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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 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.

Wilton Cake Decorating Class: Week 1&2

My friend Jill (@Jillojello) and I decided to take a cake decorating class together.  I am a huge cupcake fan but not a good decorator, so this would be good for me to try. **I have taken 2 great cupcake classes at Le Dolci and loved them, but wanted something more in-depth. There will be a blog post will be done about Le Dolci in the future 🙂

We signed up for a 9 week, 18 hour course through the Toronto District School Board‘s Continuing Education department.  The cost was reasonable, $122, and the night and class hours perfect for us (Tuesdays from 7-9pm).  There are additional cost, which I am going to total and include in my last post at the end of the course.

Week 1: We didn’t do anything hands on in the first class.  Our teacher, a 15 year veteran of teaching Wilton classes, demonstrated making buttercream (without any butter?!), icing a cake, and showing us the various tips and equipment we would be using.  We all went home with the student ‘manual’ ($10 additional) and signed up to buy the starter kit, meringue powder, gel, and turntables from the teacher, if we wanted.  Both of us decided on just the kit, opting to price check and buy the rest ourselves.

Week 2: This week we had to bring everything with us to ice and decorate our first cake.  Being a little lazy, I baked a box mix into 2 8″ round pans.  Good thing, as the woman to my left had her cake crumble apart and she appreciated my second cake.  We also had to bring 2 batches of buttercream, colouring, gel, pencils, paper towel and the Kit (i.e. icing tips, bags, coupler).  The teacher checked our buttercream consistency and we started by icing the cake, practicing a level, smooth finish.  Then we practiced specific piping: flowers  and squiggles (tip #18 ) and round circles (tip #12).

This part of the class went long.  The teacher is very thorough and checked everyone’s progress twice, offering suggestions or demonstrating the correct technique.  We only had about 20 minutes at the end to actually put a design on our cakes and fill it in. I do find the instructions in the book to not be specific enough as they only have a few directions.

The finished product, not bad but not great in my opinion.  I am hoping that next week (CUPCAKES!!) will show improvement.

A Hallowe’en gone wrong

My post today is a sad one.   Each week, one person in my office brings in treats/food for the rest of us.  We call it  ‘Fat Friday’. I had moved my Fat Friday (snacks for the office) to today (Hallowe’en) so it could be themed.  Unfortunately, only 1 part of my plan made it to work.

I am really getting into cake/cupcake decorating.  My friend and I are planning to take a Wilton class in the winter, and I have done 2 Le Dolci cupcake classes.  So, Hallowe’en = a theme cake.  Out I go to my local kitchen store and buy a bat-shaped cake pan.  I made the chocolate-beet cake from the Globe and Mail.  I iced creatively, outlining my bat in multiple colours.

What it looked like, ready for humans to eat it.

And then my dog ate it.  He and I are still not talking.  There was one wing left (my husband save what he could for me).

But there is more!  I wanted to try something new! Traditional Hallowe’en fare, the caramel apple.

My mom and I tried two ways of melting the caramel (stove-top and microwave, go with the microwave) and quickly dipped the apples.  I haven’t tried one yet, but they looked good 🙂

What are your favourite Hallowe’en treats?  I think next year it will be all chocolate based.

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