When Jemma the owner and creator of Iced Jems the online asked me if I would like to do her sharp edges, sugar rose and metallic cake paint class at her beautiful studio in Stourbridge, Birmingham, I didn’t hesitate to say YES PLEASE!
Jemma has been an online pal of mine for years and when I was talking about how frustrated I was at not being able to make good sugar roses, she invited me to come do her class so she could show me face-to-face how easy it was.
How could I say no to such a kind and generous offer? I was extremely impatient waiting for the day to arrive and I am so excited to share my day with you all now!
I hugely admire Jemma. A keen baker and completely self-taught, just like me. She turned her love of baking into an online cake making supplies shop 5-6 years ago and a few years later, her stunning shop and classroom in Stourbridge came to life and her business has gone from strength to strength. Honestly, if you love all things cake, you have to find the time to get down to Iced Jems and lose yourself in the cake makers wonderland that Jemma has created.
Jemma not only runs the online and physical shops, but she teaches a variety of classes herself. I taught a macaron class there once and I hope to do that again in the future once I sort my day job out (more on that another time!).
The class I did was absolutely wonderful. Jemma took me and three fellow students through how to crumb coat a cake, cover it with sugarpaste, paint it, make edible cake lace and sugar roses. To say I was in my element is the biggest understatement I can think of!
Despite having decorated cakes for a lot of years myself, Jemma still had lots of tips and different takes on the techniques I had been using to get those crisp sharp cake edges, prevent wrinkles in your sugarpaste and even make something as delicate and elaborate as edible lace look easy. There was plenty of time, plenty of space and plenty of supplies to play with. Jemma is generous with her time as well as the sugarpaste and use of her treasure trove of tools!
Actually, I have to admit something. There is one problem with Iced Jems. Everywhere you look, your senses are overwhelmed not only with the biggest selection of cake making products I’ve ever seen in one shop (2500+ products and counting) and the classroom is decorated in pale baby pink, duck egg blue and primrose yellow.
The retro-style Smeg fridge, the fleet of pink stand-mixers and American diner-style classroom with its huge glossy worktop and pastel coloured swivel stools is just so charming, it’s hard to focus on what you’re doing! I was so lost in the happiness of spending a day with kindred spirits who really understood the unbridled pleasure of a perfectly covered cake (that you then eat for breakfast the next morning) in this magnificent setting that I *may* have taken my eye off the ball and ended up with a slightly wonky cake!
But despite a couple of dents from my interminably clumsy hands and a few spots where I crumpled my cake lace accidentally, would you just look at the result I was able to achieve with Jemma guiding me along the way?
Cake decorators everywhere often argue about which brand of sugarpaste (also referred to as fondant by a lot of people) is best and favour the uber expensive brand Massa Ticino but can I tell you, this gorgeous cake was made with Renshaws sugarpaste – one of the cheapest and most readily available ones there are!
I was over the moon being able to get these super sharp edges without spending an arm and a leg on sugarpaste. To get this finish, you need some Sharp Edge Smoothers – the best £3.99 you will spend!
TOP TIP! Use these thin and flexible pieces of plastic to smooth the sugarpaste up the sides of your cake, gently pinching the corners up to a right angle. It takes barely a few minutes and almost no effort on your part.
I’ve tried cake lace once before on my best friend’s wedding cake and remember it being really tricky to use. The products are now better than when we made that cake and Jemma had all the tips we needed on how to produce even the most delicate of designs in ready-to-mix flexible icing using these oven-safe cake lace mats. It turns out you can dry them quickly in only 20 minutes at 60˚C (do check your mat’s packaging to be certain they are oven safe if you don’t buy them from Iced Jems!):
When we got to the stage in the class that we were to paint our cakes using a pearl dust dissolved in rejuvenator spirit (a very high concentration food grade alcohol), Jemma allowed us to wander into the shop to select whatever colour we desired and both me and Angie, one of the other students picked this stunning colour called “Ruby Pearl”.
It really is quite exquisite and multi-tonal. Depending on how the light hits it, it can appear a rich ruby, a rose gold and even a rich and purplish burgundy that is opulent and sumptuous. I think we all agreed it was the star product of the day!
The cost of this wonderful class which ran from 10 am to 3 pm, with full use of the facilities and all the equipment we needed was only £85. If you were to add up the cost of the equipment alone, I don’t quite know how Jemma makes a profit on this class but I am so grateful she cares enough about sharing her knowledge that the class exists at all! It is worth double that amount, easily. I think the results me and the girls achieved alone speak for themselves.
If you fancy trying a class at Iced Jems, head to this page here – Jemma is constantly updating the classes, adding more as per her customer’s requirements and as she discovers new teachers. You’ll find everything from quick and very reasonably priced evening classes to more costly ones delivered by experts from quite literally, all over the world!
This class gave me the confidence I needed to go home and make up a bouquet of handmade sugar roses and I tried techniques I would not have even thought of without Jemma showing me how easy and stunningly effective they are. I can’t wait until the next time I find myself in the shop, classroom and company of the beautiful Jemma, who I admire so much.
Thank you Jemma, I had the most wonderful day and I hope your cake making empire continues to flourish and grow for a very long time to come xxx
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Images from Iced Jems Shop reproduced with permission from the owner, Jemma Lloyd.
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