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Let them eat cake — and handbags too!

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There’s not much cake designer Jamie Carmichael can’t create in his kitchen — whether it’s a cake in the shape of famed rapper Rick Ross’ head or one modelled after an exclusive Louis Vuitton handbag.

Only four years ago he would have declared himself a novice when it came to baking.

“Baking was trial and error and it got better after tweaking a recipe here or there,” he said. “I would look up the recipe online and find out it had too much of this or that ingredient and modified it to get exactly what I use now.”

The 36-year-old first got interested in cake making in 2009, after watching an episode of ‘Ace of Cakes’ on the Food Network Channel.

He was impressed with their designs and decided to sign up for a community education course. He then studied cake decorating for two weeks with The Wilton School in Chicago.

Mr Carmichael initially created cakes for family and friends, but it wasn’t long before Dream Wurx Cakes took off.

“It wasn’t really until I posted a simple birthday cake on Facebook that my designs were actually seen,” he said. “I was heavy into fondant at that time and was still learning and getting a grasp on icing and how to use them, but it all took off from there”

A few orders came in and the rest of his business spread by word-of-mouth.

These days Mr Carmichael makes all types of flavours from the basic chocolate and vanilla to strawberry, red velvet, lemon and coconut.

He also has a host of unique icing variations including cookies and cream, chai spice, piña colada and custard fillings.

Most impressive though is his ability to turn ordinary cakes into almost anything — from a top hat, robot and treasure chest, to a DJ turntable, soccer ball, globe or even an Apple laptop.

The cake designer said: “I once did a Rick Ross cake for a girl’s birthday. She was definitely a fan of his. It was awesome, people couldn’t believe the likeness. I even had one lady say she was going to send the picture to his publicist in the US.

“The bag cakes I really enjoy as well. I’m asked to make everything from Louis Vuitton, Coach, Fendi and Gucci bags. I guess those are popular because it’s girlie and customers want something for a special birthday or a bachelorette party.”

Though designing the cake has always been his favourite part of the process, he never wanted the taste component to suffer. That’s why his business motto is ‘Great Look, Great Taste’.

Mr Carmichael said he can spend between six and ten hours on a regular cake, with the hard work worth it if the customer is pleased.

“It’s nice to know that you put all your effort into something and they actually like the finished result and get back to you and say ‘That was really nice. I really enjoyed it’.

“It’s also nice when you see customers coming back to you for a second time, that feels good.”

But the cake business isn’t without it’s challenges, especially in humid Bermuda.

In order to give the sugar and icing the time it needs to rest and harden, Mr Carmichael had to create a dry room in his house, complete with an air conditioning system, to help counteract the effects of the heat.

He was once asked to create a cake modelled after the Eiffel Tower, but he didn’t think the weather would have cooperated with the height, and turned the job down.

Another tough part of working on the Island is it’s not always possible to find the speciality ingredients you need, the baker said.

“You might see some things that look awesome on television, but you aren’t able to do it to that extent because our weather doesn’t allow it. There are also some things I learned in school I would like to try like working with Jello.

“Some designs I saw with Jello were just awesome and I thought it would do very well here in Bermuda, but the Island doesn’t provide a lot of the ingredients they have in America.

“To make the Jello you need certain types of gelatin, you can’t just use a box mix from the shop. It’s a different kind of gelatin product.”

Mr Carmichael said his ultimate goal is to own his own bakery — he currently operates out of his kitchen at home.

“It would be nice to do it full-time and have a team of people who enjoy doing cakes as well and just to provide Bermuda with some awesomeness,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say I do it to try and become a Bermudian celebrity, or the next Ace of Cakes, but I will continue to do it for as long as people like what I provide for them.

“The more I do it, the better I become at it, which allows me to enjoy it more. I never knew I would get this far, but I’m glad I have.”

Visit his Facebook page or e-mail dreamwcakes@gmail.com for more information.

Is that a purse? No it’s one of Jamie Carmichael’s cake creations modelled after a designer Gucci bag.
Top hat cake
An army-inspired cake made by Jamie Carmichael.
Ahoy - A treasure chest full of loot is made by cake designer Jamie Carmichael.
Cat in the Hat cake
A cake made to look like a giant lipstick, created by designer Jamie Carmichael.
Formula One race car cake
A 70s themed birthday cake
A cake modelled after a football, in honour of a sports lover’s birthday.
Football fan - a cake created by Jamie Carmichael in honour of the Super Bowl.
Jamie Carmichael (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Jamie Carmichael (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Jamie Carmichael (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm)

Let them eat cake — and handbags too!

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