Class two was a success!
Before I dive into all the fabulous details, I want to do two things:
- Share one reason why I decided to take this class in the first place
- Apologize for the quality of the photos
Why I decided to take this cake decorating class
If you missed my first class, you can read about my 1.1 lesson here where I talk about a few reasons I wanted to take a cake decorating class. In addition to, well, enjoying baking, I registered for this class because I’ve been thinking about how productive I was when I was a student. In addition to holding down a full course load and working 20+ hours a week, I was always seeking out new, fun activities.
In college, I really enjoyed being purposeful with my time. If there was a new speaker coming to campus, I’d be there. I went to new club meetings all the time. I looked for every opportunity to learn new things:
- Pottery Painting
- Yoga on and off campus
- Swimming, climbing the rockwall, and taking fun fitness classes at UREC
- Organizing Exploratory Sunday Adventures for my friends
In hindsight, I wish I had taken advantage of the study abroad programs and Spring Break volunteer trips, too, but I’m pretty darn lucky because my husband will be a college professor so all of these opportunities are still within reach! (And, I may be redirecting my career into the world of Student Affairs in a few years!)
Anyway, I realize that I used to go to an event because I “had time.” A comedian at Taylor Down Under on Thursday from 7-8pm? That’s in between my staff meeting and fencing practice, so, yep, I’ll definitely be there! Now I have a whole Thursday night wide open and what do I do? Go for a walk and eat dinner and watch some TV? It’s not bad, but sometimes I just love doing new things. As I told my friend, Tiffany, I needed some more structure in my life to build a schedule around.
So, bottom line, I signed up for a Cake Decorating class to bring more structure to my life.
I apologize for the quality of these photos
It’s not easy to discreetly snap pictures with icing-coded fingers. I did my best, but I apologize for the blurry awkward angles. You get the idea, though, I promise.
Here we go…..!
The day before the 1.2 class, I baked two layers of pumpkin cake and made icing from scratch. Using varying amounts of confectioner’s sugar, you can make icing “thick,” “medium,” or “thin.” Each consistency has a different purpose and we were supposed to make and color icing in advance.
Here’s what the prep looked like:
I wasn’t sure how to best transport the layers of cake so I just packed them together in my cake carrier with a piece of wax paper underneath and between them and that worked really well. I was able to lift them apart during class to add icing and such.
In class, we shaved off the top layer of the cake and practiced building a “dam” of icing in between the two main layers. We also added filling of our choice (pudding, pie filling, cinnamon sugar, nutella, the options are limitless!) and then we stacked the two layers on top of each other:
Next, it was time to ice the whole cake. When I opened my homemade “thin” icing I realized it was a little TOO thin – read – watery. I didn’t bring any extra sugar to balance it out, so I just did my best to work with what I brought:
Gross? Gross. But I learned a good lesson about how it’s a lot easier to add water than take water away.
Before the real decorating began, we practiced on our practice board. This is a great tool because it has TONS of templates for icing strokes and actual pictures to follow. You can even print a picture and place it under the plastic. This a tool I’ll continue to use when the class is over because it gives you an opportunity to practice the correct width and movement before you even touch the real cake. We practiced making straight lines and rounding off the top so it looks pretty and swirly:
Now, here comes my biggest critique of the class so far: not receiving a comprehensive list of every necessary supply beforehand. When I arrived at class, I realized that I’d missed a couple things on the 42 item check list. I assumed that everything we needed would be in the kit that we purchased or readily available in my kitchen (food coloring, scissors, toothpicks, etc.). While some items are marked “optional,” there are many wacky items that are required for the lesson.
One of these items was piping gel.
Since each of us only needed about a teaspoon, I was hoping that our instructor may supply this for us, but arrived to class early enough to make this purchase if necessary. When I asked her, she told me to buy it. Well, guess what? I was the only one who had it when it came time to use it, so I ended up offering it to all 5 students. I was very willing to share, but I do think it would be more reasonable for Michael’s or Wilton to provide this to the class for this one time use.
So, anyway, we traced the image with the piping gel on a sheet of waxed paper, and then plopped the paper right on top of the cake. After I peeled the wax paper off, I had a nice outline on top of my cake so all I had to do was fill in the outline using the techniques we’d just learned. Easy peasy!
I finished first so I had lots of time to spend adding the little dots around the borders:
My friend, Emily, did an awesome job with her neon icing that was a much more normal consistency than mine:
The icing soaked through and ruined the cake, but I had one piece before it was totally soggy:
I’ll measure the icing more carefully next time. Next week I’m making CUPCAKES with FLOWERS!