Welcome to the Directory - Rebecca | Rebecca Jane Sugar Art
Rebecca really has hit the Christchurch baking scene with an explosion - and not the buttercream kind! She is quickly establishing a name for herself, pushing the boundaries of traditional cake and sweet treat design and creating gorgeous, unique pieces that are allllmost too dreamy to eat.
What was your background before Rebecca Jane Sugar Art, do you remember the defining moment where you decided baking was the way to go?
I've always loved cooking, baking and experimenting in the kitchen. I've also tried my hand at a whole bunch of crafty things over the years. I discovered cake decorating while looking at what to make for my kids' birthday cakes it seemed like all of my interests put together. I set my mind to mastering making these edible art works! I decorated cakes as a hobby while my kids were little and worked on refining my skills. After a while I realised I didn't want to do anything else, so I started pursuing it as a business.
Take me through the process of meeting with you to determine the all important sweet treats?
As I work out of my registered home kitchen, our initial kōrero is done over email. I do cake tasting boxes every few months so you can enjoy your tasting in your own time. We can then meet for a coffee closer to the wedding to finalise the design details.
In terms of deciding on the design, I advise couples to collect up all their ideas and bring them to me to create some design options. While I can create a version of a cake from Pinterest, I much more love creating something unique that speaks of the couple and their wedding. So search for inspiration in all kinds of places and let me see how it can translate into edible form. Things like art, fashion, nature, interior design, architecture and so on can inspire as well as the little details from your wedding - stationery, flowers, jewellery, gown, venue, etc. My main tip is don't think you have to have the design all figured out on your own, and that goes for your other wedding vendors too. Treat us as designers and let us create something wonderful for you!
What’s your favourite flavor combo, and the weirdest one you’ve ever come across?
I find it hard to resist anything salted caramel to be honest, although I do love the combo of flavours in Persian love cake. It's a spiced caramel mud cake filled with rosewater buttercream, Turkish delight, pistachios and freeze-dried raspberries. For the weirdest... nothing springs to mind particularly, although I seen a few weird savoury 'cakes' that are meat and veges iced with piped mashed potato!
What do you think the cake trends will be this season? Are naked cakes on their way out anytime soon?
Naked cakes are still pretty popular, although they tend to be a bit more refined. A smooth semi-naked finish with the texture of the layers peeping out looks great and is a great base for fresh blooms or fruit. Alongside this, buttercream finish cakes are super popular in general so cake designers are experimenting with different buttercream textured finishes. Concrete, plaster, ruffles, watercolour, marble and so on. Drip cakes are still reasonably popular but are also starting to get more refined.
I love it when cakes take their inspiration from other spheres of life. Interior design trends have made their way into cake design and are still going strong, such marble, diverse metallics, concrete, greenery and bohemian details. The loose organic floral arrangements that designers are creating I totally love, and I think we'll start to see more of these loose style arrangements on cakes, rather than small tight bunches of flowers as has been done traditionally. Hand painting is another great cake trend and is a fun way to tie the design in with your wedding stationery, flowers, etc. One trend I'm going to predict that we'll start seeing more of is edible lace. Lace cakes have always been done, first with piping and more recently with edible lace molds but mainly with a classic look. Stunning bohemian style lace wedding dresses are everywhere at the moment and have me seeing modern lace cake designs everywhere. I'm excited to see how these get interpreted in the future in new fresh ways!
What’s on the cards for Rebecca Jane Sugar Art?
Well since I just started business this year I'm still slowly establishing myself, while also being mum to my two girls! This summer will be my first full wedding season and I'm so pumped for it. I'm also thinking about building up my online store with more modern partyware - cake toppers and candles, etc so that people can add a bit more wow factor to their cakes - whether it is one of mine or one that they made themselves. I love teaching so I'm planning to do some more workshops in the future. I would like to host group decorating classes so I can share some of my knowledge, but also offer in-home ones as a different option for a hens night or girls get together. Wine and treats - what could be better?!
Favourite Canterbury hotspot? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I'm loving the city centre and seeing all the new things popping up and creativity that is around. My spare time usually involves something kid-friendly! For myself though, I love singing and gardening - occasionally at the same time! I'm developing my home garden and filling it with edibles and flowers I can use on my cakes. Getting out into nature helps relax me after being busy in the kitchen and it's fun getting the kids involved in it too.
What do weddings mean to you?
For me a wedding is a celebration of love and family. It's really the one chance you get to have the ultimate party! But it is also just a starting point, setting you up for a lifetime of enjoying each other.
To the budding baker, what is your best advice?
Invest in some good key tools and practice getting a nice solid, even, smooth base. This is the key to being able to then go on and create whatever amazing designs you like. Then just experiment and don't take it too seriously. Trial and error!
Your favourite tool?
It isn't very exciting, but I would be lost without a good palette knife and scraper. That said, I do have a bit of a sprinkles problem…
Here’s to your first full wedding season, Rebecca - I’m sure I won’t be the only one waiting patiently to see your incredible creations over the coming months!