Name: Uta Hornemann
What is the history about your business and how you got to where you are today?
Before I started to make cakes in 2010, I worked many years in advertising and communications. Making cakes was never really on my radar. I first got in touch with cake decorating when I wanted to make a Hello Kitty cake for my daughter. I looked up on social media ideas for that cake and what I saw truly amazed me. I wanted to make something just a little bit as beautiful as what I was seeing. From then on, I was really into it and made many children's cakes. With each one I wanted that cake to look better than the one before.
(Some of our favorite Birthday Cakes by Uta)
I learned and perfected my decorating skills and after a year I realized that my hobby turned into a small business. My very first wedding cake, “Alice in Wonderland,” went viral and got featured on wedding blogs and get me noticed in the industry.
(Alice in Wonderland Cake)
How were you first introduced to Satin Ice?
I was looking for a reasonably priced gum paste to make my flowers and decorations. I tried out many - probably every gum paste that I could order within Europe - and finally found Satin Ice. Not only was it a really good price, I was extremely pleased with its pliability and the way it dried. I cannot imagine my caking life without Satin Ice gum paste!
Is there one project that stands out as significant or that you are particularly proud of?
It has to be a recent cake that I made for a wedding in Venice, Italy. It was made clear from the very beginning that the expectations were at its highest. The wedding reception and dinner took place in a small church and the cake was planned to be the centerpiece in front of the Altar. Until the final moment when the cake had been set up in the church, I still wasn’t sure if it was tall enough for the venue. I was worried it would not stand straight as a normal 3-tier cake would. Luckily it did! The delivery was quite tricky as well. The cake needed to be transported on a boat in Venice to reach the venue. At the end of the day, the cake exceeded the expectations of my clients as it stood close to 7 feet tall and had around 320 handcrafted sugar roses!!!
What is your signature style?
I always gravitate toward a minimalistic, clean and elegant design with an eye-catching element. Usually that eye-catching element is sugar flowers in a bold arrangement. Most of my wedding cakes follow a consultation - which sometimes has an influence on the design and style of the cake.
What is your favorite cake and why?
I have so many favorite cakes since I put so much of myself into each and every design throughout the creation process. Some cakes I love because they are contemporary and minimalistic like a few of my monochrome (or two color) cake designs.
(Uta's 3 favorites!)
Others she love's because they are vibrant, modern and elegant!
Most challenging cake?
Most minimalistic cake designs are challenging because they require a high level of accuracy - starting early in the process. They need a flawless outside after being covered with fondant. Nothing can be covered up, like bumps, straight edges, sagging fondant - you name it - you need to be perfect! This golden anchor wedding cake I found pretty challenging because there was a lot of measuring to assure that the anchor was attached straight
What tips of advice can you offer to Satin Ice newcomers?
Practice. Don’t give up. Believe or not my very first cakes didn’t look at all like I wanted them too.
Describe your cake decorating style in just 3 words:
Clean, minimalistic, elegant.
What is your creative process for making cakes?
Almost all my cakes are real cakes, so I follow a sketch that I do on the computer - because I am a lousy sketcher. My clients then approve the sketch.
The ideas for the designs are a mix out of what my client requires and a pool of inspiration that I gather from fashion, art and architecture.
If you weren't decorating cakes, what would you be doing?
I don’t know... Probably doing more sports and being home more. Getting back to my old job is not an option when you have kids.
What is a 'regular' cake decorating day like for you?
It all starts very quietly with my sketch or baking plan beside me. It rarely stays like this as the day passes on. I always like to be home, when the kids get back from school. During very busy weeks this is impossible on Thursday's and Fridays - because these are my decorating days. But they are old enough now so they understand when I need to focus on cake decorating.
(At The America's Cake Fair with fellow Artist of Excellence Albena Petrova and Violet Lin Tran)
What is your favorite part about designing cakes?
I love everything that comes after the cake is covered with fondant and I find it so satisfying to see the whole design come together.
Favorite cake flavor to make?
I personally love my passion fruit cake and rich chocolate truffle cake!
Who would you love to learn from in the industry?
I would love to learn how to paint on cakes. I am not only a lousy sketcher, but I am also not very good at drawing or painting - so to pick up that skill would be fantastic!
What are the big trends you are seeing right now in cakes?
Texture. It's a trend that comes from fashion and interior design. There are a million possibilities for cake decorators to make iconic designs because any edible material is allowed and can be applied in a very accurate way or completely free-style. It's great!
Currently I am not following too many trends. My clients are usually looking for a customized cake design that reflects their personality and the way they have designed their wedding day. If a trend matches that whole idea it will find its way into the cake design.
What do you aspire to accomplish with each cake?
I want to create cakes that exceed my clients expectations. Cakes that reflect my style of contemporary and clean chic as well as my client's wishes and personal touch. In the end I always want my cake to look flawless and cleanly executed.
If you could create a cake for anyone in history - who would it be?
My parent's wedding cake.
What is the next "big thing" for you?
Since in a months time it is the end of wedding season for me, I will spend some nice quiet time with my family and start to prepare for the upcoming wedding season. During this off time, I also hope I will be able to create this design that has been in my head for two years now. It's minimalist, clean and contemporary.