Learn how Brazilian Ana Elisa Salinas is living out her dreams as a cake artist!
Brief history of your business and how you got to where you are today?
In 1994 I graduated from Universidad Federal do Rio de Janiero (UFRJ) with a Bachelor of Product Design. While in college, I learned the art of decorating cakes, along with my mother Ana Maria. Later that year I became a professional and opened "Atelier Ana Salinas." After traveling the world learning from top-notch cake decorators, I fell in love with teaching. And soon afterwards in 1998, her sister Christiane, opened Boloarte - a store specializing in products for cake decoration in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2001, Boloarte had its first International Show, bringing the world's leading names in cake to Brazil. Colette Peters, Pilar Gonzales, Debbie Brown, Marion Frost, Maisie Parrish, Margaret Braun, Margaret Ford, Nicholas Lodge, among others were all in attendance teaching alongside me and my mother! It was a dream come true for me!
In 2012, I started teaching different courses in Portugal such as the "upside down" technique, the "circus cake" and one of my specialties, "how to make creative cakes at a low cost using basic elements." I always enjoyed my time there and would leave with a rewarding feeling for giving those artists a new skill.
In July of 2013, I launched my first book, co-authored with my mother - "Descobrindo Bolos".
How were you first introduced to Satin Ice?
It was during the IBIE Show in Las Vegas where I saw professionals using it. At that moment it was a very new product to me because we didn't have anything like it in Brazil. But unfortunately I didn't have the chance to use it in our studio because it was not available in my country yet.
I am passionate about cartoons - and the funny part is that my personality is very similar to those crazy cartoon characters! In cartoons “everything is possible” - and those are the words I live by. I always try to bring a fun and comical tone to each cake I make. In cake decorating I am inspired and love the work of two great professionals: Debbie Brown, (who taught me everything I know about modeling) and Anne Heap, (of The Pink Cake Box), who is extremely creative and playful with all of her cakes!
It is very hard for me to pick a “favorite” because each cake is like a newborn child to me. But if I think back it has to be the reproduction of the St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow.
Most challenging cake to date?
The first major challenge in my career was when the famous Brazilian wedding planner - Roberto Cohen - ordered a upside down cake for his daughter’s 15th birthday. I rose to the challenge, but I didn’t expect that 10 years later I would be creating an upside down cake hanging from the ceiling for him! This was by far the biggest challenge in my career! The cake was created as a chandelier for a wedding, and the result was really amazing. A great team helped to carry and hang the cake on the ceiling, where is stayed for more than 4 hours!
What advice or tips can you offer to Satin Ice newcomers?
Satin Ice fondant is extremely soft so it works best if you roll it out thin.
Enjoy the ready-to-use colors to create new and compelling tones for your cakes. (Be sure to take a look at the useful Satin Ice Color Mixes by clicking here.) I love creating different palettes to match colors by simply mixing them using a small amount of shortening in the hands.
Mixing fondant with Gum Paste (50-50) works best to model characters.
Describe your cake decorating style in just 3 words:
Fearless, fun and colorful!
If you weren't decorating cakes, what would you be doing?
I would be unhappy.
What is a 'regular' day like for Ana?
Every Monday and Tuesday we have customer cake consultations and then we divide and conquer amongst the team all the tasks for the week ahead. At the end of the day at home I grab a pencil and piece of paper and the creation process begins. I guess you can say each day we get our hands dirty working on the projects for the upcoming weeks!
What is your creative process for making cakes?
First I study the subject requested, looking for references on the theme in books, magazines, etc. If the cake is based on a film, I try to learn more about the personality of the characters in that film. The next step is paper and pencil – where I draw up the cake and later send to the client for approval. Usually the original design is changed a dozens of times until we reach the perfect final design!
Who or what is inspiring you at this very moment?
My inspiration is always based on what is going on around me! I love colors, contrasts and to play with different shapes. Right now I am in a "children's phase" and love using Disney colors.
What are the big trends you are seeing right now in wedding cake art?
I am seeing the trend of "less is more."
If you could create a cake for anyone in history (past or present): Who would it be and why?
Leonardo Da Vinci. I would use rich elements to create an amazing cake using sepia colors – to play off of his drawings and studies of the human body, as well as his avant-garde projects. And I think he would appreciate a fun cake on his birthday if he were alive…
What is the next "big thing" for Ana Elisa Salinas this year?
We just moved to a larger space and now I am working on creating video content for a You Tube channel.
I am living it right now! To be a Satin Ice Artist of Excellence at the Cake Fair was a huge experience for a Brazilian artist. Coming up I am a judge on the TV show "Next Great Baker Brazil" and "Cake Boss" for Discovery Network South America.
What was the most exciting part of The Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair (TACSF)?
Coming from Brazil the art of cake decorating is not as traditional as in America. Brazil has a market that has been growing for only a few years – so for me it was amazing to be side by side with many of my idols, like Ron-Ben Israel, Anne Heap, Lisa Mansour and many other great artists! I would never have this opportunity anywhere else! The Cake Fair was a unique opportunity to meet these stars, and also exchange information – it was an amazing experience!
Ana (below) at TACSF along with Ron Ben-Israel and Satin Ice Founder and CEO Kevin O'Reilly.
How do you feel the show impacted the cake community?
The Cake Fair was a great place to see "what's new.” Around every corner I had the opportunity to really learn new techniques from other Satin Ice Artists of Excellence in the hands on classes and demos, as well as a chance to meet people from all corners of the world. And my favorite part - the Fashion Show - I couldn't get enough of it! It was undoubtedly the most complete event for cake decorating lovers that I have ever attended. I can't wait until 2017!
What would you do differently at the next Cake Fair?
The Fashion Show really impacted me. When I saw the girls on the catwalk, dressed in almost 100% produced edible elements - it became a desire for me to have my work on that stage! In 2017, I will be among the artists in the fashion show - but with clothes for teenagers - with a Brazilian touch. I think it will be a great innovation and addition to the show!
Name: Ana Elisa Salinas
Location: Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Education: Industrial design with a Bachelor's in product design.
Business name: Atelier Ana Salinas