My name is Dawn Fletcher and I live in Stratford Ontario Canada!
I officially discovered the beautiful art of cake decorating in March of 2013 when my husband gave me the Wilton Ultimate Decorating Set as a gift for my birthday. It contained 177 essential tools for anyone to make a “Pretty Cake” and I had so much fun experimenting with cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and cookies using the Wilton website for guidance. I was thrilled with the website and how clearly each cake was described and instructions given step by step in order to create any decorated dessert I wished!
All hail the Wilton Website! Click Here
Practice only fueled the fire for more knowledge and I decided to enroll in a Wilton Method Course that was offered in my hometown of Waterloo (about 40kms away). For four weeks my Sister-in-law and I attended a two hour class and learn some essential decorating basics. I finished 4 Wilton Method courses and was thrilled to be joined by my Niece for the remaining classes. Karen had discovered a passion for cake decorating while her mother was involved in the first course!
It was during the first few minutes of the very first class that I decided I was going to take this journey to the ultimate resource and attend the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Art in Chicago IL someday. Little did I know then that I would take that trip before the year was out!
In November of 2013 I attended the Wilton School in Chicago with my niece and graduated from their “Masters Program”. I received the official Wilton Master Certification as well as 2 other certificates in fondant modelling and gum paste creations. The level of expertise at the school is second to none and meeting and being trained by Sandy Folsom (as well as my other teachers Paula, Mary and Lorena) simply changed my life.
In February of 2014 I returned to the Wilton School to take the Foreign Methods course. This class was taught by the same woman who I had learned fondant modelling from and I was thrilled to be Lorena Hernandez’s student again. My husband Michael came to Chicago with me on this trip and it was my pleasure to introduce him to what I considered to now be “MY SCHOOL” and to show him off to my teachers and them to him!
I learned two very distinctive decorating methods during this stay at the Wilton School…
Australian String is regarded by many cake decorators as the “Rolls Royce” of techniques. It is incredibly difficult to master and requires patience and perfect icing consistency to be successful. I learned how to do delicate string work, bridge extensions, crimping, ribbon insertion and icing lace on a rolled fondant cake. It was incredible and exhilarating!
The English Nirvana Method is accomplished by creating intricate panels using liquefied Royal Icing. It is an architectural method featuring cakes that resemble intricate miniature monuments etc. This was extremely delicate and exciting work and the possibilities for patterns and styles are endless!
I again returned to the Wilton School in September of 2014 and learned how to use Isomalt in cake decorating. Isomalt is a sugar substitute that is melted and either poured or molded into different items. This makes it a very good medium to create great design elements for cakes that need to have clear color. Gem stones, windows for gingerbread houses, flowers and glamorous sparkling mosaics are just a few elements that can be made using Isomalt. I made a great friend in my teacher Laurie Bradach, and I learned a style of Cake Decorating that is rarely done in Canada.
5 certificates from the Wilton School!
I do love the Wilton School, but I felt it was time for me to experience the other sides of Cake Decorating. Michael suggested that I see where David MacCarfrae was teaching. David has made cakes for the Royal family in England and he was a judge on one of my favourite shows called Cake Walk. I was thrilled to learn that he was teaching 8 days of courses in Idaho (of all places) in April 2015!
So on April 16th 2015 I flew 3400kms to Boise Idaho and began one of the biggest adventures of my life! I spent 8 days learning the incredible ins and outs of Royal Icing. I learned to paint with it… sculpt with it… overpipe and embellish with it… and most impressively I learned to create extension string with it! This is a technique that is ALL David MacCarfrae and not done in this manner by ANYONE else in the world!
I am honoured… honoured to say that I am the very first and so far the ONLY Canadian to perfect this technique and be taught by David MacCarfrae and his partner Edward Windsor… I am honoured to say that they have released my creative mind… and I am MOST honoured to say that they BOTH have become close and dear personal friends of mine. Who would have thought that ALL my dreams could come true!
8 more certificates = 13 IN TOTAL!
Today… I am basking in the amazing knowledge and confidence that I discovered at the Wilton School and through my incredible training experience with David Cakes. I am putting my new skills to practice each and every day. I can’t help it… I can’t stop thinking about it! I even decorate cakes in my dreams and I love it!
Immediately after returning from Idaho Michael and I began renovating our home and creating a custom “Pretty Cake” kitchen for me to work in full time. The kitchen was officially approved by the Perth County Board of Health in August of 2015! Orders are piling in and friends and family have discovered the “Pretty Cake” experience!
There are competitions to enter and WIN… Wedding and other Trade Shows to attend… This blog to build and categorize my journey… AND Pretty Cakes to make for everyone!
P.S. I find it incredibly compelling to publicly thank the man who made ALL of this possible for me. I could NOT have accomplished ANY of this… let alone accomplished so much in such a short time… without the amazing love and support of my husband Michael Fletcher. He has never cared about the cost or the time commitment for my dreams… he never said he was bored of hearing me talk constantly about cakes, and decorating cakes and anything “cakey”. He just happily ate cake and supported me all the way! Thank you Michael… thank you so much!