Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category
After finishing my Wilton classes, I felt a bit unsure of what I should do next. Should I just experiment on my own? Take more classes?? If so, where and what? Well, in the past week or so, I’ve found a few answers to this question.
The first thing I did was to go to the Great American Cake show in Westminster, MD. I’ve never been to a cake show, but it sounded like fun and a good way to see what other things I should learn. I was right!! The show was AMAZING!! So many cakes from all levels were displayed–beginner to professional. They even had displays for cupcakes, cookies and peeps!! These weren’t so much displays as they were entries in the competitions but I just felt like it was great to see all the different cakes and different techniques used to decorate them. One of my favorite cakes was done by a teenager from Pennsylvania, Rafael Logrono of Rafael’s Cakes. Not only was his cake absolutely lovely, demonstrating a variety of techniques and artistic skills, but he’s a really super nice guy!! After working with teenagers, I’m always floored when I meet a lovely young man with skill and determination. He’s also a fabulous teacher. While at the show, I took a class in creating a sculpted purse. Check out my first ever sculpted purse!!
I’ve never sculpted a cake before and Rafael really guided me through the process. His colleague, Amelia Monis of Sweet Alchemy by Amelia was also a great help since she helped me make sure my construction was good and she also answered questions along the way. This class, and all the shopping to do at the show were the best parts!!
I also decided I needed to learn to make gumpaste flowers. Yes, I’ve experimented with these before and had some exposure to gumpaste with my Wilton class, but I never really formally learned how to make wired gumpaste flowers. That is, until I took a class with the illustrious Colette Peters! She was a fabulous instructor since she broke down the construction of each flower into simple steps and was open to questions along the way. Not only did I get to go home with a bunch of lovely flowers that I intend to put on a cake for Mother’s day tomorrow but I went home with detailed instructions on how to make the flowers again!! I love when teachers give you a hand out of the most important information–seriously. I definitely want to take more classes from her since she creates an environment where you can really focus on your work and feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Check out my flowers!!
Maybe my next steps will be to experiment at home with some of the many cake books I’ve acquired or maybe even trying to view some cake decorating dvds? who knows? I just know I’m hooked on this art!!
Now what?? I’ve completed all the Wilton cake decorating courses that are available to me locally. My life revolved around cake: baking, design, and decorating. And I LOVED it all! Yes, there were moments that were frustrating and yes I can see a lot of my mistakes. But, I learned a LOT and I can see a serious improvement. Remember my first fondant cake? Even though my fondant was saggy and bumpy I knew I was onto something. Unfortunately, this cake obsession has taken a toll on other things in my life. For example, I was delinquent from my Daring Baker’s Challenge this month. Not for lack of trying–I did try to find the suet and the pudding dish, but there was always work to be done on a cake. I’ve also fallen off the workout wagon, since I’ve been too wrapped up in making all the items for cakes and unable to spare any time for my elliptical trainer. This weekend I’m even going down to Maryland to check out a cake show. I’ve never been to one so I’m excited to see what goes on and maybe take a class or two.
So what kind of cake was I so focused on making to end this course? A shoebox cake!!! I also made a lid out of another layer of cake, tissue paper from gumpaste and a shoe from gumpaste. I even made a matching little purse to go with it. The cake itself was a lemon buttermilk pound cake with a french vanilla buttercream. It’s not as detailed as I would have liked, but it’s a good start!
Any suggestions on what I should do next??
The past few weeks have been very hectic. I’ve been getting over a cold and my mother has also been quite ill. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my daring baker’s challenge because I was just not feeling well at all and I’ve been trying to help my mom since she’s been ill too. But I did manage to still complete my Wilton Course 3 cakes. Since I haven’t done too much fondant work, I also made some other cakes using the techniques I learned in the class so that I can improve my skills and really familiarize myself with fondant. I also tried a few different recipes since I had most of the ingredients around the house. I have to say that while I do love working with fondant since it just creates such a sophisticated look, I still think that cakes are not really complete without some kind of piping work. I was glad we got to learn more piped flowers in this class, but of course, I wish we were able to practice more. I’m really looking forward to the next course which focuses on fondant and gumpaste! Here’s some shots of my most recent cakes from wilton 3.
Last week I finished my second Wilton Cake decorating course! I have to say this time I really did learn a lot! The focus of this course is more piping work along with piping in royal icing and we made flowers in royal icing. I’ve never made flowers other than the buttercream roses so this was a challenge to try to keep straight how to make all the different petals for the different flowers and remember their different parts. Since I’m not too into flowers to being with it was just a challenge remembering what they all looked like. Of course with a lot of practice, I did eventually get some lovely flowers. And I’m sure with a LOT more practice I’ll have even nicer flowers! I do have to say that I think piping with royal icing is almost easier since you can get nice edges and peaks where you want them.
We learned how to pipe violets, violet leaves, mums, daisies, pansies, apple blossoms, and I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting. We also learned how to make reverse shells, rope borders and how to do a basketweave. The basketweave was by far the most difficult piping I’ve had to do yet! However, I do really think it’s a nice look for a cake. Combining the basketweave with flowers, marzipan fruits or maybe some other Easter/Spring imagery I think the basketweave can make any cake look very sweet and still polished. My finale cake had a decent basket weave in green. I chose green because I then added flowers all over the cake and I wanted the green to stand in for any foliage that would be under the flowers. The cake was an almond paste cake with french vanilla buttercream.
And since the student kit came with 2 pans, I was able to make 2 cakes. The next cake was also an almond cake with french vanilla buttercream but I decorated it with royal icing flowers and marzipan fruits. I’m now onto course 3 and the wonderful world of fondant!
Here’s some shots of my cakes! 🙂