Caring and Sharing at the Florida ICES Mini Classes

Karen Vazquez demonstrating at Florida ICES

If you follow your favorite professional cake decorator's social media page, you'll probably get a few tips and questions answered from time to time. But, when you attend a show, you get to experience the spirit of sharing and caring in the cake decorating world right before you. There's always something new to learn whether you watch a demo at a booth or attend a class, but there are even some who go above and beyond.

January 24 - 26, the Florida ICES Mini Classes was held at the Sheraton Orlando North in Orlando, Florida, an event featuring classes by many well-known cake decorators. But, the learning continued outside the classroom.

I had only to look one chair over at my breakfast table to witness Karen Vazquez offering an impromptu tutorial for a student with a question. Adina Serell was brought to Karen for tips in creating a ruffled rose design on the side of a cake.

Karen didn't just explain. Adina fetched some fondant from Norman R. Davis and a cake dummy from someone else's class and broke open her tool kit.

Karen used the dummy and some pins to demonstrate how to cut the fondant strips, fold them, roll them up and attach them to the side of a cake. But, the demonstration wasn't nearly as short as my sentence; Karen spent about 2 hours showing her the process.

rolling fondant strip

First, Karen rolled out the fondant on a mat and cut out a long rectangle. The width is a little longer than is needed, but excess gets trimmed off after the center is formed.

She folds the rectangle in half lengthwise, with the folded center facing downwards.

Then she rolls and pinches the fondant together to create a ruffle rose.


fondant ruffle rose

She cuts off the excess on the bottom and then attaches the rose center to the dummy.

Usually, Karen uses flat toothpicks to hold the rose in places and spreads open the petals with toothpicks to shape them. Here, she made do with the tools available.

Karen likes to place all the rose centers on the cake before adding additional petals. This allows her to make the design come out even, as she is able to space the roses better if they are positioned in the beginning.

applying fondant ruffles

She continues the process of cutting fondant strips and wrapping them around the rose center, adjusting the petals as she goes and positioning them with pins.


wrappying fondant strip around rose Karen ads another strip of fondant to build the rose.
applying fondant rose to cake Here, the center has had more petals wrapped around it.
folding fondant strip in half When all the roses on the cake are the size you want, then layers of ruffles wrap from the top of the roses, dip down in the space in between them and then up above the rose next to it. This process continues both above and below the roses to fill in all the space on the side of the cake around the roses.
The demonstration was followed by business tips to secure a contract and deposit with a catering facility.

Adina is holding the photograph of the cake she wants to make.


Karen is not only very talented; she has a heart of gold and you can't help but admire her kindness and generosity with her time. She gives you her all whether you stop her in the hallway or take one of her classes.

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