Interview with Carie, a self-taught cake decorator

Earlier this year I met Carie, a student in one of my classes who told me she hadn’t been decorating for very long. She showed me her very first cake that she ever made and It was really amazing.

I was even more impressed when she told me she learnt all about cake decorating and made her very first cake though an online class on the Craftsy platform and had not attended any classes in person yet at the time.

I thought her story was very inspirational, so I emailed Carie some interview questions to share with you what is possible with the right resources and attitude.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello there! My name is Carie McGhie and I live with my wonderful husband in Reno, Nevada. We have three boys, with our youngest still at home. In a year we will be empty nesters, and will be left with two birds, a feisty maltese, a turtle and a bearded dragon. I have a cottage industry custom cake business called Ganache Fine Cakes that I started three months ago.

Carie McGhie

How did you get into cake decorating? And how long have you been doing it?

Three years ago I developed lupus and couldn’t work full-time any longer. I needed a lot of rest and was in bed most of the time. There’s only so much Netflix a person can watch! About a year ago I started watching Craftsy videos and was amazed with all the things you could do with cake. I quickly found that I was hooked. Little did I know at the time that all this would eventually lead to starting Ganache Fine Cakes.

Tell us about the first cake you made and how Craftsy helped you to achieve it.

Around the time I started getting hooked on Craftsy videos I had a friend that was getting married. I volunteered to make her wedding cake based solely on watching these videos. I incorporated the techniques I learned from the Craftsy cake artists to make my friend’s wedding cake.

My first cake
My first cake

It turned out really well! I was so very nervous about making someone’s wedding cake, but everyone liked it. Even the wedding planner at the event loved it and asked me if I did this for a business. At this point I decided I did want to do it as a business. I loved making cakes. I loved the creativity and the challenge. It was something I could do at my own pace, work around my health limitations, and express my creative side.

Do you have any favourite tools you can’t live without?

My Fondant Sheeter, Kitchen Aid Pasta Attachment, and Turntable… I can’t cake without those!

What classes have you taken with Craftsy and do you have a favourite one?

Almost all of them! It’s too hard to pick just one favorite…. But if I did it by category in Oscars Style:

Best Sugar Flower Class Award goes to Nicholas Lodge in The Ultimate Sugar Rose


Nicholas Lodge: The Ultimate Sugar Rose

Sugar rose
I watched this video over and over again before going to sleep so many times that my husband called it “Nick at Night”

Best Modeling Class Award goes to Sharon Wee in Baby Shoes: Step by Step


Sharon Wee: Baby Shoes Step by Step

Training shoe cake
The second cake I made was for my manicurist who won the Tahoe Show, a fitness bikini competition. I made sugar shoe replicas of her training shoes.

Best Cake Sculpting Class Award goes to Mike McCarey in All-Star Cakes


Mike McCarey: All-Star Cakes

Running Shoe Cake
My first sculpted cake was a running shoe for my husband’s birthday

Best Basics Class Award goes to Jessica Harris in Clean & Simple Cake Design


Jessica Harris: Clean & Simple Cake Design

Best Wedding Cake Class Award goes to Zoe Clark in Elegant Lace Cakes

Zoe Clark: Elegant Lace Cakes

Best Fondant Techniques Class Award goes to Marina Sousa in Advanced Fondant Techniques. I incorporated techniques from this class into my first cake, a wedding cake for a dear friend.


Marina Sousa: Advanced Fondant Techniques

Best Business Class Award goes to Chrissie Boon in Building Your Business: Smarter Display Cakes

Chrissie Boon: Building Your Business: Smarter Display Cakes

Most Fun & Entertaining Cake Class goes to Lauren Kitchens in Fast-Food Cakes (I love her candor!)

Lauren Kitchens: Fast-Food Cakes

For someone who may have never tried online classes before, what kind of benefits do you think you get out of taking a class through online platforms like Craftsy?

I love to learn, and these Craftsy videos are perfect for me to learn at my own pace, in my own home, in my pyjamas even! They have introduced me to and taught me a skill that I would otherwise have never learned. They’ve taught me something that I can use my creativity to continue to grow and bring smiles to other people during some of lives best celebrations.

To date, what has been your favourite cake to make?

That’s like asking me to pick between my children! I would have to say I have three.

“Lola” the Circus Elephant that I made at class with Sharon.

Making one of my favourite cakes with Sharon
Making one of my favourite cakes with Sharon
The finished elephant cake!
The finished elephant cake!

“Lulu” the Yorkie I made with Anne Heap

Making the Yorkie with Anne Heap of Pink Cake Box
Making the Yorkie with Anne Heap of Pink Cake Box

And the BB-8 cake I made this week. I love making cakes that have personality and seeing the reactions on other people’s faces.

What has been your most challenging cake?

The Octopus cake I made with Jorg Amsler. I still look at the pictures and say “I can’t believe I made that!”

The finished octopus cake

If you want to find out more about Carie you can find her at the following places online.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Carie, a self-taught cake decorator

  1. OMG, this story is so inspiring. I’ve been playing with cake for about 2 years. I’m really trying to learn all the different flowers and borders, but will consider Craftsy online. Thank you 😊 😊

    1. Hi Kawanda, Craftsy is now known as Bluprint just in case you have trouble tracking it down 🙂 We will try to update our links as we find them. We also have some flower tutorials in our online store here, so please check them out if you have time.

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