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The sky is the limit when it comes to turning an item into a delicious cake for Iryna Kotyk and she has made everything from a cake that looked like a bottle of Hennessy in a presentation box and a pot of gold to a Heineken beer bottle top and a hamburger.
For the Ukrainian woman, who has been living in Mitchelstown for the past nine years with her two children and husband Volodymyr, baking has always been her passion and her dream is to turn that passion into a business.
While some people dabble in a bit of baking while they are at home, Iryna's creations go far beyond that, as she creates awe inspiring sugarcraft masterpieces, making the cake the focus of the event it was lovingly created for.
Speaking to The Avondhu, Iryna said that she loves a challenge and she said that anything can be turned into a cake and she is always striving for something different and unusual that people will remember.
"I like to do something unusual, when I visit friends I usually bring a cake - if you bring an ordinary cake, it's nice, but it's not unusual."
For the Wizard of Oz launch, Iryna created a wonderful cake for Pat Lambe's birthday, which was presented to him on the night. The cake included Dorothy's red slippers, the yellow brick road and inside it had the colours of the rainbow and she said that for her, the joy is in seeing people's faces when they see the cake and people often marvel at the cake, not wanting to disturb the masterpiece, but she said that even though it looks beautiful, people should tuck in and enjoy the taste as well.
She said that when people come to her looking for a cake, they often have their own ideas and she would try to tell a story with the cake or bring across someone's personality through the simple sponge and spectacular icing.
"Sometimes, they tell you to do whatever you want and that is very exciting."
Iryna explained that about ten years ago, there was a trend towards cream and flowers on cakes, but now people expect more and they want cakes that don't even look like cakes. She spoke about a wedding cake, which she made for a friend - the couple wanted a plain cake with flowers, but when they cut into it, it had the colours of the Irish flag, to represent their nationality.
She said that with her cakes, she usually uses her white sponge recipe for the inside and adapts it using food colouring for whatever she needs and then she crafts the outside, either working from an idea in her head or from a picture template she has found online, but she said that the cake always ends up bigger than she imagines.
Even though this is just a hobby for Iryna now, she said that one day she would love to see her cakes on shop or bakery shelves, but she said that opening a place of her own wouldn't work right now, as people would be comparing her cakes to ones they can buy in supermarkets much cheaper.
"The ingredients are not that expensive, but it takes a lot of time to make one of my cakes, the Wizard of Oz cake took about a day to make and I don't think people would realise that when they see a price tag on it."
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