On YouTube, Yolanda Gampp is the queen of crazy cakes. Gampp is the woman behind How To Cake It, a YouTube channel on which she bakes up all sorts of offbeat confectionery delights. In her videos, Gampp has made cakes shaped like watermelons, brains, minions, and dozens of other objects, and more than a million viewers have rewarded her ingenuity by subscribing to her channel. She’s receiving some offline accolades, too; she just won a Webby Award for Best Online Film & Video How-to & DIY Channel. To celebrate that milestone, we spoke to Gampp, who is partnered with the Kin Community network.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to reach one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Yolanda Gampp: It feels incredible. YouTube has been such a wonderful ride, and I don’t think in any of our wildest dreams did we think that we’d hit one million subscribers in under a year. I have to send a big thank you to the fans, and I really can’t say it enough.
TF: You’ve experienced a rapid rise to YouTube success. What’s the most significant way in which your life has changed since your channel got big?
YG: Probably that I’ve gotten a lot busier, my days are packed. I’m trying to balance all the work involved in a YouTube channel with being a mom. I also feel like I have this huge influx of positivity from my fans. No matter what I’m doing there’s this giant group of people out there who are wishing me well, supporting me, and sending me positive vibes.
TF: What is your history with baking, and what do you love about it?
YG: I was always around baking when I was younger (my father was a baker), but I definitely didn’t know that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. I started baking professionally when I was 21, so I’ve been at it for 18 years. I’m self-taught when it comes to baking, but I actually went to culinary school right out of high school. I liked it, but I didn’t love it in the way I do with baking.
TF: Do you have a favorite cake you’ve made on your channel?
YG: I think the cake that I’m the most proud of is my Turkey Cake. I had so much doubt in myself throughout the entire process, and was constantly asking my crew, “Does it look like a turkey? Does it really look like a turkey?” When it all came together at the end, and I carved a slice out I was unbelievably happy. It was a turkey!
TF: On the flipside, was there a recipe you tried to film that didn’t work out for some reason?
YG: Well there’s a couple, but they’re a bit different from one another. When I was baking my Half Birthday Cake, I must’ve done something wrong during the baking process, because my confetti vanilla cakes came out a bit yellow. And the frustrating thing is that I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and can’t pinpoint where it went wrong. My best guess is that I got distracted on the phone, and mismeasured one of my ingredients.
On the decorating side, I work a lot with fondant, which is very temperature sensitive. While I was placing the little coloured squares on my Rubik’s Cube Cake, it was a very hot day, and I was working under hot lights. I started placing the squares in the wrong pattern, and couldn’t replace them as the fondant had gotten hot and sticky.
In both cases, we still moved ahead. Nothing has ever gone so wrong that it hasn’t made it to the final video. I do think I’m getting better at not being embarrassed by my mistakes on camera, and just owning that it’s a big part of baking. Mistakes happen, but the results are always still delicious.
TF: Your videos use multiple camera angles and plenty of cuts. What are the benefits of these high production values?
YG: My partners in the channel Connie and Jocelyn have a background in television, so they’ve brought a lot of that sensibility to our videos – we wanted How To Cake It to be really visually stimulating and one part tutorial, one part entertainment. Our amazing camera woman Sasha is a boss on the lens, and our editor Orhan keeps the editing fast-paced and somehow gets cakes that take me 14 hours to make down to 9 mins!
TF: What has been your favorite part of your “cake talks” with your fans?
YG: It provides a way for me to connect with them in a way that isn’t always possible during the week. I get so many amazing comments and messages that it just isn’t possible to keep up. CakeTalk is this space where they can directly interact with me, and get to know me better. I always try to answer questions that I haven’t been asked before so that they get a new piece of me in every episode.
TF: Do you enjoy making non-baking dishes as well? Any plans to share those with your viewers?
YG: Certainly not as much. I enjoy eating and drinking good wine, but I don’t get them same joy from cooking. I think it’s that I don’t find cooking as therapeutic as I do baking, and I feel like I should because it’s more free than baking. I’m definitely one of those people who finds pleasure in order.
And no, I don’t think I would ever do a savory dish as a feature video, but I will definitely keep turning savory foods into cakes!
TF: What’s next for your channel?
YG: Our main priority is to keep bringing the fans more of what they want every Tuesday in the form of cakes they request, and of course the cakes on my personal bucket list! But we’re also baking up some ideas for additional videos on the channel every week, as well as a really cool live baking experience fans can have with me – This might sound cheesy, but I’m literally caking my wildest dreams come true!