Cake class wrap-up

In my most recent post I gave you an overview of the cake class I’ve been taking and a week-by-week update on the techniques I’ve learned.

My course wrapped up last week, and I’m proud to say that I passed, haha. 😉

In the final class session we learned how to write on cakes and create a few more intricate flowers such as the ribbon rose. Then we had the last 45 minutes or so to decorate our final cake. It was an open assignment—essentially, do whatever you want to do! My choice was to make a fun cake that incorporated as many of the different flowers we’d learned as I had time to make them. This is how my final cake turned out:

finalcakeHere is a close-up of my favorite techniques that we learned. The big pink flower is a zinnia, and it was much easier for me than the rose and looks just as pretty. The orange flower behind it is a swirl drop flower, and it’s also really easy. It only takes one tip and about a second to pipe! I was also very happy to learn how to make leaves properly, not only how to use the leaf tip, but also how to give it that cool dimension versus just being a fancy triangle. 🙂

zinnia

I’m pretty happy with the cake and the skills I took home with me from the class. I feel like I’m poised to create some pretty sweet (no pun intended) cakes with what I’ve learned; all I need is some motivation and inspiration, and I’ll be good to go!

I’d had my doubts about paying to take a course in basic decorating skills. Between what I already knew and what I was sure I could learn via YouTube, I figured that the course itself wouldn’t be worth the time and money.

My view in class

My typical view in class—a rainbow of frosting!

But the investment was totally worth it. I had underestimated was the value of having an instructor demonstrate each technique in person and then watch and provide feedback as I did the same. I could ask questions like, “Why am I getting that extra little tail at the end?” and get instant answers so that I could keep practicing and get it right. Also, there was value in the class dynamic, working within a group of people who were all learning at about the same level and could encourage each other and say things like, “No yours looks great. Mine’s all lopsided. Maybe my frosting’s too thin.”  Oh, and yeah… that little thing about frosting consistency that I learned. Priceless. 🙂  No one on YouTube would’ve caught that mistake I was already making over and over.

So, if you’re considering taking a cake decorating course, I’d encourage you to go for it. The classes tend to go on sale for $20, and I think I spent about $25 on supplies and another $20 or so on ingredients for all the cake and frosting I used. Not too bad considering that a lot of the supplies will last for as long as I keep up the hobby.

So that’s that. If you have questions about the course or the value or whatever, leave a comment or talk to me in person. I’m happy to share about my experience.

-Lauryn

318 days until I turn 30
certificate

It’s official. Cue “Pomp & Circumstance” 🙂

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Cake class, weeks 1-3

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d been given the opportunity to take a cake decorating class as a birthday gift, and I wanted to give you an update on how it’s been.

The course itself has four two-hour sessions.
The topics are, essentially:

  • Week 1: How to mix and tint frosting, how to prepare and fill a piping bag, and the basics of piping frosting using different-shaped tips
  • Week 2: How to layer and frost a full-sized cake, practice with a few more tips and techniques
  • Week 3: Piping borders, leaves, grass, basic drop flowers and a few more complicated flowers
  • Week 4: Writing on cakes, creating ribbon roses, and decoration of our final cakes

For the most part, weeks 1 and 2 were a lot of basic stuff that I already knew. However, one BIG thing that I learned right off the bat in week 1 turned out to be the most important lesson of the entire course—frosting consistency! Apparently [heavy sarcasm] there is a method to the consistency of your frosting. I have been decorating cakes and cupcakes for a while now and have always used whatever consistency of frosting the recipe or can turned out, which has resulted in everything from crumbs in my frosting to misshapen letters to droopy decorations. I am SO glad that I now know the “secret” to avoiding these mishaps! (If you want to know more about this, just ask me. I’d be happy to share my new-found wisdom.)

During the course I also had the opportunity to work with a few bag tips I’d never used before, the most significant being a petal tip—used to make ruffles and flowers such as a rose—and the leaf tip. I learned to make some really cool decorations with these that I’ll share in a future blog post.

For now, I’d like to leave you with a few snapshots of things I’ve been working on. At the end of each class, we had about 30 minutes to decorate using the techniques we learned in that session. Here is some of what I came home with:

week 1

Week 1: We started with just two frosting tips and discussed how to make some different shapes with them. These are stars, rosettes and a swirl.

week 2

Week 2: After we frosted our cake, we got to decorate it using techniques we’d learned. This whole flower is made using the “pulled dot” shape.

week 3

Week 3: I had fun with my brightly colored frosting making use of several shapes we learned: drop flowers, leaves, grass, shell borders, and the daisy. (My frosting was too thin for the daisy. It should have more clearly defined petals, haha.)

In my next post… Week 4 cake project, reflections on the course as a whole, and my answer to the “was it worth it?” question.  Coming soon! 🙂

-Lauryn

322 days until I turn 30

Buttercream basics

cakeFor my birthday last month, my ever-supportive husband surprised me with registration and supplies for the Wilton Cake Decorating class at Michaels.

I’ve always been interested in the cake classes, but they’re fairly spendy, and you have to take class 1 before you can take the rest, so I’d wondered whether it would be worth the time and money to just get the basics. Lately, though, I’ve realized that I could benefit from a better foundation of knowledge about frosting and techniques.

So, during the month of June I’ll be learning “buttercream basics” alongside a handful of other sweet-tooths. (teeth?)  I’d invited a few friends to take the class with me, but no one else has taken the plunge, so the course will also give me a good opportunity to practice goal number 5—talking to strangers. 🙂

I’ll let you know how the class goes and whether it’s a good investment!

(By the way, if YOU want to take this class with me, let me know. The class is on sale for $20 and materials are like $30 so far.)

-Lauryn

346 days until I turn 30

 

Photo: Michael Prudhomme at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

#6 Learn to make cool cakes

It’s no secret to those close to me that I’m interested in learning to decorate cakes.

It all began when I started watching shows like Ace of Cakes and Food Network Challenge, where professional decorators (we’ll just call them cake rockstars) are featured doing their thing.

While I don’t expect to become a cake rockstar anytime soon… or probably ever… I am looking forward to learning and practicing (and learning and practicing and learning and practicing) making and decorating cakes. I’d like to sign up for a cake decorating class, but they’re kind of expensive, so I’ll probably end up waiting and putting it on my Christmas list or something.

And someday, I can make this cake for you: