everything was done, but the cetrepoles not in place (just time constraints) so our plans for today were out the window in terms of actually starting on the cake and as a result we have carved the sails, made the 6inch dowels and made little people we will need at least 100!

TOMORROW: Jono Will finish the centre poles tonight (he is working on them now) this means that we can start layering the cake first thing. We need the cake completely sculpted and carved by Saturday night, so tomorrow will be crucial in making up time! Comon Tenors, I need you to break the back of it tomorrow morning!