Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lesson 6:The Pain in the Primroses


That's how my hand felt after the last lesson. It hurt to squeeze anything, pick up anything, type, or basically move my hand at all.

Royal icing is a royal pain.  Perhaps that's how it got the name Royal icing.

Cake decorating is no stranger to pain. The constant squeezing of those piping bags can cause your hand to cramp up. Badly.  For example, when I made this behemoth, my hand hurt so badly from piping on the windows that I had to run it under cold water a couple of times before finishing.

There are 6 cakes in that school building.  Six.  With 40 windows and 1 door.
As an added bonus - in the amount of time it takes for you to get up and put your hand on ice, your royal icing can harden right up.  Many times I have declared - never again! (Including the time I made this cake).  But somehow that never seems to be the case.

Royal icing is fairly easy to make and much easier to clean up than buttercream.  It consists of powdered sugar, meringue powder and water.  It dries rock hard and tastes horrible (unless you like the taste of meringue powder).  So although technically it's edible, you probably wouldn't want to eat it.

So why do we go to all the trouble of making the cake edible when it isn't really edible?  
Search me.  
I guess we just want to be cool and say - yeah, I made that out of frosting.

For our lesson with Royal Icing, we made primroses, apple blossoms and the Wilton Rose.

I was not happy with how my teacher taught us the Wilton Rose.  She taught it exactly like the ribbon rose, but with royal icing.  And then she kept telling me I was doing mine too much like the ribbon rose. (Well, yeah, since you taught both the exact same way!!!)
The Wilton Rose
My Roses
(If you squint, they kind of look like the 7 tiers of Minas Tirith,
the White City of Gondor.  Now that would be an awesome cake.)
 Finally I just did one the way the book said to, instead of the weird pseudo ribbon rose thing she taught us.  But it was really disappointing because I had so wanted to learn how to make nice roses!  I guess I'll just have to practice at home.
My attempt at making a real rose.
Speaking of practicing . . . . My teacher was telling everyone the importance of practicing at home in between classes. She said - now I know that Amanda (culinary arts student) and Joy have been practicing at home.  Riiiiiiiight.   I felt like I was in piano lessons again when my teacher would tell me how she could tell I had been practicing at home that week or she could tell I was counting when I played.  (I didn't.  Well I didn't count.  I practiced sometimes).   
Next we moved on to apple blossoms and Awkward Moment #2.   Apple blossoms are a tiny little flower.   You turn the flower nail and move your hand up and down as it turns to make each little petal.   I caught on to this fairly quickly.   So my teacher made everyone stop and watch as I piped one.   Talk about pressure!   I'm sure my face turned completely red and I suddenly was extremely nervous.   Fortunately I didn't screw it up.   
Apple Blossoms
Wilton Apple Blossom
My Apple Blossoms
Once you pipe the flower on the nail, you remove it and put it in the flower former.   Now I don't know yet how valuable a flower former is or if it is just another way for Wilton to get you to spend money.   But it does keep your flowers from drying completely flat.

Then you add the little dots of color using tip 1.   Which is hard to use even with butter cream, let alone my crazy stiff Royal Icing.   Eventually I ended up using tip 3 because it just wasn't working.

Apple blossoms drying in the flower former.
And finally we finished up with the primrose.   You use a very similar motion to make the primrose, except it's bigger and you make a sort of heart shape with the petals.   
Wilton Primrose
This one was in the flower former,
so it is not as flat as the picture above.
Then you add a little star in the middle and a little dot on top of the star.   Remove from nail, place in flower former.

Drying primroses.
Once the flowers are dry enough, you put in them in a box and keep them until you use them.   And then go get some ice for that hand.


Qtip the Sixth said...

Wow, I never knew the sacrifices you made for your art. I would like to see a Minas Tirith cake. Sounds like a major undertaking though.

The Joys of Caking said...

But something I am definitely going to have to do sometime now.