Cake Like A Boss: An Interview with Cooking Instructor Ruth Drennan

Ruth Drennan is an influential pastry chef and sugar artist with over fifteen years of experience as a wedding cake designer. Her work has been featured in major magazines, websites, and on “We TV”.  She was recently featured in Edible Asheville’s holiday issue, and shares The Best Chocolate Cake Ever recipe.  She’s taught at the Folk School numerous times, and we’re thrilled to welcome her back twice this year!

Enjoy our interview below to learn more about Ruth’s approach to cake design and what her students can expect to learn.

JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming class at the Folk School, “Cake Like a Boss”?

RD: We will learn about baking and cake decorating and discover the skills behind decorative elements such as crumb coatings, smooth icing, and fondant art . My goal is to create a fun, supportive and non-competitive environment for students to learn basic cake decorating skills and give them the confidence to create their own decorated cakes in the future.

JCCFS: Can you tell us what students expect to leave your class with?

RD: Students will come away from this class with pride in their own abilities, happy memories, key skills, and if they don’t choose to share the products of their labors with the rest of the school, then lots of yummy cakes!

A students cake from Ruth’s “Cake Like a Boss” class last year.

Making cakes together!

A students fabulous fondant icing!

JCCFS: You’ve taught this class before at the Folk School. What do you most look forward to when coming back to teach on our campus?

RD: There are so many things that I love about the Folk School, but for me, the best part is that it feels like going to camp, but for adults! We step away from our busy, often stressful lives and immerse ourselves in learning and creativity. It’s a fun, supportive, and non-competitive environment that cannot be matched anywhere else! The thing I most enjoy as a teacher, is seeing the transformation in my students over the course of the week. They go from nervous to joyous, and doubtful that they have any talent to positive and confident that they now have the skills to go home and do more!

JCCFS: That’s wonderful!  That’s not the first time I’ve heard that this place can be inspiring. Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

RD: In my work and life, I’m profoundly inspired by nature, creativity, and celebration. It’s why I became a wedding cake designer specializing in cakes decorated with sugar flowers.

JCCFS: What’s one design you’ve made recently that you’re proud of, and why?

RD: I was recently asked to create a heart-shaped wedding cake that was decorated with ornate piping in the Lambeth style, neither of which is something I usually do. Just as my students get nervous to create something that they haven’t done before, so too was I. I thought about the cake decorating lessons and guidance that I teach my students and realized that I needed to follow my own advice and it came out great!

JCCFS: Very great advice! What tips would you give a student or aspiring craftsperson? Anything you wish you had known earlier in your career?

RD: My advice for any student or aspiring cake decorator is to focus on the exact thing that is most interesting or appealing to you and focus on that. Learning basic skills is important, but specialize in what you like. Don’t try to be all things to all people. That, and practice, practice, practice!

A sample cake! Yummy!

Another cute cake!

“Cake Like a Boss” class getting serenaded by the Music class.

JCCFS: Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?

RD: You can find me on Facebook, RuthDrennanCakes or visit my website

JCCFS: Great! It was a pleasure chatting with you, Ruth. We can’t wait to see you on campus!

RD: Thanks, me too! This class is so much fun! Everyone who takes it has a great time, including me!

Upcoming Classes with Ruth

Cake Like a Boss

February 18-24, 2024

Have you always wanted to make the dazzling confectionary creations seen on television cake shows? You can! During this week of baking and cake decorating, discover the skills behind decorative elements such as crumb coatings, smooth icing, and fondant art that makes your jaw drop. Master the latest trends and build the skills and confidence you need to create your own delicious works of art. All levels welcome.

Fabulous Fruit Desserts

May 12-17, 2024

Enjoy the bounty of the season (or freezer) through fruit-based dessert recipes that have been passed down and enjoyed for generations. Turn fresh and frozen fruits into delectable delights and learn how to choose and prepare the best crust, biscuit, or crumb topping for each. Return home with delicious memories of—and future ideas for—fabulous cobblers, crisps, pies, buckles, grunts and more.

About Ruth Drennan

Ruth Drennan is a pastry chef and sugar artist with over fifteen years of experience as a wedding cake designer with her own New York City business. Her work has been featured in major magazines, websites, and on “We TV.” Chef Ruth has two certificates from the French Culinary Institute, in pastry and restaurant management. She now lives in North Carolina and focuses exclusively on teaching and writing to help others be successful, too.

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