Her first cake was for her son’s 1st birthday in 2011, since then Barbara Luraschi, aka Sweet Janis, has developed her amazing cake decorating skills, and proof of this is her recent Gold Medal Award at the Cake International show in London few weeks ago. “I like when my cakes can tell a story and have a particular meaning” – she says – “And for this event I thought of a child who was telling a story to his toys. The mask of Pinocchio came into my mind and the toys became imaginary bystanders”. A cake for Barbara is not only something to eat, it is also something that can transmit an emotion. A joy not only for your palate but also for your eyes.
Can you tell me when you first discovered your passion for cake decorating?
“I always like cooking and food. And my first cake was for my son’s first birthday. I thought deserved something special so I started looking on the Internet for something original”.
How did the cake turn out?
“It was not so bad but to tell you the truth I smile now when I compare my first cake to my ultimate”.
Tell me something about your cakes, are there any in particular that you love more?
“There are two that I am very attached to. One was for a baby baptism and I made it with fondant, a bunny holding many balloons with another little one inside a baby shoe on top of the cake. I got many rewards and many people shared the pictures that I posted on facebook. The other cake was an Hermés handbag that brought me a lot of luck and many followers”.
What inspires you when you prepare your cakes?
“There are many things that inspire my cakes. I don’t like my cake to be static. I usually like when people have a chance to discover a meaning. I like when my cakes can tell you a story like the one that I made for the Cake International competition in London. I like to think that people understand what is behind the cake”.
And then maybe you realized that it was not only a passion but something more… Is that true?
“I became more committed and I practised as much as I could to sharpen my skills. This is the secret: the more you train and practise the more you get skilled. Of course you need good manual dexterity but the best advice for achieving good results is to exercise as much as you can without getting discouraged if something goes wrong”.
How did you come up with the name Sweet Janis?
“Years ago I used Janis as my nickname because I am a Janis Joplin fan. So I think at the end it was very easy because I just added the term “sweet” to my nickname to give a touch of sweetness”.
“I really like teaching so I am organizing some courses in Italy. And I really would like to write a book, maybe one day. There are so many things going on and also I collaborate with some cake decorating magazines”.
And tell me something about your next cake.
“It will be inspired by Cinderella. The cake will be the carriage and I am going to make it for a baby girl who is crazy about princesses”.
Let’s talk about cake decorating, what is your secret?
“If you want to make a good cake you have to be familiar with all the techniques. Of course the cake must be well structured because it has to support the weight of the fondant. Usually I use a sponge cake covered and filled with ganache or swiss meringue buttercream and then covered with fondant and decorated”.
How long will it take you to make a cake?
“It depends on the decorations. I usually model my decorations some days before the preparation of the cake. Some cakes have many details and you need a lot of time to make them”.
Did you post any tutorial on your website?
“Yes, there are three tutorials and many others are coming. People can see my work at www.sweetjanis.com”.
Would you like to share something for ethnicuisine.com?
“Sure, I would love to”
Thank you Barbara, it was a pleasure talking to you. Congratulations on your continued success. We are looking forward to trying out one of your recipes.