Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cake Decorating 101 - Week 3

Cupcake decorating is different. I kind of like it, although it seems like a lot of effort for a treat that gets sucked down the throat in one fell swoop. I opted not to fill the cupcakes. I have a special icing tip that does that easily which I might use in the future. Baking them was also relatively simple. My cupcakes ended up on a slant. Great if you want to make mountains or ski hills.

The instructor said, "Crooked cakes mean that an oven isn't level."

Hubby said, "How does she know it isn't the floor or the house that's not level?"

My cupcakes shall remain eternally lopsided as I don't have the interest or inclination to get a level, lay it on my stove and try to spin those teeny little feet on the bottom of stove in an effort to solve the problem.

This week, preparing the icing took the longest. I required several colours for flowers and I especially needed green. We learned how to make leaves. I thought I was being terribly clever and prepared my icing bags with appropriate tips in advance. Unfortunately, everytime the instructor said, "now get icing tip number ...", I didn't have it, couldn't find it or already had it connected to the wrong colour. So much for saving time being efficient and organized.

After practicing a variety of different techniques, lines, shapes, leaves and the like, we made a pom pom flower. This was done on a small circular plastic platform covered with a tiny square of parchment paper and attached to a golf tee. Did I mention that the temperatures have been close to 40 degrees celsius lately? This is my slightly melted pom pom flower.

When many flowers are needed, they can be made ahead of time, chilled and placed on a cake later. I tried to save my flower but it dissolved. Cake decorating is definitely an activity for either an air conditioned space or a cold winter's day.

We were then left on our own to decorate our cupcakes. Again, time was running out and I started to panic. As a practice, I made a shaggy flower on top of one cupcake. After all, I still had the icing and tips intact. Then I became a bit more creative, making an alien, a flower with leaves, a lamb and a caterpillar before packing up. None of my efforts were spectacular because the icing became very soft and couldn't be properly smoothed.

I promised this week's finished products to my daughter and delivered them to her place of employment. By the time I got there in the heat, the caterpillar's nose was stuck up the lamb's butt and the flowers had dissolved into a meadowlike mass. Not a pretty sight. Nonetheless, she was appreciative and noted their cuteness.

I have learned what I already knew. Just as with any other skill, in order to become good at this, many hours of practice and dedication plus a strong back and legs are needed.

Next week, is our final week of session one. We need to bring another cake. This time, already prepared, filled, frosted and ready to decorated. We are learning how to make more flowers and how to write on top of a cake. Hopefully, the finished product will have the potential of looking vaguely like this illustration. Wish me luck.

If I can create this, I get to advance to Cake Decorating 201, "Gum paste and flowers".

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