When we catch up with the 43-year-old Verusca Walker, she mentions the 15-hour flight she braved to reach Mumbai, for her first workshop in India. "India is far from everywhere," she jokes.
We are familiar with her hearty laughter and Brazilian accent, thanks to her online videos where she demonstrates how to craft cakes that look like real guitars or glitzy sports cars, making it seem so simple. The Brazilian-born, Sydney-based cake artist's USP is to mix mediums and craft 3D cakes that somehow hold shape, defying gravity.
So, what at first glance looks like a cool powder blue Vespa, a Formula One car or an intricate birdcage is actually good, old edible cake. Her work is user-friendly, too. Last year, when she constructed a life-sized wedding chapel from ganache and fondant (for the Melbourne Cake Bake & Sweets Show), it saw a couple exchange vows standing in it.
With a background in fine art and bakery, Walker won the LifeStyle FOOD's Cake Challenge 2014 and is one among The Satin Ice Artists of Excellence a worldwide collection of cake artists). Her work has featured in magazines like Cake Masters (UK) and websites like Cakebakeandsweets.com.
She also hosts online tutorials and launched a YouTube channel last week.Walker is in the city to host workshops, where she will demonstrate how to make a 3D baby carriage cake, a motorbike cake and her signature KitchenAid Mixer cake.
Her journey began a decade ago, when she made a cake shaped like Noah's Ark for her daughter, Shellfea's birthday. As she was studying fine arts with a major in sculpture and photography, she applied those techniques. The appreciation the cake garnered egged her to study baking at Sydney TAFE and take it up as a profession.
Walker maintains that the secret to her craft lies in the understanding of gravity. "Understand that the cake has a certain weight and will come down. Creating a secure structure helps keep it upright. For example, my musical instrument cakes (shaped like guitars) have a plate at the back that keeps them upright without squashing the cake," she explains.
Her creations often take up to seven days to craft, and have structures made using wood, thermocol, and cardboard paper.She also takes help from her husband Shawn Walker (a builder by profession). In fact, he helped her craft the roof and columns to support the wedding chapel she made.Born in Brazil, Walker has been living in Sydney since 1999.
She also braved many challenges before tasting success: "I lost my mother when I was 11, and started working at a young age in Brazil. When I moved to Australia, I had to learn English and work as a cleaner for three years to pay for my education."
Past struggles notwithstanding, Walker has a lot going for her. She will release a book in December (on creating structures to support cakes) and a new app (to do demos of the techniques depicted in the book). She also travels extensively hosting workshops. After Mumbai and Delhi, she heads to Switzerland and Germany.
With 50,000 followers on Facebook, she admits that social media played a huge role in her success. "I connect with my followers and help with tips. Social media helped me grow," says Walker.
The 3D cake workshop will be held on August 28 and 29, 9.30am to 6.30pm
At Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu.
Call 97694 46444
Email: cakes email@example.com