In the past 10 to 15 years, cake has become an extraordinary art. Since the inception of shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, the masses have seen how you can make an edible cake look like just about anything — a car, a dragon, a purse, a person — you name it. It has exploded in both the food and art world. And with the recent, The Great British Baking Show — baking — in general — has been shown to allow the use of multiple different flavors, textures and designs.
Now, it may be challenging to make a cake look like a Corvette while baking at home — but making a fancy cake is easier than you may think. Want to learn how? My Make Studio in Denver offers two to three DIY classes a week, both holiday and recurring themed cakes. And it’s not just cakes — cookie and cupcake classes are offered as well.
“Our most popular classes are unicorn cakes, Geode cakes and flower cupcakes!” said co-owner, Linda Sudowski.
A former social worker, Sudowski and her husband bought the studio in 2015 which had previously been called MAKE. “I can’t take credit for the original inspiration of the studio,” explained Sudowski. Although, the pair have made the place something special for all ages and all ability levels. “We’ve had stroke victims come in and learn to put icing tips on bags,” said Sudowski. “And we frequently host adults with disabilities to teach them how to decorate cupcakes.”
The studio’s two class instructors, Chayla Turner and Mikaila Riehm are very talented, creative and helpful — making the experience great all around. Turner hails from Oklahoma and attended Culinary Arts school and has known for quite some time that she wanted to be in the cake biz. She is the assistant manager and instructs the majority of the classes. Riehm primarily works on making special order cakes through her business, Cake Geek which she runs out of the studio, but also instructs several classes.
It’s a very casual environment ranging from kids to seniors. Drinks are available with soda, juice and cocoa for the kids — beer, wine and coffee for the adults. In these classes, you will learn different icing techniques and the basics of fondant work. Fondant is an icing that’s similar to clay or Play-Doh when rolled out. It’s typically made out of sugar, water, corn syrup — and gelatin to give it its sculpting properties. These types of cakes are the ones you see on cake shows with all the crazy shapes and varieties.
Geode Cake Class
We recently attended a Geode Cake class with Turner instructing. Geodes are rocks which contain a hollow cavity filled with crystals. It is a very popular themed cake around the country right now. The class runs at least once a month at the studio — and it sells out fast.
The way the cake classes work is each participator receives a baked cake draped in fondant. You can either do a 4″ ($55) or 6″ cake ($75) — the price includes all materials, two hours of instruction and taking the cake home with you. Cake flavors come in vanilla, tie-dye, chocolate, red velvet and gluten-free vanilla and chocolate.
Classes vary in techniques — some focus more on icing, others more on fondant. The Geode class focuses on mixing icing colors and smoothing and carving methods. You can tailor your cake any way you please based on both flavor, color and artistic design.
The end product is a unique creation and mash-up of skills you learn that you can take with you and replicate at home. These classes are a great chance to have a fun night with friends or family while learning something new.
Classes this month are all about Halloween. Upcoming themes include a Monster Faces cake, a Gory Halloween cake and more. And November will revolve around Thanksgiving — December, Christmas. But as with the Geodes, it’s not all about holidays — each month there is something new and exciting. The calendar of classes is planned out until the month of February — you can check out the lineup here, along with prices and more. Private party packages are available for any occasion, as well as opportunities for non-profit and corporate events.
My Make Studio is located at 6460 East Yale Avenue, Unit E60, Denver and open Tuesday through Thursday from 12 to 7 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
All photography by Giacomo Di Franco.