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Friday
Jul232010

Batter Chatter: Interview with Melissa Diamond, My Cake School - Giveaway Closed

People take courses online for all sorts of things--and now, cake is one of the subjects! My Cake School is an online cake decorating school with all sorts of tutorials, message boards, and other goodies (and a new CakeSpy sponsor). Now, without knowing too much detail, I'd go so far as to say that this schooling is far funner (and more delicious) than, say, required Math credits! But how does it all work? I got in touch with owner Melissa Diamond to find out. Here's the interview:

CakeSpy Note: Melissa has also kindly offered a free 1-year membership to My Cake School to one lucky reader! Find the details at the end of the post.

CakeSpy: First things first. Who exactly are you, Melissa Diamond? And what is your relationship with cake?

Melissa Diamond: I am a wife and a mom -- and I LOVE cake decorating.  I started a home-based cake decorating business years ago so that I could work from home--- now, I love to teach!  Cake decorating is so much fun--  anyone can learn!

CS: OK. Now that we've figured that out...what exactly is My Cake School?

MD: MyCakeSchool.com is my new cake decorating website.  I have a cake Blog that is open to everyone, and then other parts of the site that are for members.  Membership is $30 for a year-- With this, you can access my cake decorating video tutorials (over 100 so far). There are Message Boards available for members to share their experiences, ask questions, and request videos!

CS: What are some of the advantages of an online cake school versus taking a course in a physical classroom or kitchen?

MD: I think that both have their advantages---but what I like the most about MyCakeSchool is that you are able to see a close-up view of the skill being demonstrated as many times as you like.  Videos are permanently posted  and available 24 hours a day--so, there are never any scheduling conflicts! Finally, it is so much more affordable! $30 may buy a 4 class course in decorating.....or a cake decorating dvd-- but with my site, you have access for a year to sooo many more videos--there is always something new to see!

CS: What is your first cake memory? 

MD: Hmmmm.. I think that it was my 5th birthday-- My mom made me a cute cake with clowns on top----the giant swirls of buttercream with the plastic clown heads!! Do you know the ones?  They still sell them!

CS: As a professional cake decorator, what are your thoughts on cupcakes?

MD: I love cupcakes!  My favorite kind are just very simply decorated with a big swirl and a cute little topper or sprinkles! Or maybe the ones injected with cream.... or dipped in ganache.....

CS: Please, tell me something that people might not know about you.

MD:  I love decorating to LOUD music!  I can't do this in my videos though!

CS: What cookbook could you simply not live without?

MD: BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking by Shirley Corriher.  Such a great book--she gives you the science behind baking. 

CS: Morbid curiosity time: if you could envision your last meal, what would you have for dessert? 

MD: This is so hard! I'm going with banana pudding!

But wait, there's more! You can experience the magic for yourself at MyCakeSchool.com. And one lucky winner will win a year-long subscription for free! How do you put yourself in the running? Simply leave a comment on this post saying what cookbook you simply could not live without! One winner will be chosen at random--the giveaway will close on Friday, July 31 at 12 pm PST. The winner will be announced shortly after!

 

UPDATE: THE WINNER! We have a winner, friends, and it is Judy R., who says "My favorite cookbook is Confetti Cakes for Kids. Also the cake decorating blogs online". Congratulations, Judy!

Reader Comments (130)

Mostly I use recipes from food blogs but if I needed to choose an actual paid-for hard cover book, it would be the Magnolia cookbook. Can you tell I only eat dessert?

July 28 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Probably Baked. It has my go-to recipes for brownies and some fabulous chocolate-peanut butter recipes.

July 28 | Unregistered Commentermegbmd

My go to cookbook that I could NOT live without is "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts" from the French Culinary Institute. It is my bible, and It is the book that has taught me all the basic (and not so basic) techniques of pastry making as well as the science behind it. Just amazing!

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Harster

Hmm, this is the sort of answer that changes periodically, but I think I'd have to pick Lora Brody's "Chocolate American Style," since it would enable me to make ice cream and bread as well as brownies.

Hi! I love CakeSpy too, and what a great idea for MyCakeSchool! My favorite cookbook is Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics! I'm not much of a cook...I try, but it never seems to work out. ;) This cookbook is a great starting point for me! :)

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterKrystalB

A new favorite I discovered is "Baking Illustrated" by Cooks Illustrated. Great classic recipes that are tried and true.

Heard about your shop through Edible Seattle. Really excited to visit you soon. :)

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterMy3Boyz

One of my favorite go-to cookbooks has always been my Betty Crocker, Bridal Edition. It has a little bit of everything!

I have a few but I will have to say Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum .

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterApril

My all time favorite book (well books) would have to be Confetti Cakes, Confetti Cakes for Kids and The Cake Mix Doctor (the second one). Love the recipes in all of these and they are so easy and super delicious. The tutorials are also very well written in both of the Confetti Cakes books. I am so glad that I decided to invest in them all!!!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterAshley A.

I constantly refer back to "Cakes to Dream On" by Colette Peters for things like number of servings for cake pan sizes & basic recipes.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

My go to cookbook is Betty Crocker its timeless.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

My favorite is a cookbook from my 93 year old Grandmother's congregation. She has many recipes printed in there as well as others from her friends, neighbors, and other congregants.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

My favorite cookbook is Confetti Cakes for Kids. Also the cake decorating blogs online.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterJudy R

I actually have two cookbooks that I could not live without. The same as Melissa, I love BakeWise. The recipes are wonderful, and the fact that they are also given in metric measurements makes it so easy to adjust the batch size without ending up with a disaster. The book really teaches you concepts on how baking ingredients work, which can be applied to other recipes to improve them too. The other book I would not want to live without is The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard. This book has master recipes with easy instructions for many of the classics like genoise, pate a choux and puff pastry. Who knew that I would be able to bake something like that?!!!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Rose Levy's "The Cake Bible" & Richard Sax's "Classic Home Desserts"

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterDancing Shoes

I love the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterHeather H

BakeWise by Shirley Corriher - it not only has great recipes but it also has the WHY they work! I love it.

July 29 | Unregistered Commenterbbcaddict

I adore 3 cook books actually, one is called Pie by Angela Boggiano and the other as silly as it sounds is Betty Crocker Cookbook : Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today, and the third is Cupcakes: Luscious Bakeshop Favorites From Your Home Kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski.

I just took a Wilton decorationg class last month. It was interesting and fun. We had to decorate a cake similar to this one.

The internet.. cookbooks are too restricting, with the internet you can find recipes with ingredients you already have. For example a brownie using chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterClarissa

I love my How To Cook Everything cookbook by Bittman. It really does have a little bit of everything. Cheers!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I just loooove "The Well Decorated Cake" by Toba Garrett. It's full awesome cake decorating techniques and yummy recipes.
Thanks for this great giveaway. I would be so happy if I win! :D

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterTammy M.

Being a cake decorator myself, I always love it when people find ways to share what they know with others. Not only is it helpful, but it makes the world just that much better for the sharing.

If I had to give up all but one cookbook I would keep Joy of Cooking. Just way too much knowledge and pretty much a receipe for anything.

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Most definitely the Cake Bible!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterWinnie

I LOVE to bake as well, and if I had to choose just one book that I can not live without in my kitchen would have to be my new Martha Stewart Cupcake Book. I've tried several of her recipes and haven't found a bad one yet!

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Barton
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