Interview with Carola Bruno
Find out more about her first encounter with a decorated cake and what made her choose buttercream as her favorite medium to work with!
Get ready to receive some quality advice from this incredibly experienced cake artist, especially if you are now diving into the world of buttercream!
When did you first start baking?
The very first time I tried to make a decorated cake was during my second year of University. Cake design was becoming a thing in Italy, I was very curious about it and wanted to create something with my own hands.
I made my grandparents anniversary cake with sugar paste, a Wilton silicone mold and my parents wedding cake topper! I still remember how hard it was to cover the cake with fondant, there were so many rips to cover with decorations (if you know what I mean haha).
My next cake turned out a little bit better, but I started realizing that sugar paste wasn’t my medium, so I started looking for new styles, new techniques and stuff to work with! I fell in love with piping bags, buttercream textures and drip cakes.
What is it that you enjoy the most, baking or decorating?
Well, definetily the decorating part!
I love to search for different ways to represent a mood, or combine different colors and make something that is pleasant to the eye!
I like to bake and create my own recipes, new flavors etc. but it doesn’t make my day like decorating.
How would you describe your design process, do you follow any specific steps?
When I have to create something new, I usually start with “natural things” that can’t be changed, like a flower’s color for example. Then I suit the rest of the decorations to create something harmonic. I always try to figure how the cake must be, where a specific decoration should be placed but most of the time it changes during the process.
I really love to follow a sort of flow with decorations, you know...every decoration calls its space, so you’ll have a macaron that perfectly fits a place between two meringues, or a leaf that perfectly covers that empty space...you can’t plan this, it just happens! AND HOW SATISFYING IS IT WHEN IT HAPPENS? OMG, sooooo much!
What do you find most challenging about being a cake artist?
Being a cake decorator means there are lots of ideas in my mind at all times, lots of things to try and often not having enough time to make them.
Customers often come into the pastry shop where I work, with pictures of cakes that they’d love to have, so I have to make really similar decorations -like quilt for example... how boring can that be?-
The real challenge is to always find different ways to interpret a particular theme, using new techniques and never stop learning!
How do you stay up to date with the latest Trends in cakes and where do you get inspiration from?
Thanks for the question because it is so important to follow new trends!
People can’t imagine how big the “research” part in our work actually is!
I spend a lot of time looking for new techniques, styles or different ways to use the same products. Social media is really helpful for this! I don’t mean that you have to copy others' work, absolutely not, but you can train your eyes to see beauty, to see how they used something that you never thought of using before.
We all need to always try new techniques to keep our mind fresh.
There are lots of amazing artist on instagram that I love to follow, for example:
@sweetlionheart because of their use of colors and textures!
@tortikannuchka for their cleanliness in details
@luciacake215 because I started making buttercream flowers after I saw her amazing work.
@rymondtn for his use of every kind of sail, gelatine, chocolate, etc.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to work with buttercream?
First of all you have to find your recipe! I personally use Italian meringue buttercream because I love the taste and texture, but there are so many options, that you have to figure out which one works best for you!
Second, the straighter your cake grows, the easier it will be to frost and get sharp edges!
Last but not least, TRY NEW TEXTURES!! Don't be fixed with smoothness, add different levels, try different tools, use your imagination because THIS IS THE BEST PART OF CAKE DESIGN!