November 26 marks National Cake Day, and who would refuse to bake up a storm to celebrate all things sweet? Not self-taught baker and cake artist, Mimi Shao, who founded her custom cake studio, Mimsicle Cakes, as a way to combine her love of painting and cake decorating. We chatted with Mimi about all things baking, and got helpful tips and a fun recipe anyone can pull off. —Mia Germanski
What inspired you to get into baking?
I started baking because of my mom. She loved being in the kitchen and encouraged us to do so as well from a young age along with exploring my artistic side. I was enrolled in traditional art classes even have pursued a minor degree in visual arts. I began baking on my own after university and discovered that a cake could also be an artistic medium. I fell in love with the challenge of playing with new ways to create art using cake, icing, fondant, chocolate, sugar and other edible confections. What I loved most was that it allowed me to use my innate artistic skills to build a business that would let me help create memories for people. My tagline is, Bringing joy to life, one cake at a time.
As a self-taught baker, can you share some tips and tricks that have helped your baking routine become a little easier?
Always plan ahead and never stop learning. Time management is crucial for balancing a cake schedule on top of everything else. To be successful and enjoy the process, I needed to learn how to manage my time properly. This meant preparing ingredients ahead of time as well as the decorations. Scheduling photography, videography, my website and social media become a part of the whole cake making and management process. Cake decorating has quickly become a skill and hobby that has gained popularity thanks to Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms. These platforms have made it so easy for bakers to share their skills and passion, teach and learn from other each other all around the world. This has definitely helped me to learn and evolve new techniques, trends and styles.
Do you have a favourite type of cake to bake?
I love to make sculpted or painted cakes. Sculpted cakes are 3-D cakes that are stacked, carved, and decorated to look like 3-D figures or objects. I love how it forces you to think of the cake from all angles, and really challenges my creativity. Painted cakes are another favourite of mine. I am an artist at heart and painting has been my medium of choice growing up. Being able to take traditional painting techniques and apply them to buttercream or fondant surfaces (that are also edible!) is really a joy to create.
Mimi’s 1-Bowl 3-Step Low-Sugar Vanilla Cake Recipe
2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
4 large eggs
1 cup of milk (sub for any non-dairy milk)
½ cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 F; grease our pants by spraying them with cooking spray or use a paper towel to coat them butter. In a large bowl, place all ingredients inside. Mix well with a spatula, spoon or whisk until the batter is lump-free and smooth. This may take 10-15 minutes. Evenly pour the batter into both pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. When the cakes are done, let them cool inside the pans for 30 minutes. Do not try to remove them right away. Once the cakes have cooled down, use a butter knife to loosen then cake from the sides of the pan. Turn the cake pan upside down and let the layers fall out. Don’t worry if you notice that you cake is domed on the top; just simply tor and level when cooled. Finally, slice the cakes in half horizontally to add icing and fill as you like.