That's a question that is often posed to me when people see my cakes. The answer? Watching lots of Cake Boss. (Great show by the way). And that is sort of true - I did learn a lot from watching that show. But mostly it is just trial and error. I find a picture of a cake I think is cool and then I try to figure out how to make it. This can cause some interesting issues.
So this past week I did something I have never done before. I went to my very first cake decorating class.
I got a really good deal on the Decorating Basics class at Michaels. I would have liked to skip to class two - but you have to take the first one in order to take the other two. Prerequisites - blah. Anyhoo, I was very nervous about actually going to a class and having to decorate a cake with a professional watching me! Scary! So last Tuesday morning I was scrambling around trying to make sure I had everything I needed. I did NOT want to be caught unprepared. When you signed up for the class, they gave you this lovely little list of things you would need for the first class. You can buy the student kit which has most of the stuff, but I opted to buy everything individually since I already had many of the items that came in the kit. Here's all the goodies that I needed for the class:
(So exciting - isn't it?)
I arrived early and sat chatting with the instructor, Mary. She was very friendly and nice and really loves cake decorating. We waited for the other two members of the class to make their entrance. Which they finally did. This is what they brought:
Absolutely nothing! I think Mary was as shocked as I was! Who comes to class so unprepared? I felt like I was back in high school. My two classmates were both women. One is in culinary school and the other is opening a chocolate franchise which will also make wedding cakes.
This lesson was mostly lecture. But we did get to use our new practice boards to practice piping stars. Then we put our new knowledge to the test on some cookies. These are mine:
Of course I had been using this technique since my second cake.
But still - those are pretty excellent stars.
I did learn a lot about frosting consistency and the correct way to prepare your icing bags (whoops, haven't been doing that correctly). And a couple of important tips on how to keep that cake top flat!
For the next lesson I have to make my own cake and bring it to class. We'll be torting it, frosting it and decorating it. So my next post should be a little more interesting, both with pictures and stories.