Brief history of your business and how you got to where you are today?
Born and raised in Bandung (Indonesia, I moved to the Netherlands in 1998 and pursued my studies in Information Technology. From childhood onwards I have always liked to cook or bake. In short, everything that has to do with food. I think my Indonesian origin also contributed to the fact, that I love to cook and eat good food. I spend most of my free time in the kitchen to try new recipes and prepare something tasty. For me there is nothing more rewarding, than to see people enjoying my cooking! Back in Indonesia people bond over food.
In the beginning of 2012, I did my very first cake decoration workshop. This workshop fuelled my creative side and my interest in cake decorating. My profession is technically orientated and therefore using my creativity in my free time is very rewarding. As a result, I attended several workshops to learn various techniques, including the professional course PME Sugar Paste, Sugar Flowers in Royal Icing. In April 2013, I successfully completed this training.
At the start, I only made cakes for my family and my friends just to have some practice and apply various techniques. The comments on the looks and taste were always very positive, which resulted in people, based on hearsay, starting to contact me. From then on I started my Bellaria Cake Design business. What I really love to do is to apply (new) techniques in my cakes and create cakes I’ve never made before. What’s also giving me a boost, is translating customer’s wishes/ requirements into an original and beautiful cake design.
I give a lot of attention to the design of cake and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by cake community. I’ve been asked quite a lot to participate in international cake magazines and as such my work is published in Cake Central Magazine, Cake Design France, Cake Master magazine, Sugar magazine of India, Pretty Witty Cake magazine, American Cake Decorating and DIY Wedding magazine. Winning the Cake Master Magazine award back in 2014 in the wedding cake category was one of my highlights. I’ve felt very honored to stand in between the big names of the cake industry!
Since I run my cake business alongside my current job, I’m quite picky in which assignments I take on. Every cake I make is made with love, perfection and dedication, which mean that it is quite time-consuming. Due to my limited time, I cannot take on many cake orders.
How were you first introduced to Satin Ice?
In the beginning it was quite difficult to work with the correct fondant. I’ve used different brands and I did some research on the Internet. Based on the positive reviews I’ve bumped into Satin Ice. It was the type of fondant I was looking for. It is smooth and easy to work with, while at the same time it has a perfect taste. You can roll out Satin Ice very thin. There is no better fondant than Satin Ice!
Is there one particular project that you are particularly proud of?
There are two projects of which I’m particularly proud - both of them were collaborations. The first one was my cake for The Absinthe Ritual Collaboration- A Dutch Sugar Artist Tribute to Van Gogh 125 years of inspiration. I’ve chosen to use the “ Almond Blossoms” painting as an inspiration for my cake. After publishing my cake, the van Gogh museum tagged my Facebook message and contacted me to ask if they could use the picture of my cake on their website. How cool is that? I was and still am astonished.
The other project was my contribution for the collaboration about autism. Since this was my most challenging cake as well, I’ve added the description in that section.
What is your signature style?
My cakes are, in general, characterized by the simple but elegant style. That’s what I really love; beauty by simplicity. I love to use sugar flowers, because they give the cake an elegant, romantic touch. Furthermore, I like to combine different techniques and colours that support each other and enhance the looks of the cake.
What is your favorite cake?
Like everyone else I do have some favorite cakes and project. My first entry in the Cake International Show in Birmingham in 2014 was awarded with gold. This really took me by surprise, since there were so many beautiful cakes around. It is one of my favorites for multiple reasons. First of all, since it was my first attempt to participate in a competition at the Cake International exhibition. Furthermore, the cake was in decorated in my favorite color purple and I’ve applied different techniques, which I’ve never used before. The sugar flowers were made in different shades of purple and were the finishing touch.
Another favorite is my cake forsugar carnival collaboration. This one was quite difficult, since I really had to think out of the box and had to step out of my comfort zone. This time I’ve used a golden mask instead of sugar flowers as the eye catcher. The color combination of red and gold was really new for me as well. I was very pleased with the result and my cake was on the cover of the Pretty Witty Cake Magazine.
Most challenging cake and why?
Art across the spectrum I was invited to participate in a collaboration about autism. I was very drawn to this because I have people in my personal life who are diagnosed with autism. When I was scrolling the Internet I found an amazing story about an autistic girl, Marcy Deutsch, with an extraordinary talent for art. She draws animals in a highly photorealistic manner. I based the design of my cake on one of her drawings. It is a drawing of robins in the snow. I love how serene the robins looked in their habitat, so I wanted to recreate that in a cake. Mary Deutsch is living in the USA and my relatives in the USA notified me as I was referenced in a TV documentary about Mary Deutsch.
What advice or tips can you offer to Satin Ice newcomers?
Don’t be afraid of handling the product. It likes to be worked to become malleable and cover beautifully.
You have to be patient with developing your own skill set. It is a matter of trail and error, do invest in proper tooling and good workshops and keeping on trying and trying. Try to develop your own style that is recognizable by others. It took me a while to discover what my own style was and trust your own judgment. Try to learn from other cake decorators instead of seeing them as competitors.
Can you describe your cake decorating style in 3 words?
“Beauty by Simplicity." - I love to use textured designs that are simple, yet look gorgeous.
If you weren't decorating cakes, what would you be doing?
Most likely I would be doing (food) photography. It gives me a great satisfaction whenever I take a beautifully composed photo of a cake. Who knows what comes next?
What is a 'regular' cake decorating day like for you?
Because of my part time job I only take in assignments for the weekend. The prep work starts with collecting everything you’ll need to make the cake. Most of the time I’ll make the sugar flowers as a stock item in my free time. The job really starts 1 or 2 days before the cake delivery. Baking, filling, ganaching, decorating and finally solving the last pieces of the cake design puzzle. It is always a roller coaster ride, since you’ll start from scratch.
What is your creative process for making cakes?
First of all, I make a raw sketch of the design and think about the colours I want to use. During the decoration process I repeat and refine the design until I’m really satisfied. Most of the time I already know which colours I intend to use, but occasionally I adjust the colour scheme if the intended colours don’t give the desired result. Usually, I use fondant to cover my cakes after I’ve ganached them with chocolate. I do believe that the taste is as important as the looks of the cake. I try out lots of different fillings and flavors, and I continuously find new delicious combinations.
What is your favorite part about making/designing cakes?
Definitely, the decorating part !! In this phase your idea comes to life, it gives me a lot of satisfaction.
What is your favorite cake flavor to make?
Red velvet cake because it can be combined with a lot of different fillings and it has a moist structure in combination with a rich chocolate flavor. My favorite filling would be white chocolate Swiss meringue butter cream made from Belgian chocolate.
What is inspiring you this very moment?
There are so many things around me - fashion, patterns, textiles, buildings, paintings, flowers – that inspire me, the list is virtually endless. If you look around there are many things that can trigger idea, even the pattern of a woman’s dress, who is walking in front of you. The following cake was based with fashion as a theme.
Giambattista Valli Inspired cake
From A Walk on the Wild Side
Who would you love to learn from in the industry?
Faye Cahill, I would love to do a workshop of her. I’ve met Faye at the exhibition in Birmingham, but until now I haven’t had the chance to participate in her workshop. Her decorating skills with royal icing intrigue me the most.
What are the big trends you are seeing right now in cakes?
Drip cakes, naked cake, sweet table and the use of buttercream for decoration of the cake and flowers. More and more people start asking for cakes with fresh fruit, most likely triggered by the society’s focus on healthier food in general. The demand of fondant cakes is slowly starting to drop and is replaced by naked cakes.
What do you aspire to accomplish with your cakes?
A cake that tastes as good as it looks!
If you could create a cake for anyone in history (past or present): Who would it be and why?
Princess Diana. She is one the most famous role models in the 80’s and her beauty, modesty and elegance were only rivaled by Princess Grace of Monaco.
(photo by heightline.com)
Finally what is the next big thing for you?
My long-term goal is to publish a cake decorating book on wedding cakes and sugar flowers.
Name: Riany Clement
Location: Nootdorp (The Netherlands)
Education/Training: BSC Information Technology / training: PME Sugar Paste, Sugar Flowers and Royal icing and self taught artist.
Business name: Bellaria Cake Design
Cake Philosophy/words to live by: “Believe in yourself and realize your dreams.”