Cake Decorating 1.1

I love baking.

I love the whole sensory process:

  • lining up matchy matchy mixing bowls on the counter
  • mixing dry ingredients with oil or eggs or applesauce to make dough or batter
  • the squish of topping cookie dough morsels with M&Ms and sprinkling cinnamon sugar
  • the hum of the hand mixer turning clay into batter
  • the ability to determine when a cake is perfectly baked based on the aroma in the kitchen
  • peeling warm cookies from a pan and plopping them on a cooling rack

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I love baking.

I have a common alliance with my sister and also few close friends that we’ll open our own bakery one day. For now, it’s a hobby.

My fondest grad school memories revolve around Snack Time: a weekly gathering I co-founded with my best friend to enjoy incredible snacks in adorable packages.

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Do you know how to make a grouchy grad student smile? Hand them a cookie.

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It is kind of self-indulgent, I guess, but I really love surprising friends, neighbors, and co-workers with personalized cookie cakes.

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Up until recently do you know how I decorated those suckers? By squirting icing out of a hole I cut in a plastic bag.

It worked…

…unless we were hosting a really important event, like a puppy’s first birthday party, then we went to the experts:

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The flowers! The swirls! The delicate lettering. I want to be able to do that!

Really, cake decorating is already in my heart and in my genes.

My Aunt Gloria is awesome at decorating artistic cakes. I remember admiring her cakes when I was a kid — they looked EXACTLY like the cartoon/character that she used as a model. One of my very best friends lives in Colorado and she is an amazing I mean AMAZING cake decorator. I’m constantly in awe of the detail in her work. My “twin” cousin owns her own cupcake business that was featured on cupcake wars. West coast friends and friends who travel often: make sure you try one next time you’re in LA!

SO I finally took matters into my own hands and signed up for a cake decorating class at Michael’s.

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I had my first lesson last week. It started off on an awful challenging note because Michael’s double booked classes which meant instead of practicing in the classroom, the Level 1 group  (yours truly) is learning around a glorified card table plop dab in the middle of the store.

Personally, I found it amusing to see the surprised expressions on customers’ faces when they walk around the isle to find some newly confident bakers decorating away. Our instructor was fuming, though, because, really, we paid good money for this class and we deserve access to a sink and utensils and elbow room. Alas, it is what it is, as they say, and I’m making the best of it. Also, I happened to get the class for half price, so, not complaining.

We went over some baking from scratch rules of thumb and then practiced decorating cookies. I learned how to get the perfect size dollop of icing thanks to this handy practice sheet that came with the kit:

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Then we used our books for design inspiration, and decorated a few cookies of our own!

 

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I was happy enough with the end result. You have to start somewhere! I titled this post 1.1 because there are 4 classes in this series (1.1-1.4) and then if I decide to take more advanced classes later, I’ll be able to link them up (2.1-2.4, etc.).

Cookies were a nice way to start, and next week I’ll be baking and decorating a two-layer cake kind of like the one in this cheesy video so stay tuned!

 

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