yummycupcake Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:17am
post #1 of

I am interested in becoming an ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe) Certified Sugar Artist.
I don't know how hard this could be and if becoming one has any advantages.
I wonder if any of you guys are a Certified Sugar Artist. Please let me known everything you know. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks!

21 replies
KonfectionKonnection Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:42am
post #2 of

The general guidelines and other information concerning the exam are available on their website:

http://www.ices.org/education/certification/certification.html

The slots for the 2011 candidates are filled, but they are taking applications for 2012 exam to be held in Reno, Nevada.

yummycupcake Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:54am
post #3 of

Thanks!
I already got the application but I wonder how hard it is the test? You must score higher than 56 points in 8 skills.
Did you take the test? How difficult was it?

BlakesCakes Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 3:27am
post #4 of

I'll be testing in Charlotte next summer. 3 friends took it this summer and I sat with them at convention after the process. This year there were 2 CMSAs awarded and I believe 5 CSAs. As I recall, at least 5 people didn't qualify for either designation.

It's a grueling 8 hrs. The criteria are extremely specific and must be followed to the letter in to avoid disqualification or low scores.
Any single score of 6 from any of the judges on any skill eliminates the option for CMSA, but with other criteria met it still allows for CSA.

In order to attain CMSA, you must be very proficient in each compulsory skill and each optional skill that you choose to do. The skills cover, and rely heavily on, detailed piping, gum paste flowers, flawless cake covering in both buttercream & fondant, multiple types of royal icing work, and "dying" arts like lambeth, nirvana, australian & oriental stringwork, etc.

You have to work up and submit a plan for approval by April 1 prior to the test.

HTH
Rae

bobwonderbuns Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 12:08pm
post #5 of

What's nirvana and australian piping?

Loucinda Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 1:37pm
post #6 of

Here is an example of Nirvana:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vwJ2Ss2vN-o/SEfcHvu64EI/AAAAAAAAArc/AygKUlXDDRs/s1600-h/nir+1+now.jpg

It isn't australian piping, it is australian stringwork. (what we usually refer to as bridgwork or extension work)

Beautiful and delicate, these are true cake decorating skills!

bobwonderbuns Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 10:05pm
post #7 of

Oh, I got it. Gee, the nirvana looks like runouts to me.

playingwithsugar Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 10:35pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

Here is an example of Nirvana:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vwJ2Ss2vN-o/SEfcHvu64EI/AAAAAAAAArc/AygKUlXDDRs/s1600-h/nir+1+now.jpg

It isn't australian piping, it is australian stringwork. (what we usually refer to as bridgwork or extension work)




Loucinda -

Would you please post a link to the blog that is associated with that pic? In all the classes I have taken, and in all the books I have, there's no mention of the term "nirvana". I would like to research it further.

Thanks!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

thatslifeca Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 10:50pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

Here is an example of Nirvana:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vwJ2Ss2vN-o/SEfcHvu64EI/AAAAAAAAArc/AygKUlXDDRs/s1600-h/nir+1+now.jpg

It isn't australian piping, it is australian stringwork. (what we usually refer to as bridgwork or extension work)



Loucinda -

Would you please post a link to the blog that is associated with that pic? In all the classes I have taken, and in all the books I have, there's no mention of the term "nirvana". I would like to research it further.

Thanks!

Theresa icon_smile.gif




Nirvana named after an English cake decorator whose pen name was Nirvana. The cake is totally encased in run sugar (color flow, flood work) and is usually geometric in design. The flood pieces consist of splays, collars, side panels and risers. Collars and splays differ in size from one another by ¼ inch. It is built in a pyramid fashion being larger on the bottom and graduating to a smaller top. Nirvana means perfection, the ultimate. Run sugar pieces should fit accurately and should not have wide spaces or heavy borders to cover up where pieces do not fit. Hope that helps in what Nirvana method is. icon_biggrin.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 10:53pm

Thank you so much. See what we miss here in the US? I really wish someone would come here and teach that Royal Icing class that I keep reading about.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:09pm

No kidding!! I've never heard of it and I thought I owned every cake book EVER PRINTED!! icon_rolleyes.gif

Loucinda Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:12pm

Here is the link to the blogspot:

http://sugarcraftindia.blogspot.com/2008/05/trial.html

thatslifeca Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:30pm

Nirvana, English stringwork & Austrailian stringwork are very similar, BUT they do have their diffrences and judges at ICES can tell, so practice hard, research and make sure you have it down pat......no errors or it will mean lesser points or disqulification. I want to take the test but I'm a big chicken icon_redface.gif I am thinking about doing it in Reno 2012. I have the stringwork work down and lambeth method, sugar flowers look natural (took a class in England with Allan Dunn) it's the Nirvana that freaks me out. My sides don't always match perfectly, so I need more practice. If you ever get a chance take a class with Toba Garrett or Stephen Benison they are stringwork gods lol. Also take the PME masters course, it covers all the stuff you need for the ICES testing. I have my masters course in PME, but I'm not good enough yet, or at least I don't think so.

BlakesCakes Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:35pm

Here's a Nirvana beauty--with instructions--on the Wilton website:

http://www.wilton.com/idea/Nirvana-Cameos

This is the cake Mary Jo Dowling did when she got her CMSA in 2009:

http://www.cakesbymj.com/About_the_Artist_files/nirvana%20whole1.jpg
http://www.cakesbymj.com/About_the_Artist_files/nirvana%20cake.jpg

A runout/Nirvana cake top and sides :
http://www.cakesbydebby.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/nirvana_cameos_cake_1.121195155_large.JPG

http://www.cakesbydebby.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/nirvana_cameos_cake_6.121195505_large.JPG

The one Loucinda shows:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vwJ2Ss2vN-o/SEfcIkJyWBI/AAAAAAAAArs/4STKIyvFCDE/s400/nir+3+now.jpg

From s-u-g-a-r-c-r-a-f-tindia.blogspot.com (take out all of the dashes, as the word is censored on CC due to legal issues)

My own unfinished Nirvana style cake. I did this in the Advanced Master's Class at Wilton in Chicago and took it to display at ICES 2010 in San Diego in August.

http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1820571

Rae

bobwonderbuns Posted 1 Oct 2010 , 11:49pm

Thanks Rae, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this style!! icon_biggrin.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:25am
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatslifeca

If you ever get a chance take a class with Toba Garrett or Stephen Benison they are stringwork gods lol. Also take the PME masters course, it covers all the stuff you need for the ICES testing. I have my masters course in PME, but I'm not good enough yet, or at least I don't think so.




I've taken those courses with Chef Toba - you're absolutely right, she is a stringwork goddess!

Unfortunately, nobody teaches the PME courses here in the US, at least not under that name. I love working with RI, and would remortgage my house to take it, but I'm not well enough to travel to Canada, especially with the colder weather coming.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:34am

The PME classes are taught in Ontario, Canada at Golda's Kitchen in Missisauga, at the Cake Carousel in Richardson, TX, and at the Cake Craft Shoppe in Sugarland, TX.

Country Kitchen has done training seminars, so a call to them might result in a larger US & Canada list.

Rae

KonfectionKonnection Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:55am

The PME certification classes are supposed to be offered this coming year at Nicholas Lodge's school in Norcross, GA. I don't remember the guest instructor's name, but the new schedule is due out any time (or so I've been told).

thatslifeca Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 3:14am

The course is also taught at Klara Johnson school in Ontario. Maybe it's time to move to the US and teach advance RI courses....or maybe even the PME. I'm suprised it's not taught in more places in the US.

Blakes I want to wish you all the luck in taking the ICES testing in Charl. I will be going in 2011 and I'm going to watch and observe. I've looked at your pics and I think you are going to do great!!!

BlakesCakes Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 3:22am
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatslifeca

The course is also taught at Klara Johnson school in Ontario. Maybe it's time to move to the US and teach advance RI courses....or maybe even the PME. I'm suprised it's not taught in more places in the US.

Blakes I want to wish you all the luck in taking the ICES testing in Charl. I will be going in 2011 and I'm going to watch and observe. I've looked at your pics and I think you are going to do great!!!




I think they've only begun to do seminars to train here in the US. It's so much more expensive that it's not direct competition to Wilton, but it looks like it would be a nice addition to Wilton should people want more training.

Thanks so much for the compliment! I'll need all of the cheerleading I can get. I know the techniques, but I'm really worried about time management--it's an awful lot to do well in just 8 hrs.--and steady hands (I definitely shake when I'm nervous).......

Rae

yummycupcake Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 11:07am

Oh my God!

Thank you so much for your replies. You are great with so much info about it. I will prepare for 2012 because it's a lot to practice and learn. I will going for sure to 2011 ICES Convention and watch all the wonderful cake artists.

One more question, actually two more questions:
What is PME course? Do you know any book that covers these techniques?

Loucinda Posted 2 Oct 2010 , 12:12pm

Rae - That is AWESOME you are taking the certification! I will be there rooting for you!!

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%