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Cake Decorating Class: Final Class

Please excuse the tardiness, because if you have been following, class ended 3 weeks ago.  I did not attend the final class as I was able to snag some Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leaf tickets with friends, and the way class was going, it was the better option.  So please find a guest post from my friend Jill who was taking the class with me.  At the end, I will have the breakdown of costs.

From Jill:

Without my partner in crime this week I sat with some of the other ladies taking the class. I quickly learned that there were far worse people in the class than us.

We were required to bring on pre iced cake. My cake did not turn out so well, infact it was a disaster. I decided to bring it to class anyways  and also bring along another store bought mini cake with just some basic icing on it. My theory was that I could practice my homemade disaster of a cake and then do a better job on my store bought mini cake. The teacher thought I was being quite resourceful, I feared she would have thought I was cheating by bringing a store bought cake.

This week’s class was the final class, so we were to learn how to make basket weaves using buttercream followed by applying this technique to our cakes and topping them off with out flowers from the previous classes.

We had to use our practice boards to learn how to make the weaves and then once we got the hang of it, we used the stands to prop up the boards.

After weeks of having horrible luck with my royal icing and techniques I was pleased by the fact I was actually quite good at the weaves even at the a 90 degree angle.

We were told to use quite a large star tip to create the design, this resulted in a very thick icing layer onto of the already iced cakes. We then were  told that the thinner tip is made for basket weaves, but it was not in our kits, but could also be used when one does not want such a thick layer.

For my mini store bought cake I used a smaller star tip as the large just would not work.

Since most of my flowers from the course were not up to par I used our fondant flowers to top off the cake.

The teacher also took this time to show use how to make a flower from the first course we did not learn. This time we had buttercream icing with us so it was much more feasible for us to try it out.

We then got our certificates and said our goodbyes.

Overall this was actually a productive class and I was happy to not have to fuss around with the royal icing and get back to working with buttercream with I seem much more talented with.

Thanks Jill! I think your cake looks great 🙂

Costs

So when Jill and I signed up for the course, the description stated $90 (approximately) in extra costs.  After the first 2 weeks, we were well above that and I tried to keep track so that people who were interested, would have a better idea.  I made a spreadsheet (which I won’t bore you with here) and divided my costs into mandatory and optional.  For the mandatory I spent approximately $275 (i.e. cake mixes, the instructional books/kits, icing, etc).  For the optional, I spent about $53.  This is $185 over the estimated $90.  I also think that they need to correct the course description to include the fact that you need to bring your own cakes and materials.  On top of the $120 course fee, this means that I spent almost $400 on a 9 week (18 hour) course, or $22 an hour.  Considering that I have taken some post-graduate university courses at $600-900, this is insane!  I don’t think I will be continuing to level 2 in a class environment.  It will be cheaper to buy the book and try on my own.  The other option is more Le Dolci classes, which are more cost-effective.

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Cake Decorating: Week 8

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This (if I understood correctly) should have been our last class to create flowers using Royal Icing, because in our last class we would be creating a cake using the flowers from the previous classes.  This class was roses, violets, daffodils and lilies.

Yet again, Jill and I were not having a good class.  Somehow my icing got some grease in it and I spent a lot of time hand mixing it, adding water because it was too stiff, and generally getting frustrated.  Jill’s icing, though she did everything to keep it grease-free, was greasy.  This is how the class started and we really didn’t get into any sort of groove.  We were also starting to feel left out, as the teacher came over to see our progress infrequently and was not very helpful.

We did not get the roses.  Probably because of our icing debacle, partly because we did not understand how to form the petals properly.  I will be YouTubing this later to improve.  The daffodils were easier, as were the violets.  The lily was shown at the very end of class (again).  It was easy to do, but we did two quick, messy ones to try.  More will be made this weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week is our last week, so you will see the final culmination of my learning in this course.  I hope it comes together well!  I will also have a breakdown of the ‘extra’ costs we incurred above the stated $90 by TDSB.

Cake Decorating Class: Week 7

We continued this week making flowers, but this time with Royal Icing.  I was not sure if mine had turned out right because following the recipe exactly, it did not come together until I added 1 tablespoon more water.  As I forgot to give Jill the recipe (soooo sorry!), hers did not come together properly so we used mine, and yet again, we had too much. I really think they need to adjust their instruction books, we always go home with leftover icing.

The main flowers for this week were the apple blossom and the wild rose.  Ours were done in mauve as I forgot my red food colouring.  Our wild roses were not that great, and we were frustrated.  We misunderstood the 45 degree angle, thinking up, not to the side, so none of the flowers looked right.  Once we corrected, then it was much easier.

The wild rose was not too hard (now that we understood angles!), but we were both tired and a little grumpy so we only made the minimum.

Near the end of class we were finally taught the mum, but I think that it would work better in buttercream as the icing burst the seam in our bag because of the pressure to get enough out.  I overheard some other people having difficulties as well.  At the very end of class, we tried the rose, I could not quite get it and had no energy to want to try.   I will practice at home though.

Again, all these flowers will be used on our final cake in week 9.

Cake Decorating Class: Week 6

This week was our introduction to gum paste and fondant.  Jill and I bought  (to share), the student kit, prepackaged fondant and gum paste, and a fondant rolling-pin from the teacher, as that came to $71!  The extra $90 in materials stated in the brochure has been met almost twice now. My final post will have an analysis of our extra costs.

I have worked with fondant before at Le Dolci, but not with gum paste.  It is hard!  We were kneading it almost continually the whole class to keep it supple.  We also used a little with water to make a glue, so that the layers would stick together when dry.   It was also new to me to use prepackaged and coloured fondant in order to add colour to the gum paste, instead of the food colouring.

Tonight we used the flower pattern maker to make tri-colour/levelled daisies and then we made pansies.  I found the daisies were easy (roll, press, lay to dry) but the pansies I struggled with getting the edges to curl properly. I definitely hope to improve on what you see above.  Also, our flowers are whimsical in their colours, as our fondant box came with neon orange, purple, yellow and neon pink.

All the flowers we are making from this class to the end, will be used in our final cake.

Cake Decorating Class: Week 5

This week we were asked to come to class with an un-iced character cake.  Jill to the rescue! She happened to have a 3-D rubber duck mould, so she made hers first and then passed the pan over to me.  I was also aware that I could have rented the pan from the Bulk Barn, which is cheaper than buying a lot of pans, and cuts down on storing issues.

I once again used a Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake mix, this time in chocolate.  Unfortunately it filled the bottom pan as per the directions, and rose, but not enough to make the duck 3-D.  Tasting some of what I took off for levelling, I prefer this cake over the GF golden.  It was a much more ‘normal’ cake taste, not as gritty as the golden.

Our whole class was dedicated to decorating the cake.  Everyone had a different cake; there were baby strollers, Hello Kitty, Cookie Monster and sunflowers.  As Jill and I did the same cake, and it was all one colour, we were done early.  The hardest part were the tight curve of the duck’s neck and keeping the stars tights.  The table height meant we were on our knees at points trying to keep the tip at a 90° angle. What do you think?

Please note: There will be no cakes for the next three weeks.  We will be learning fondant, gum paste and making flowers for our final cake in week 9, so I will still keep you updated with my progress on how the flower making goes.

 

Cake Decorating Class: Week 4

This week we had to come with a cake (round or square, 8″ or 10″) already iced so we could work on decorating it.  I went with a lemon cake, used my new cake leveller (thanks@LeDolci!) and put some raspberry filling in the middle.  According to my teacher, my icing was done really well! I found it much easier to ice a square cake than a round, but I still need to work on making the icing level, as in better light, I could see the cake faintly through the icing.

We started in class learning how to write with icing.  Printing was a little easier than cursive.   In the end, our problem was what to write on our cake.  I went with “Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad” as they are visiting this weekend (surprise Mom!).  Jill went with “Green Tea Cake” so people would know what kind of cake it was.  I thought this was cute 🙂

The next item we learned was making a rose.  We used a rose nail to twist the base around so the icing could form petals.  They were not exactly as the picture showed, ours were higher and more open, their’s more of a flat circle.  But I was told mine were good (I am skeptical).  Then while they dried a little, we started to decorate the cake.  Supposedly, you start with the writing, then the flower placement, then the leaves and the border comes last.  Well, Jill and I were ahead and bored, so we started with the border.  I placed the pre-made flowers I made (skill from the week before), and then backtracked to the other steps.  We were disappointed that our flowers did not harden much, because we found they mushed slightly trying to get them off the flower scissors to put on the cake.  Overall, I think I did a good job.  What do you think?

Next week is a character cake.  I have some ideas thanks to the Wilton iPad App, but it always comes down to time.

Cake Decorating Class: Week 3

This week we were asked to bring 6 cupcakes.  Umm, not enough to share with my office 🙂  I brought 12 normal and 12 mini.  I also used a Gluten-Free Betty Crocker mix for the first time so that all of my colleagues can partake in this adventure.

This class started wrong right from the start.  I was not paying attention and drove past the turn, making us late.  This meant we had to sit separated from the class at the back.  Then, the practice sheet we needed, I seemed to be missing, so I shared with Jill.  I could not seem to get my flowers to come out right (there are no pictures) or my shells. My leaves were not bad, but I had learned them at Le Dolci.  Also my icing seemed to not be the right consistency either.  A very frustrating night overall for me.

Again, we did not get around to actually decorating until 20 minutes left in the class.  The teacher seems to be overwhelmed by the number of students in the class and we skip over items in the lesson book. Like how to make the toppings for the cupcakes. Maybe next week, we are told…

Here are my finished cupcakes.  We used the filling tip, so mine have Nutella in them.  We were practicing the swirl as a base for decorations, but did not really get to the learning what to put on top.  I did leaves (we practiced these during class) and then used the rest of the blue icing to do randomness.

As an aside, I found the gluten-free mix to work well, not very different in consistency and they baked up nicely.  The taste is a little grainy, but good!

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