Friday, September 19, 2014

Sugar Artist Spotlight: Gulnaz Mitchell!

Sugar Artist Spotlight: Gulnaz Mitchell!

There is nothing I love more than a fun, happy, eye catching cake and this is why I could spend hours on this cake artist’s Facebook page. Gulnaz Mitchell’s cakes are bold and colorful and always make me smile! I’ve known Gulnaz’s work for quite some time now and have become a huge fan but always wanted to learn more about the artist behind the is my chance!

Introducing Gulnaz……….

Name: Gulnaz Mitchell
Business Name: Heavenlycakes4you by Gulnaz Mitchell
Location: Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Twitter: I have a twitter account. But never “twittered” and funny thing, I even forgot the password to my twitter account. 
Blog: I am thinking to start my blog very soon

***Tell us about yourself ***
I am originally from Russia, Kazan, which is 800 km east from Moscow, where six months of the year it is snow and ice and temperatures drop down to -37C in winter and could be up to 35C in summer. I grew up in “communist” Russia, being a “Pioneer”, which was a youth movement operated by the communist party, a very tough period of communist ideology, when anything “western” was forbidden, during a period when we didn’t have supermarkets full of food and we did lots of home baking. It seems like so long time ago and it’s so different from the life in Russia today. So I’ve got my love for baking from my Mum who is an excellent baker and cook. 
When I was a little girl, I was always thinking how it would be cool to grow up next to the sea and live in a place where it was always nice and warm. Now I live only 100 meters away from the ocean. I moved to beautiful and sunny New Zealand 12 years ago, married and blessed with three beautiful children, two girls and a boy.

***Tell us about your cake business***
I am a home based cake decorator, taking cake orders for around two years now.

***Is there a story behind the name of your business/ How did you come up with your business name?***
Oh, this question! LOL! I wish I was more creative and original with the name for my business. I took the name heavenlycakes4you only because when I was building my website, the name “heavenly cakes” was already taken. Of course, back then I didn’t think much about the originality of the name for the business, as long as it had the word “cakes” in it. I am thinking to rename it very soon.

***When did you start decorating?*** 
I attribute becoming a cake addict to my children - my eldest daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac disease (gluten intolerance) when she was three, when my youngest was only one month old. It was hard to find gluten free treats back then here in NZ, so I decided to bake cakes myself. I only did maybe three cakes a year, because it was hard to do anything when you have three kids under three. When my youngest started full time kindy, I had more time to focus on baking and learning new techniques.

***Where did you learn the art of cake decorating? ***
I am a self-taught decorator, who spent many hours watching Youtube and Craftsy classes, learning from tutorials generously put on the internet and spending time before bed reading cake decorating books. Just recently I’ve been to Margaret Carter’s class on how to make her famous unicorn. So there is still plenty to learn and improve one’s skills.

***Do you have a signature style?***
Bright, happy, warm and colourful – this is my signature style. It’s how I see and feel it and I want people to feel it too. There should be no sadness in sweet sugar creations.

***What is your favorite decorating tool?**
My favorite decorating tools are round cutters, Dresden tool, Bone tool and paint brushes. I am totally in love with cake painting at the moment.

***What decorating tool is on your wish list?***
Oh, I love this question, because my list could be so long!:)). My husband won’t have any trouble thinking about what he should get me for my birthday or Christmas next time! Well, just a couple of thing from my list - Airbrush machine and “Kitchen Aid” (believe me or not I still don’t have one, it’s such a big thing here, because it’s so expensive in New Zealand).

***What is the best class or tutorial that you have taken?***
There are so many great tutorials I’ve watched over the years, but my “eye opener” in cake decorating was Jessica Harris’s video tutorial on how to cover your cake with buttercream and her upside down method. It used to be on her blog, now you can find it on her Craftsy class.

***What is your best tip or trick?***
I think my best trick would be that you can create beautiful gumpaste flowers using one round cutter. I have a few tutorials on this topic. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying expensive cutters and veiners and there are simple ways to make beautiful flowers.

***Who is your “Cake Crush”?***
Oh, I have so many “Cake Crushes” over the years, Kara fromKara's Couture Cakes and Sarah from The Cake Tin ( with their gravity defying creations, Verusca Walker and Margaret Carter with their clean sculpted cakes, Kay from Kaykes with her incredible sculpted and airbrushed creations, Violet from The Violet Cake Shop™ with her fantastic party cake designs, Lisa from LM Cake Design (Lisa Templeton From Denheath) with her gorgeous gumpaste flowers. My biggest crush is Neli Josefsen with her unforgettable and absolutely stunning cakes. I always impatiently wait for her next masterpiece. 

***What is your best advice for a beginner?***
Practice, practice and practice! Be patient and don’t be afraid to start your cake again if you’re not happy with it.

***What is your favorite cake/filling flavors?***
My favourite cake is a traditional Russian honey cake with caramel filling (the cake consists of 8-12 separately baked thin layers). 

***Tell us some other interesting, fun info about yourself.***
-I went to special musical school for ten years learning to play piano in Russia, 
-speak three languages, 
-never tried “Burger King” in my life,
- I am talking when I sleep,
-my best design ideas came to me when I suddenly woke up at night,
-I can’t swim freestyle.

***What hobbies or interests do you have outside of caking?***
My biggest hobbies outside caking is fitness, running and weight lifting,
traveling and reading. I also love renovating and redecorating. I already have a project lined up for myself, to redecorate my daughter’s bedroom when I have a break between cake orders. I also help my husband with interior design and colour choices for his business. 


Thank you Gulnaz! It was a pleasure learning more about you! ♥

For more great cakes from Gulnaz head on over to her page. While you’re there check out her Ecwid store too!

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