Huge congratulations to our very own CakeFlix pro member and guest tutor, Julie Rogerson, who has just had her first book published, ‘Modelling Figures for Cake Toppers’. Julie has been an inspiration showing great drive and determination to achieve amazing things during what has been a very tough time for most.
Where it all began:
Julie’s cake decorating journey started back in 2012, when she decorated her very first cake. She quickly became hooked by her new hobby, and found that she particularly enjoyed modelling cake toppers.
Her early attempts were not always successful, but with patience, perseverance and finally finding the tools and materials that worked best for her, she soon began to improve.
“My young daughter laughed at my first ever model of a panda – she was only young at the time – and it was a really poor attempt, but it did knock my confidence for a while. Luckily, as she has grown older (and my skills have improved), she is now much more supportive of my work!”
Julie had been a pro member of CakeFlix for a number of years, when she spotted the opportunity to collaborate with other members at Cake International in November 2016, in a members table display run by Paul and David. She was successfully chosen, as part of a group of 50 cake decorators, to create and display a Christmas themed cake, adapted from one of Paul’s tutorials. Julie chose to use the ‘Santa Face’ tutorial, from Paul’s ‘Decorating Christmas Cakes’ book, which she added her own twist to.
Julie says “It was such a privilege to work with Paul and David on this project, they were so supportive and encouraging, and I made lots of fabulous cake friends who I am still in contact with today.”
Spurred on by this exciting opportunity, Julie decided to also enter her own individual entry in the competition, by creating a BFG themed sculpture in the ‘large decorative exhibit’ category. She was both amazed and thrilled to achieve a Silver award for her very first entry!
This led to another entry the following year, gaining Julie a highly sought-after Gold Award, for her sculpted bust of The Night King, from Game of Thrones. She had worked on her piece for 6 weeks, creating and applying each piece by hand. It was most certainly a labour of love, but worth the effort to receive such an accolade.
This award was a turning point in her journey, as she was approached by Cake International Magazine and Cake Masters Magazine, to create tutorials for them. These, in turn, led her to becoming a regular contributor for Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine, who she still produces tutorials for.
From hobby to full-time career:
As Julie’s hobby grew, she decided to turn it into a part-time business. Word soon started to spread locally about her cakes, and orders started to increase. She made the decision to leave her full-time job to concentrate on building her business instead.
In addition to creating cakes, she started to teach face-to-face classes locally, first in a church hall and then in her own purpose-built cake studio, which really brought out her passion for sharing her knowledge and skills.
Fast forwarded to February 2020, whilst checking her emails with a morning cup of tea, Julie was amazed to find an email from a publishing company (The Crowood Press) in her inbox. They had found her website/social media profiles, and were impressed with her work, particularly her cake modelling skills. So much so, that they asked if she would consider writing a book for them, specifically on modelling figures.
Soon after this, Covid lockdowns came into force, so instead of creating customer orders, Julie threw herself into working on the content for her book. Many hours of designing/creating models, taking photographs and writing the step-by-step instructions kept her very busy.
Julie says “It was a real challenge at times, and I did doubt myself (and my abilities) on many occasions. Luckily, I kept pushing through, and in the end, when I saw my advance copy of the book ‘in the flesh’ I was so proud of what I had produced.”
It has been a total of 2 years in the making, from signing the initial contract to the book being ready to publish on 21 March 2022. The paperback book has 160 pages, containing over 400 full colour photographs. It takes you on a journey from simpler, sitting styled figures, through to more detailed standing (Bride & Groom) figures, until the final, more advanced ballerina figure, which is modelled around an internal armature structure.
A busy time:
In addition to working on her book, Julie was also selected to compete in the Baking Industry Awards, celebration cake business of the year. Her showstopping cake creation, based around ‘The Secret Garden’ theme, led to her progressing to being a finalist in the 2020 awards. Despite not winning the overall title during the online awards ceremony in January 2021 (“thanks Covid!”), she was still thrilled to have been one of the top 3 finalists in the country, amongst such talented entrants.
“I was honoured to be asked to be a guest tutor for CakeFlix! It was like going full circle – from learning by watching their tutorials, to creating my own to teach others! As it was still lockdown, I did a FB live tutorial, demonstrating how to make a cute dinosaur cake topper. It was all very surreal, but after a few technical issues at my end, the demo went ahead. It was certainly a proud moment, and another highlight in my career.”
Julie says “The past few years have been like a crazy rollercoaster ride! If someone told me about all of this back in the beginning of my journey, I don’t think I would have believed them. And now, having my book published is the most exciting thing that I could wish for, absolutely a dream come true. I still have to pinch myself to make sure it is really happening!! Taking part in the collaborative table with Paul and David gave me the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I haven’t looked back since!”
Find out more about how to purchase your copy of ‘Modelling Figures for Cake Toppers’ by Julie Rogerson here: