Monday, August 30, 2010

[Home] cake improvements

Since I posted about my cake-wreck experience a few weeks ago I have taken 2 cake decorating courses with one of the owners of Whimsical Cupcakes here in Edmonton. Last week's covered buttercream icing (covering a cake, piping, making flowers) and yesterday's was on using rolled fondant (colouring, rolling, shaping, etc). Both classes were informal, set up in the work space of Whimsical Cucpakes (which is quite lovely and I have serious baker-jealousy...maybe one day, when I go professional...right) and no requirements that everyone produces the exact same cake. Ailynn used to be a teacher so she's good leading the class through the techniques, giving people extra help when they need it, and she does the whole thing in a pleasant, cheerful manner.

I didn't learn a huge amount of new techniques in the first session as I've been playing around with piping bags and icing for awhile. But I did finally get a handle on rose-making, which I'd been unable to master on my own, and learned how to make a few other piped flower as well. And even though I didn't walk away with a boat-load of new skills I still enjoyed the class, plus I had a cake to take home afterward. The fondant class was good in that I learned what fondant is supposed to feel like. When I worked with it for my birthday, I had no idea and wound up with fondant that was too stiff (and I probably rolled it out a little too thick). I also learned that neither flour nor icing sugar should be used when rolling it out and working with it, which I hadn't known previously.

I've still got about 2 pounds of fondant, so I'm going to make another cake during my next free weekend to gain some experience. Plus, I need to see how long it takes to make buttercream icing, which is what Whimsical Cupcakes recommends when icing and decorating cakes. I'll put together a mock-up of the reception cake I'm making for my brother-in-law and his wife in October...except with electric pink and turquoise colours (my fondant has already been dyed, there's nothing to do about it). I also found out from taking the course that there are 2 Bulk Barns in town (well known to the residents of Ontario, but no so much to the folks in Edmonton), so I'll have to check out their baking supplies for more cake pans, leaf-shape cookie cutters and food colouring (the gel kind, not the liquid food dye you can by in regular grocery stores).

That's about all for now. There'll be at least one more cake-related post before all this is over, maybe two, then I'll stop...but no promises.



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