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Orna Purkin teaches Macarons class on Zoom Summer Baking Camp

Behind the scenes

I know you’re all zoomed out, but I had to share one of the coolest (and scariest) things I have ever done in my life!

I had been trying to plan something fun for Aja’s friends on the last day of school—like a Zoom “Nailed It” baking challenge—but honestly I was just too pooped (after reviving my YouTube channel) and it seemed too daunting.

But that had already been percolating in my head—whilst we still had zero plans for summer (because like the rest of you all camps and trips had been cancelled)—when Aja said, “Mom, you should do a baking camp!”


Light bulb on!

The next day I reached out to two friends—amazing fellow-bakers Beth Saltz (@BethSaltzRD) and Shani Dayan (@shanis_sweets)—to collaborate, and our four week Baking Camp/Contest was created!

Within a week we had 22 kids, ages 8 – 17 signed up!

This would all, of course, have been completely impossible without the expertise of my extremely supportive and brilliant hubby, Sam. (Who is pretty much ready to kill me now ?)

Sam set up my laptop/camera in front of my (giant) 27 inch monitor (love ?) so I could see everyone clearly on one screen.



I even got our sweetheart genius niece, Rachel, to help with a practice Zoom so we could figure out the logistics. (Because we all know how annoying a bad Zoom can be!)

When one was teaching, the other two would be “spotlighting” anyone who had a question and switching between the teacher’s close-up and main cameras. We needed for them to really be able to see what we were doing and ask questions, and show us what they were doing. And more importantly to feel as if they were in the room with us; if they didn’t feel connected they might as well just be watching YouTube or TV.

Luckily I already had experience teaching voice lessons on Zoom, but the thought of switching to the closeup camera and finding the right face/name/hand in time was terrifying. (Can you tell by the four pairs of eyeglasses below?)

I had no idea how much fun the “producing” part would be!

But to complicate things, I had Aja baking next to me (basically alone!) while I was either manning the Zoom or teaching.

Orna teaches Macarons class on Zoom Summer Baking Camp
She has grown leaps and bounds as a baker since this started.

Beth taught them how to make adorable Father’s Day Cookies.

I took on the challenging task of teaching French Macarons (one of the hardest cookies to master)… and they nailed it!

Orna Purkin teaches Macarons class on Zoom Summer Baking Camp

Shani taught them to make a gorgeous 4th of July drip cake.

4th of July Cakes with Shani Dayan

Their hard work and creativity has blown us away!

Their photos were submitted anonymously to our esteemed judges:

? Cookie aficionado Amber Spiegel @sweetambs

? “Macaron Queen” & Food Network Spring Baking Championship Season 5 Finalist Karina Rivera C @karinarc_5

? Emily Nadaj @bonvivantcakes who teaches classes for How To Cake It
And the FIVE finalists are:

Aja (10) for Father’s Day Cookies Round

Fathers Day Cookies by Aja Purkin

Lily (13) for Macarons Round

Unicorn and other macarons by Lily Werve


Ella (10) for Macarons Round

Sports Macarons by Ella Wright

Ella (10) 4th of July Cake Round (Winner and runner up of Macarons Round)

Liel (9) 4th of July Cake Round (First Runner Up)


Allie (11) 4th of July Cake Round (Second Runner Up)


The FIVE finalists will compete in the LIVE Zoom this Saturday, July 11th from 10am – 12pm PST. (It will be live-streamed on my YouTube Channel & Facebook page)

They will be making a layer cake of their choice (at least 3 layers) incorporating at least one technique that they learned in camp.

We hope you will tune in to support them! The other bakers/campers will be asking them questions and participating.

The prize will be a party for four at Duff’s Cake Mix in Tarzana (as soon as they’re open for business!)


The best part is hearing that they had such fun and that this made them feel happy when they had nothing to look forward to before.

“They always want to bake and we never know how besides Betty Crocker?. Now we are like master bakers and we have two of almost everything. They will use all the skills and utensils for years to come. We already got all the stuff to take another crack at the macrons which taste ridiculously amazing!”  – Solli Y.

“All 3 of you were incredible!! I know how hard it is to teach on Zoom and you all were so patient and supportive…Hannah learned so many new techniques and tips…thank you!!!” – Joanna C.

“Thank you all so much for an amazing baking camp. Allie is covered in buttercream and totally exhausted. We have all learned a lot these last three weeks. Please put us on the waitlist for the next session.” – Susie M.



We will also be hosting Baking Birthday Parties (on Zoom of course)!

All levels and ages.

Please email us if you’re interested:

Include your name
Where you live/time zone
Adult or kid classes (include age if a minor)
Your and your child’s baking level: BEG/INT/ADV
Anything specific you’d like to learn
Interested in Birthday Party?
Sweet or savory classes?

Please help us spread the word…


Join my Bulka Banter Group on Facebook.

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